If anyone has a right to be a bit of a diva, it’s Emilia Fox. Born into one of
Britain’s most powerful acting dynasties, she won her first acting role
playing Colin Firth’s little sister in the TV adaptation of Pride And
Prejudice at the age of 18, and she’s never looked back.
But not for her the stroppy tantrums of some stars. Instead, she has slipped
in and out of a series of gowns and killer heels on our Fabulous shoot in
the blistering heat without a murmur of complaint or the hint of a demand.
And all this while five months pregnant.
In fact, she looks quite stunned when she’s offered a cup of tea and a sit
“Don’t worry, I don’t think we’re done yet. I’ll wait until everyone is
happy,” she says.
Then she confides: “I think when you come from a family of actors you get the
idea pretty quickly that it’s all about getting the job done and doing it as
well as you can – or else.”
In person Emilia, 35, is nothing like the aloof, remote forensic pathologist,
Dr Nikki Alexander, she has played in BBC1’s crime drama Silent Witness
Her cut-glass accent may be a constant reminder that she is a member of the
Fox acting dynasty (her father is The Day Of The Jackal star Edward Fox, her
uncle the actor James Fox, and her cousin Laurence Fox, star of Lewis and
husband of Billie Piper) but Emilia is very much a girl’s girl. She is
smiley, chatty and bursting with pride about her pregnancy with her
boyfriend, charity campaigner Jeremy Gilley, 41.
“I love being pregnant. I’ve been horribly sick but now that’s all calmed down
and I feel amazing. I’ve got a cleavage for the first time in my life and I
absolutely love it! I feel like this is such a special time. I know
thousands of people get pregnant every day, but to me it’s amazing because I
thought it may never happen again after the last time.”
The last time is something Emilia still finds hard to talk about. Three and a
half years ago, she suffered a miscarriage while married to Jared Harris,
48, star of US drama Mad Men. “I was 10 weeks pregnant. I’d told everyone
and that was one of the worst things – having to say it wasn’t going to
happen any more,” she says quietly.
“At the time I felt I couldn’t and shouldn’t make a fuss. So many pregnancies
end in miscarriage, and it wasn’t as if I was ill. I got on with working and
Jared was away filming. Acting was the one thing I knew how to do best and
it helped because I just carried on as normal, blocking everything out.”
I love being pregnant – I feel amazing]]>
She pauses: “But then a year later it just hit me. I don’t know whether it was
to do with the anniversary, but I just felt this incredible emotional loss
A friend suggested Emilia see a therapist and her sessions made her realise
how much she’d been bottling up inside and how parts of her life “weren’t
Specifically her marriage to Jared, who she’d fallen in love with in 2003 when
they starred alongside each other in a West End production of Les Liaisons
Dangereuses. He proposed after filling her west London home with her
favourite wild flowers. When they married two years later in Dorset it all
seemed so perfect. The son of the legendary actor Richard Harris, their
union was the joining together of two dynasties and Emilia was radiantly
happy. It’s clearly still difficult for her to put into words what actually
went wrong between them.
“I loved being married to Jared. We had the most incredible relationship and
our marriage was very happy. It was always unbelievably romantic – we spent
so much time apart working that when we were together it was always flowers,
amazing holidays and that sort of thing. Jared was the man who just swept me
off my feet and everything was so heightened and amazing when I was with
Jared was busy carving out a career in Los Angeles, and Emilia had to split
her time between America and England to be with him. She says it was only
when she suffered the miscarriage that she realised she didn’t want a
long-distance marriage any more.
“To have a family, to really be with someone, well sometimes it just has to be
normal. That seems such a strange thing to want, but it was what I needed
and still need.
“It was hard for both of us to accept what we had wasn’t working for me. “All
my life I’d believed that whatever happened you just had to go with the
flow, but I got to this point where I was suddenly in my early 30s trying to
work out exactly what I did want, what was right for me. It’s only when you
lose a child you realise how much you want that, how you see your future.”
It also brought home to Emilia how idyllic her life had been up until that
point. She describes her childhood in rural Dorset as “happy”, her parents
as “incredible” and her relationships as “wonderful”.
All of which left her less equipped to deal with it when her life went into
She says: “Within a year I had a miscarriage and my marriage, a marriage I
treasured, was ending. For the first time in my life I was dealing with
massive things going horribly wrong. The therapy helped me to get through it
– it’s still something that’s part of my life – it was a tough time.”
While she has been through the mill in her personal life, her career has gone
from strength to strength.
She was at Oxford studying English literature when she landed her first role
as Georgiana Darcy in Pride And Prejudice.
She has gone on to appear in Oscar-nominated movies such as The Pianist, as
well as regular lead roles on British TV in everything from Channel 4’s The
Queen and David Copperfield to Coupling and Randall & Hopkirk
She laughs off the idea she was ever a rebel despite briefly dating eccentric
Randall & Hopkirk co-star Vic Reeves (“He’s so lovely, but we were never
engaged”) and posing for men’s magazines. “People have this idea I was born
in a chiffon dress. I’m not that sort of girl. My parents were never
bothered by me appearing in men’s magazines, although they never saw them.
Therapy helped me get through]]>
“I did get in trouble when I talked about stripping and lap dancing for my
role in the movie Cashback. I actually found it incredibly liberating and it
made me far more assured about my own body, but some people thought I was
glorifying the sex trade. I still believe that trying out lap dancing for
yourself makes a woman much more aware of her own sexuality.”
Emilia is equally frank when discussing her relationship with her new partner,
Jeremy. During the last year of her marriage she had to deal with rumours of
an affair with handsome young British actor, O.T. Fagbenle, 30, her co-star
in the TV drama Consuming Passions. “That was awful. There was nothing going
on but I was so worried. Then I realised that no one important cared because
they all knew the truth.”
She was, however, friends with Jeremy, a former actor, before she split with
Jared: “I’ve known him for years in his capacity as a campaigner for Peace
One Day, which lobbies for one day of global truce.
“I was fascinated by what he was doing and always thought he was incredibly
inspirational. We started off as friends and kept in touch. We never went on
formal dates – we just realised we got on very well.”
Her new relationship has benefited from the lessons she took away from her
“I’m much more aware of sharing my feelings, being more open and we’ve
travelled together when he’s been working, and he’s been there in the
evenings when I’ve been doing Silent Witness. It’s a very different
relationship, very lovely.”
But her pregnancy was not planned. She laughs: “It was a delightful surprise.
I was so happy. Jeremy was so happy. He’s going to be an amazing dad – he
loves kids. We have lots of babies in the family.
“Obviously my cousin Laurence and Billie have Winston who is gorgeous. I
haven’t spoken to Billie since I announced that I was pregnant but I know
she’ll be thrilled. She’s such a lovely girl and a lovely mum.”
Her ex-husband was one of the first people she told. “Jared was very happy for
me because he knows how much it means to me.
“This time I waited till the last moment when I knew everything was going to
be OK before I told people. I was worried at first that something would go
wrong. But I’ve been fine and healthy and all my cravings have been for good
foods like oatcakes.
“Everyone at Silent Witness was incredible. We filmed the whole series before
anything really showed and I was constantly being told to rest but I didn’t
need to. I’ve just felt happy.”
Ask her if having a baby means another wedding and she bursts out laughing:
“You know we don’t even live together. I think our first step has to be
that. I think because we started out as friends and it was quite some time
before anything happened that we just didn’t do the moving in together
They are planning to move in soon though. But Emilia has one big concern.
“I’m slightly worried how he’s going to find living with me. I’m messy and
he’s neat. But he knows me inside out. We had a gentle, long period of
getting to know each other and then a very quick pregnancy. He’s been
through all the emotions of this pregnancy so he’s seen all sides of me.
We’ve cried, laughed and just been with each other.”
She pauses and looks more serious:
“I would like to get married again because I do really believe in marriage.
It’s something I really value. I want this baby, I want more babies. Of all
the things I’ve had in life, what I want most is my own happy little family.”
You can’t help hoping Emilia gets what she wants.
- Emilia Fox will appear in Silent Witness and Merlin later this year.
Blamed something bad on someone else?
I take the blame for everything I’ve done.
Yes, I was stopped at the airport after an acting job. I looked strange with
dyed black hair because of the character I’d been playing. I was taken into
a cell for hours, and I felt terrified. Then my mobile rang and I just
screamed: “Help! I’ve been arrested in Russia.” Soon afterwards a beautiful
blonde came in, spoke Russian to the guards then said to me: “Ralph Fiennes
sent me to get you out of here.” It had been him on the phone. I cried with
Yes, lots of times. I don’t have a problem with it.
Told a friend her outfit looked lovely when really it didn’t?
I would absolutely never do that – you’re no friend if you do.
Forgotten your boyfriend’s birthday?
EMILIA WEARS: DRESS, BEN DE LISI;
NECKLACE, EARRINGS AND RING, ERICKSON BEAMON; SHOES, JIMMY CHOO
EMILIA WEARS: DRESS, LUISA BECCARIA;
ADDITIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY: LFI, REX HAIR:
GUY KREMER USING L’ORÉAL PROFESSIONNEL TECHNI ART MAKE-UP: AIMEE ADAMS USING
ELLIS FAAS STYLING: ANGIE SMITH AT FRANK AGENCY EMILIA WEARS: DRESS, PAULE
KA; NECKALCE, BUTLER & WILSON