The amazing true story of how Kate Winslet got a ticket to space

Contributed by
Jan 14, 2013, 2:52 PM EST

Not just anyone gets the chance to travel among the stars. While you might assume it's only because of extreme wealth that someone like Kate Winslet gets to be one of those lucky few, her money is only one small part of this story.

Winslet has a rather wealthy uncle-in-law in Sir Richard Branson, the Virgin mogul who just so happens to be adding space travel to his list of accomplishments with a little something called Virgin Galactic.

While the ticket for the suborbital space cruise was, in part, a wedding gift when WInslet got married to Branson's nephew, there is also a story of heroism involved as well. It seems that on a night when a host of Branson's family and friends were staying in his private estate in the Virgin Islands, lightning struck, starting a large and dangerous fire.

Acting what we assume was on pure impulse, Winslet, apparently, carried Branson's 90-year-old mother, Eve from the fire and, in effect, saved her life. Said Branson, "My mum is 90 and can walk, but it was more just to speed the process up than anything else. But anyway, she was great. She swept her up into her arms and got them out of the house as fast as possible."

Pretty stellar moves from the star, even if Eve might have been able to handle the escape herself. After all, acts of real-life bravery are often in short supply.

Winslet will be joined by the likes of Tom Hanks, Stephen Hawking, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie on her space flight. It sounds pretty exciting. Although, and you'll forgive the morbidity, we'd be hard pressed to get into a private space vessel with the girl from Titanic and the man whose most famous line might be "Houston, we have a problem." Just sayin'.

(via The Mary Sue)