Charles Dance says his marriage ended after he ‘succumbed to some temptations’

English actor Charles Dance has said his marriage to Joanna Haythorn ended after he “succumbed to some temptations”.

The Game Of Thrones actor, 77, married Haythorn in 1970 and the pair had two children together before they divorced in 2004.

Speaking to Gyles Brandreth on the Rosebud podcast, he said: “For the most part it was a wonderful marriage, but then, unfortunately, I succumbed to some temptations along the way and the marriage ended because of my behaviour really.”

“I eventually had to come clean,” he added.

Fanny Lye Deliver’d World Premiere – BFI London Film Festival 2019
Charles Dance spoke to Gyles Brandreth on his podcast Rosebud (Ian West/PA)

“Because we were living in Somerset, in this enormous place, and Jo had her study at one end and I had mine at the other end, and we became a bit like George and Martha (in the play) Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? really after a while.

“Eventually I came back and I thought, ‘really, we have to have (a) very serious conversation’.

“And I had to come clean and it came as a shock to Jo, bless her.”

Reflecting on his behaviour, The Crown actor said: “I don’t want to be seen to be scrabbling around for excuses.”

He added: “I never thought of myself as attractive. I really didn’t…

“(It) wasn’t until I did (TV series) The Jewel In The Crown years later and people talked about me as being ‘the thinking woman’s crumpet’.

“I always felt very grateful if girls behaved as if they were attracted to me.

“But there is no justification for it, you know.

“In our business, Gyles, temptation is often presented and you have to be pretty together and balanced, and have not a particularly powerful libido to not succumb to that.

“So, the marriage came to an end – huge regret.

“But after about 18 months, Jo and I, thankfully, became the best of friends, and we remain so, thank God.

“She had a flat not very far away from where I live and we saw each other quite frequently, and so it kind of all turned out all right in the end.”

Asked if he would do anything differently now, he said: “Of course. Oh my goodness, the benefit of hindsight.

“It took me a long time to learn the law of cause and effect.”