26 FEBRUARY 2008

When Tilda Swinton was revealed as the winner of the best supporting actress category at this year's Academy Awards ceremony it was one of the defining moments of her career. And though she attended the ceremony with her German artist boyfriend Sandro Kopp, there was one special person the flame-haired screen star couldn't wait to tell.

The Michael Clayton actress was straight on the phone to John Byrne - her long-term partner and the father of her ten-year-old twins, son Xavier and daughter Honor. At their home in Scotland, which doesn't have a TV, he had no idea Tilda had scooped the coveted trophy.

"Tilda phoned me two or three minutes after 4am," says the 68-year-old. "I had just woken up. She said in a very small voice, 'I've won'. She'd only just received the Oscar. I am so thrilled for her. She is so surprised that she won it."

John, a painter as well as a director and playwright, first met Tilda in 1985 when he designed a set for a London play in which she was appearing. They fell in love and moved to northern Scotland five years later. Though their unconventional arrangement - in which Sandro accompanies Tilda on trips away while John stays at home with the kids - has generated innumerable column inches, Tilda's long-term partner has given his blessing.

"We all love him dearly," he says of 30-year-old Sandro, whom Tilda met on the set of The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe. "I love him and the twins love him."

Meanwhile Tilda has recently spoken about her relationship with John, whom she describes as a "phenomenal father". She said: "We are the best of pals and adore being parents and are devoted to that project. We ostensibly live in the same house, but I travel the world with another delightful painter."

Photo: © Alphapress.com
Though she attended the Academy Awards ceremony with her German artist boyfriend, the first thing the Michael Clayton actress did after scooping the coveted best supporting actress gong was put in a call to her long term partner John Byrne, who was at home in Scotland without a TV setPhoto: © Getty Images
Photo: © Alphapress.com
The 68-year-old director, painter and playwright - who is father to Tilda's twins Xavier and Honor - has given his blessing to Tildas's relationship with Sandro Kopp. "We all love him dearly," he saysPhoto: © Getty Images
Photo: © Alphapress.com
Sandro, who met Tilda on the set of The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe, is her constant companion at red carpet eventsPhoto: © Rex