Who is Jonathan Rhys Meyers?

A model, musician, and an actor with 65 credits to his name, Jonathan Rhys Meyers is a name that resonates with exceptional talent and captivating performances on the big screen. With his striking presence and undeniable acting prowess, Jonathan has established himself as one of the most prominent actors of his generation.

This article explores his life, his career, and provides insights into the fascinating journey that led him to become a chameleon of the screen and stage, and the celebrated actor we know today.

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Early life, family, and education

Born Jonathan Michael Francis O’Keeffe under the zodiac sign of Leo on 27 July 1977, in Dublin, Ireland, he was raised by his parents Geraldine, a housewife, and John a folk musician, alongside his younger brothers, Paul, Jamie and Ali, all three today professional musicians.

Jonathan attended North Monastery Christian Brothers School, however, he was expelled for truancy, so he began working in a Cork pool hall. His early life was marked by personal struggles and challenges, until one day at work changed his life for good. Jonathan was spotted by casting agents who were looking for Irish boys to appear in the 1994 comedy-drama “War of the Buttons”, and they invited him to audition. Although Jonathan didn’t get the part in the movie, encouraged by the casting agents, he decided to pursue an acting career.

Roles in movies

Jonathan made his acting debut as First Young Man in the 1994 comedy-drama “A Man of No Importance”, then two years later, he was cast to play Collins’ Assassin in the critically acclaimed movie “Michael Collins”, starring Liam Neeson, Julia Roberts and Aidan Quinn. The movie had 17 award nominations – including Oscars for Best Music, Original Dramatic Score, and Best Cinematography – and four wins.

Jonathan’s portrayal of a young assassin earned him recognition in the industry, so later in 1996, he was seen in “Killer Tongue” and “The Disappearance of Finbar”, in which he played his first lead role. In the following year, Jonathan was seen in “The Maker” and “Telling Lies in America”.

In 1998, he was cast to play Brian Slade in the musical drama “Velvet Goldmine”, starring opposite Christian Bale and Ewan McGregor, which earned him a nomination for the London Critics Circle Film Award for British Newcomer of the Year.

Following this success, Jonathan embarked on a series of diverse and challenging roles that showcased his range as an actor. Later that year, he starred in “The Governess”, “The Tribe”, “The Loss of Sexual Innocence”, and “B. Monkey”.

The early 2000s saw him in “Happy Now” (2001), “Bend It Like Beckham” (2002), “The Tesseract” (2003), and “Vanity Fair” (2004), among many others. In 2005, Jonathan won the Cannes Film Festival Chopard Trophy – Male Revelation.

The same year, he starred as Chris Wilton in the romantic thriller drama “Match Point” written and directed by the great Woody Allen, in which Scarlett Johansson played the lead female role. The plot revolved around a former tennis pro who finds himself at a turning point in his life, and falls in love with an actress who happens to be dating his friend. The movie had 32 award nominations, including the Oscar for Best Writing, Original Screenplay, and won 12 – Jonathan won the Italian Online Movie Award for Miglior Attore Protagonista (Best Actor).

In 2006, he was cast to play Declan in the world-popular action drama “Mission: Impossible III”, followed by his roles in “August Rush” (2007) and “The Children of Huang Shi” (2008) before he landed the lead role as James Reese in the 2010 action crime thriller “From Paris with Love”, also starring John Travolta.

In the following years, Jonathan cemented his reputation as a versatile actor in both independent and mainstream cinema, starring in “Belle Du Seigneur” (2012), “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones” (2013), and “Stonewall” (2015).

Another of his notable roles was his portrayal of Jack in the 2017 thriller “Black Butterfly”, a story about a reclusive screenwriter, Paul (played by Antonio Banderas), who offers Jack a place to stay, not knowing how this mysterious drifter was intending to repay his kindness. For his performance, Jonathan was nominated for the Madrid International Film Festival Award for Best Supporting Actor.

Later that year, Jonathan played Ari Ben-Sion in the mystery thriller “Damascus Cover”, which earned him the Manchester International Film Festival and Boston Film Festival Prize for Best Actor.

He followed with his role as Kurt Stage in the historical drama “The 12th Man” based on the true story of Jan Baalsurd, who was one of the twelve English saboteurs sent to Nazi-occupied Norway, which had nine award nominations in total and won five.

Jonathan was next seen in “The Aspern Papers” (2018), “Awake” (2019), “Edge of the World” (2021), and “Dangerous Game: The Legacy Murders” (2022), among several others. Most recently, he was seen starring in the 2023 movies “Disquiet”, “Ambush”, “Mercy”, and “97 Minutes”. His numerous roles show his ability to breathe life into diverse characters, so it isn’t surprising that Jonathan’s been called a ‘chameleon of the screen and stage’.

He has five upcoming projects, one of them entitled “Food Fight”, set to premiere in 2024.

Roles in series

Jonathan made his first television series appearance as Steerpike in the 2000 series “Gormenghast”. He followed with his role as Elvis Presley in the 2005 TV mini-series “Elvis” which earned him a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie. Jonathan was also nominated for the Gold Derby Award – TV Movie/Mini Actor of the Decade, and he won the Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for Television, and Satellite Award for Outstanding Actor in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for Television.

One of his most memorable performances when it comes to television was as the enigmatic King Henry VIII in the hit series “The Tudors”; between 2007 and 2010, Jonathan made an appearance in 38 episodes and his portrayal of the complex monarch earned him numerous award nominations, including two Golden Globes for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama. He won the Irish Film and Television Award for Best Actor in a Lead Role in Television, and Monte-Carlo TV Festival Golden Nymph for Outstanding Actor – Drama Series.

During 2013 and 2014, Jonathan was seen playing the lead role in the series “Dracula”, followed by his role as Tom Lea in the 2016 TV mini-series “Roots”. He was next cast to play Bishop Heahmund in the series “Vikings”, which aired between 2013 and 2020 – Jonathan was seen from 2017 through 2019 in 17 episodes of this action-adventure drama which followed the story of the mysterious and brutal world of Ragnar Lothbrok. This was Jonathan’s most recent TV series appearance.

Personal and love life, relationships, and marriage

While his professional achievements have been widely recognized, Jonathan’s personal life has been marked by his struggles with alcoholism and numerous controversies about his love life. He’s been the subject of various rumors, many of them about his love affairs with numerous women.

It is known that back in 1997, Jonathan was in a relationship with Toni Collete, an Australian actress, but their love story ended in 1998; the two co-starred in “Velvet Goldmine”. He was then romantically linked to British model Lisa Butcher, and were reportedly a couple in 2002 – 2003.

In 2003, Jonathan become engaged to Irish actress Cha Cha Seigne, however, the same year they called off their engagement.

From 2004 to 2012, Jonathan was in a relationship with Reena Hammer, a daughter of the British make-up artist Ruby Hammer. During their relationship, there were rumors saying that Jonathan had encounters with Irish actress Katie McGrath in 2007, and Irish TV personality Katie Larmour in 2009.

He was rumored to have hooked up with Russian actress, Marinika Smirnova, but many tabloids reported that they Reena broke up because he had an affair with Australian model Victoria Keon-Cohen, whom he dated in 2012.

In February 2016, Jonathan married his then-girlfriend, Mara Lane, a non-celebrity, and in December of that same year, Mara gave birth to their son, Wolf Rhys Meyers. Sadly, in September 2017, Mara revealed that she had a miscarriage.

As of June 2023, the family of three lives in their residence in Los Angeles, California.

Age, height, and net worth

This 45-year-old actor is known for his piercing blue eyes and light brown hair. Jonathan is 5ft 10ins (1.78m) tall and weighs around 175lbs (80kgs). His trademark is his sense of fashion.

When it comes to his wealth, as mentioned, he has a house in Los Angeles but also owns another in County Cork, Ireland, and apartments in Dublin, Ireland, in London, England, and in Morocco. According to sources, his net worth has been estimated at over $8 million, as of mid-2023.

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