Actress Michelle Dockery was with her fiancé, John Dineen, when he passed away from cancer in December 2015.

Even though the couple was not married, Dockery told The Guardian this week that she considers herself to be a widow:

“Oh, I refer to myself as a widow, yes. We were engaged, and married at heart, and so I do consider myself a widow.”

Dockery played the role of Lady Mary Crawley in the ITV and PBS television series “Downton Abbey.”


She told The Guardian that she initially struggled to play the part of Lady Mary, a widow, when Dineen was first diagnosed:

“When John was sick, one of the difficult things at the time was the parallels with Mary. It was just baffling, and still is to me, that my character’s storyline was so similar.”

After “Downton Abbey” ended, she was cast as Alice Fletcher in the Netflix show “Godless.” In the show, Alice was also a widow:

“It’s why I related to Alice so much. That’s the first time I’ve said that, and it’s a bit of a relief to say so. But of course. She was a young widow, and I connected with her.”

She doesn’t expect that people will relate to her and her loss, but she noted that Dineen’s loss made her “see things differently.”

Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Dineen and Dockery met in September 2013 through Allen Leech, a fellow actor on “Downton Abbey.” A friend told the Daily Mail that the couple planned on getting married before Dineen became too ill.

At the funeral, “Entertainment Tonight” reports, she called Dineen, “My king, my hero, my friend … my everything.”

Since The Guardian published Dockery’s interview, many people have been quick to judge her use of the term “widow.” A few people wrote on social media that Dockery is technically not a grieving wife:

But others were quick to support Dockery and her decision to identify herself as a widow because she was planning to wed Dineen:

According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of a “widow” is “a woman who has lost her husband by death and usually has not remarried.”

But for Dockery, and many others experiencing the loss of a loved one, it simply doesn’t say enough.

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