Then she fell in love with an Englishman, Paul Bettany, who was born in London. His maternal grandmother was an actress, as were his mother and father, who served in the Royal Navy. Bettany was classically trained at London's prestigious Drama Centre before graduating to local stage, TV and film. He and Connelly met on the set of A Beautiful Mind, for which Connelly won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role opposite Russell Crowe as Alicia Nash, the wife of schizophrenic mathematician John Forbes Nash Jr. Bettany played Nash's imaginary Princeton roommate.
"Did Paul show you his London?" I ask.
Of course he did, she says, and names some adult-oriented hot spots of the city. She adores Claridge's, the venerable art deco landmark hotel in posh and proper Mayfair, whose every glamorous inch is a 1920s fantasy. They love breakfasts at the Electric Brasserie - "a private-club kind of place right off Portobello Road where you sit on couches, kind of a loungy atmosphere with a movie theater attached" - and dinners at the theater district landmark the Ivy or its sister seafood restaurant, J. Sheekey, see-and-be-seen places with solidly phenomenal English food. On one of their first visits, Bettany took her to the Cotswolds, where he introduced her to friends and relatives, and they stayed in "houses in the country, where the houses have names." They were married on New Year's Day 2003 in a very private and British affair at a manor house in Scotland called Gilmartin, where, surely, Connelly's favorite song, Joni Mitchell's "A Case of You," wafted in the breeze.
"The people who own it, the baron and baroness, they rent it out, and they run the place," she says. "The most extraordinary meals and really lovely people. It was this big rambling stone estate, not quite a castle. That's what I find astounding as well: The castles still exist! That you can visit and stay in. It's such an amazing thing that European children grow up seeing this!"
A dedicated and dexterous sportswoman, Connelly loves running through Hyde Park, the green belt in the middle of the city. But in the summer of 2003, the London of nightclubs, fancy dinners, and jogging was very far away. "I didn't do too much running this last trip, being pregnant," she says. But she was always hungry, as was Kai. "I hear people say, 'Oh, London, the food's horrible,' but it's so untrue," she says. Sometimes, she and Kai would walk the streets and discover places whose names they never even knew. "I enjoyed walking around, being pregnant. We'd just try places in different neighborhoods. Primrose Hill. Notting Hill. Bunch of great restaurants in Notting Hill."