Michelle Dockery plays the role of "Lady Mary Crawley" in Downton Abbey, a young woman who becomes a widow after losing her husband after the First World War. Surprisingly, the 40-year old actress has a couple of things in common with the character she portrays: she lost her fiancé John Dineen five years ago, after battling a rare form of cancer for a long time. 

Although John Dineen passed away in December 2015, it was in 2017 when Dockery opened up for the first time about his death. During an interview with The Telegraph, she explained that the similarity between her life and "Lady Mary's" storyline was certainly something really difficult to cope with. "It was just baffling, and still is to me, that my character’s storyline was so similar," said Michelle.

Michelle Dockery and John Dineen at the Royal Box on day four of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships 2014

The Downton Abbey star Michelle Dockery had been engaged to John Dineen for a year when he died

The public relations director, John Dineen passed away at the Marymount Hospice in County Cork, Ireland, one week before the last episode of Downton Abbey aired in the United Kingdom, and only one day before his 35th birthday. Michelle, who was engaged to Dineen for one year before he died, said she did not lose hope when she found out his condition was terminal and revealed that he never complained about his illness. 

The couple met in 2013 after being introduced by Michelle's Downton Abbey co-star Allen Leech and decided to keep their relationship private. At Dineen's funeral, the actress sang a solo farewell and said she does not consider herself a widow because they were "married at heart." 

John Dineen and Michelle Dockery watch the women's singles semifinal match on Day Twelve of the 2013 US Open in New York City

Michelle Dockery recently reprised her role of "Lady Mary Crawley" - now "Lady Mary Talbot" for the film adaptation of Downton Abbey, which was released in 2019. You can also watch the actress in the series Defending Jacob as "Laurie Barber" which was released in 2020.