British actor Jeremy Irons enjoys a modern marriage with his actress wife SINEAD CUSACK - they allow each other to flirt with other people.

The 56-year-old - who has previously referred to his union as "dysfunctional" - admits his relationship with his wife has similarities to the marriage portrayed in his new film Being Julia.

The movie tells the story of a married actress who has an affair with a younger actor, only to discover he is two-timing her with a starlet who is secretly seeing the actress' husband.

Irons says, "All the things that I have learned come out in the film.

"In the film, they get back together and you think, 'They have got through that - their relationship is now stronger.'

"A modern couple give each other the freedom to flirt with new beginnings elsewhere."

23/09/2004 14:05