01/15/2011 AT 2:30 PM ET
The Fighter star Christian Bale has no problem playing the tough guy in many of his films. But when the cameras aren’t rolling, the actor has a soft side.
Bale, 36, held back tears while talking about Sibi Blazic, his wife of more than a decade, backstage at the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards, where he won best supporting actor for his role in the boxing film, which also stars Mark Wahlberg.
“I get choked up about that stuff,” Bale told reporters Friday. “It’s everything because I truly believe you can’t celebrate [success] without having your partner with you.”
Mainly, Bale appreciates his wife for sticking by him over the course of his Hollywood career.
“Making movies takes so much time,” he says. “It’s not just the time when you’re filming. The character is born long before the first day of shooting and so [my wife] had to be married to so many different characters over our marriage. I know that it truly would be impossible to do it without her.”
Saying he owes “everything to her,” Bale adds, “She’s such a good, strong woman.”