Kate Winslet: ‘I’d be disgusted to come from money’

Kate Winslet is glad her ancestors weren’t wealthy, as it wouldn’t have fitted in with her parents’ socialist beliefs.
The Titanic actress, who is married to British billionaire Richard Branson’s nephew Edward Abel Smith, grew up in Reading, England in a working-class home, as her dad took labouring jobs to put food on the table after struggling as an actor.
Kate’s mum, Sally, passed away after a battle with ovarian cancer two years ago, a tragedy that inspired the star to find out about her ancestors on BBC genealogy show Who Do You Think You Are?.
Speaking to the Radio Times about her appearance on the programme, Kate said she would be “upset and disgusted” to find out her family had been wealthy in the past, adding: “My roots are socialist, working class and, in a funny way, my parents frowned upon the wealthy.”
Despite her own wealth, Kate, who has three children from three marriages, aged between 18 and five years old, also said she has tried to bring her kids up without immense privilege.
“I’ve tried to instil my parents’ values into my kids,” she explained. “People never believe me but my children aren’t over-privileged.”
The 43-year-old star got her wish during her episode of the show, as Who Do You Think You Are? researchers discovered she is descended from Swedish indentured agricultural labourers – who worked in slave-like conditions.
She found out that her great-great-great-great grandfather Anders Jonsson, a stable groom, was so poor that he resorted to stealing potatoes and beehives to feed his family, and died of typhoid after being sentenced to 35 lashes.
“His (Anders) wife couldn’t even produce milk for their baby because she was starving. I come from a long line of committed breastfeeders, so the idea of a mother not being able to breastfeed her child destroyed me completely,” she said of the revelation.
The 16th series of Who Do You Think You Are? gets underway on Monday (22Jul19), when Daniel Radcliffe will dig into his family’s past.