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Sam Taylor-Johnson: Ten facts about glamorous female director chosen for 'Fifty Shades'

When Sam Taylor-Johnson was picked to direct the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey –  reportedly over directors such as Joe Wright, Steven Soderbergh and Gus Van Sant – she made a solemn promise to followers of author EL James.She said: "For the legions of fans, I want to say that I will honour the power of Erika's book and the characters of Christian and Anastasia. They are under my skin too." Sam, 46, is not a household name, but has a background as an Turner Prize-nominated visual artist. Her many celebrity friendships include Elton John, the Pet Shop Boys, Tracey Emin and David Beckham, whom she once filmed sleeping for one of her works. 

  • Together with millionaire gallerist Jay Jopling, she was once one of the most powerful couples on the British art scene. The couple divorced in 2008 after 11 years of marriage. 
  • Sam and Jay were among a handful of guests at Elton's civil partnership ceremony with David Furnish. 
  • She went on to marry actor Aaron Johnson, who is 23 years her junior. They both took the name Taylor-Johnson
  • The couple have two daughters – Wylda Rae and Romy Hero, as well as Angelica and Jessie from Sam's previous union. 
  • She is perhaps best known for her work Crying Men which features many of Hollywood's glitterati crying, including Robin Williams, Sean Penn, Laurence Fishburne, and Paul Newman. 
  • Despite never having tackled a major feature before, Sam agreed to direct Nowhere Boy, a biopic about the childhood of John Lennon after hearing one of his songs on the radio.  "It was one of those moments where I thought it was a sign: OK I'm gonna do it," she said later. 
  • She identified with the Beatle because like him she was left by her parents. Her father walked out of the family home when she was nine and he went on to become treasurer to the Hells Angels; her mother left when she was 15. 
  • In 2009 she made a cash payment of £11 million for a detached townhouse in Primrose Hill, London.  
  • The mother-of-four is a cancer survivor, having had the disease in 1997 and 2000. 
  • In 2011, she was created an OBE in the Birthday Honours list.

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