Keira Christina Knightley (born 26 March 1985) is a Golden Globe-, BAFTA- and Academy Award-nominated English film and television actress. She began her career as a child actress, and came to international prominence in 2003, after co-starring in the films Bend It Like Beckham and Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. Knightley has since become a notable lead actress, having appeared in several Hollywood films and earning an Academy Award nomination for her role as Elizabeth Bennet in Joe Wright’s 2005 adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.
Knightley was born in Teddington, Middlesex, the daughter of Sharman Macdonald, a Scottish award-winning playwright, and Will Knightley, an English theatre and television actor. She has an elder brother, Caleb, who was born in 1979. Knightley lived most of her life in Richmond, attending Teddington School and Esher College. Knightley has dyslexia, but nevertheless was successful in school and was thus permitted to acquire a talent agent and pursue an acting career. Knightley has noted that she was “single-minded about acting” during her childhood. She performed in a number of local amateur productions including After Juliet (written by her mother) and United States (written by her then drama teacher, Ian McShane).
Knightley, who currently lives in London, is dating Rupert Friend. There have been rumours that they are engaged to be married, but Knightley has stated she has no plans to be married in the near future. She has previously dated Northern Irish fashion model Jamie Dornan, as well as actor Del Synnott, who, according to some reports, attempted suicide after their relationship ended, although Synnott and Knightley deny these claims.
She has denied rumours she is anorexic, although after her appearance at the Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest premiere led to media speculation that her extremely slender figure was due to an eating disorder, she noted that her family has a history of anorexia. Knightley then sued the Daily Mail after they claimed she lied about having anorexia; the article said that a teenage girl died from anorexia, indicating that Knightley’s physical appearance may have influenced her in some way. She was awarded a settlement for it. In July 2006, Knightley said she has become a workaholic, detailing that “the last five years have blended into one. I can’t tell you what was last year and what was the year before” and specifying that she is “working too much” and is “quite frightened that if I continue at this rate I will start to hate what I love.” As a result, Knightley may take a one year break from acting to travel and focus on her personal life.
Knightley is a lifelong supporter of football team West Ham United F.C., and watches games in her local pub whenever possible. She has said that her favourite book is War and Peace and her favourite film is All About Eve. She is also a big fan of the British soap opera Emmerdale.