The Oscar winner was left devastated in 2001 when her partner of 30 years passed away following a battle with lung cancer.
She immediately threw herself into her career, filming a string of movies back to back, like The Shipping News, Iris and The Importance of Being Earnest, and Dench insists paying the range of roles helped ease the intensity of her mourning.
She tells Britain's Stella magazine, "I had this extraordinary energy after Michael died. I went off to Nova Scotia and did six weeks on The Shipping News. Then I came home and two days later started Iris. The I did some more work on The Shipping News. And two days after that I started The Importance of Being Earnest.
"My poor agent nearly had a fit because I was cutting things so fine. But I found working at that pace and doing those kinds of parts helped me."