Michelle Dockery opens up about ‘baffling’ parallel between real life and ‘Downton’

Downton Abbey star Michelle Dockery has opened up about the tragic death of her fiancé.

The 38-year-old English actress is best known for playing Lady Mary Crawley in all six seasons of Downton Abbey and the recent hit movie based on ITV’s period drama series.

Not long after her character was left devastated by the death of husband Matthew Crawley in the TV series, Dockery’s real life partner died of cancer.

An Irish public relations director, her fiancé John Dineen was only 34 year old when he died in December 2015.

Dockery told The Sun: “One of the difficult things at the time was the parallels with Mary. It was just ­baffling, and still is to me, that my character’s storyline was so similar.”

Describing how she felt during his illness, Dockery said: “I’ve never been more committed to anything in my life than to him. This becomes your world, and, of course, was my priority. I never lost hope.

“I’m not exaggerating when I say that John did not complain once — never, not once — and that gave us strength. It’s what keeps you going, that positivity — to never lose that hope for a miracle.

“I couldn’t have done it any other way. I spent more time in hospitals that year than some people do in a lifetime. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.”

The star was filming the emotional-charged final episodes of ­Downton Abbey following John’s death.

She recalled: “When we wrapped at [regular set] Highclere Castle, that’s when the sad feelings started. It really felt like we were ­giving the house back to the owners. It was an emotional time. We were commiserating and celebrating.”

Dockery is expected to return as Lady Mary in the second Downton Abbey movie, with filming set to start in 2021.

She also recently revealed that she’d like to become the first ever female James Bond!

Her latest film The Gentlemen was released in cinemas last month.

The Downton Abbey movie is available on DVD on Amazon.