Kiera Knightley is one of the most successful and versatile actresses of her generation. She has starred in a variety of films, from historical dramas to romantic comedies, and has earned numerous accolades, including two Academy Award nominations, three Golden Globe nominations, and a Laurence Olivier Award nomination. She is renowned for her charitable activities and activism as well. The following information relates to her life and work.
Early Life and Education
- Kiera Christina Knightley was born on March 26, 1985 in Teddington, London, England.
- She is the off-screen child of Sharman Macdonald and Will Knightley. She has an older brother, Caleb.
- She was named after the Soviet figure skater Kira Ivanova, but her mother misspelt her name on the birth certificate.
- She suffered from dyslexia as a child and struggled with reading and writing. She overcame it with the help of her parents and tutors.
- She attended Teddington School and Esher College. She showed an interest in acting from an early age and asked for an agent when she was three.
- Knightley made her screen debut at the age of seven in the TV film Royal Celebration (1993). She then appeared in several other TV shows and films, such as The Bill (1995), The Treasure Seekers (1996), Coming Home (1998), and Oliver Twist (1999).
- Her first major film role was as Sabé, the decoy of Queen Amidala, in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999). She was cast because of her resemblance to Natalie Portman, who played the queen.
- Her breakthrough came when she played Juliette Paxton, a soccer-loving teenager, in Bend It Like Beckham (2002). The film was a critical and commercial success and launched her international career.
- She then starred as Elizabeth Swann, the love interest of Will Turner, in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003). The film was a huge hit and spawned four sequels. Knightley reprised her role in two of them: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006) and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007).
- She also appeared in the ensemble romantic comedy Love Actually (2003), playing Juliet, a newlywed who discovers that her husband’s best friend is secretly in love with her.
- Knightley received her first Academy Award nomination for Best Actress for playing Elizabeth Bennet, the heroine of Jane Austen’s novel Pride & Prejudice (2005). She also won a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her performance.
- She then starred as Cecilia Tallis, a young woman who is separated from her lover by a false accusation, in Atonement (2007). The film was based on Ian McEwan’s novel and earned Knightley a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama.
- She continued to work in period films, playing Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire, in The Duchess (2008), Anna Karenina, the titular heroine of Leo Tolstoy’s novel Anna Karenina (2012), and Joan Clarke, a codebreaker who worked with Alan Turing during World War II, in The Imitation Game (2014).
- For her role as Joan Clarke, Knightley received her second Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. She also won a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her performance.
Kiera Knightley Recent Work
- In recent years, Knightley has explored different genres and mediums. She starred as Gretta James, an aspiring singer-songwriter, in Begin Again (2013), Cathy Muller Ryan, a medical student who becomes involved in espionage, in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014), Colette, a French novelist who challenged gender norms, in Colette (2018), and Katharine Gun, a British whistleblower who exposed illegal spying before the Iraq War, in Official Secrets (2019).
- She also made her Broadway debut as Thérèse Raquin, a woman who plots to murder her husband with her lover, in Thérèse Raquin (2015). She received a Laurence Olivier Award nomination for Best Actress for her performance.
- She also returned to television, playing Gwendoline Christie, a detective who investigates a murder in a small town, in The Undoing (2020). She won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie for her role.
Personal Life and Philanthropy
- Knightley has been married twice and has two children. Her first husband was Jamie Dornan, an actor and model whom she met on the set of an Asprey photoshoot in 2003. 2005 saw their wedding and 2007 saw their divorce.
- Her second and current husband is James Righton, a musician and former member of the band Klaxons. They married in 2013 and have two daughters, Edie and Delilah.
- Knightley is a vocal supporter of various causes, such as women’s rights, human rights, environmentalism, and mental health awareness. She has worked with organisations such as Amnesty International, Oxfam, Comic Relief, Women for Women International, and Mind.
- She is also a patron of the SMA Trust, a charity that funds research into spinal muscular atrophy, a genetic disease that affects her friend’s son.
Kiera Knightley Net Worth
- Knightley’s net worth as of 2021 is estimated to be $80 million.
- She has earned most of her wealth from her acting career, both in films and television. She has also earned money from endorsements, such as Chanel perfume and jewellery.
- She owns several properties around the world, including a townhouse in London, a farmhouse in France, and an apartment in New York City.