Last week, actress Jane Seymour spoke in a frank and exclusive interview to HELLO! about the break-up of her 10-year marriage to David Flynn. Now David gives his version of how the pressures and strains of being married to a superstar contributed to the ending of what was once considered a “fairytale marriage”.
The publicity-shy and naturally reserved real estate businessman who won the heart of one of the world's most beautiful women speaks of his devotion to their two children, Katie, 9 and Sean, 6. He also has an 11-year-old daughter, Jennifer, by his first marriage to Lynda Rowen.
And he agreed to be photographed for the first time in his new beach home at Santa Barbara , California , close to the former marital home he once shared with Jane, and where she is now living with their children.
David, why do you think your marriage to Jane broke down?
“I would say that the marriage never got off to a really perfect start because we never had a life that I would consider to be at all normal.
“We never spent 365 days together. There were elements of our marriage that looked good on paper that just weren't working at all. The lifestyle, the separation, the way of living that we had looked very romantic, but was really diabolical. It was a very dangerous way for people to live, like living a fantasy.
“You can't have a marriage with so much separation and expect to have it work at all.”
Were there many happy times together despite these difficulties?
“Yes, but the problem is that happy times were events such as a trip to Venice , or driving through France , and you can't live your life going from one event to another.
You are basically a shy person, so did that make it particularly difficult living with someone in the public eye?
“Yes. I never felt comfortable with anything public about our life. I've never exactly gone out of the way to stand in front of a camera, and I haven't appeared in a number of features with the family. It's definitely not me.
“It's not something I ever wanted, and it probably was very significant in the problems we ended up having in our marriage.”
And did you try to resolve these problems through discussing them with Jane?
“Well, that's part of the problem. I came to realise that I found it hard to communicate about the way I felt about many things. When confronted with uncomfortable situations, I tended to internalise them and deal with them in other ways.”
Do you blame yourself over this failure to communicate?
“To a great extent, yes. I was very happy living with the person I loved, raising a family, but I wasn't happy doing it on a 747 plane.
“I didn't enjoy it any more later on than I did in the beginning, but I didn't deal with it.”
Do you consider the image of your “perfect fairytale marriage” and Jane as the “English Rose” as laughable?
“Laughable is too hard a word. But much of Jane's life is a fantasy created by the media, and it just isn't true. A big part of Jane's life had become this fantasy marriage and it just wasn't bearing up under the pressures of reality. I felt I'd been given the task of fulfilling this fantasy, and that it was up to me to live up to some aspects of this life which had been manufactured either by Jane or the media.”
Do you think Jane was aware of your anxieties?
I don't think she understood how uncomfortable I was feeling at that time.
Do you feel that you married the wrong girl?
“No, I loved Jane very much and that's the truth. But I have come to learn that in any marriage without communication, there is no hope.
When, in your view did your problem with alcoholism become apparent?
“Four years ago, when Jane did War and Remembrance, she was effectively away for nine months, and it was very tough. I was at an emotional low, feeling extremely lonely and isolated, made worse by my alcoholism. Jane had the children for a while, then I had them, and it was a very unsettling time. That's when, I'd say the marriage began to leak at the seams.”
Did Jane ever try to stop you, or did you never drink at home?
“I drank at home, but Jane wasn't really aware of what was going on. I kept it very much to myself, and there were quite a few surprised people who had known me for years and never thought of me as an alcoholic.”
Has your treatment for alcoholism been successful?
“I've been ‘clean and sober' for well over two years now. But you are never cured. Even people who are sober for 30 years refer to themselves as ‘recovering alcoholics'.”
It seems a shame that, as your treatment progressed, your relationship with Jane worsened.
“It wasn't really the alcoholism that dealt the death blow to our marriage so much as the recovery. There were a number of fundamental problems within our marriage that didn't get addressed until I began practising the programme and got sober. Over the course of the last two years I had to come to grips with a number of issues that had existed in our marriage for quite some time.”
What exactly is your relationship with Jane like now?
“I think that we know each other a lot better, but whether you can describe this as friendship I don't know. I don't think we're enemies, but I don't think we're at a point that I would describe as being particularly close friends. We've got a number of things we're going to be dealing with in common for the rest of our lives, mainly our two children, who are going to keep us attached forever.”
Do you think the marriage could have been saved?
“If I were to look back on the last 10 years, and with those 10 years experience, there would have been a lot of different approaches to our marriage. Perhaps they might have worked, or perhaps the marriage would have ended sooner. It's very hard to say whether or not the non-alcoholic David Flynn was really somebody who could have dealt with the external pressures pf that kind of lifestyle.”
Do you think the marriage was over long before the end of last year?
“Absolutely. I think the marriage was really being held together with bailing wire for a number of years.”
Do you still feel love for Jane?
“Yes, I love Jane. We've disagreed on a number of matters recently; we've had a lot of animosity. But it doesn't reduce your love for somebody, and I care about her well being and happiness.”
REPORT: PETER ROBERTSON.
MAIN PHOTOS: ADRIAN HOUSTON.
PHOTOS: PETER KREDENSER.
HELLO MAGAZINE; ISSUE 148 APRIL 13 TH 1991 .