Nazi fears stopped me snorting cocaine: Mirren

Oscar-winner Helen Mirren admitted she loved snorting cocaine and only stopped due to the capture of Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie, in an magazine interview out this month. ( AFP )

The respected British actress, 63, who won an Academy Award for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II in "The Queen", told the October issue of GQ men's monthly that she took the drug until her late thirties.

She only quit after the notorious Barbie was caught in Bolivia in 1983, and believed to have been making money from the Class A drug.

The star, knighted in 2003, also talked about meeting Queen Elizabeth, and spoke further about her date rape experiences.

Mirren said she used to take "a bit of cocaine. I loved coke. I never did a lot, just a little bit at parties.

"But what ended it for me was when they caught Klaus Barbie, the Butcher of Lyon, in the early eighties.

"He was hiding in South America and living off the proceeds of being a cocaine baron.

"And I read that in the paper, and all the cards fell into place and I saw how my little sniff of cocaine at a party had an absolute direct route to this fucking horrible man in South America.

"And from that day I never touched cocaine again. Until that moment I had never grasped the full horrifying structure of what brings coke to our parties in Britain."

Mirren said she hated marijuana and once tried the hallucinogenic drug LSD but found it a horrifying experience.

She said she was not a "royalist" but had become a "Queenist" after portraying the British sovereign.

"It's a miracle she's never gone mad," she said.

"She is a remarkable person, who has achieved an amazing thing with a life she neither chose for herself, nor particularly wanted."

Mirren finally met Queen Elizabeth at Ascot races earlier this year, having turned down an invite to Buckingham Palace because she was filming.

"She said, 'Hello, it's lovely to meet you'. And that was about it, other than horsey chat," said Mirren.

Queen Elizabeth's husband Prince Philip "just talked about the sandwiches, and the horses. Then the queen invited us all outside to watch the racing.

"I think it was just a gesture to say, 'It's OK, we're cool about the film. And that was plenty enough for me."

Mirren, who has spoken in the past of her date rape experiences in her youth, said she had a sheltered upbringing in a convent school and did not have the courage to stand up to men.

She did not report the incidents to the police.

"You couldn't do that in those days," she said.

"It's such a tricky area, isn't it? Especially if there is no violence. I mean, look at Mike Tyson. I don't think he was a rapist.

"I was (date-raped), yes. A couple of times.

"Not with excessive violence, or being hit, but rather being locked in a room and made to have sex against my will."

She said that if a woman voluntarily ended up in a man's bedroom, took all her clothes off and engaged in sexual activity in bed with him, she had the right to say "no" at the last second and if the man ignored her it was rape.

But she added: "I don't think she can have that man into court under those circumstances."

Mirren, often considered a sex symbol, added: "I might have a certain appeal in some way or another, and maybe part of that is sexual, but I am not beautiful."

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