Shirley MacLaine
Shirley MacLaine

Star opens up about 30 year open marriage

Shirley MacLaine believes having an open marriage is the key to a successful relationship.

The 81-year-old actress and producer Steve Parker - who were married for 28 years until 1982 - often went weeks without seeing each other because of their hectic schedules so were happy for one another to sleep with other people.

She told journalist Jess Cagle during a Sirius XM town hall event: "I guess you would say 'practiced an open marriage' in 1954, which was another lifetime. No one understood it, we did. He lived in Japan basically, I lived in America working, and this and that.

"We'd meet up, always great friends, travelled sometimes together.

"I think that's the basis for a long-lasting marriage, if you really want to do such a thing.

"I would say better to stay friends and we don't have enough time to talk about the sexuality of all. I was very open about all of that and so was he."

These days, the 'Downton Abbey' star - who has daughter Sachi Parker with Steve - admits her biggest "relationship" these days is with her beloved dogs.

She said: "I'm having a relationship now, that is teaching me about possessiveness with intimacy and it's with my three dogs.

"I adore my dogs. And I've had to get a dog nanny/food lady for the dogs because I've been working so much." 

But instead of turning to Shirley, the pooches have now grown more attached to her helper.

She quipped: "It is tough, I'm not kidding you. Totally indiscreet ... I'm really learning what people will do for food."