OUT OF FAVOUR: Ioan Gruffudd with his wife, actress Alice Evans. Picture: Supplied

He was once one of Britian’s brightest lights in Hollywood, bagging plum roles in such blockbusters as Titanic and Black Hawk Down.

But as Ioan Gruffudd, 40, deals with the onset of middle-age, he is also having to face the bitter reality that he is no longer in demand as a leading man.

In fact, so desperate have things become that the handsome Welshman, who sprung to fame in the title role of BBC drama Horn-blower, admits he has sought the help of a psychologist to help beat his mid-career slump.

He says: “I’m auditioning for dozens of parts at the moment, but I’m just not getting them. I can’t play someone who’s 30 any more… maybe 35 at a push.

“My confidence has really taken a knock, and the worst thing you can do when you’re feeling like that is to go to one of these auditions.

“You really don’t want to come across as desperate, so I have been working with a psychologist to help me overcome all that.”

Gruffudd is married to British actress Alice Evans, 42, whom he met at the dawn of his promising career when he was cast as the lead in the 1996 rom-com 101 Dalmatians.

The pair moved to Hollywood where Gruffudd swiftly won a role in the big-budget superhero film, The Fantastic Four as Mr Fantastic. But since bagging the lead as William Wilberforce in the slavery epic Amazing Grace, he has been confined to mostly cameos.

He admits the pressures of being the sole breadwinner and having to fund their four-year-old girl Ella’s schooling have also started to mount up. And the couple had their second child, Elsie, in September.

He says ruefully: “It’s difficult, especially when you have to provide for your family – and, unfortunately, I’m the one shouldering all that responsibility right now.”

But he insists he looks forward to ageing in the industry “like a fine wine”.

He says: “The older a male actor gets the better he becomes – look at Harrison Ford, he wasn’t even discovered until he was in his 30s.

“So, I look forward to hitting my stride and growing into my future roles gracefully.” – Daily Mail