09/23/2011 at 03:00 PM EDT
From the sound of it, Liev Schreiber
never had a chance.
His longtime love, Naomi Watts
, says that when she first met him at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's annual costume ball a few years ago, the attraction was clear.
"I was wearing Calvin Klein, a very flirty, feminine dress," the actress says in the October issue of More
Sparks flew – and since both were single, they exchanged numbers.
"We spoke on the phone for several weeks and emailed," says Watts, who had to return to Los Angeles at the time. "And then I made up some excuse to come to New York and the rest is history."
The couple have been together since 2005 and have two children
, Sasha, 4, and Kai, 2 ½.
Watts, who can next be seen in the films Dream House
and J. Edgar
, also reminisced about ex-boyfriend Heath Ledger
, who died at 28
from an accidental drug overdose in January 2008.
"We had a beautiful relationship, only a couple of years, but he was a man who was completely full of joy, and there was a lot of laughing and affection," Watts says.
"He was really a very special soul and made a great impact on my life," she said. "And a great actor, but I know there was so much more to come. And it's a tragedy for his little daughter [Matilda Rose]."