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Dame Helen Mirren's husband is a "voyeur".

The 67-year-old actress thinks her filmmaker spouse Taylor Hackford is very similar to other directors in that he has a keen interest in spying on other people, and says it helped her relate to her role as acclaimed director Sir Alfred Hitchcock's wife Alma in new movie Hitchcock.

Asked about Hitchcock's supposed love of blonde women, she said: "There are different takes on this matter, but I believe Hitchcock only ever loved Ingrid Bergman. Who is not a blonde and whom even Alma loved. Anyway, all directors are voyeurs. Even my husband, it's their job's nature."

The British star also admitted her husband is very "obsessed" with his work and she has learnt that to make their marriage work, she can't be a demanding wife.

"I know the type . . . when you pursue that career you have to be absolutely obsessed," Mirren said.

"It takes tenacity, patience and complete devotion. You can't be the kind of wife who calls him, 'I made dinner, come home'. You have to be the one who says: 'Is it raining? Damn it, can you shoot inside?'"

Mirren and Hackford happily discuss their work with one another but have a rule not to be critical.

She explained to an Italian newspaper: "Taylor usually invites me after the first cut just to have an external opinion. The difference between us and the Hitchcocks is that we like our works to be independent from one another.

"I don't criticise him and I don't want him to criticise me. We don't even feel the need to. We already have too many people pointing their finger out there.

"It's a partnership and it's good for energy and creativity when a man supports a woman, and vice-versa."