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So close were they that Nickolas even became a good friend to Victoria and the children.But for Alan, the relationship brought to the surface all his fears that the secret side of his life would be discovered and made public - an anxiety that had tormented him during the ten years he had lived with the actor Peter Wyngarde in the Sixties.Nickolas tells the story of how, when he was once invited to join her and Alan for supper with a group of theatre friends, she crawled beneath the dining table and remained there for the rest of the evening.To cope with this, everyone's acting abilities were tested to the utmost."He has to learn to change the nappies and care for the babies." He duly became a familiar sight on the theatrical scene, carrying around his infant sons in a large basket.A posse of nannies, cleaners and housekeepers was hired to help Victoria when he wasn't available, but briefing them on what they were supposed to be doing appeared completely beyond her.
She also made apparent her contempt for Alan's acting friends and what she saw as his privileged, middle-class lifestyle.
Before his marriage the love life of Alan Bates had been a complex one, involving intense sexual relationships with both men and women.
His decision to marry Victoria, a friend for several years, was made only when they discovered in 1970 that she was pregnant with twins.
But a new book reveals that this witty and warm-hearted man lived a tormented double life, hiding a series of gay relationships. When Alan Bates's staunchly middle-class mother heard that he was planning to marry Victoria Ward, a hippy artist and poet from the East End of London, she was so shocked that she dropped her sherry glass on to the patio, where it shattered into countless fragments."My mother and father were not happy about it," says Alan's brother Martin.
"Their instincts told them that Victoria was not right for Alan."My parents' background, values and outlook on responsibility couldn't have been more different from hers." Scroll down for more They could probably not have guessed, however, just how wrong for their son his new wife would prove to be.