Love Actually cast: Where are the stars of the Christmas romcom now?

5 December 2023, 17:48

Love Actually was released in 2003
Love Actually was released in 2003. Picture: Alamy

By Tom Eames

It’s been 20 years since the release of the beloved Christmas romantic comedy, Love Actually, which featured an ensemble cast of actors who have since become household names.

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The film, directed by Richard Curtis, was a box-office hit and has become a festive season staple, warming the hearts of audiences with its intertwining tales of love and loss.

As we approach another Christmas season, it’s natural to wonder where the stars of Love Actually are now and how their careers have unfolded since the film’s release.

From Hugh Grant, who played the charming Prime Minister, to Thomas Brodie-Sangster, the lovable young Sam, each cast member has taken a unique path in the entertainment industry.

As we revisit the iconic London setting of Love Actually, let’s take a moment to celebrate the journey of its beloved cast and the enduring legacy they’ve created through their collective portrayal of love in all its forms.

  1. Hugh Grant (David, the PM)

    Hugh Grant
    Hugh Grant. Picture: Alamy/Getty

    Hugh Grant was known for his charming roles in romantic comedies before Love Actually. He gained international fame with his performance in Four Weddings and a Funeral in 1994, for which he received a Golden Globe Award and a BAFTA Film Award for Best Actor.

    Other notable films before Love Actually include Notting Hill (1999), Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001), and About a Boy (2002).

    When Love Actually was released in 2003, Hugh Grant was 43 years old.

    Since Love Actually, Hugh Grant has continued to have a successful career with many roles in films such as Paddington 2 and The Undoing.

    He has also become a father to five children and got married for the first time in 2018.

  2. Alan Rickman (Harry)

    Alan Rickman
    Alan Rickman. Picture: Alamy

    Before Love Actually, Alan Rickman was already a highly acclaimed actor known for his versatile and compelling performances. One of his most iconic roles was as Hans Gruber, the antagonist in the 1988 action film Die Hard opposite Bruce Willis.

    He became a beloved figure in the fantasy genre for his portrayal of Severus Snape in the Harry Potter film series, starting in 2001.

    After Love Actually, Alan Rickman continued to have a successful career in both film and theatre. In 2013, he directed and starred in A Little Chaos.

    Tragically, Alan Rickman passed away on January 14, 2016, at the age of 69, due to pancreatic cancer. His death was a significant loss to the entertainment industry, and fans and colleagues alike mourned the passing of this incredibly talented actor.

  3. Emma Thompson (Karen)

    Emma Thompson
    Emma Thompson. Picture: Getty/Alamy

    Emma Thompson was already a highly acclaimed actress, known for her universal performances in both dramatic and comedic roles. She gained recognition for her work in films like Howards End (1992), for which she won an Academy Award for Best Actress, and Sense and Sensibility (1995), where she received an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.

    Since 2003, she has starred in various films, such as Nanny McPhee (2005) and its sequel. She also played Professor Sybill Trelawney in the Harry Potter film series. She also co-produced Last Christmas and has written three Peter Rabbit books.

    In recent years, she has continued to receive acclaim for her performances in films like Saving Mr. Banks (2013) and The Children Act (2017).

  4. Keira Knightley (Juliet)

    Keira Knightley
    Keira Knightley. Picture: Getty/Alamy

    Aged just 18 when the film came out, Keira Knightley had gained recognition for her role as Elizabeth Swann in the popular film franchise Pirates of the Caribbean, also released in 2003. She also starred in Bend It Like Beckham (2002).

    Since Love Actually, Keira Knightley has had a prolific career. She continued her role as Elizabeth Swann in the subsequent Pirates of the Caribbean films. Some of her notable works include Pride & Prejudice (2005), for which she received an Academy Award nomination, Atonement (2007), Anna Karenina (2012), and The Imitation Game (2014).

    Additionally, in recent years, she has taken on roles in films such as "Colette" (2018) and "Official Secrets" (2019).

    She married her partner James Righton in 2013, and she has two children.

  5. Colin Firth (Jamie)

    Colin Firth
    Colin Firth. Picture: Getty/Alamy

    Colin Firth was already a well-established actor before his role in Love Actually. He gained widespread attention for his portrayal of Mr Darcy in the 1995 TV adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, which led to roles in prominent films such as The English Patient (1996), Shakespeare in Love (1998), and as Mark Darcy in the romantic comedy Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001).

    His career continued to flourish after Love Actually, with memorable roles in Mamma Mia! (2008), A Single Man (2009) for which he earned an Oscar nomination, and The King’s Speech (2010), for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor. He has also starred in the Kingsman films and appeared in Mary Poppins Returns (2018).

    He became a father for the third time when his wife Livia Giuggioli gave birth to their son Matteo in August 2003. He separated from his wife in 2019.

    Firth’s contributions to drama were recognized when he was appointed a CBE by Queen Elizabeth II in 2011.

  6. Lucia Moniz (Aurelia)

    Lucia Moniz
    Lucia Moniz. Picture: Getty/Alamy

    Before playing the timid Aurelia in Love Actually, Lúcia Moniz was already a well-established artist in Portugal. Her career took off when she represented Portugal in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1996 with the song 'O Meu Coração Não Tem Cor', achieving the best result ever for a Portuguese song at that time.

    Since her appearance in the 2003 film, Lúcia Moniz took on leading roles in several musical productions directed by Filipe La Féria between 2006 and 2008. In 2009, she participated in the TV series Living in Your Car for HBO Canada, and in 2010, she starred in the series Maternidade on RTP 1.

    More recently, she starred in Next to Normal and had leading roles in international co-productions like Fatima and LISTEN, which won awards at the Venice International Film Festival.

    She has a daughter, Júlia Moniz Bettencourt, born in 2004, with her ex-partner Donovan Bettencourt, a musician from the band Mourning Widows.

  7. Liam Neeson (Daniel)

    Liam Neeson
    Liam Neeson. Picture: Getty/Alamy

    Liam Neeson was known for his powerful performance in Schindler’s List in 1993, for which he received nominations for an Oscar, a BAFTA, and a Golden Globe for Best Actor. He also had notable roles in films like Michael Collins, and Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace before starring as Daniel in Love Actually in 2003.

    Since then, he has starred in several major blockbusters, including the action-packed Taken series, which has become synonymous with his name. He also appeared in Batman Begins among many others.

    He faced a tragic loss in 2009 when his wife, Natasha Richardson, passed away after a skiing accident. They were married in 1994 and had two sons together.

  8. Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Sam)

    Thomas Brodie-Sangster
    Thomas Brodie-Sangster. Picture: Getty/Alamy

    Thomas Brodie-Sangster was 13 when Love Actually came out, marking his breakout role as Liam Neeson's lovesick stepson Sam.

    Since then, Brodie-Sangster has had a successful acting career, featuring in films Nanny McPhee and Nowhere Boy, where he portrayed Paul McCartney. He also voiced Ferb in the animated series Phineas and Ferb and appeared in popular series such as Game of Thrones as Jojen Reed and The Maze Runner film series as Newt.

    More recently, he was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for his role as Benny Watts in the Netflix miniseries The Queen’s Gambit.

    As of 2023, he is engaged to actress Talulah Riley, whom he met while working on the series Pistol.

  9. Bill Nighy (Billy Mack)

    Bill Nighy
    Bill Nighy. Picture: Getty/Alamy

    Bill Nighy, before his breakout role in Love Actually as ageing rocker Billy Mack, was known for his work in British TV and film. His film roles include the comedies Still Crazy (1998), and Blow Dry (2001).

    Since 2003, Nighy’s career took a significant turn as he achieved international stardom. He gained recognition for portraying Davy Jones in the Pirates of the Caribbean film series and Viktor in the Underworld film series. His other notable films include Shaun of the Dead (2004), The Constant Gardener (2005), Notes on a Scandal (2006), Valkyrie (2008), Wild Target (2010), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 (2010), The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2012), About Time (2013), Emma (2020), and Living (2022), the last of which earned him a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor.

    He was in a long-term relationship with actress Diana Quick from 1982 until they separated in 2008.

  10. Martine McCutcheon (Natalie)

    Martine McCutcheon
    Martine McCutcheon. Picture: Getty/Alamy

    Martine McCutcheon was known for her role as Tiffany Mitchell in the TV soap EastEnders, which she played from 1995 until 1998. This role brought her significant recognition and she won the National Television Award for her performance.

    Before her acting career took off, she also had minor success as one-third of the pop group Milan in the early 1990s. After leaving EastEnders, she embarked on a solo pop career, including the UK number one single 'Perfect Moment' and two UK top 10 entries.

    Since her appearance in Love Actually in 2003, Martine McCutcheon’s career has included a mix of music, television, and stage work. She returned to music in 2017 with the album Lost and Found.

    In terms of acting, she starred in the ITV soap Echo Beach and has been a judge on Soapstar Superstar and a regular panelist on the series Loose Women.

    She got married to singer Jack McManus at Lake Como in 2012.

  11. Chiwetel Ejiofor (Peter)

    Chiwetel Ejiofor
    Chiwetel Ejiofor. Picture: Getty/Alamy

    Chiwetel Ejiofor was already a rising star before his appearance in Love Actually. He made his TV debut in 1996 and was cast in the movie Amistad by Steven Spielberg in 1997. His performance in Dirty Pretty Things in 2002 earned him critical acclaim and a British Independent Film Award for best actor.

    Since 2003, Ejiofor’s career has flourished. He received high praise for his role in 12 Years a Slave in 2013, for which he received Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations, along with the BAFTA Award for Best Actor.

    He has also directed his own feature film and appeared in big-budget Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, such as Doctor Strange and its sequel.

    He was appointed an OBE in 2008 and elevated to Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2015. His charity work in Nigeria has been recognized with a Global Promise Award by The GEANCO Foundation.

  12. Andrew Lincoln (Mark)

    Andrew Lincoln
    Andrew Lincoln. Picture: Get

    Andrew Lincoln was known to TV viewers for his portrayals of Edgar ‘Egg’ Cooke in the BBC drama This Life and as teacher Simon Casey in the Channel 4 sitcom Teachers.

    Since 2003, Lincoln has become most recognized for his role as Rick Grimes in the hit TV series The Walking Dead, which began in 2010. For this role, he won the Saturn Award for Best Actor on Television in 2015 and 2017. He left the show in 2018 but returned for a cameo in the series finale in 2022 and is set to reprise his role in an upcoming television series slated for release in 2024.

    Andrew Lincoln married Gael Anderson in 2006, and they have two children, Matilda (born 2007) and Arthur (born 2010).

  13. Laura Linney (Sarah)

    Laura Linney
    Laura Linney. Picture: Getty/Alamy

    Laura Linney made her film debut with a minor role in Lorenzo’s Oil in 1992 and went on to receive Academy Award nominations for the dramas You Can Count on Me in 2000, Kinsey in 2004, and The Savages in 2007.

    She was also known for her performances in Primal Fear in 1996, The Truman Show in 1998, and Mystic River in 2003, among others. On television, she won her first Emmy Award for the television film Wild Iris in 2001, and had subsequent wins for the sitcom Frasier in 2003 and the miniseries John Adams in 2008.

    Since Love Actually, Linney starred in the TV series The Big C from 2010 to 2013, which won her a fourth Emmy in 2013, and from 2017 to 2022 she starred in the Netflix crime series Ozark.

    Linney married Marc Schauer in 2009, and they welcomed their son in 2014.

  14. Rodrigo Santoro (Karl)

    Rodrigo Santoro
    Rodrigo Santoro. Picture: Getty/Alamy

    Before his role in Love Actually, Rodrigo Santoro was already a well-known actor in Brazil.

    Since 2003, Santoro is perhaps best known for his portrayal of Persian King Xerxes in the film 30” (2006) and its sequel. He also starred in Che (2008), I Love You Phillip Morris (2009), and Rio (2011). On TV, he appeared in Lost, portraying Paulo, and on HBO’s Westworld (2016–2020) as Hector Escaton.

    He has been in a relationship with Brazilian actress Mel Fronckowiak since 2013, and the couple welcomed their first child, a daughter named Nina, in 2017.

  15. Kris Marshall (Colin)

    Kris Marshall
    Kris Marshall. Picture: Getty/Alamy

    Before Love Actually, Kris Marshall was best known for his portrayal of Nick Harper in the BBC sitcom My Family, a role he began in 2000.

    Since then, he appeared as DS Luke Stone in the police drama series Murder City in 2004 and played the character Adam in BT adverts from 2005 to 2011.

    In 2014, he joined the cast of the BBC drama Death In Paradise as DI Humphrey Goodman, a role he played until 2017. More recently, in 2023, he reprised the role in Beyond Paradise.

    He married Hannah Dodkin in 2012, and the couple has two children.

  16. Abdul Saris (Tony)

    Abdul Salis
    Abdul Salis. Picture: Getty/Alamy

    Abdul Salis had a number of TV roles before 2003, including The Hidden City and Trevor’s World of Sport.

    Since Love Actually, Salis played paramedic Curtis Cooper on Casualty, and the films Sahara (2005), Welcome Home (2004), and Animal (2004).

    He has appeared in several stage and radio productions over the years, as well as voicing video games.

  17. Heike Makatsch (Mia)

    Heike Makatsch
    Heike Makatsch. Picture: Getty/Alamy

    Heike Makatsch was already a well-known figure in Germany before her role in Love Actually. She started her TV career in 1993, hosting shows for the music channel VIVA. By 1995, she became the host of the German chart show Bravo TV.

    Her film debut came in 1996 with Männerpension, for which she received the Bavarian Film Award as the most talented young actor. She is also known for her role as Lisa Addison in Resident Evil.

    Since 2003, Makatsch has continued to work in both German and English language productions. She has been a part of several films, including The Book Thief (2013). She has also been a face for the French cosmetics company L’Oréal since 2012.

    Makatsch was in a seven-year relationship with British actor Daniel Craig, which ended in 2004. She has three daughters, born in 2007, 2009, and 2015; the first two are with musician Max Martin Schröder. She has been in a relationship with actor Trystan Pütter since 2017.

  18. Martin Freeman (John)

    Martin Freeman
    Martin Freeman. Picture: Getty/Alamy

    Martin Freeman was best known for his role as Tim Canterbury in The Office from 2001 to 2003.

    Since Love Actually, Martin Freeman’s career has flourished with a variety of significant roles. He gained widespread acclaim for his portrayal of Dr John Watson in the British crime drama series Sherlock from 2010 to 2017. His role as young Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit film trilogy from 2012 to 2014 further cemented his status as a leading actor in major film franchises.

    Freeman also starred in the dark comedy-crime drama series Fargo in 2014, and since 2016, he has been part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, appearing in films like Captain America: Civil War and Black Panther.

    Martin Freeman was in a long-term relationship with actress Amanda Abbington from 2000 to 2016, with whom he has two children. The couple separated in 2016. Since then, Freeman has been in a relationship with actress Rachel Mariam from 2020.

  19. Joanna Page (Judy)

    Joanna Page
    Joanna Page. Picture: Getty/Alamy

    Joanna Page had her breakout role in Love Actually, having preiously appeared in stage productions.

    Since then, Joanna had been struggling to find work at first and by 2006, she was working in a shoe store and had missed out on the chance to star in Dirty Dancing on the West End.

    However, she continued to pursue her career and became well-known for her role as Stacey Shipman in the hit series Gavin and Stacey.

    Joanna married actor James Thornton in 2003, and they have four children together.

  20. Olivia Olson (Joanna)

    Olivia Olson
    Olivia Olson. Picture: Getty/Alamy

    Olivia Olson's breakthrough came with her portrayal of Joanna Anderson in Love Actually, where she performed the song 'All I Want for Christmas Is You'.

    Since then, Olson has had a successful career, particularly in voice acting. She is known for her roles as Vanessa Doofenshmirtz in Phineas and Ferb and Marceline the Vampire Queen in Adventure Time.

    She has also been involved in live theatre, including performances at Comedy Central Stage, the HBO Theater, and The Fake Gallery. She also appeared on The X Factor Celebrity.