"I just adored her," the Saving Mr. Banks actor told Ellen DeGeneres when he stopped by her daytime talk show on Monday, Dec. 16. The actor's unique friendship with the Hollywood icon started up when the two met at Cedars Sinai Hospital.
Farrell, now 37, was there for the birth of his second son, Henry, while the National Velvet actress was in the hospital for a heart stent. After running into her manager in the hospital's hallway, the Irish actor reached out to the actress and activist. "I said, 'Will you tell her I said hello, she probably won't know who I am,'" Farrell told DeGeneres. "And they go, 'No, she knows who you are,' and I went, 'Wow, cool. Well, tell her I said hello and I wish her the best,' and they said, 'Will do.'"
A few days later, he called his publicist to see about sending the legendary screen siren some flowers, only to be told that Taylor had already sent him an orchid along with a handwritten note. About a week later, he asked if he could see her. "And that was the beginning of a year and a half or two years of what was a really cool [relationship]," said Farrell.
The two actors built their friendship via a series of late-night phone calls. "She wasn't much of a sleeper at night, like I'm not," Farrell told DeGeneres. "I'd call her at two in the morning, and the nurse would answer the phone, and I'd say, 'Is she awake?' ... And then I'd be on the phone and I'd hear, 'Hello?' And I'd go, 'How's it going?' And we'd talk for a half an hour, an hour, into the wee hours."
For his part, Farrell wished his friendship with Taylor, who was married seven times over the course of her life, could have been something more: "It was kind of like the last – it feels like in my head, not hers, I'm projecting – but the last kind of romantic relationship I had. Which was never consummated."
"She was a spectacular, spectacular woman," he noted. "I wanted to be [husband] number eight, but we ran out of road." Taylor passed away in 2011 at the age of 79.