Nigel Havers says women "never learn" when it comes to men - because they cannot stop pursuing "cads".
The star of The Charmer - who married his third wife, wealthy divorcee Georgiana Bronfman, in 2007 - discovers that his family history is not as upmarket as he had assumed in a new episode of Who Do You Think You Are? He finds out that his maternal great-great-grandfather, David Couch, had an illegitimate daughter with a 19-year-old servant girl.
Havers, 61, told the Radio Times: "You can't help but think you've inherited some of their qualities. David was a bit of a cad, which is the sort of part I've played.
"I made The Charmer in 1987, which was dangerous for me because I didn't think viewers would warm to such a ghastly character. And yet the opposite happened. However evil he was, people liked him.
"Throughout history women tend to like cads. They want to mother and change them. It's exciting, but always ends in tears. They don't learn, do they? I don't mean that in a sexist way. Some women prefer a stable life, but others love danger."
The Chariots Of Fire actor added: "Men are the same. I've always gone for women who are exciting, dangerous and fun - and I've met quite a few."
Havers left his first wife Carolyn Cox after 18 years, for actor Simon Williams's sister Polly, resulting in a much-publicised divorce. They were married from 1989 until her death from cancer in 2004.
Havers admitted: "You could say leaving one woman for another is caddish."
The actor, whose father Lord Havers was attorney general and lord chancellor, assumed he came from an upmarket legal background but was delighted to discover an Essex girl - his great-great-grandmother Elizabeth, on his father's side, who went on to marry a wealthy shoe manufacturer. Her father, who ran a Colchester hackney cab company, went bankrupt but his family were saved from the poor house by the Provident Asylum Society.
Havers, who appeared on I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here!, said: "I am no longer posh, thank goodness ... I might have ended up in the East End of London."