Art

Dame Helen Mirren reveals an ‘epiphany’ after 9/11 inspired her to become a US citizen

She is one of Britain’s most famous stars and was appointed Dame (DBE) for services to drama in 2003.

But Helen Mirren, 76, has shown that loyalty, heart and intellect are with America as she discussed her decision to become a US citizen.

The West Ham native, who was granted American citizenship in 2017, revealed she began investigating the process afterwards an “epiphany” following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

‘My allegiance, heart and intellect are with America’: British actress Helen Mirren has revealed an ‘epiphany’ after 9/11 inspired her to become a US citizen

In an interview with People magazine, the Oscar winner described how, seeing the second tower collapse in 2001, made her think, “I’m American.”

Helen is married to American film director Taylor Hackford, 77, and was living in New York City at the time of the terrorist attacks.

She said: “I saw the second tower collapse. I had an epiphany. I realized where my loyalty, my heart and my intellect lay in this confrontation between extremism, religiosity – all those things and everything that represents America.

“And I was like, ‘I’m American.’ I have an American flag and I put it outside my window.’

anglophile?  She is one of Britain's most famous stars and was appointed Dame (DBE) for services to drama in 2003 (pictured in 2007).

anglophile? She is one of Britain’s most famous stars and was appointed Dame (DBE) for services to drama in 2003 (pictured in 2007).

Helen delayed the process until 2017, not realizing she could have dual British-American citizenship.

Describing the moment she received her American citizenship, Helen added, “I didn’t realize how profound a feeling that was going to be. It brought out feelings of patriotism I didn’t think I had. I think it had to do with America’s intrinsic generosity. ‘

The actress previously revealed that the talks were also spurred by the morbid practicalities of planning her will, noting that she has two stepchildren with Hackford and that the couple owned a property in Los Angeles.

She splits her time between her homes in London and California.

9/11: The Oscar-winner described how, seeing the collapse of the second tower during the 2001 terrorist attacks in New York, she thought

9/11: The Oscar-winner described how, seeing the collapse of the second tower during the 2001 terrorist attacks in New York, she thought “I’m American”.

It comes after Helen admitted she still struggles with imposter syndrome after 56 years of her stellar career.

In an interview with You magazine, the actress said: “I still see myself as I was in my head, in my body in my 20s, 30s and 40s: struggling, ambitious, frustrated and self-critical.

“I still feel like the same person. I wonder if that ever works?

“There’s always this endless, nagging feeling, ‘Oh god, I’m going to be discovered any minute now. I got away with it then, but next time I’ll get caught. “Because you can never be absolutely sure that you’re that good at what you’re doing.”

Next Sunday, Dame Helen will add to the many awards she has won – including a Tony and an Olivier Award for playing the Queen on stage in London and Broadway, and a string of awards for Prime Suspect – when Kate Winslet is there her the Lifetime Achievement Award from the LA Screen Actors Guild.

Guild President Fran Drescher described Helen as “quite simply a brilliant and shining talent” and said: “

Not that humble Helen would agree. “I really don’t feel like I remotely deserve it other than still being alive and working,” she said.

“I’ve made some wonderful films and I’ve made some pretty terrible films. It took me completely by surprise. ‘

Lifelong love: West Ham native Helen and American film director Taylor Hackford began dating in 1986 and tied the knot almost a decade later in 1997 (pictured together in July 2021)

Lifelong love: West Ham native Helen and American film director Taylor Hackford began dating in 1986 and tied the knot almost a decade later in 1997 (pictured together in July 2021)

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