Kelly Brook's ex, Hollywood actor Billy Zane, 52, reveals how his six-year marriage to Lisa Collins cost him greatly
I’ve always been optimistic. It’s stood me in good stead. My career peaked very early – I’d only been in Hollywood three weeks when I was cast as the baddy in Back To The Future 2, then of course there was Titanic, another arch baddy, Cal. Titanic was a door opener in Hollywood, but a door closer at the yacht club!
I married and divorced young and had to pay a lot of maintenance, so I took roles just for the money.
They probably didn’t help my career. Despite that, I’ve always felt my glass is more than half full. It’s a bejewelled, studded goblet overflowing – it overfloweth into many espresso cups!
My parents, Thalia and William, were both Greek, and although they ran a school for medical technicians, they were both amateur actors, which is why I guess both myself and my sister Lisa became actors.
When I think of my parents, I think of the character Don in Singin’ In The Rain and his line, ‘Dignity, always dignity.’ They both imparted that to me – coupled with the counterpoint of absurdity and buffoonery.
My children are the most important things in my life.
I have Ava, who is eight, and Gia, who is four. I hope I can give them an emotional intelligence. There is a Greek word, ‘philotimo’ meaning ‘the love of honour’, it’s about being of service to others’ needs.
I’m a firm believer in using the best of the past with the most cutting edge. I expose my children to a lot of classic cinema, because I think there’s a lot to be learned from sifting through these iconic tales.
My four-year-old asks for Singin’ In the Rain and will quote all the dialogue from it.
They love MGM musicals. I try to set the bar saying, ‘This is Gene Kelly , a really super man, and I’d be very happy if you brought someone like him home when you’re a teenager.’
I think I figured life out early, I mean really early. Everything I am talking about I knew in my gut as a child.
It’s easy to get distracted and lose purpose. You fall off the path of life’s journey with too much ambrosia or whatever, and you forget the mission.
Then you get back on it. If I met my younger self, I’d say don’t worry about going off road, you’ll find it when you need to.
I live outside of West Hollywood, which is quite suburban. I’ve grown up in cities all my life, I enjoy them immensely. But I have to balance my love of the country with my love of the city – too much of one is too much.
I don’t say no to much, and I can’t say no to pie. Saying no to pie is a Herculean effort. Others watch my weight and that’s a problem!
I do have a critical eye. The iPhone camera, much as I loathe it, means people experience life through a secondary filter, like audience members do at concerts now.
But even your grandma will be thinking, ‘Ooh, that will make a good picture’, capturing something she otherwise wouldn’t have seen. I link it to a degree of intelligence. It will end up being an artistic shift in how we experience things culturally.
For me, the bottom line seems to be shoot high but have a laugh. Especially at yourself. Be of service, be an exemplary servant to the human experiences, but by all means have fun doing it.
I used to draw a lot as a youth. I took on painting as a young adult, then took a break for many years, but jumped right back into it with a passion when I was filming Titanic.
I turned my garage into a studio. I’ve been honoured to have exhibitions of my work – and sales! It’s a great antidote to acting.
However, in my mind it’s a similar space to what acting gives me –improvisation, dealing with the imitation, limitation, surprising myself with commitment to a task, they are very similar in that respect.
I’m a firm believer in the renaissance man – I don’t believe that if you are good at one thing you can’t be good at others. Like cooking. I love cooking at home. I’m good at roasts and soups.
I act like I paint, I cook like I paint, I paint like I act, which basically means I need drop cloth everywhere I go! Or a bib!