Jamie Dornan instantly became every woman’s wildest dream come true when he signed on as Christian Grey for the Fifty Shades of Grey franchise. He may not have had a whole lot of big screen experience when he took the part, but he was definitely the perfect man for the role.
But who is the man behind the notorious name and controversial role? Who is this man behind that silver satin necktie?
When we look at Jamie Dornan, we instantly see Christian Grey. It’s kind of hard to see anything else after seeing him as Christian in those ripped jeans. But Jamie is much more than red bedrooms and safe words.
There is so much about Jamie Dornan that we don’t know and so much we most definitely want to know. Who was he before he became the real-life Christian Grey? Who will he become now that the Fifty Shades franchise is likely over? What does a man who has experienced the life of Fifty Shades of Grey do for fun? There is much to explore in the life of Jamie Dornan, but let’s start with these 23 wild revelations about our very own Christian Grey, Mr. Jamie Dornan.
23 Jamie Dornan Was Born In Northern Ireland
Jamie Dornan was born James Dornan on May 1, 1982 in Holywood, County Down, Northern Ireland, and he grew up in the suburbs of Belfast. Jamie grew up as the grandson of Methodist preachers and had no ties to Hollywood.
His Irish accent was so thick, when he took the role of Christian Grey he needed to practice hard at sounding like he'd been born and raised in America. He worked with a dialect coach and his co-star Dakota Johnson helped him a lot, too.
22 He Lost His Mom When He Was Just 16
When Jamie was just 16 years old, he lost his mother, Lorna, to pancreatic cancer, after she was diagnosed two years earlier, according to Daily Mail. In an interview during a charity event for NIPanC, set up to help people with pancreatic cancer, Jamie admitted you never really get over that type of loss.
“It has an ever-evolving effect on me, that loss, and I wouldn't wish it on anyone,” he expressed, according to Daily Mail. “I feel like every single day it has an effect on me in ways which I am aware of and some ways I think I am not aware of.”
21 His Dad Delivers Babies
Jamie’s father, Jim Dornan, also briefly considered an acting career before continuing his journey in the medical field. Jim Dornan became a well-respected and appreciated obstetrician and gynecologist. One of Jamie’s favorite things to share about his dad is that he has delivered 6,000 babies!
As much as Jamie likes to gush about his dad, his dad likes to do the same for his famous son. “He is quite influential in the family and always was,” Jim expressed in an interview, according to Heat World. “He’s solid, a very grounded boy. A good lad…His sisters are very proud of him - we all are. He’s held himself well.”
20 Jamie Has Two Older Sisters
Jamie Dornan is the baby of his family. He has two older sisters, Liesa and Jessica. Liesa is five years older than Jamie and prefers to stay out of the spotlight as much as possible. Much of her personal life is unknown, but it is believed she works for the Walt Disney Company in London, according to Tons Of Facts.
Jessica, three years older than Jamie, was an established fashion designer based in England, but took time to create Afterbook.com, a website for creating memories and profiles of deceased loved ones, after their mother passed away. Jessica also helped Jamie with getting a cancer support group established.
19 He Played Rugby And Studied Drama As A Boy
Jamie spent his younger years attending Methodist College Belfast. It was there that he found he enjoyed rugby and discovered his passion for acting. A school-aged Jamie quickly became a star rugby player while participating in the school’s drama department at the same time, according to Tons of Facts.
Jamie was a winger for the Belfast Harlequins and even considered going pro at one point. Luckily for us, he decided to go professional with his other passion and become Christian Grey. Rugby still holds a special spot in his heart, but he sticks to avidly watching the sport.
18 Jamie Dropped Out Of College To Train To Be An Actor
Jamie Dornan began studying acting when he was a teenager in school. But instead of breaking out further into that field of study, Jamie went on to attend Teesside University in North East England. His university life didn’t last very long, though, because Jamie dropped out of college to move to London and train as an actor.
"I was at school for different reasons than for education," Jamie shared in an interview, according to Digital Spy. "I didn't know that I wanted to be an actor. [But] I knew I didn't have the right temperament or attitude to work in an office. I started off modeling, then I worked in a bar in Knightsbridge."
17 He Was A Member Of A Folk Band
Before Jamie’s acting career really existed, he was the lead singer in a folk band with his school friend, David Alexander. Their band, Sons of Jim, really got going after Jamie’s split from actress, Keira Knightley.
Most people aren’t aware that Jamie was ever really in a band, but after hearing him sing in Fifty Shades Freed, we know he’s for sure got that lead singer type of voice. It was Jamie’s music with the band that allowed him to travel to London to further pursue his acting dreams. The band went their separate ways around 2008, according to The Daily Edge, because that’s when Jamie’s acting career took off.
16 Jamie Was The Face Of The 2007 Men's Cologne Diore Homme Campaign
In 2007, Jamie Dornan got to be the face, and went babyface, for Christian Dior’s campaign for their men’s cologne, Dior Homme. He didn’t have a speaking role in the commercial, but he gave some serious Christian Grey vibes with those smoldering eyes and slow facial expressions.
The 2000s were huge for Jamie’s modeling career and getting the Dior campaign was the icing on his “Zoolander” cake. He might be past all that topless, open-shirt posing in front of the camera stuff, but we have tons of images and ads to hold on to forever.
15 He Once Dated Keira Knightley
Before Jamie became Christian Grey, he dated the very well-known actress Keira Knightley from 2003 to 2005. Keira was just beginning to rise into superstardom with her role in Pirates of the Caribbean, and Jamie was nowhere near a household name yet. The two met on the set of a photoshoot for a British jewelry ad and hit it off instantly.
The 2005 split was hard for both Jamie and Keira, but they were able to get past it. According to Celebs Now, after learning Jamie would be playing Christian Grey, Keira shared, “He’s a very good-looking boy, I’m sure the girls will love him.”
14 Jamie Has Some A-List Friends, Including Andrew Garfield
When Jamie was just barely getting his feet wet in the Hollywood universe, he found himself in good company with a few now well-known individuals. Jamie is great friends with respected London fashion journalist Hadley Freeman and he is good buds with actors Andrew Garfield and Eddie Redmayne.
Jamie, Eddie and Andrew were struggling actors looking for their big breaks when they met. According to an associate of Jamie’s for New York Post, “They were all hustling, trying to make a name for themselves, and they just bonded. They ended up renting a place together and would sit around comparing all the rejections they received.”
13 He Even Lived With 'Fantastic Beasts' Eddie Redmayne
When the rejections of Hollywood are always just around the corner, it’s nice to have a close friend who understands the pain you are going through. After Jamie, Andrew and Eddie all became good friends, they started to rent places to live together.
Jamie and Eddie Redmayne, who stars is J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts series, shared an apartment together more than a couple of times. "We used to go to the Standard Hotel in West Hollywood," Eddie shared about his friendship with Jamie, according to PopSugar. "And split a sandwich between us because that meant we could get cheaper parking. We'd swim and play table tennis for hours."
12 Jamie Met His Wife, Amelia Warner, In Hollywood
Jamie and his wife Amelia Warner met each other at a party in Hollywood, California and started dating in 2010. Once the pair became a couple, they moved together to Notting Hill and were married in 2013, before Jamie got cast as Christian Grey.
“I was smitten with her from the start, I really was. I’m more in love with her today than I was at the start,” Jamie swooned over Amelia in an interview with Belfast Telegraph.
We can't help but swoon! Jamie seems like such a romantic in real life.
11 Jamie Is A Daddy To Three Beautiful Girls
At the end of Fifty Shades Freed, the final movie of the Fifty Shades franchise, we saw Christian Grey become a daddy. In real life, Jamie Dornan is also a daddy. Jamie and his wife share three beautiful little girls.
Five-year-old Dulcie and three-year-old Elva have had their daddy wrapped around their little fingers for a couple of years now, but there is a new little girl in town to share him with. In a March 2019 post on her social media account, Jamie’s wife Amelia shared that she was “so proud of these three glorious girls,” with an image of three pairs of little shoes, ultimately announcing the birth of their third daughter.
10 He Had A Small Part In The 2015 Rom-Com 'Burnt'
After the success of Fifty Shades of Grey, Jamie Dornan saw more acting opportunities come his way. One of these was a small cameo role in the 2015 Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller romantic comedy, Burnt.
His role was part of Sienna’s character’s backstory, but unfortunately, it was cut out of the final version of the movie. “In making every film, cuts and adjustments in storylines inevitably occur,” explained Burnt director John Wells to Entertainment Weekly. “In the case of Burnt, Jamie’s role was a small cameo that he was kind enough to do for us and was part of Sienna Miller’s character’s backstory. We ultimately decided to focus on Adam Jones’ [the main character of the film] redemption story.”
9 His Favorite Comedian Was Don Rickles
Jamie Dornan openly loved comedian Don Rickles before he passed away in 2017. “I’m totally obsessed with Don Rickles,” he told Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show. He shared that one of the greatest gifts he has ever received was tickets to see the comedian perform. Jamie even shared that he has an autographed picture of Don Rickles in his bathroom above the tub.
Before Don passed away from illness, Jamie had the chance to become his friend. “I simply feel so lucky to have known him, if only for a tiny fraction of his almost 91 years – his birthday would have been in May,” Jamie wrote in honor of Don Rickles, according to The Guardian. “The world just lost a lot of laughter.”
8 Jamie Has A Funny Side That He Likes To Show On Social Media
Much like his favorite celebrity, comedian Don Rickles, Jamie has a pretty funny side to himself. The Christian Grey star really lets his humor show in his social media posts. Although he isn’t too big on social media these days, the early 2010s were great years for legendary Jamie posts.
In September 2012, he posted “In the 'similar to you' section of Twitter I always seem to get Courteney Cox!....... In fairness I would have made a good Monica.” And in September 2011, he posted, “Having breakfast alone. Three different staff have approached me to ask if there will be anyone joining me. Feel like I'm being [strong-armed].”
7 He Has An Established Modeling Career That Kind Of Began With A Reality Show
We know Jamie Dornan was a huge model in the 2000s, but did you know that at one point he was part of a modeling reality show called Model Behaviour when he was just 20 years old? Model Behaviour was basically the British version of America’s Next Top Model.
Although Jamie did not win the competition, he went on to become a huge star in the modeling world all on his own. Jamie had big contracts with Abercrombie and Fitch, Banana Republic and Calvin Klein.
6 The New York Times Labeled Jamie 'The Golden Torso'
Jamie Dornan started getting noticed by huge critics once his modeling career skyrocketed. After Jamie appeared alongside Kirsten Dunst in Marie Antoinette, The New York Times published a whole article on the man with the “golden torso.”
“Beauty is luck, and beauty makes luck, and anyone who thinks otherwise ought to meet Jamie Dornan,” the newspaper wrote. “Like many of the things he has done, it [his role in Marie Antoinette] got him noticed, by moviegoers and movie agents and even by critics, who singled out him and his etched abdominals for praise.”
5 He's Also Been Called The 'Male Kate Moss'
“In the span of 20 years, I’ve seen maybe four models who have what Jamie Dornan has,” expressed the creative director for GQ Magazine, Jim Moore. According to Jim, Jamie photographs so easily, in the same way that famed supermodel Kate Moss does.
“He’s like the male Kate Moss,” he told The New York Times. “His proportions are a little off. He has a slight build. He’s on the small side for male models. But his torso is long, and so he looks taller, and he brings a relaxed quality to modeling. He knows what he’s there for, but unlike a lot of people he’s not trying to be a male model. He is not modeling.”
4 But He's Insecure About His Walk
Jamie has admitted on more than one occasion that he doesn’t know why he became so famous, and that he doesn’t necessarily find himself to be particularly good-looking when compared to other men. One of Jamie’s greatest insecurities that he still holds on to is his walk.
On The Graham Norton Show, according to People, Jamie explained that he learned to walk funny and that probably had an effect on how he sees himself walking as an adult. Directors and producers of Fifty Shades of Grey started to point out his awkward walk and Jamie had to basically relearn how to walk!
3 And He 'Needs' Facial Hair To Feel Comfortable
During Fifty Shades of Grey, Jamie Dornan largely had to remain clean-shaven and babyfaced. In real life, Jamie dislikes being without facial hair. Not having a beard takes him back to his teenage days of being called “cute” by his sisters’ friends.
"I feel uncomfortable without it," he explained in an interview with The Guardian. "I find myself moving differently. I don't like myself without a beard."
Since his role in the first 50 Shades movie of the three-part series, we have seen Jamie with different lengths of facial hair and we absolutely love them all.
2 Jamie Got His Big Feature Film Break In Marie Antoinette
Before Jamie Dornan was Christian Grey, he was the handsome Count Axel Fersen in Marie Antoinette alongside Kirsten Dunst. To many people, Jamie will always be Marie Antoinette’s gorgeous soldier from Sweden, and given that was his first big screen role, he is probably perfectly okay with that.
According to MTV, director of Marie Antoinette Sofia Coppola was one of the first in the movie industry to notice Jamie, who was just a model at the time, had some serious star quality.
1 But He's Been On The Small Screen A Whole Lot
Since his debut in Marie Antoinette in 2006, Jamie Dornan had roles in tons of small screen television shows, including the popular ABC series Once Upon a Time, in which he played Sheriff Graham Humbert.
One of Jamie’s biggest television roles, though, was in psychological thriller series The Fall. “‘I’d like to know why I was cast as a murdering psychopath,” joked Jamie in an interview with Independent.
Jamie has taken on several other roles since the end of the Fifty Shades franchise and is part of the cast of the sequel to Trolls, entitled Trolls World Tour. It's set to be released in 2020.
References: Daily Mail, Heat, Belfast Telegraph, The Guardian, People