Uma Thurman has publicly praised her boyfriend ANDRE BALAZS for helping her through the most "excruciating" time of her life.

The KILL BILL star insists hotelier Balazs came into her life when she was feeling at her lowest - during her marriage split from ETHAN HAWKE - and he has been a guiding light ever since.

Speaking on Friday's (07OCT05) OPRAH WINFREY show in America, the actress had high praise for her man.

She said, "I feel very lucky. In the middle of a very difficult period in my life, when I was in really really bad shape, somebody very nice showed up.

"I was really inside out. I met him in the middle of total chaos. My self-esteem was pretty mangled."

But, despite Balazs' support, the single mother of two admitted she's still far from feeling "whole" after the bitter break-up of her five-year marriage - because she's constantly reminded of the heartache she has been feeling for the past 18 months.

She added, "It's weird because you have a nice boyfriend and you know that your husband's moving on, the children are doing OK and work's OK and then, unexpectedly, you cross these little ceremonies where it's like this blizzard again.

"You sit through it and its like, 'Wow!' You're feeling what you're feeling and you're still so far from your life feeling whole again."