Martin Scorsese Addresses 'Remarkable' Wife Helen's 30-Year Parkinson's Battle and Welcoming a Baby at 56

The filmmaker and his wife are parents to daughters Cathy, 58, Domenica, 47, and Francesca, 24.

Martin Scorsese is singing his wife's praises. During an appearance on SiriusXM's This Life of Mine with James Corden, the 81-year-old filmmaker reflected on his relationship with Helen Morris, sharing why his wife of 25 years is "the most remarkable person." 

When asked by Corden to pick the places, music, memories, and people that make him who he is, Scorsese picked his wife, Helen -- a book editor whom he met when they worked on a companion book to his 1997 movie, Kundun, about Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama -- as his person. 

"She's had Parkinson's disease for about 30 years now. My complaining is part of my creating and it's usually self-deprecating. Make it funny. Doesn't mean it ain't serious, but it is funny at the same time. My complaining, I find, is nothing compared to what the suffering that a condition like that does, and so we live with it and it changes how you perceive life and everything around you," the Killers of the Flower Moon director said. 

Scorsese confessed that the progression of his wife's condition and his own age have become a defining factor in the film projects that he chooses. 

Marilla Sicilia/Getty Images

"You know, do I still say I'm gonna make a film and go out there and you're gonna come on location? Yes. As much as possible. Can I at a certain point say, 'Marty, you know, this picture at your age now, this and that. They can't travel. Do you want to do a film that's only based near the house?' I may have to," he explained.

But the Academy Award winner brushed it off as "that sort of thing" that inevitably must be dealt with, telling Corden that above all, his wife's strength is "something to be."

"I've never seen such strength like that in a person and such a fortitude and a positive way of approaching life under the worst of circumstances. Very bad circumstance," he said. "It's been 30 years, 35 years or whatever with the illness, and so when I think I, you know, I'm not feeling well or something, I look over there and see her rally herself together..."

Scorsese shared that the couple has "help" to assist his wife, adding, "I have nurses in the house, that sort of thing, so look, it helps, but it's not that simple."

"And, of course, we've entered that part of life now. That section of that last, as they say now, 'the golden years,' he noted.

Although Scorsese initially protested the label, he ultimately conceded that he and Helen are indeed in their golden years. But as the director wisely said, "It doesn't mean we have to stop."

Indeed, there's no stopping them just yet. Scorsese and Morris share a daughter, Francesca, now 24, who keeps her parents on their toes. 

The director is also dad to daughter Cathy, 58, whom he shares with his first wife, Laraine Marie Brennan, and Domenica, 47, whom he shares with ex-wife Julia Cameron.

Michael Buckner/Getty Images

Reflecting on his relationship with his youngest daughter, Scorsese told Corden that it was "extraordinary" to welcome a child at age 56. 

"Coming from [the] world I was in, when you're in your early twenties, you got married and moved out, which is what I did. I didn't understand that being actually in America and having the opportunity to have higher education and universities and that sort of thing puts you in a different world actually to a certain extent, so I was married early and that didn't last, and then a second time a few years later. Second time, that didn't last," he recalled. "I met Helen and we suddenly were gifted with this pregnancy. It was extraordinary and by that point, I was 56 and it was a different perspective on life. It suddenly became the most important thing, her and this little one that was coming."

"Suddenly everything that led up to that. I mean, yes, my other daughters, we were younger, we were stronger, you know? This was like some special blessing of some kind. It suddenly changed all the values, what I thought was important in life," he added.

When asked by Corden if he's lived up to the joy of having a daughter later in life, Scorsese candidly replied that he didn't know. 

"Have I tried? I've tried to her and to her mom, you know, as best I could, as best I could, and I tried when I was younger, but we were still full of fire and fury and making films and we're gonna go out there and change the world and that sort of thing, and then as you settled in, suddenly it was time, but then the interesting life to have a child at 56," he added. "I'm 80 now, so you only have a certain amount of time left. That time has got to mean something."

In the end, the filmmaker noted that he could only do his best. "Try my best to be there and to guide and show as much love as possible, but you know, I still make movies, you know, so the best thing you can do is sort of include them in like I did with my mother for example and my father," he said. "I put them in my films. You know, they had retired and so I said, 'Come and work with us.'"


Latest News