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Ellen Burstyn of 'Political Animals' Talks Life, Love and Spirituality

Iconic actress reveals what brings her inner peace

Her on-screen and career success hasn't always carried over to her personal life, though. She married and divorced three times before she turned 40, and hasn't gotten hitched again since — she recently broke off a long-term relationship with an actor 23 years her junior. They're no longer together — "we're still friends," she says — but she's still open to discovering new love.

"I hope I'm always open," she says, "my whole life, in every way. All kinds of love."

All those failed relationships led to a spiritual quest that has lasted more than 40 years. In her late thirties, she became fascinated with the mystical Islamic religion of Sufism. Raised Catholic, Burstyn says she now embraces the good she finds in all faiths. She's ordained as a Sufi minister.

Her focus on spirituality brings her a sense of peace during her hectic filming days — while she shot Political Animals, she made time for a trip to host a retreat for women recovering from various addictions.

"I like doing that work," she says. "I made the commitment before the TV series came up, and I wanted to honor it. The TV series was very good about scheduling me so I could do it and not disappoint anyone."

That should hardly be a concern for an actress who has rarely disappointed over a sterling career that now spans more than a half-century.

"I'm always looking for the next great role," Burstyn says. "I've done that all my life, and I'll continue to do that as long as I'm walking and talking and working."

You may also like: Wayne Rogers on his life after M*A*S*H*.

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