Sometimes you never know where life will take you.

“It was never my intention to leave America,” Elizabeth McGovern exclusively told Closer Weekly in the magazine’s latest issue, on newsstands now, at the recent NYC premiere of her new movie The Chaperone. Yet after she married British writer-director Simon Curtis (My Week With Marilyn) in 1992, Illinois-born Elizabeth, 57, relocated to the U.K.

There she’s found professional success — most notably in the smash TV series Downton Abbey, soon to be back on the big screen — and personal happiness as the mother of now-grown daughters Matilda and Grace.

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“I love living there, and I’ve really appreciated raising children there,” says Elizabeth. “I like it when my kids talk with an English accent. It makes them seem like they’re more polite and intelligent.”

The Ragtime star doesn’t know how her life would’ve been different if she hadn’t moved. “I’m still in the middle of it,” Elizabeth says. “All I can say is that I feel really grateful that life took me there.”

As it turns out, leaving Hollywood was an easy decision for Elizabeth. She previously revealed that being an A-lister in L.A. never felt right to her.

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“I was bit overwhelmed by it, to be honest, I did a lot of turning down,” Elizabeth told the Independent. “The way it works in Hollywood is that if you’re hot it doesn’t matter if you’re right for the part or not, you’re just offered it. And I really didn’t listen to anyone’s advice. I just went my own way, which isn’t always the right thing to do, but, for better or for worse, that’s what I did.”

The Juilliard-trained actress soon found a place that she could call “home” upon arriving in Europe. “Hollywood never suited me, I didn’t ever feel comfortable with it, it took me a couple of years but I found where I was always meant to be … Chiswick!” Elizabeth laughed. “That’s it … Chiswick High Road, that was where I was always meant to be.”

For more on Elizabeth McGovern, pick up the latest issue of Closer Weekly, on newsstands now — and be sure to sign up for our newsletter for more exclusive news!