What Mrs. Hughes From Downton Abbey Looks Like In Real Life

"Downton Abbey" is the hit period drama following a noble British family — and their staff of maids, butlers, cooks, etc. — living in the titular, fictional estate in the aftermath of World War I and beyond. 

The show ran for six successful seasons, from 2010 to 2016, per IMDb, and also inspired two spinoff movies, the second of which is slated for release in 2022 and takes the characters to the south of France (via Tatler). 

"Downton Abbey" went from strength to strength throughout its run, nabbing a whopping 15 Primetime Emmy Awards and three Golden Globes. The show consistently held viewers' attention because it captured the aspirational lives of aristocratic types as well as the less glamorous lives of their various servants.

In many ways, in fact, the drama taking place behind the scenes at Downton was more captivating than what happened in full view of the various high-ranking players. 

In particular, head housekeeper Mrs. Hughes captured fans' hearts due to her stoic nature, tender heart, and commitment to getting the job done right. She didn't exactly rule with an iron fist, but Hughes knew what needed to be done and took no nonsense from her underlings. 

Moreover, her sweet love affair with the equally stoic Mr. Carson further endeared the housekeeper to everybody watching at home. 

Offscreen, however, actor Phyllis Logan is worlds away from the buttoned-up housekeeper. But she still holds Hughes close to her heart. 

Phyllis Logan's real-life husband appeared briefly on Downton Abbey

Fans were hooked on Mrs. Hughes' slow-burn romance with Mr. Carson on "Downton Abbey." But, in real life, actor Phyllis Logan, who plays the dedicated housekeeper, is happily married to fellow actor Kevin McNally.

As Hello! points out, Logan appeared in almost every episode of "Downton Abbey" since the show premiered as well as the two spinoff movies. McNally, meanwhile, has featured in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" films as well as many other projects. However, he also popped up in "Downton" during Seasons 2 and 3.

The couple met all the way back in 1994 while working on miniseries "Love and Reason" but didn't get married until 2011. 

They keep their relationship mostly private, but, in a 2017 interview with The Guardian, Logan confirmed that they "make sure we speak to each other every day," regardless of how busy their work schedules might be. 

The "Downton Abbey" star was initially hesitant about dating a fellow actor, believing them to be "vain" creatures, but she admitted that "you can't legislate for love." The happy couple shares a son, David, and lives in Chiswick, England.

Here's how the actress thinks Mrs. Hughes would fare in lockdown

Mrs. Hughes is a creature of habit, so it's easy to imagine that she wouldn't take kindly to being stuck at home doing nothing during the COVID-19 lockdown. However, according to actor Phyllis Logan, the dedicated head-of-house would be just fine. 

"She's not one to just roll over and die with her legs in the air," Logan told Town & Country. In fact, the actor reckons Hughes "would maybe set herself a few challenges: learn how to cook properly, do a bit of gardening, maybe take up learning the bagpipes. She likes the hustle and bustle of being in the house and the kitchens and organizing."

Likewise, the housekeeper would also focus on getting supplies to people in need who can't leave their homes or who can't afford to eat without their regular jobs.  "She'd have Mr. Carson digging up his carrots, and she'd be taking them round like Florence Nightingale," she said. "She'd be taking them 'round to the needy." 

Logan is also glad that the show brings respite to those struggling to contend with the pandemic. 

"It is a bit of escapism, and there's nothing wrong with that in this particular moment in time, when it's all a bit too real and all a bit oppressive," she said, explaining that "Downton Abbey" "offers an escape into another world, a world which is kinder in many respects, and one that looks more beautiful."

Phyllis Logan is proud to be known as Mrs. Hughes forever

Although Phyllis Logan has had huge success, with "Downton Abbey" introducing her to audiences worldwide, she's in no hurry to pursue a career in Hollywood. 

"Downton's success did take us all by surprise and especially the love of it in the States," she told the Mirror. "They are mad for it! But it's pointless me rocking up to LA now and saying 'OK I am here!'" 

Logan reasoned that her younger colleagues might be eager to move, but she doesn't feel the need as "there are so many roles now on offer for my age group in the UK," she said.

In fact, after "Downton," Logan appeared in the award-winning BBC series "Guilt," confirming that she's still in high demand. "People like Maggie Smith and Judi Dench, in their 80s, have shown they are still vibrant and getting plaudits," she said. 

Logan's heart will always be in Downton, though, with the actor sharing that the ensemble cast had a "riot" filming the film sequel "Downton Abbey: A New Era." She refused to disclose any plot points, however. 

Despite her success, Logan remains impressively grounded. "I am 'Phyllis who goes to the butchers,'" she said. "People in my area in London know me mainly as I have lived there 25 years. I don't read much about what people say and certainly don't think people think of me as a 'national treasure'. Maybe Mrs. Hughes and that's fine by me!"