Jen Lowery / Splash News 1 / 7
Jen Lowery / Splash News 1 / 7

Here's one more reason to love Susan Sarandon: She's refreshingly candid about her shocker of a breakup with Tim Robbins last year after 22 years of togetherness.

"People were coming up to me in the street and saying, 'I cried and cried when I heard,'" the Oscar winner recalls to the London Telegraph. "Well, I was sadder! I didn't think it would ever happen, either."

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But Sarandon believes they took their romance, which began in 1987 on the set of "Bull Durham," as far as it could go.

"You bring people into your life at certain times," explains the actress, who has two sons with the 51-year-old Robbins (Jack, 21, and Miles, 18). "Maybe you have a relationship to have children, and you realize that it's fulfilled after that point."

As for their decision not to make things legal during their two decades of coupledom, "I've always liked the idea of choosing to be with somebody," says Susan. "I thought that if you didn't get married you wouldn't take each other for granted as easily. I don't know if after twentysomething years that was still true."

Sarandon is less open about her relationship with 33-year-old businessman Jonathan Bricklin, her joined-at-the-hip partner in the New York ping-pong venture SPiN.

She adeptly sidesteps the long-simmering rumors of a romance (he's repeatedly insisted they're just friends who spend a lot of time together).

"You have to have a sense of humor," she shrugs. "There are lots of people in my life at the moment."

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According to Susan, she's always been "one of those serial monogamists. I was never that wild, although I was a bit of a hippie chick. I think I probably still am a hippie chick."

And the free-spirited thing definitely becomes her.

As she celebrates her 64th birthday on Monday, the impeccably preserved star has a healthy fear of Botox ("As an actress, you have to use your face. But I do think a woman has a right to do whatever she wants with her body."), and a healthy attitude toward what's really important in life.

"What I've realized in my old age is that your relationship with people or with your job has to be a growing organism," philosophizes Sarandon. "It's not something where you reach a certain point and then you start preserving it. You have to nurture it, you have to stay curious and hungry and foolish. Once you stop doing that, you get satisfied and you get stuck."

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