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Caroline Quentin tells of regret at prioritising work over time with children

The actress said she was the breadwinner when her children were young, and she felt she could not turn down work.

Caroline Quentin recently released a book
Caroline Quentin Caroline Quentin recently released a book (Ian West/PA)

Actress Caroline Quentin has said she should have said “no to work” and spent more time with her two children when they were younger.

In an interview featured in Good Housekeeping’s April issue, the 63-year-old said she thought she had to say yes to work because she was the breadwinner.

The Men Behaving Badly star, from Surrey, said: “God, I missed them. I mourned them terribly when I was away. I think that’s probably why I feel so bad about it, because it left a hole in me.

Quentin spoke her struggles balancing work and family life. (Good Housekeeping/Joseph Montezinos)
Caroline Quentin on Good Housekeeping magazine Quentin spoke her struggles balancing work and family life. (Good Housekeeping/Joseph Montezinos)

“People said, ‘Oh, they’re young for such a short period of time,’ and I didn’t listen. I thought I knew better, and I didn’t.

“I should have said no to work and yes to them, but because I was the breadwinner, I thought I had to do it.

“Well, I didn’t, did I? But you can’t turn back the clock, you have to live with these things.”

Caroline Quentin and partner Sam Farmer, pictured in 2000, met on the set of Men Behaving Badly
Showbiz/Fantasia/2000 Quentin Caroline Quentin and partner Sam Farmer, pictured in 2000, met on the set of Men Behaving Badly (Toby Melville/PA)

She has two children with her husband, Sam Farmer, who she met on the set of Men Behaving Badly.

Quentin also discussed discovering new inspiration in her 60s, taking charge of her mental wellbeing, and the solace she finds in gardening.

She said her love for gardening grew from her “quite chaotic” childhood, which was shaped by her mother’s struggle with bipolar disorder.

The 63-year-old said she found solace in gardening at a young age as her mother struggled with bipolar disorder. (Good Housekeeping/Joseph Montezinos)
Caroline Quentin on Good Housekeeping magazine The 63-year-old said she found solace in gardening at a young age as her mother struggled with bipolar disorder. (Good Housekeeping/Joseph Montezinos)

“Ever since I was little, it’s been a sort of security blanket. My childhood was quite chaotic; my mother, who had bipolar disorder, would often spend time in psychiatric hospitals,” she said.

“When I was 10, I was sent to boarding school with these horrible, grumpy matrons and regimented bath and mealtimes.

Quentin is known for her roles in Men Behaving Badly and Blue Murder. (Good Housekeeping/Joseph Montezinos)
Caroline Quentin on Good Housekeeping magazine Quentin is known for her roles in Men Behaving Badly and Blue Murder. (Good Housekeeping/Joseph Montezinos)

“I was a painfully shy child, I still am shy beneath my loud persona, and I remember being so homesick and discombobulated by everything in my life.

“But getting out in nature and watching things grow felt like time out from the ‘real’ world. It was an opportunity to leave all the sadness and scary things behind.”

(Good Housekeeping/Joseph Montezinos)
Caroline Quentin on Good Housekeeping magazine (Good Housekeeping/Joseph Montezinos)

Quentin, who has coeliac disease, recently released her book, Drawn To The Garden, and said it was “wonderful” to suddenly do something different in her 60s.

The April issue of Good Housekeeping is on sale now.

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