The Alice in Wonderland star separated from the filmmaker in 2014 after 13 years together, and following months of silence on their break-up, Helena has now praised their "precious" union and revealed she hopes their relationship will be better now they are apart.

"I could write a thesis on what's happened and it is all-absorbing when a relationship breaks down, but I think we're coming through it and I think we'll have something very precious still," she tells Red magazine.

"Our relationship was always somewhat special and I think it'll always remain special. We did find each other. And really, the mark of a successful relationship shouldn't be whether you're there forever after.

"Sometimes you're not meant to be forever together. Sometimes you have to come to terms with the fact that that was it. But that was a gift, a massive gift."

Helena also denied rumours suggesting they lived separately, adding, "We gave each other children and a lot more else. And we might be better and still be able to give to each other but not necessarily living together... Which we did by the way, because everyone seemed to think we didn't, but that was a load of myth."

They have two children Billy, 12, and Nell, seven.