Kate Winslet — things you didn't know about the 'Mare of Easttown' star

Kate Winslet
Kate Winslet has enjoyed a hugely successful acting career. (Image credit: Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images/ Getty)

Kate Winslet has had a stunning acting career so far. She broke hearts all over the world as Rose DeWitt Bukater opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic, but she also had major roles in Sense and Sensibility, Finding Neverland and Contagion, to name but a few. 

Most recently, she has garnered major praise for HBO’s Mare of Easttown, where she played the title character, Detective Sergeant Mare Sheehan. Mare reflects many of Kate's best performances: she's a raw, authentic character who is far from perfect, but she's still immensely driven to do what needs to be done.

What else do we know about Kate Winslet? Here are a few things about the British actress that you might not know...

Kate Winslet’s first job was a breakfast cereal advert! 

Kate Winslet’s big break was one of the lead roles in Peter Jackson’s 1994 film Heavenly Creatures. She won “British Actress of the Year” at the London Critics’ Circle Film Awards for her performance as Juliet Hulme the following year. 

This wasn’t her first appearance, though, as Kate’s first-ever acting gig was actually a Sugar Puffs commercial!

The British breakfast cereal ad was directed by prolific music video director Tim Pope, although you won't be able to spot her in it. When interviewed by Empire, Kate explained that she didn’t actually end up appearing on screen in the ad, as the child who stars in the ad is someone else! 

She wanted to play her age in Mare of Easttown

Kate has been publicly against airbrushing in the past, and she has maintained this control over her own appearance throughout her career. 

In an interview with The New York Times, Kate claimed that Mare of Easttown director Craig Zobel offered to remove her “bulgy bit of belly” during a scene with Guy Pearce, but she told Zobel “don’t you dare” and outright refused to be altered. 

She also explained how she’d sent back a Mare promo poster twice, both times recognising that she has been airbrushed and insisting they stop.

She said she felt people had related to her character precisely because “she’s a fully functioning, flawed woman with a body and a face that moves in a way that is synonymous with her age and her life and where she comes from".

Kate Winslet stars in Mare of Easttown.

Kate Winslet as Mare Sheehan in Mare of Easttown. (Image credit: HBO Max)

She was nominated for an Emmy for playing... herself! 

Back in 2006, Kate received an Emmy nomination for her performance in Ricky Gervais’ BBC comedy series, Extras, although the win went to Cloris Leachman for Malcolm in the Middle

In the episode, Kate Winslet tells Andy Millman (Ricky Gervais) that the key to Oscar success is appearing in a film about the holocaust. 

This is advice that rang true for Winslet, as she went on to win the Oscar for Best Actress in 2009 for her performance as Hanna Schmitz in Stephen Daldry’s 2008 film The Reader! 

She was awarded a CBE in 2012

Back in 2012, Kate Winslet’s prowess in the acting world was recognised by none other than the Queen of England! She was awarded a CBE (which stands for Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Order) for 'services rendered to drama'.

After amazing appearances in films like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Hamlet, Sense and Sensibility and (of course) Titanic, it’s easy to see how she received such a prestigious award for her acting career.

 She once released a top-ten single 

If you’re a more recent Kate Winslet fan, you might not know that she once released a successful Christmas single! For the 2001 animated movie Christmas Carol: The Movie, Kate Winslet recorded the song ‘What If?’

‘What If’ is a moving ballad that sees Belle (Kate Winslet’s character) mourning her lost relationship with Ebenezer Scrooge, wondering what could have happened between them if she’d stayed with Scrooge. 

The song peaked at number six in the UK Singles Charts, beaten for the coveted Christmas Number One slot by Leona Lewis’ A Moment Like This. You can listen to the song below! 

She escaped a fire on Richard Branson’s private island 

In 2011, a horrific fire broke out on Necker Island, the private isle of British business magnate Richard Branson after the holiday home was struck by lightning in a tropical storm. 

Kate was one of 20 people staying on the island at the time, all of whom thankfully escaped unharmed. There were widespread reports that Kate Winslet saved Richard’s mother, Eve, from the blaze, but the late Eve Branson herself has previously downplayed this story.

Eve told the Guardian she was “sick of this story”, stating that Kate only “picked me up and took me down four steps and that was it.” 

She broke the record for holding her breath underwater during filming! 

Kate has reunited with Titanic director James Cameron for the long-awaited sequel to his smash-hit science fiction film, Avatar. 

A lot of Avatar 2 was filmed in underwater tanks, so the cast underwent extensive training with elite military divers to ensure they could hold their breath as long as possible. The longer the actors could hold their breath the better, as this meant there’d be fewer interruptions to filming.

During one scene, Kate managed to hold her breath for seven minutes and 14 seconds! This smashed the previous record (six minutes) which was set by Tom Cruise whilst filming Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation!  

Kate Winslet fact file 

How old is she?

Kate Winslet is 45 and was born on October 5, 1975. 

Where was she born?

Kate Winslet was born in Reading in Berkshire, England.

Is she married?

Kate Winslet is married to her third husband, Edward Abel Smith, who was formerly known as Ned Rocknroll.

Does Kate Winslet have children?

Kate Winslet has three children, each from a different marriage. Mia Honey Threapleton, 20, from her marriage to Jim Threapleton, Joe Mendes, 17, from her marriage to director Sam Mendes and Bear Blaze Winslet, 7, from her current marriage.

How tall is Kate Winslet?

Kate Winslet is 5ft 5.

We work hard to ensure that all information is correct. Facts that change over time, such as age, will be correct, to the best of our knowledge, at the time of the most recent article update.

Martin Shore
Staff Writer at WhatToWatch.com

Martin is a Staff Writer with WhatToWatch.com, where he produces a variety of articles focused on the latest and greatest films and TV shows. 

Some of his favorite shows are What We Do In The Shadows, Bridgerton, Gangs of London, The Witcher, Doctor Who, and Ghosts. When he’s not watching TV or at the movies, Martin’s probably still in front of a screen playing the latest video games, reading, or watching the NFL.