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Law embracing age
Jude Law. Picture: Getty Images

Jude Law is happy to not be a "young pretty thing" anymore.

The 39-year-old actor made his name in a string of heartthrob roles, including lead parts in 'Alfie', 'Sleuth' and 'The Holiday', but he took on a different part for him in 'Anna Karenina' - in which he plays Keira Knightley's ageing husband.

But rather than worry about his advancing years, Jude is relieved to have reached a level of maturity which is opening up new artistic opportunities for him.

In an interview with T magazine - the New York Times Style supplement - he said: "In a weird way, it's kind of a relief to think, 'Oh, I know I'm not that young sort of pretty thing anymore.'

The 'Sherlock Holmes' star - father to Rafferty, 16, Iris, 12, and Rudy, 10, with ex-wife Sadie Frost and Sophia, three, with model Samantha Burke - now even thinks of himself as a heartthrob in the past tense.

He said: "It's quite nice talking about what it was like to be the young pretty thing, rather than being it."

Jude plays balding Alexei Karenin in Oscar-tipped 'Anna Karenina' opposite Keira, 27, as his wife who embarks on a scandalous affair with Count Vronsky, played by the considerably younger Aaron Johnson, 22.

Jude even volunteered to cut his hair for role so it would look completely realistic, much to the surprise of co-star Keira.

She said: "I was surprised when he chose to actually cut his hair that way and not just wear a wig."