Captain America star Chris Evans is "endlessly grateful" for the love he shared with ex-girlfriend Jenny Slate, even though the romance didn't work out.
The actors became an unlikely couple last year (16) after meeting on the set of new drama Gifted, but the relationship didn't last and they called it quits in February (17).
They have both since been quizzed about the split while promoting the film's upcoming release, and they have made it clear they parted on good terms.
Now Chris has heaped praise on his ex, telling USA Today, "You find that you cannot help to have respect for her. You spend five minutes with her and you cannot find something bad to say about her if you tried."
And he insisted she will always hold a little piece of his heart.
"You know, relationships are tricky, there are a lot of moving pieces," the Hollywood hunk continued. "But I am endlessly grateful for having met her. She will be in my life always. She's an incredible human being, a very, very special person."
Chris, who has also dated actresses Kate Bosworth, Minka Kelly, and Jessica Biel, among others, is keen to settle down and start a family, and he cannot wait until he finds the future mother of his children.
"I want it to happen (start a family)," the 35-year-old said. "But there has to be a series of events prior to that which have to fall into place.
"I definitely want children. I definitely want a family. But you cannot put the cart before the horse. The family only works if it's built off the extension of the love you feel for a person. If you all of a sudden want the kid more than you want the relationship, you may be on shaky ground."