gilliantelling
June 02, 2017 02:49 PM

Actress Meg Tilly has nothing but love for her famous ex.

Tilly was at the height of her career in the late ’80s and early ’90s when she met a then up-and-coming actor named Colin Firth on the Parisian set of their 1989 period piece, Valmont. The two fell madly in love, leaving Hollywood and moving to a secluded home near Vancouver to raise Tilly’s two young children, and having another son together named Will.

Five years later, the duo split up and Firth went back to England and on to a hugely successful career — which Tilly always knew would happen for him.

“I always knew he was so talented,” Tilly tells PEOPLE. “I think that’s part of why I fell in love with him. I just knew he was talented and the rest of the world didn’t. I was a pretty big star when we met, but he was just starting to rise.”

Ron Galella/WireImage

The actress, now 56 and starring as Brad Pitt‘s wife in the Netflix film War Machine, says she couldn’t have been happier when his career took off.

“I wasn’t surprised,” she says.

As for their son Will and her other children, Tilly says, “We just cheer him on. We’re so proud of him. He’s a wonderful actor and he’s a wonderful man. He’s been a good father to Will, his son, but he’s also stayed very present in my other two children’s lives, Emily and David. He’s showed up for graduations, births of babies. He’s a sweetheart.”

Firth, who went on to marry Livia Giuggioli, with whom he has two children, is also still close to Tilly.

“He’s my best friend, and he’s friends with [my husband] Don too,” says Tilly, who is still living near Vancouver with her third husband, author Don Calame.

“When Will was in the house, he would stay with us, and when I go to England we always have dinner and go out together. Livia is wonderful too. Yeah, if he wasn’t in the world, there would be a hole for me.”

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