Halle Berry has confessed that she’s decidedly “anti-fairytales” today – because she feels the Disney ideal of the “happy ever after” puts far too much pressure on women.
Speaking candidly in a Q&A at the 2017 City Summit and Gala in Los Angeles, the Oscar-winning star said: “[As] women, we go into marriage thinking it's going to last forever and that this is our prince on a shiny horse.
“That's what fairytales taught me as a kid ... and I'm kind of anti-fairytales today. But we go in there with that hope, so when it falls apart it feels like a huge failure and a huge disappointment.
“I've often felt guilty and responsible. I've suffered a lot of pain and anguish.”
Berry’s recent divorce from Olivier Martinez, with whom she has a three-year old son, Maceo, was finalised in December. She was previously married to baseball player David Justice, and singer, Eric Benet – and has an eight-year-old daughter, Nahla, with model Gabriel Aubry.
But, while the 50-year-old actor has naturally grieved over each of her three divorces, she does not regret any of her life choices.
“I have learned to deal with three failed marriages, which has not been easy, especially when there's children involved,” she said.
“[But] in every one of those situations, as hard – and sometimes embarrassing – as it was, I learned so much about myself.”
Berry, who was keynote speaker at the event, continued: “All of those relationships were necessary for me. We all come here with lessons that we have to learn and those relationships provided me with lessons that got me to where I am right now.
“For that, I am grateful. But it has been hard. It’s been a difficult part of my life.”
While Berry was raised on fairytales, she has made a point of teaching her own children very different life lessons – and regularly takes them to visit the Jenesse Centre, a domestic violence prevention and intervention organisation, with whom she has worked closely with for the past 18 years.
“If I want them to be kind, I have to show them kindness,” she said, revealing that Nahla and Maceo donate their toys to children at the shelter.
“If I want them to be curious, I have to show them my own curiosity. If I want them to be smart, I have to show that I’m continuing to learn every day. If I want them to be humble, I have to teach them how to give and care about other people. If I want them to be grateful I have to make them know that they have to give their toys away once a year and give to others.”
Insisting this is far more important than any “happy every after”, Berry finished: “I’ve learned it’s not just the words - it’s what action I put behind those words.”
Images: Halle Berry / Instagram