British acting couples I’m hoping won’t break my heart.


It has been suggested that I’m a bit too personally invested in British television.

And that is entirely true. Particularly when you take into account the fact that I know way more about the personal lives of British acting celebrities than a non-British person should know (well, I know what their PR people release to the celebrity news magazines and what I can find at Wikipedia). I know, for instance, that many British actors are married to one another. And for some reason, when I see news that celebrity British TV couples have broken up, it breaks my heart, as was proven this week with this headline:

Ewan McGregor seen kissing Mary Elizabeth Winstead

And, please note, Mary Elizabeth Winstead is not his wife of 22 years; her name is Eve Mavrakis. And if you scroll down in that article, you will see a picture of Mavrakis and McGregor, in which it is made clear that Mavrakis is a stunner (I don’t care what age she is; she’s gorgeous). Now, as my husband, Mr. GreatBritishTV, points out, I don’t really know what’s going on in McGregor’s life (Mr. GBTV is a much more generous soul than I am), and that is entirely true. But still. I am sad when my fave British couples break up. So today we’ll consider a list of my favorite couples who I’m really, really hoping I never have to read about in headlines that include the words “cheating,” “divorce,” or “abuse.” Got any favorite British couples I’ve missed? Please add them in the comments!

James McAvoy and Anne-Marie Duff

WAIT A SECOND–McAvoy and Duff split back in May 2016? Why has no one told me this? Because they knew it would destroy me and convince me that true love is indeed dead?

Anyway. Before I started writing this article I hadn’t known about McAvoy and Duff; I’m so sad. Individually they are two of my favorite actors ever, and their marriage had already lasted for nearly ten years (respectable, by showbiz standards). Plus, Duff is older than McAvoy, and I’m a total sap for couples where it’s older woman/younger man, particularly since you don’t see any of those among American celebrities (Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher, long broken up now, notwithstanding.)

Sigh. Let’s get on with the other couples, who I will probably read tomorrow are breaking up as well.

Rupert Penry-Jones and Dervla Kirwan

Now, Rupert Penry-Jones is not my absolute favorite eye candy (brunettes over blondes, always, for me), but he’s still undeniably eye candy and a very fine actor to boot (who has been in some great shows, including MI-5, Silk, and Whitechapel), and I LOVE Dervla Kirwan. I have ever since she starred in Ballykissangel and was then in a relationship with her co-star, Stephen Tompkinson. Oh, and they named their daughter Florence–one of my favorite girls’ names ever.

Okay, I feel better, now that I find those two are still together. Let’s move on.

Matthew Macfadyen and Keeley Hawes

Macfadyen and Hawes have been married since 2004, and though their love story had a bit of a bumpy beginning (Hawes left her first husband for Macfadyen), bonus points to them for relationship longevity. They met while both starred in the spy drama MI-5, and they both show up in a LOT of British TV, Macfadyen in shows like Ripper Street and the latest adaptation of Little Dorrit, while Hawes’s biggest roles of late have been in The Durrells of Corfu and Line of Duty.

Damian Lewis and Helen McCrory

Lewis first made a splash in the short-lived but well-regarded series Life, but really made his mark when starring in Homeland (although of course I prefer his turns on British TV, including his role as Soames Forsyte–sure, Soames was the evil character you loved to hate, but someone’s got to play the bad guy–in the adaptation The Forsyte Saga). And Helen McCrory–she’s fantastic, particularly just lately on Peaky Blinders and Penny Dreadful. Plus, they’re another older woman/younger man combo; not by much, but still. McCrory is 49 and Lewis is 46.

I know there’s a ton more, but we’ll leave that for another post. Also, I have to go have a good cry about McAvoy and Duff (not to mention Martin Freeman and Amanda Abbington, who also split up in 2015–or 2016–or 2017–the reports are confusing).


    • I just love Dervla. I know I take it all too seriously but I do hope, like any schoolgirl, that the rest of these couples are all “together forever.”

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