Off screen, Hugh’s beloved wife and son are his whole world.
He is lord of the manor as Robert Crawley, the Earl of Grantham in Downton Abbey, but when the cameras stop rolling on the popular UK period drama, actor Hugh Bonneville is more than happy to hand over the reins at home. The 47-year-old, who starred in hit movies Notting Hill and Iris, explains his wife and “anchor” Lulu keeps his personal life running smoothly while being a full-time mum to the couple’s nine-year-old son Felix.
“Lulu’s priority has been to be a bedrock for Felix and me, and I’m completely indebted to her,” says Hugh, who has appeared in many other popular UK TV series including The Vicar Of Dibley, Midsomer Murders and will soon be seen in episodes of Doctor Who. Hugh met Lulu three decades ago when they were both teenagers living near each other in England’s West Sussex.
However, they lost touch for many years when he and his family moved out of the region. Fourteen years ago, their paths crossed again – and the rest, as they say, is history. “I had girlfriends, but settling down was the last thing on my mind,” Hugh says. “Then you meet someone and think, ‘This is the person I want to be with’. We had a shared history. That helps when you’re in it for the long haul.”
After tying the knot with Lulu when he was 35, Hugh dreamed of starting a family with his soul mate, but it didn’t happen in a hurry. “Felix was long looked for and we’re very blessed to have him,” he says. Devoted dad Hugh relishes telling stories about his little boy, and posting fun messages about him on Twitter.
Pick up this week's Woman's Day to see the other hunks of Downton Abbey, on sale on sale June 13, 2011.