Dalton was in a relationship with English actress Vanessa Redgrave (with whom he appeared in the 1971 film Mary, Queen of Scots) between 1971 and 1986.
"From Redgrave's autobio: In June of 1971 she begins:
In June I began filming Mary Queen of Scots for producer Hal Wallis. Timothy Dalton played Darnley. "Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediment," Shakespeare wrote, Franco and I had quarreled that Easter because he did not wish me to take our son Carlo to France to join my ex-husband Tony and their daughters. There was no way I could agree to this decree, so I went to France, knowing that this meant I would not see Franco again for a long time.
She was now 34 and Tim 23. She continues:
From the moment I met Timothy Dalton we could agree on only one thing consistently, and that was fishing. Regular quarrels are not the steady basis for a marriage of true minds, but there always remained the possibility of reconciliation with the three men I have really loved. One of the first arguments Timothy and I ever had was about a speech from Hamlet - "To be, or not to be" He asked me, "What do you think this means?" I told him, and we argued for about six hours. Although we should have had a discussion rather that a row, it is nevertheless extremely stimulating to talk with another actor who wants so passionately to find out what a playwright means in a particular passage. It can also be extremely exasperating, but Tim made me think, and over the years, as we acted a great deal together, in the film of Agatha and in The Taming of the Shrew and Antony and Cleopatra in 1986, and A Touch Of The Poet in 1988, the keynote of our professional life has been our volatility and directness."