BBC Vigils Eliza star Romola Garais life off-screen with famous husband
As BBC police procedural drama Vigil comes to its nail biting conclusion, fans will no doubt be sitting on the edge of their seats as they wait to discover exactly who was behind the hacked drones and what exactly they hoped to achieve by doing so.
Since arriving on our screens two weeks ago, the exciting drama has captivated viewers at home for a second time, with the current season having followed hot on the heels of the show’s debut back in 2021, which was set on board a submarine.
Although the show’s main leads Suranne Jones, Rose Leslie and Gary Lewis are widely known to fans, more and more viewers have been intrigued this series by Romola Garai who plays Acting Squadron Leader Eliza Russell in the show, the interim leader of British forces stationed at the Al-Shawka Air Base.
But who exactly is Romola and where might fans have seen her before? Here, we take a closer look at the star’s impressive life off screen – including her famous husband.
Romola Garai was born in Hong Kong to British parents on the 6 August 1982, when the country was still under British rule.
Raised primarily by her mother alongside her three siblings, Romola’s time in Hong Kong was short-lived before the family moved to Singapore when she was five years old, she resided here for three years before the family moved to the UK.
While in the UK, Romola settled in Wiltshire, and attended an independent boarding school, Stonar School up until the age of 16, when she then moved to the City of London School for Girls to complete her A-levels.
While studying, Romola appeared in a number of school plays over the years and even joined the National Youth Theatre until the age of 18, when she took on her first major acting role in the BBC Film, The Last of the Blonde Bombshells playing a younger version of Judy Dench’ s character.
Following her A-levels, Romola later went on to study English literature at the Queen Mary University of London, but transferred to the Open University mid-course, where she went on to achieve First Class Honours.
Following her first paid role on screen, Romola’s acting career soon began to skyrocket, with a wealth of other roles soon following including in the BBC series Attachments from 2000 to 2002 and in the feature film Nicholas Nickleby.
She later went on to get a taste of Hollywood in 2004 when she took on the starring role in the Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, which saw her star alongside Diego Luna and Patrick Swayze in a sequel to the iconic and much loved 80s film.
During the same year, Romola also starred alongside Reese Witherspoon, Jim Broadbent and James Purefoy in the period drama Vanity Fair.
A further slew of popular roles followed including The Incredible Journey of Mary Bryant, Inside I’m Dancing, As You Like it and Amazing Grace, but by far one of her most notable roles came in 2007, when she starred alongside Keira Knightley and James McAvoy in Atonement.
Romola played the role of jealous sister Briony Tallis, the catalyst for the entire move, and even scooped her a Best Actress nomination at the Evening Standard British Film Awards.
She also appeared in 2015 movie Suffragette about the women’s suffrage movement and campaign to vote, and more recently appeared in Starz historic biopic Becoming Elizabeth, where she played Mary I.
Away from her impressive acting career, Romola is happily married to fellow actor Sam Hoare, with the couple tying the knot in 2014.
Just like Romola, Sam also boasts an impressive CV, with roles in everything from Outlander to Death in Paradise under his belt.
The couple currently reside in London with their two children and prefer to keep their private life out of the spotlight to live a normal and low-key existence without the pressure of public scrutiny.
Romola even previously opened up about life in the spotlight as she told The Age, back in 2007: "It's too simplistic to say that people start to believe what's written about them. But what happens is that you become a certain way to please people, to be liked, to be what's expected of you, to change yourself so that you become the best possible version of yourself for people who don't know you. And I think that's a terrible, pernicious thing."
She then added: "In a way, I'd rather go into an interview and be disliked, and have unpleasant things written about me, than to have a wonderful, glowing article written that is in no way a reflection of who I am.”
When she’s not working, Romola also enjoys travelling and cooking, with the actress having labelled both pastimes “therapeutic”.
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