She was branded a homewrecker for having an affair with Billy Crudup, who left his pregnant girlfriend Mary-Louise Parker for her in 2003.
But Claire Danes has finally spoken out about the scandal that rocked Hollywood and caused a public outcry, insisting that she was ‘just in love’ with Crudup and ‘needed to explore that’.
The Homeland star, 42, made the stunning confession in a rare interview with Howard Stern on his SiriusXM radio show, where she opened up about her relationship with Crudup, 52, who she met on the set of Stage Beauty, a 2004 film about actors in the 17th century.
Danes admitted that she was ‘very isolated’ and ‘didn’t have a lot of friends’ at the time, and that she was unaware of the consequences of her actions.
‘I was 24… I didn’t quite know what those consequences would be,’ she said. ‘But it’s okay. I went through it.’
She also revealed that she faced a ‘scary’ and ‘really hard’ backlash from the public, who slammed her for breaking up a happy family.
Parker, 57, who was seven months pregnant with Crudup’s child when he left her, was devastated by the betrayal and wrote a memoir about her experience, called Dear Mr. You.
In one of the letters in the book, addressed to a cab driver who witnessed her breakdown after Crudup left her, she writes: ‘I am pregnant and alone. It hurts to even breathe.’
She also describes how she felt ‘awful’ and ‘grossly unfair’ for comparing her life to his, and how she wished she could tell him that she didn’t know his tragedy or hardship.
Parker has never spoken publicly about the affair, but has said that writing the book was ‘cathartic’ and ‘healing’.
Danes, who married Hugh Dancy in 2009 and has two children with him, said she has not been in touch with Parker, but hopes that she is ‘doing okay’.
She also said that she and Crudup are still ‘friendly’ despite their break-up in 2006.
‘We’re friendly, we’re friends,’ she said.
Danes added that she has no regrets about her past relationships, and that they have made her who she is today.
‘I think I did make some mistakes,’ she said. ‘But I’m very grateful for them because I learned a lot.’