Uma Calls Split from Ethan 'Excruciating'
10/07/2005 AT 04:35 PM EDT
For the first time since her divorce from Ethan Hawke became final in August, Uma Thurman spoke publicly about the breakup, telling Oprah Winfrey on the talk host's program Friday that – although "I've been so cool for so long" – the split was "excruciating" and her self-esteem was "pretty mangled."
Thurman, 35 and Hawke, 34, married in 1998, after meeting on the set of the sci-fi drama Gattaca, and have two children: daughter Maya, 7, and son Levon, 3. The couple remained together for five years and were estranged for two. (Thurman was previously married to actor Gary Oldman from 1990-92.)
"You can move on, and you can be lucky and you can seize the moment and you can take one step after another," said a misty-eyed Thurman about coping with the break. But, she confided, "You bear two children with somebody – that's not a small thing – and then you can hardly talk to them."
Still, she said she needs to speak to her ex for the sake of their kids. "I think that that's such a priority to protect them and to never lose sight of the fact that even if you're in a fight, or even if things are going badly, it's in their best interests that everybody comes out okay," she told Oprah.
As for Hawke, Thurman said he is "moving on" with his life. "He's made an effort, and I try to make an effort and, you know, we just keep trying." But, added Thurman who is dating hotelier Andre Balazs, "I don’t think we could reconcile."
Though they talk, Thurman said communicating with her ex is "very difficult.” "We don't have a lot of personal chats about how we're doing … there's a lot of unfinished damage and baggage and stuff that's still in the way."
Last year, in an interview with Details magazine, Hawke shot down rumors that a reported affair with 22-year-old model Jen Perzow was what ended his marriage to Thurman. Calling the tabloid reports "annoying," the actor said: "If our problems were that simple, we'd still be together."
Regarding such rumors, Winfrey asked Thurman: "I'd read that there was some betrayal of some kind. Was there?" Replied Thurman: "There was some stuff like that at the end. We were having a difficult time, and you know how the axe comes down and how people behave and how people express their unhappiness. Our marriage failed. I should take full responsibility for the failure of my own marriage."
As her future relationship with Hawke, Thurman said: "I want to recognize him again. I want to see the guy that I married. I want to trust him, and I want to feel good and comfortable again."