Judi Dench says acting came to her "rescue" when her husband died.
The 'Skyfall' star found solace in her career after Michael Williams passed away 11 years ago, and she also had "an enormous amount of energy" to keep working as a result of her grieving.
She said: "It came to my rescue, really. I went out to Nova Scotia almost immediately after Michael's funeral and made 'The Shipping News' with Kevin Spacey for four weeks. And then I came back and the day after started Iris and did all of that. And then I immediately went back to Canada to finish 'The Shipping News'. And then I was into 'Pride & Prejudice'.
"People, friends, kept saying, 'You are not facing up to it; you need to face up to it,' and maybe they were right, but I felt I was - in the acting. Grief supplies you with an enormous amount of energy. I needed to use that up."
The 77-year-old star has only had time off from work twice in the last six decades - to give birth to her and Michael's daughter Tara Williams, known professionally as Finty, in 1972 and to care for her late husband - but she finds it "appalling" to watch herself back in movies.
She added to The Observer Magazine: "I think it is always appalling to see yourself on film. I think John Gielgud used to say that he would love to have had a performance of a play he had been in to put on his mantelpiece so he could live with it and see exactly the ways he could have done it better. Because there are always ways.
"In the theatre you can change things ever so slightly; it's an organic thing. Whereas in film you only have that chance on the day, and you have no control over it at all."