Who is Judi Dench’s partner? Inside the acting icon’s romance with David Mills

Who is Judi Dench’s partner? Inside the acting icon’s romance with David Mills

Dame Judi Dench is an icon of the big screen and the stage and is a certified National Treasure. The actress is adored for many notable roles in films such as James Bond, Notes on a Scandal, Philomena and Shakespeare in Love as well as her extensive career in the theatre as part of the prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company.

One aspect of Judi’s life that has always interested fans is her private life. We took a deep dive to discover everything there is to know about her partner, David Mills.

WATCH: Judi Dench unveils the Queen’s Green Canopy Garden at Chelsea Flower Show

Is Dame Judi Dench married?

Judi, who turns 89 in December, is not married but has been with her partner, David Mills since 2010. They reportedly discussed marriage before deciding it wasn’t for them.

“We talked about [marriage] but I think we are far better off as we are as we have got two separate houses. And we are either in one or the other and we are four miles apart,” David told Good Housekeeping Magazine.

Judi added: “He is not going to propose. No, no, no, no, no. Let’s just pull ourselves together and be our age!” Judi also admitted to Good Housekeeping that she dislikes the term partner and instead refers to her beau as her “chap”.

She said: “I don’t know what the word is because I don’t like the word ‘partner’. Partner is something to do with dancing. Partner – horrible word. Friend? No. Boyfriend? No. Chap? Will chap do?”

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Dame Judi Dench and David Mills
RHS Chelsea Flower Show, Royal Hospital Chelsea, London, UK© Nick Harvey/Shutterstock

Dame Judi Dench and David Mills
RHS Chelsea Flower Show, Royal Hospital Chelsea, London, UK

Judi Dench’s partner David Mills is 10 years younger than the Oscar winner and has a totally different background from the actress.

The 77-year-old started his career working as a dairy farmer, winning numerous awards for his herd of pedigree cows, before being awarded an MBE in 2016 for his services to wildlife conservation.

He founded the British Wildlife Centre conservation centre, which is home to an array of wildlife and holds the title of the UK’s biggest red squirrel breeder.

David Mills and Judi Dench attend day four of Royal Ascot 2023© Karwai Tang

David Mills and Judi Dench attend day four of Royal Ascot 2023

How did Dame Judi Dench meet her partner?

It was David’s squirrels that brought him and Judi together after he invited her to his wildlife centre to open a squirrel enclosure in 2010.

Has Judi Dench ever been married?

Judi was previously married to fellow actor Michael Williams. They got married in 1971 and welcomed their daughter – Tara Cressida Frances ‘Flinty’ Williams. They were together for 30 years before Michael died of lung cancer in 2001.

Judi has previously opened up about the loss of her first husband. Appearing on David Tennant’s podcast in 2020, Judi was asked by the Doctor Who star how she learned to cope without him.

Judi and Michael married in 1971© Johnson/ANL/Shutterstock

Judi and Michael married in 1971

“I don’t know. I don’t know,” she began, adding: “Perhaps I’ve never done that, quite. Although I have met David, who runs the British Wildlife Centre. And he’s about four miles away, and that’s just lovely because we laugh about the same things. But I suspect I shall never ever get over Mikey.”

Dame Judi Dench and Michael William at the 1989 British Academy Awards© Alan Davidson/Shutterstock

Dame Judi Dench and Michael William at the 1989 British Academy Awards

The Shakespeare in Love actress revealed how grief has changed her, adding: “It changes who you are completely, I think. Because it’s like you’re walking along, and suddenly you’re not looking and there’s an enormous chasm in front of you.”

“And suddenly all sorts of things take you, expected kinds of things happen… I don’t expect you ever get used to it. Sometimes the door in this house just opens and I think that he’s just wandered in.”

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