updated 12/21/2006 AT 3:35 PM ET
•originally published 12/23/2006 AT 6:00 AM ET
Though both Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman have never publicly discussed the private reasons for the 2004 break-up of their marriage, being in the limelight did not help the relationship, he now says.
“To be honest, it was an undue pressure on my marriage,” Hawke, currently appearing in a New York stage production of Tom Stoppard’s The Coast of Utopia, tells Parade magazine for its Sunday issue.
“I didn’t like being famous when I was single, and what it did to my celebrity status to be married to another famous person was a huge pressure – one I didn’t enjoy. And it had nothing to do with her. Nothing to do with her,” Hawke, 36, says with a shake of his head.
Hawke says he considers being father to his two children with Thurman – daughter Maya, 8, and son Levon, 4 – “the greatest pleasure in my life. It’s the only role that, if I fail, I will consider my life a failure.”
Having had parents who divorced, Hawke is aware of how such a split affects the kids. Speaking of himself and Thurman, he says, “Our burden is just getting along, not hurting each other’s feelings, and letting each other grow – letting the tides take our lives away from each other and dealing with the disappointment of a dream that didn’t happen.”
When it comes to speaking about Thurman, also 36, Hawke takes the high road, says the magazine. “She’s my children’s mother,” he says. “You have to keep that above anything else. If you bring two people into the world together, that supersedes anything else.”
He also says about her devotion to raising the children properly, “She’s a great mother, and raising the kids is a priority for both of us. We’re so fortunate that we have each other’s back in that way. Because I write and act in theater, it’s a lot easier for me to stay in the city. But my ex-wife has done a phenomenal job of that as well. She plans all her movies to shoot in New York.”
As for sharing parental duties with Thurman in the big city, Hawke adds, “We live down the street from each other. If we lived down the street from each other in Minneapolis, I’d have to watch every car go in and out of the driveway. I’d know how late she stayed out. I don’t have to know any of that stuff.”