keeley hawes

Who is Keeley Hawes? Everything you need to know about the Bodyguard and The Durrells star

From her family life to her TV credits…

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Viewers don't have to wait for much longer before they get their Keeley Hawes fix. The actress is returning to screens on Sunday for the final series of The Durrells, reprising her role as matriarch Louisa Durrell. Ahead of the star's comeback, get to know London-born Keeley, whose TV credits include Line of Duty, Bodyguard, Spooks and Tipping the Velvet.

Keeley Hawes's childhood

The 43-year-old star was born and raised in London and found a love of acting early, enrolling in the famed Sylvia Young Theatre School. Speaking about growing up in the capital, Keeley told The Guardian: "Just the idea of your children going out and playing out and coming in when it's dark, that just doesn't happen. The idea of doing it in central London seems even more heightened and scary. But no, it was fantastic. It makes you quite bold, growing up. It makes you not afraid of anything. I loved it."

Keeley is best known for her roles in Bodyguard, The Durrells and Line of Duty

Like many youngsters her age, Keeley loved acting at primary school and went on to join the Sylvia Young Theatre School. But she said: "It was a very different time. There had been no X Factor. There wasn't anyone there who had become terribly successful. We were just a bunch of kids having the best time, and doing this thing that we really enjoyed. It wasn't a sort of burning ambition to be on TV. I just liked acting. And it's a really healthy thing. You're singing away and doing things that give you confidence."

Keeley Hawes's husband Matthew Macfadyen and children

Keeley has three children of her own – a son Myles with her first husband, DJ and cartoonist Spencer McCallum, and a son Ralph, 13, and a daughter Maggie, 15, with her current husband Matthew Macfadyen. The couple met after starring on Spooks together and fell in love while Keeley was still married to her first husband. They tied the knot in November 2004, one month before Keeley gave birth to their first child.

The actress has been married to Matthew Macfadyen since 2004

Her relationship with Matthew proved controversial at first, given her marriage to first husband Spencer. Keeley recalled to the Evening Standard: "Matthew just came straight out with it and said, 'I love you' in the rain one day. I thought, oh dear, here we go." The pair married in front of just two witnesses, their friends, at a local registry. Keeley has since told The Telegraph: "I love being married to Matthew. And I know Matthew loves being married, too. It ties everything up and it's a statement to each other and to the world. Marriage and being a mother are absolutely crucial to my happiness and my life."

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Her decision to end her first marriage "was just horrible" and "awful", she recalled, but Keeley has since remained on good terms with her ex-husband Spencer, calling him "one of my best friends in the world". Keeley revealed that Spencer and his girlfriend even babysit for her. "They are just really wonderful, generous human beings who, ultimately, have always put my son and my other children first. And I can't thank them enough, really," she told Red magazine, adding: "Divorce doesn't have to be messy. I think as long as people concentrate on the children above themselves – which is difficult, I know – maybe that's the way to make it work."

Keeley plays Louisa Durrell in the ITV show

Keeley Hawes's role in The Durrells

In comedy-drama The Durrells, Keeley plays Louisa Durrell, mother to Gerry, Leslie, Margo and Larry. The ITV show is based on Gerald Durrell's books detailing the family's four years spent on Corfu. Series four is due to air this Sunday and will explore the Durrells' last year on the island. "I can't really talk about missing the cast, it's awful!" Keeley told This Morning. "This job is a job really like no other that I've done. I've played their mother and I've spent every birthday with gorgeous Milo, who plays Gerald Durrell, we've watched him go from a little boy to, he's 16, he's doing his GCSEs. All of them, I love them dearly. We've got a WhatsApp group!"

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Of the stunning Greek island, Keeley added: "Corfu is so beautiful. It has become a bit of a second home. And we are all going back, not together, but separately. Partly out of habit and partly just because we love it, it's so beautiful and the people are just such wonderful, generous people."

She shot to fame again playing Prime Minister Julia Montague in Bodyguard

Keeley Hawes's role in Bodyguard

Other fans will recognise Keeley from her role in Bodyguard, where she played Prime Minister Julia Montague opposite Richard Madden. The BBC drama, created and written by Line of Duty's Jed Mercurio, was overwhelmingly popular and became the most-watched drama on British television since records began in 2002.

Keeley's role propelled her into the spotlight further, with the actress admitting on This Morning: "Usually when The Durrells is on, people will recognise me from The Durrells or Line of Duty, but I came back and it was just on another level. It was like a weird anxiety dream. And I made the terrible mistake – it was my son's birthday and we'd booked to go to Thorpe Park, and so I walked straight into Thorpe Park at the height of Bodyguard, trapped on rides with people videoing me."

When quizzed by Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield on whether her character Julia really is, in fact, dead, she added: "It's extraordinary. You can be blown up on screen and still people, I think they would accept it if she walked straight back in. I just don't know what to say anymore!" When probed further, Keeley laughed and coyly replied, "Yes," leaving Holly and Phil very unconvinced.

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Keeley Hawes's role in Line of Duty

Keeley featured in Line of Duty from 2014 to 2016, playing DI Lindsay Denton, a missing persons detective who doesn't hold back from snitching on her colleagues. In 2015, she received a BAFTA nomination for Leading Actress for her performance. But Keeley admitted: "Like Bodyguard, we just all turned up and did our jobs the best we could. Nobody can foresee something like that, or something like the reaction to Lindsay Denton. It just sort of lit the touch paper with people."

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