Colin Firth had an extra reason to celebrate after landing a prestigious prize at Italy's Venice Film Festival in 2009 - the award finally endeared him to his wife's Italian family. The Brit landed the coveted Best Actor honor at the Italian ceremony in September 2009 for his role in new movie "A Single Man".
Firth, who wed Italian film producer Livia Giuggioli in 1997, admits his partner's relatives have always been suspicious of him - especially as he has a son from a previous relationship. And the 49 year old reveals he was only really accepted into the family after he was handed the country's top acting honor.
He says, "It didn't just feel like any old gong (award). My wife's family took me on trust 15 years ago, so for them it was a special moment. I'd shown up as this very, very dodgy commodity, attached to their darling daughter."
"When we got together she told them, 'I've got this English chap (man) now' - one strike against me. 'He's an actor' - hmmm, oh dear. 'He's nearly 10 years older' - oh boy. 'And he's got a kid with someone else.' "
"I had a mountain to climb to win everyone over. So to be standing there with the award - well, everyone in Italy knows what that award means. And I had enough of the local lingo to express how I felt; there's no other non-English speaking country in the world where I could have done that."