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Keira Knightley: 'Expensive childcare saved my career'

Keira Knightley kept her maternity leave short as she feared losing ground in her career.

The 31-year-old actress and her musician husband James Righton welcomed daughter Edie in May 2015, after which she took a brief break from the limelight to focus on motherhood. Fans will soon see her back on the silver screen though in drama Collateral Beauty and with three other films in the pipeline, Keira puts her successful return down to being able to afford the right kind of support.


“I think I’ve become unbelievably aware of that and how lucky I’ve been to be able to afford really good childcare, because otherwise it would be at least four years out of my career,” she told Britain’s Harper’s Bazaar.


“I wouldn’t be able to get back to where I’d been if I’d taken four years out. I think that’s the same for most women. And I think that’s really hard.”


Keira, who added Broadway to her resume by starring in play Therese Raquin at the end of last year (15), admits she’s both “very ambitious and totally ambivalent”, about her career, going from a jam-packed schedule to having nothing on.


However, the Everest star admitted becoming a mother has made her “unbelievably aware” of the difficulties faced by women who want to return to their careers after childbirth, citing the high cost of good quality childcare, and the limitations of the current paternity leave allowance for fathers.


“I think paternity leave should be the same as maternity leave,” she explained. “It’s shocking. Because you need that option... You need to be a family unit, not just have the guy there for two weeks and then go back to work and the mother left desperately trying to figure it out.”


Meanwhile Keira admitted her husband James is “incredibly supportive”, and their daughter Edie has the energy of a “ballistic missile”.


The actress is set to be honoured with a Theatre Icon award at the Harper’s Bazaar Women of the Year Awards in London on Monday (31Oct16) evening.