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Succession star Brian Cox reveals his secret to a successful marriage

Brian Cox has said that the secret to a good marriage is sleeping in separate bedrooms, as he explained why he believes his first marriage broke down.

The actor, 77, known for playing roles including Hannibal Lecter in the 1989 film Manhunter and the billionaire media mogul Logan Roy in HBO series Succession, revealed in a new interview that the act of “visiting one another” can make both parties in a marriage “feel free”.

“You visit one another. Your partner must feel free,” he said.

Cox revealed that his marriage to his first wife broke down because he was “ignoring” the problems in his relationship.

“My first marriage broke down because I was in my most ambitious period and I was ignoring a lot of stuff that was going on. My wife was very smart financially, and she did really well – she kept me afloat. But it was a strain on the pair of us and it broke us up,” he told The Times.

The Bourne Identity actor was 20 years old when he married his first wife Caroline Burt in 1966. They separated one year later.

He married his second wife Caroline Burt in 1968 and divorced a few years later. The pair share two children, Margaret and Alan; the latter is also an actor, best known for his roles as the teenage Dr Watson in Young Sherlock Holmes, and as the young John Mortimer in the film adaptation of the play A Voyage Round My Father, acting opposite Laurence Olivier.

Cox married his third and current wife, actor Nicole Ansari-Cox, in 2002. They share two sons, Orson Jonathan Cox and Torin Kamran Cox.

Cox and his wife actor Nicole Ansari photographed in 2022 (AFP via Getty Images)
Cox and his wife actor Nicole Ansari photographed in 2022 (AFP via Getty Images)

Elsewhere in the interview, Cox said that he isn’t a very good judge of his own parenting skills.

“Parenting is hard,” he said. “My kids say I’m not bad. But I don’t consider myself any good.”

Cox was just eight years old when his father died, and has said that losing a parent so young has made it difficult for him to know “what parenting is about”.

“When you lose your father at the age of eight and your mother becomes crazy for a while, it’s very hard to know what parenting is about.”

“Sadly, he passed at a ridiculously young age. He was only 51,” recalled Cox.

He added that his father left £10 in the bank when he died.

“He was a grocer and he did well but he made bad investments. It was a poor area, so when he died there were a lot of credit people in the neighbourhood never paid.”

“It meant we moved into poverty from being lower middle class. We skipped working class,” added Cox.

At the 75th Primetime Emmy Awards last month, Succession almost stole the show as it won six awards, including Best Drama Series, with stars Kieran Culkin, Sarah Snook and Matthew Macfadyen all winning separate awards for their different roles.

Cox stars in a Radio 4 drama,McLevy in the New World, which is available on BBC Sounds.