When the world learned the sad news that Michael Gambon had died of pneumonia, the statement his family released read, “We are devastated to announce the loss of Sir Michael Gambon. Beloved husband and father, Michael died peacefully in hospital with his wife Anne and son Fergus at his bedside.” No mention was made of Phillipa Hart or the two sons Michael shared with her.
We know that Michael was still an active father at age 70, courtesy of some rare photos of Michael, Hart, and their son Tom that the Daily Mail published in 2017. They were snapped when the trio attended the 80th birthday bash of playwright Tom Stoppard. In 2015, Hetty Baynes told the Daily Mail that, while Michael was a doting dad, he was unable to split parenting duties with Hart 50-50. “Philippa is amazing. She does an awful lot of the work and she’s absolutely delightful,” she said.
While it seems that Anne Gambon was willing to forgive Michael for starting a new family with another woman to some extent, perhaps the actor never wanted her forgiveness. Recalling an argument he had about this very topic, he told The Arts Desk in 2010, “Richard Eyre said to me one day, he thinks that all men want is forgiveness for their misbehavior with women. And so did David Hare say that to me. I said, ‘I don’t … Why should all men want f***ing forgiveness for their behavior?'”