It has long been assumed that Kate Beckinsale left her long-term partner Michael Sheen for the director Len Wiseman after meeting on the set of Underworld in 2002. However, in an Entertainment Weekly interview to promote the latest film in the franchise, Underworld: Awakening, Beckinsale has claimed the rumors are untrue.
“The popular notion of how Michael and I broke up — that we were on [the first Underworld] and I ran off with the director — is just not true. If that were the case, I think it would be very difficult and peculiar to have an okay situation."
Ex-wife gives her version of events
Wiseman’s ex-wife, a kindergarden teacher named Dana, had previously claimed that her husband was unfaithful.
"They are saying their relationship started in January 2003 after we separated - but that is simply not true. Some girls know how to treat other woman and some don't."
Dana believes the affair began while they were filming Underworld in Budapest.
"That's where it all happened. Kate was never nice to me - not from day one. I was in Budapest for three months and Kate didn't have a good word to say to me."
After Dana suspected her husband's affair with Beckinsale, she fled back to America alone.
Beckinsale on her current relationship with Sheen
While Wiseman and his ex-wife are no longer on good terms, Beckinsale maintains a friendly relationship with Sheen, whom she lived with for eight years, for the sake of their daughter.
"I didn't like the fact that our break-up was interpreted in this kind of cold-blooded and callous way that I suddenly went from one man to the next. You don't spend such a very long time with someone and act impulsively. It's never pleasant to come to the end of a relationship that was such a huge part of my life. Michael is a very supportive, brilliant man with whom I spent nearly 10 years. Even though people might not want to believe it, Michael and I are still friends and he's still a big part of Lily's life and she couldn't have a better father. That's what's important to me rather than all the other speculation."
"We are still very close and Lily sees us around each other. I love him dearly – I would miss him dreadfully if he wasn't in my life. He is one of the most thoughtful, principled people and Lily is so lucky to have him as a dad. I've been very lucky to have two marvellous men in Len and Michael, they've got no awkward feelings about parenting Lily and working things out. I'm very proud of both of them that they haven't let any potential awkwardness or strangeness affect our little family."
Sheen on the breakup
For his part, Sheen has said that, while the situation was "obviously not easy", "I never felt like anything had gone on behind my back".
“Len is a really nice man and treats Lily really well and is a wonderful step-father to her. I feel very fortunate because that’s not always the case, necessarily. Lily’s been surrounded by people who love and support her, and want the best for her, and I couldn’t wish any more than that for my daughter.”
Timeline of events
In 2002, after Beckinsale was cast in Underworld, she asked Wiseman if there was a possible role for Sheen. The film was to shoot in Budapest and she hoped to spend time with her family.
"I said to him, 'Michael is a fantastic actor. He's brilliant. I really think you should use him for this.' He thought, "Alright then, he was Kate's boyfriend, he's bound to suck and be really nice to Kate." And then he was blown away [with his audition] and he thought he was fabulous. And afterward he cast him and admitted that he'd been dreading it because he loved me so much. He'd been dreading meeting him because he thought he'd be a model or something."
At Christmas 2002, after the film had wrapped, Wiseman ended his marriage and Beckinsale called time on her relationship with Sheen.
In January 2003, Wiseman and Beckinsale began dating.
In June 2003, Beckinsale and Wiseman announced their engagement.
Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5