Actress/author Meg Tilly, Jennifer Tilly’s sister, once lived in a Canadian cabin and had a baby with Colin Firth

Author Meg Tilly lived with Colin Firth in Alaska
Oscar nominee Colin Firth (for The King’s Speech)  will have wife of thirteen years Livia Giuggioli on his arm at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards Sunday night, but few know about the long-term relationship he had with actress and author Meg Tilly (her latest novel is Gemma.)

Meg and Colin met on the set of the 1989 period drama Valmont, when Meg was newly divorced from producer Tim Zimmerman.

Meg, a former ballerina, came from a troubled past. She grew up destitute in small town outside of Vancouver with her sister, actress Jennifer Tilly (their original last name was Chan, and they were daughters of a Chinese used car salesman father and a Native American mother.)

According to The Daily Mail her early teens she was sexually abused by her stepfather John Ward and other men, and she later drew from these experiences to write two novels: 1994’s Singing Songs and 2010’s Gemma.

Acting was a backup plan for Meg, who severely hurt her back after being dropped by her ballet partner.

Colin once gushed about his relationship with Meg:

‘It is a very special movie for me,’ he said at the time. ‘I was probably in love with Meg from the moment I met her, but it took her a while to be convinced.

‘I don’t think I consciously wooed her. But we had scenes of passion together, and we filmed in Paris and Bordeaux — dangerous places in which to film with a beautiful woman.’

After Valmont wrapped, the new lovebirds retreated to a log cabin in Canada with Meg’s two children with Tim Zimmerman,  David and Emily.

In 1990 Meg gave birth to Colin’s son Will. By 1992 Colin had cabin fever and was still trying to make his acting career work, while Meg wanted to stay out of the spotlight. For the past two years Colin had been taking jobs here and there as a carpenter to make ends meet, and he started flying to London to find acting jobs, and he soon landed the career-changing role as Mr. Darcy in BBC’s adaptation of Jane Austen.

The relationship didn’t hold up under the strain of all the time apart, and they were kaput by 1993. Their son Will, who reportedly looks strikingly like his father, has remained close to his father and has recently moved to England to pursue his own acting career.

Meg, who has been married to fellow fiction writer Don Calame since 2002, expressed her support of her former partner’s success at the Golden Globes last month on her blog:

Our happy hats off to a member of the family,’ she says. ‘We are so pleased for you! Hearty jigs are being danced. Tonight, we shall all lift a glass of wine to toast your continued success! Jubilant hugs and kisses from all of us. Onward and upward!’

Colin Firth is one of those understated sexy dudes. He’s British, witty, and is shyly handsome. He was the perfect answer to Hugh Grant’s asshole good looks in Bridget Jones’s Diary, and his performance in last year’s A Single Man was a heartbreaking and dignified display of desperation.

Here is Colin Thursday night (2/24/11) with his lucky wife Livia at Tom Ford’s flagship store opening in Beverly Hills. Le sigh:

Click here to listen to the real speech depicted in The King’s Speech.