Skip to main contentSkip to footer

Guy Ritchie - Biography

All you need to know about English film-maker Guy Ritchie

Guy Ritchie in a suit
Share this:

Guy Ritchie early life

Born in Hatfield, a London satellite town, on September 10, 1968, Guy Stuart Ritchie's academic life left something to be desire. He attended 10 schools including Stanbridge Earls School, a specialist institution for dyslexics. Eventually expelled for dabbling in drugs, he completed his formal education armed with little more than a GCSE in film studies.

Start of film career

After tending bar, laying bricks and digging sewer lines, Guy set his sights on the film industry. Having started as a runner in 1993, he was soon directing music videos and commercials.

"I think I wanted to be a filmmaker when I was at school because I couldn't do anything else," he later reminisced. "There was a course at my school, which didn't seem to be going on anywhere else, in film studies. I picked up on it and before I knew it I was interested in it."

His first foray into dialogue was with a short film entitled The Hard Case. The project gave him the confidence to write and direct the movie that would propel him to fame Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels. On the strength of seeing The Hard Case, Sting's wife, Trudie Styler, invested in the British gangster movie, which was bolstered by a cameo from her husband.

Relationship with Madonna

Guy Ritchie standing with Madonna© Ron Galella, Ltd.

Trudie acted as Guy's fairy godmother in other ways too, introducing him to Madonna over lunch at her Elizabethan mansion Lake House, in Wiltshire. Guy says the singer's head "sort of spun round" when the two met, adding the encounter "did knock my socks off".

The pair enjoyed a transatlantic relationship throughout 1999, until Guy gave his Material Girl an ultimatum – move to London or it's off. Madonna crossed the pond and soon became pregnant by her lover, welcoming son Rocco in August 2000. Guy is also stepfather to Madonna's daughter Lourdes, and the couple adopted a baby boy from Malawi, named David Banda.


Pilloried in some sections of the press for his so-called "mockney" pretensions because of his penchant for retro London vocabulary, he gained an image as a He-Man. Not a picture those who met him recognised; friends described him as kind, thoughtful and a voracious reader despite his dyslexia.

With two of those powerful friends, Brad Pitt and Benicio Del Toro on board, Snatch the follow-up to his debut, garnered significant publicity. It opened in Los Angeles in January 2001 with newlywed Madonna appearing at the premiere in a white suit with "Mrs Ritchie" emblazoned in rhinestones on the back.

Continuing relationship and split from Madonna

His third feature, Swept Away, starring none other than Mrs Ritchie herself, opened in the US in 2002 to less than favourable reviews, however. It was not the first time the couple worked together. The gangster flick director made a music video for his Missus, as he called her, for the single What It Feels Like for a Girl.

In October 2008, Guy and his pop star wife announced their separation. The couple's divorce was finalised by a high court judge in London just one month after news of their split.

Life after Madonna

Guy Ritchie and Jacqui Ainsley with their three children© Jeff Spicer

Rebuilding his life, he signed up for the hugely successful Sherlock Holmes franchise starring Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law. By 2010, Guy had rejoined the dating scene and the following year he became a father once more with model Jacqui Ainsley, as they welcomed son Rafael. The pair welcomed a further two children in 2012 and 2014, Rivka and Levi, respectively, before tying the knot together in 2015.

More Profiles

See more