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Hotel Portofino star Natascha McElhone: Everything you need to know

The actress stars as Bella Ainsworth in the new period drama


natascha mcelhone
Megan Bull
TV Writer
February 3, 2023
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Hotel Portofino is coming to ITV, with Natascha McElhone starring as Bella Ainsworth – the daughter of a wealthy industrialist who travels to the Italian Riviera to open up her very own hotel. Set in the 1920s, the six-episode series has already been renewed for a second season, and it's gone down a treat with BritBox viewers, too. 

So, what's there to know about the period drama's leading lady? Keep reading for all the details on Natascha McElhone's impressive career, plus her life as a doting mum to her three sons, following a heartbreaking loss. 

WATCH: Hotel Portofino trailer starring Natascha McElhone

What else has Natascha McElhone starred in?

Natascha McElhone has built an incredible career, with roles in major Hollywood films, including The Truman Show, Ronin, The Secret of Moonacre, Romeo & Juliet and Mr. Church. As for her work in television, the actress has also appeared on Absolutely Fabulous, Californiacation and Designated Survivor, to name a few. More recently, she was praised for her portrayal of Penelope Knatchbull in season five of Netflix series, The Crown

natascha the crown© Photo: Netflix

The actress recently starred in The Crown

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Natascha McElhone's heartbreaking loss

Natascha McElhone was married to Martin Hirigoyen Kelly, a celebrity plastic surgeon, for just over a decade, until he tragically passed away in 2008 from a heart condition. Prior to his death, the couple had resided in a £2.5million home in Fulham with their sons Theodore (born 2000) and Otis (born May 2003). Months after his passing, Natascha later welcomed their third son, Rex, in October 2008. 

natascha with husband martin© Photo: Getty Images

Natascha McElhone was married to Martin Hirigoyen Kelly for 10 years prior to his tragic death

Following the sudden loss of her husband, Natascha revealed that she'd continued to write letters and diary entries to Martin, whether that be about their boys, telling him how much she loved and missed him, or even recalling everyday details about house repairs and family finances. These letters and diary entries would later form the basis of her book, After You: Letters of Love, and Loss, to a Husband and Father (2010)

Speaking openly about her grief, in 2016 Natascha told The Telegraph: "It was important to me to have my own narrative of what happened to counter some of the inaccurate things written by people who didn't know him. But I've never looked at it again. I think I'd wince if I did which isn't to say there's any remorse or regret about writing [it]. It also seems to have helped a few other people which is obviously an added bonus."

Natascha McElhone's life with her three sons

Natascha McElhone is extremely proud of her three sons, Theodore, Otis and Rex. Asked about whether any of them had read her book loss of their father, she explained: "They can if they want to but we talk about him a lot." 

natascha son theodore© Photo: Getty Images

Natascha McElhone pictured with her eldest son, Theodore

In 2008, the actress reflected on her work-life balance, telling Irish News: "My kids are the centre of my life and work is something that I fit around them." 

natascha mcelhone husband© Photo: Getty Images

In a sweet moment, Natascha revealed that she and her children talk about Martin "all the time"

As for whether her children see her job as cool, she replied, "They're pretty disinterested in what I do, to be honest. I'm very much the person who runs the house and provides and is there, and probably in a slightly invisible wallpaper-ish sort of way at this point. Natacha added: "I'm definitely the frame around which they shine."

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