The Stunning Transformation Of Sienna Miller

Sienna Miller is an American-born British actor who first rose to fame as the girlfriend of Jude Law in the early 2000s. After a turbulent period fighting off the British tabloids, she eventually sued The Sun for prying into her private life. Since then, Miller has established herself as a respected actor thanks to her performances in films like "Factory Girl," "The Edge of Love," "Foxcatcher," "American Sniper," and "American Woman," to name just a few. You may also remember her as Ana from "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra" or as Nina in "The Lost City of Z." More recently, she's once again received praise for her turn in "Anatomy of a Scandal." Miller has also received acclaim onstage for her turns in plays like "After Miss Julie," "Cabaret," "Flare Path," and "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof."

These days, Miller enjoys a private life with daughter, Marlowe, far away from the paparazzi who once hounded her. As she told Elle U.K. in 2022, since turning 40, her life has been defined by a newfound "tranquility." So, how did Miller go from tabloid starlet to a private but esteemed actor? Here is the stunning transformation of Sienna Miller.

Sienna Miller was born in New York and raised in the UK

Sienna Miller was born on December 28, 1981, in New York. However, her family soon relocated to England. Her father was a banker and later an art dealer and her mother was a model and personal assistant to David Bowie. The pair divorced when Miller was a child. Miller was educated at the all-girls Heathfield boarding school. "I had a kind of privileged upbringing," she told DuJour. She added, "What is that leg up in life and how does that lead you to the places you go?"

Although Miller's privileged upbringing helped her, it wasn't always easy being away from home. "I was 8 years old when I went to boarding school," she later told "For me, looking back, that was too young. It was really hard, but you adapt." However, the experience did give her insights she wouldn't have gained otherwise. As Miller went on to explain, she later decided not to send her own daughter to boarding school.

She grew up dreaming of an acting career

Even as a young girl, Sienna Miller knew that she wanted to act. In fact, she grew up fascinated by old movies and by the theater. 

"It was too expensive to go to the theater all the time, but I loved it when I did! My mum would sometimes take us to the theater or the ballet," she told The Talks of her early theatrical influences. Some of her favorite actors at the time included Richard Burton, Katharine Hepburn, Judi Dench, Clara Bow, and Charlie Chaplin. She also spent a lot of time as a child reading plays and books.

After falling in love with old movies and the theater, the young Miller began experimenting with performing for herself. "I remember always putting on plays at home and dressing up. ... I'm still not clear on why I was so set on it but I never really allowed myself to imagine doing anything else," she said.

Sienna Miller studied acting in New York City

After graduating from high school, Sienna Miller set out to pursue her acting dreams, relocating to New York where she studied at the Lee Strasberg Institute for a year — her mother had run the school's London outpost. 

"She teaches yoga and the Alexander Technique and was teaching a lot of actors who wanted to understand acting," Miller told Black Film in 2005. "And so set up the Lee Strasberg school in London. But it was kind of independent of that that I chose that school because I'd studied Brecht ... Stanislavski at school and was very drawn to Stanislavski of the three, and plus I was 18 and wanted a good excuse for moving to New York."

As Miller told Porter years later, New York always felt more like home than London. "I think I'm more self-conscious in London," she said. "I feel like everyone's seen my pants." 

She landed her first role in Layer Cake

Sienna Miller's first big movie role came in the 2004 Matthew Vaughn film "Layer Cake" opposite Daniel Craig. Miller played Tammy, who ends up with Craig's character by the end of the film. Although the role wasn't a starring one and only took her five days to film, it was her first claim to fame and the first film to put her in the public eye.

As Miller told Esquire U.K. in 2014, she wasn't ready for the levels of fame that would come from the gangster movie. "I was really naive, I think. I was a young 21," she said. "Not green as grass — I was by no means an innocent — but I had faith in the goodness of everyone." Miller wasn't expecting the challenges that came with fame. "I was very open," she said. "And that led me into all sorts of situations that backfired."

Sienna Miller became a celebrity overnight when she began dating Jude Law

Although "Layer Cake" was Sienna Miller's first big role as an actress, her relationship with Jude Law made her an overnight celebrity. Miller met Law on the set of her second major film, "Alfie," in 2004 — Law was getting divorced from Sadie Frost at the time. By Christmas that year, he and Miller were engaged. Their spokesperson told People, "They are spectacularly happy. He proposed to her on Christmas day with a gold band and nine diamonds." However, less than a year later, Law had an affair with his nanny. He soon issued a public apology. The pair broke up, before getting back together for a couple of years, then breaking up for good in 2011.

For Miller, who was acting onstage at the time, the tabloid focus on the relationship and scandal were almost impossible to manage. "That was one of the most challenging moments I hope I'll ever have to experience," she told the Daily Beast years later. "Because with that level of public heartbreak, to have to get out of a bed let alone stand in front of 800 people every night, it's just the last thing you want to do. It was really hard."

Even though the experience was harrowing for Miller, she eventually moved on and even formed a distant friendship with Law. "We don't see each other that much," she told Porter in 2016. "I care about him enormously."

Her early career was tainted by tabloid culture

Sienna Miller's relationship with Jude Law wasn't the only thing that captured tabloid attention. In fact, throughout the mid-2000s, Miller was constantly hounded by paparazzi. Shortly after The Sun reported Jude Law's affair, it also reported that Sienna Miller was pregnant — she was, though she ended up not having the baby. "Appearing in public when you're extremely heartbroken. Trying not to break. All the while being mocked and ridiculed," Miller said to The Guardian, remembering the period. It was, as she put it, "Hell, honestly."

Years later, Miller reached a settlement with The Sun. As she stated outside of court after the settlement was reached, "They very nearly ruined my life. I have certainly seen how they have ruined the lives of others." 

Over the years, Miller has managed to move on from the trauma of being a constant fixture in the tabloids. "It feels like somebody else's existence," she told Elle U.K. in 2022. "I can go and visit it and look at it, but it doesn't feel like my life. I can't quite believe that it all happened. And not to put it specifically on that one thing, but just the chaos of the entire decade is so far removed from my life now."

Sienna Miller's daughter changed everything for her

Sienna Miller had her daughter, Marlowe, in 2012 with her then-fiancé, Tom Sturridge. For Miller, having a child "changed everything." "The stakes are higher," she explained to The Guardian. "You have someone that you want to be proud of you eventually." She also reached a new sense of mortality. "For me, as soon as I had a baby I had a vision of my life — and what was left of it," she said.

Things changed, on a practical level, too. In her career, she began focusing on theater work or smaller film roles that she could film quickly. "I've done a play, which you can kind of get away with because you have the days off, but the idea of three months on set in every scene is really daunting," she told The Talks. She explained that she was still working on getting the balance right with her job so that she had enough time with her daughter. She even found herself caring less about landing big parts. "To get that balance right, to fulfill your creative needs and also be there for your kids," she explained. "So, I do find that now I'm a parent, my ambition has, to a certain degree, dwindled."

She has been engaged three times

Sienna Miller has gotten engaged three times, though she has never gotten married. First, it was Jude Law, then Tom Sturridge, the father of her daughter. Later, she became engaged to Lucas Zwirner.

Miller has, it seems, remained good friends with each of her exes. Although her engagement to Law ended with scandal, she still considers him a friend. As for Sturridge, he has become both a co-parent and her best friend. "Everybody will stay over or we'll all go on holiday, and that's because we genuinely want to be around each other," she told Harper's Bazaar. "It's great for our daughter that she has two parents who love each other and are friends. He's definitely my best friend in the entire world." Miller's relationship with Zwirner ended in 2020.

Despite her three engagements, Miller has no regrets. "I was never somebody who dreamt of getting married," she explained to DuJour. "I've been engaged a few times, but I've never been married. It's better than three divorces, I think."

Sienna Miller's 30s were a difficult decade

After a tumultuous decade of paparazzi and scandal in her 20s, Sienna Miller's 30s were also pretty stressful. In fact, as the actor later told British Vogue, she felt a surprising sense of relief when she turned 40. "My 30s were hard. Really hard," she said. "There was a lot of anxiety. Relationships hadn't worked out — I imagined that I would be married with three kids, being a great mum. I love being a mother." 

Miller explained that one of the biggest regrets of her 30s was spending time on a relationship that eventually failed. "I'd invested what felt like the important years in something that was just a bucket with a hole in it of a person," she said. "I wasted time. And I felt like time was really my currency." 

Even though Miller didn't love her 30s, she found herself relaxing when she reached her 40s. "When I got to 40, it was like coming out of a clearing," she described. Finally, she felt like she was invincible. As she put it, "[T]here's very little that anyone can say to a 40-year-old woman. And I also don't give a f***."

Her career has been full of critically acclaimed film, TV, and stage roles

Over the years, Sienna Miller's career has taken her from the screen to the stage and back again. After "Layer Cake" and "Alfie" shot her to fame in the early 2000s, Miller appeared in "Factory Girl," "Interview," "Stardust," and "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra," establishing herself as a movie star. She also began to establish herself as an accomplished stage actor, with a number of roles on London's West End. She made her Broadway debut in 2015 in a production of "Cabaret." More recently, Miller has made a screen comeback, starring in "American Woman" in 2018 and the acclaimed series "Anatomy of a Scandal" in 2022 alongside Rupert Friend.

These days, Miller's main aim is to keep challenging herself and other people's expectations of her as an actor. "I do look back and feel like I played diverse characters, but these days, I do make a real effort to look different in every film so that I broaden people's horizons," she told The Talks. It sounds like Miller will continue talking on a wide array of roles — and we can definitely expect her to keep surprising us.

Sienna Miller has learned not to be too critical of herself

Having spent the majority of her career in the public eye, Sienna Miller has sometimes fallen into a habit of self-criticism. In fact, when she was younger, she used to watch her performances and judge herself harshly. "I had moments when I was younger, where there would be a screening of some of the first films that I did, and I would watch in a total state of anxiety, wishing that I had worked harder," she told Grazia. "I was very, very critical." These days, Miller avoids watching her films altogether if she can. 

After spending her 20s plastered all over the tabloids, Miller has also learned not to listen to other people's criticisms of her and her lifestyle. "[N]owadays, I feel relatively immune to that kind of bitchy criticism," she told The Guardian in 2017, referring to the critical tabloids of the early 2000s. Seems like Miller isn't too bothered by criticism of herself — whether it's coming from her or someone else.

She has become an advocate for equal pay

After several decades in Hollywood, Sienna Miller has learned a thing or two about the infamous Hollywood gender pay gap — and over the years, she's learned how to advocate for fair payment for her work. In fact, she's become one of the most dominant voices calling for fair pay in the industry — even in the face of one Broadway producer who allegedly told her to "f*** off" when she brought it up, as she told British Vogue

In 2019, for instance, studio execs refused to pay her the fee she asked for, so her co-star, Chadwick Boseman, ended up giving up some of his salary so that she could accept the role. As Miller explained to Porter, she feels that asking for equal pay is only fair. "[A]s the woman, you're [leaned] on so heavily for promotion in a way that men often aren't," she said. 

Miller has even stated that she feels women often deserve more than their male counterparts. "You're so leaned on as a woman to promote a film by doing magazine covers, by what you wear on red carpets. ... They rely on that so heavily that you really should be compensated sometimes more than your male co-stars for what you're asked to do," she told The Telegraph.

Sienna Miller's role in Anatomy of a Scandal was an intimidating challenge

In 2022, Sienna Miller took on the lead role in "Anatomy of a Scandal," a show about the fallout of a politician's affair. The role presented a new challenge for Miller in that the role was actually very similar to herself. "I was excited to play somebody English, which I very rarely do," she said to Tudum, Netflix's editorial website. "I also play quite extreme characters. I hide behind a lot of prosthetics or accents. To want to just sort of take all of that away is intimidating and also exciting."

Though the role was a challenge, Miller rose to it. As the show's showrunner Melissa James Gibson told The New York Times of her performance, "She deserves every challenge because she's up to it."

Critics were also blown away by her turn in the show. As critic Charlotte O'Sullivan put it to the Evening Standard, "I was one of those people who underestimated Miller. "Then I saw her in 'American Sniper' and 'High-Rise' and thought, 'Oh, she's actually really competent.' And then I watched 'American Woman' and was blown away. She is focused and intense, so moving without being manipulative." Clearly, this was one challenge that Miller took in stride.

She has no plans to slow down in the years to come

If Sienna Miller's journey as an actor is anything to go by, she clearly won't be slowing down anytime soon. In fact, we're sure we can expect many, many more exciting roles from heo in the years to come.

Since starring in "Anatomy of a Scandal," Miller is looking forward to taking subtler roles. "I feel quite settled and clear in what I love and what I want to do and what I'm capable of," she told Tudum. Similarly, she told The Talks that she has no plans of stopping her work. "I don't imagine ever not wanting to explore and see and grow and develop as a person," she said. "That is the point of existence in many ways. I love my job for that reason and I hope that I never grow out of it." Miller even told The Times, "I want to be doing this at 80." Chances are she will be.