Kate Beckinsale to spend Christmas with ex-partner Michael Sheen and girlfriend

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"Love & Friendship" Los Angeles Premiere

Kate Beckinsale has said her close friendship with her ex-partner Michael Sheen is "normal" as she prepares to spend Christmas with him and his current girlfriend.

The actress, who has a daughter with Sheen, said she is very fond of US comedian Sarah Silverman, whom the Welsh actor has been dating for more than two years.

In addition, she is thrilled that her 17-year-old daughter Lily has both herself and Silverman in her life as strong females.

Beckinsale, 43, said of her friendship with Sheen: "It's so normal for us. We split up ages ago. We have been not together far longer than we were ever together.

"But I really love him and like him and we make each other roar with laughter."

She told ES Magazine: "I really love his girlfriend as well, and we are really lucky that we both get on, and Lily gets on great with her - having as many strong females in your teenage daughter's life as possible is a good thing."

Beckinsale was in a relationship with fellow actor Sheen, 47, from 1995 until 2003.

The Underworld star married film director Len Wiseman in 2004 but Wiseman filed for divorce in October.

Beckinsale, the daughter of the late actor Richard Beckinsale, is happy that her daughter wishes to follow in her footsteps, although she is aware of the negative side to being in the acting industry.

Asked if she or Sheen tried to discourage Lily from going into acting, she said: "That would be like sitting there with a glass of wine saying, 'You can't have a drink'.

"I can see why she wants to do it. I don't love the downside of it for my baby.

"But it's not like she hasn't seen both of her parents having a real experience of what it's like. She has seen us ecstatic and miserable - she's seen that, squared."

Beckinsale was awarded the Best Actress title at the London Evening Standard British Film Awards for her role in period comedy drama Love & Friendship.