What We Know About Keira Knightley's Dating History

Keira Knightley became one of the most recognizable actors in the business in the early to mid-2000s. The star began acting when she was 7 and went on to transform herself from a child star into an A-lister. The London native is best known for starring in "Pride and Prejudice" and "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl." Moreover, Knightley has gained a reputation for making period films such as "Atonement," "The Duchess," and "Anna Karenina," amongst others. However, Knightley's acclaim led her to be incessantly hounded by the press and paparazzi. Thus, she is notoriously private about her love life and past relationships.

In 2013, she quietly married musician James Righton in France. Knightley famously donned a pink strapless Chanel dress at the ceremony that she first wore in 2008. Reflecting on his nuptials to Knightely, Righton, the keyboard player for the now-defunct band Klaxons, told NME, "I just fell in love with someone who happens to be amazing. We had a beautiful wedding and there was a lot of love." Knightley later told Harper's Bazaar UK that she never saw herself getting married until her relationship with Righton. But before Knightley found true love, the actor had a few high-profile romances with fellow actors throughout the early 2000s.

She had a romance with her Princess of Thieves co-star

In 2001, Keira Knightley starred in Disney's made-for-tv film "Princess of Thieves". Knightley portrayed Gwyn, Robin Hood's daughter and her co-stars included Malcolm McDowell and Irish actor Del Synnott. Knightley and Synnott subsequently began a relationship. While little is known about their romance, it reportedly ended in the summer of 2003. According to Contactmusic, Knightley quickly moved on to future "50 Shades of Grey" actor Jamie Dornan. As a result, Synnott allegedly attempted to kill himself.

A source told Contactmusic, "She [Knightley] was mortified when she found out what had happened to Del. She rushed to his bedside and stayed all night." They added, "When we heard he was in hospital we all assumed the worst because he had been so upset about breaking up from Keira. She has insisted that she have a break from Jamie until everything is sorted out." Per The Guardian, Knightley never publicly commented on this incident.

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Keira Knightley had an ill-fated relationship with Jamie Dornan

Keira Knightley and Jamie Dornan got together after meeting at a photo shoot in August 2003. Doran was then a model and not yet an actor. Although Knightley kept mum about their relationship, the pair were often photographed together and followed by the press. In August 2005, Dornan's publicist told People that the two had ended their relationship but were "completely committed to each other as friends and will continue to see each other in this capacity."

Per the Belfast Telegraph, Dornan later spoke about his relationship with Knightley to the Mail on Sunday and hinted that her massive fame may have led to the demise of their relationship. He said, "There is a big pressure when you go out with someone like Keira. You can feel a bit second-rate and that's what started to happen. It's not like I was bringing the bread to the table — and that can start to affect everything."

Dornan, whose mother died in 1998 from cancer, added, "Losing Keira is a very different kind of grief. The strength I got from losing my mum isn't helping me deal with it. When you feel that you've lost someone, it's very hard." In a 2014 interview with the Evening Standard, Dornan reflected on being chased by the paparazzi when he was with Knightley and called the situation a "strange environment."

The actor was linked to Adrien Brody

In 2005, Keira Knightley starred in the psychological thriller "The Jacket" with Academy Award winner Adrien Brody. During the film's production in 2004, the press reported that Knightley and Brody had become an item. The Irish Examiner wrote that Knightley and Brody were spotted spending time together in Glasgow, Scotland. A source said, "Keira and Adrien really seemed to have clicked" and that they were "very close." However, Knightley was still in a relationship with Jamie Dornan.

Brody was also in a relationship and vehemently denied that he and Knightley had dated. According to the Irish Mirror, Brody made it clear that neither he nor Knightley had been unfaithful to their respective partners. He told Now magazine, "We ate together a couple of times because we were working, but it never went further than that." Brody also noted, "We were committed to other people and the work on the film was non-stop."

She had a longtime relationship with Rupert Friend

After her relationship with Jamie Doran, Keira Knightley officially moved on to actor Rupert Friend in 2006. Friend is known for starring in the hit series "Homeland" and the 2005 film "Pride & Prejudice." Knightley met her former beau on the set of the latter project. The two lived together in Hyde Park, London. In 2010, Knightley's friend and her "The Edge of Love" costar, Sienna Miller, told the Irish Examiner that Knightley and Friend were the images of domestic bliss. Miller disclosed, "She and Rupert live a wonderful life. They read books and discuss topics and cook for their friends."

Knightley and Friend broke up in 2011. A source told the Daily Mail that their relationship broke down because of Knightley's fame and demanding career. They explained further noting, "It affected the harmony in the relationship. The pressure took its toll and both decided they should go their separate ways. They will remain life-long friends." The source added that the pair saw very little of each other and were devasted to end things. Moreover, Knightley's father, William Knightley, spoke to the publication and noted that after being together for five years, their breakup "wasn't a decision that either of them took lightly."

Keira Knightley on her marriage to James Righton

Keira Knightley met her husband, James Righton, the same year she and Rupert Friend ended their relationship. In a 2014 interview with The Guardian, Knightley said that a mutual friend introduced the two and that they were "very drunk" at the time. Righton later told the New York Post that Knightley knew nothing about his hugely popular band, Klaxons. Nevertheless, sparks flew, and the pair became engaged in May 2012. They married a year later. Speaking about her marriage, Knightley explained to The Guardian that she and Righton are homebodies who like to read.

She noted, "He's the sort of person who will be the brightest light in any room whereas I'm the one who sits in the corner. And he's much nicer than me." Righton has also praised his wife in interviews. He bragged to the Independent that he is astounded by Knightley's talent and her ability to cope with the media frenzy that came with her notoriety.

The pair now have two daughters, Edie and Delilah, who were born in 2015 and 2019 respectively. During a March 2023 appearance on "The Drew Barrymore Show," Knightley briefly touched on her marriage, saying, "Yeah, we made it. We made it. We have two children, and we've made it a decade. It's a miracle."