These Are The Downton Abbey Cast's Actual Partners

The hit series "Downton Abbey” ran for six seasons and was the winner of a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Miniseries, a Golden Globe for Best Miniseries or Television Film, a SAG Award, a Producers Guild award, and a BAFTA award (via PBS). Audiences couldn't get enough of the scandalous storylines, heart-warming relationships, and tragic endings set among the opulence of the aristocratic life. At the height of popularity in Season 4, the show was averaging about 13.4 million viewers, making it PBS's top show of all time (via Forbes).

Despite the name of the film sequel, "Downton Abbey: A New Era," fans will be happy to know that the same cast is returning once again for the second movie. The show was cast with a mix of esteemed entertainment royalty, like Dame Maggie Smith, and newer actors who have gone on to have continued success in their careers. 

Fans know the relationships and marriages of their favorite characters, but how much do you know about the real-life romances of the cast? Nearly everyone on the list is married to another entertainer, and four of the cast members are dating or married to fellow cast members from the show! Here are the real-life relationships of some of the beloved cast members of "Downton Abbey."

Hugh Bonneville married a childhood friend

Hugh Bonneville, who played the Earl of Grantham and man of the house Robert Crawley, has been married to LuLu Williams since 1998. They met when they were teenagers and lost touch for a long period before reuniting. Marrying a childhood friend has kept the couple down-to-earth amidst the fame. Williams told The Daily Mail, "Don't forget we met as teenagers and have a lot of history. We're not fazed by the glitz of the show business world. We are just home-loving people and don't make a habit of hanging out at celebrity parties."

Williams knows that Bonneville is considered a fan favorite, but said, "I don't notice women fawning over him — although I know everybody talks about it." Instead of fussing over the fanfare, Williams cares for the couple's son, Felix, and maintains personal hobbies. Bonneville is grateful for Williams' role of stay-at-home mom and said, "'Lulu's priority has been to be a bedrock for Felix and me and I'm completely indebted to her" (via The Daily Mail). The couple seem to be rock solid and set on forever. For their 30th wedding anniversary, they renewed their vows in August 2018 at the Graceland Wedding Chapel.

Laura Carmichael found love on the set of Downton Abbey

Unlike her character's unlucky turns, love blossomed on set for Laura Carmichael, who played Lady Edith Crawley. Carmichael is dating Michael C. Fox, who played footman Andrew "Andy" Parker on "Downton Abbey." The couple met on set, and revealed their relationship publicly with a romantic stroll through Hampstead Heath in 2016, according to the Evening Standard. Carmichael and Fox moved in together in 2019 (via The Daily Mail).

The couple chooses to stay private about their relationship, but they have revealed a few small details. In an interview with The Sunday Post, Fox said they remained professional on set and didn't put any attention on their relationship: "We'd go to work and we didn't want it to be a thing in any way when we were working together." He went on to say, "It was great, though, to go to work with your best pal. Apart from that we like to keep it quite separate from 'Downton.' The fact we met on set is not a big part of our relationship."

Michelle Dockery found love again after tragedy

Lady Mary Crawley, played by Michelle Dockery, endured heartache with her first partner but eventually found love again, and life has imitated art for Dockery. She lost her 34-year old fiancé, John Dineen, to cancer in 2015. Following his death, she told The Guardian that she had never been committed to anything in life more than she had been committed to Dineen. Dockery was painfully aware of the connection to her character and said, "One of the difficult things at the time was the parallels with Mary. It was just baffling, and still is to me, that my character's storyline was so similar."

Thankfully, her storyline continues to play out similarly to Lady Mary's. Dockery is engaged again to Jasper Waller-Bridge. The couple made an old-fashioned engagement announcement to The Times in January 2022. Waller-Bridge is the creative director of James Grant talent agency and the brother of actress and writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge, a friend of Dockery's. They have been together since 2019, having made their first appearance at the 2019 Rome Film Festival (via Vanity Fair). It was reported to The Daily Mail that they took the relationship slowly and with great sensitivity, but they are enjoying themselves and have the full support of family and friends. No date has been announced for the pending nuptials.

Elizabeth McGovern worked with her director husband on the Downton Abbey movie sequel

Mother Downton, aka Cora Crawley, was played by veteran actor Elizabeth McGovern. In real life, McGovern has been married to filmmaker Simon Curtis since 1992. She reminisced on the couple's early days to The Daily Mail in 2010, remembering back to how excited she was when Curtis once picked her up from the airport. "I thought, 'Oh my God, this is the man I'm going to marry' ... It was a sort of this-is-my-fate feeling, as if there was a part of me that knew. Then I fell pregnant and we just took it from there."

She relocated to Cheswick, England to live near Curtis when she became pregnant, and has lived a life that shares similarities to the storyline of Cora Crawley — an American woman living in England and raising English children. But McGovern has zero regrets about the decision and added, "Now I think I'm so lucky because I have a life I can live in much more happily than the one I was living in Los Angeles."

The couple worked together on the second "Downton" film sequel when Curtis took on the role of director. She told The Daily Mail, "I really feel that if you want to know what Simon's like, you should see this movie because you see his sense of humour, his warmth, his love for family and his love for all the characters that he's actually lived with for so many years via me. I was really blown away by him."

Allen Leech settled into a happily married life and fatherhood

Allen Leech's character Tom Branson went from family driver to family member on the show. In real life, Leech married his sweetheart, actress Jessica Blair Herman, in a star-studded ceremony in early 2019 (via The Sun). Leech's love for his bride couldn't be contained and shortly after their engagement, Leech made a heartfelt post on his Instagram, stating, "Thank you for saying yes and making me the happiest."

Leech met Blair Herman at a Screen Actors Guild afterparty in 2016. He told People, "A friend of mine, Tom, we were about to leave the party and being Irish and having two rubber arms, he said, 'Do you want one more drink?' And I said, 'Yeah, okay,' went in, ordered, turned around, saw this vision in a velvet dress and said, 'Tommy, I'm going to dance with that girl.'"

By the end of 2019, the couple announced that they were expecting their first child. They've stayed low-key about family life, but on their second wedding anniversary, Herman posted on Instagram to mark the occasion. She shared a picture of the couple looking absolutely stunning on their wedding day and jokingly added, "It's so great that we still look exactly the same changing poopy diapers at 3am. Happy 2 year anniversary @therealleech. I love you."

Robert James-Collier keeps his life with his wife and son private

Butler Thomas Barrow, played by Robert James-Collier, had one of the most fascinating story arcs of the series. Barrow was one of the show's primary antagonists in the first few seasons, but by the time "Downton Abbey" was canceled, the character had won over the Crawley family, the staff, and audiences. In real life, James-Collier has been with Lauren Chandiram since 2007, with whom he has a son, Milo. Chandiram moved in with James-Collier in Manchester back in 2012. Her career is centered around clothing sales and design (via Mirror).

James-Collier stays incredibly private about his family life but took the opportunity to tell a funny personal story on the "The Jonathan Ross Show" in 2013. His character, Barrow, struggled with revealing his sexuality as a gay man on "Downton Abbey" and Barrow had an on-screen kiss with another male character. James-Collier figured since he hadn't kissed a woman, he wouldn't have to worry about Chandiram's potential jealousy. However, when he saw the screening of the show with Chandiram, she was less than impressed. After viewing the kiss, she turned to James-Collier and said, "You never kiss me like that."

Jim Carter is going 40 years strong in an entertainment power couple

Jim Carter, who played the rigid house butler Mr. Carson, has been married to actress Imelda Staunton since 1983. The couple met in 1982, when they both acted in the National Theatre revival of "Guys and Dolls." Though they've spent their lives on stage and on screen, they have remained committed to leading an ordinary married life. In 2011, Carter told Saga Magazine, "I know it sounds banal, but we've both got a job, we've got a lovely garden, we've got a wonderful daughter, doggy ... They don't seem extraordinary things to me. Maybe if we had three yachts and eight homes and blah, blah, blah, but this is quite ordinary, and I think it is extraordinary because of that."

During the lockdown, the pair stayed safe at home and settled easily into domestic bliss. Their actress daughter and her flatmate ended up moving in with Carter and Staunton, too. Staunton enjoyed cooking for the household, and the couple enjoyed tending to their garden. "We're keeping ourselves happy and relaxed," said Staunton (via The Daily Mail).

Although the couple never shared scenes, they both appeared in "Downton Abbey” when Staunton joined the cast as Lady Bagshaw. Carter joked, "We went in [together] three days, but we never had any dialogue or scenes together, which I was quite pleased about because I didn't want her getting the idea that I'd be the butler at home as well" (via Good Housekeeping).

Jessica Brown Findlay married a fellow actor during lockdown

One of the most heartbreaking storylines of "Downton Abbey" belonged to Lady Sybil Crawley, played by Jessica Brown Findlay. In the real world, Brown Findlay's love life is in full bloom, but not without its struggles. The coronavirus outbreak caused her to initially postpone her wedding to fellow actor Ziggy Heath. Eventually, during lockdown, she married Heath in a small, surprise ceremony. She told The Times, "It was wonderful — low-key and micro. After a lockdown 30 people felt huge. I wouldn't change anything about it."

Brown Findlay occasionally opens up about her private life on her Instagram. She shared small details of the wedding and was sure to mark the couple's three month anniversary with a post.

But on International Women's Day, she shared her vulnerable side and revealed that she is undergoing IVF injections to prepare for a family with Heath. "IVF has made me even more aware of just how much women are capable of and what we can achieve whilst going through pain and heart break," Brown Findlay said in the post.

Phyllis Logan thrives in a marriage with a fellow Downton Abbey actor

Phyllis Logan played the role of the prim and tidy Mrs. Hughes, and her character finally found love late in life with the house butler, Carson. Although Logan found her own true love in 1994, marriage took nearly as long for her as it did for her "Downton Abbey" character. Logan and husband Kevin McNally didn't marry until 2011, according to The Sun.

Logan and McNally have both enjoyed long-lasting acting careers. McNally has been acting since he was 16, and he has over 150 acting credits (via IMDb). He is well-known for roles in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" series and other beloved British shows like "Doctor Who" and "The Crown." Logan's acting career has spanned five decades in television.

The pair also got to act together on "Downton Abbey" when McNally played Horace Bryant. Logan and McNally have learned to endure the busy acting lifestyle together and it hasn't cramped their marriage style. In an interview with Yours, Logan revealed, "Over the years we've been away for months at a time. You have to get on with it. I think it's why we remain completely at one with it all."

Love was instant for Dan Stevens and his jazz singer wife

Dan Stevens' time as Matthew Crawley was short-lived after the character's tragic death in the Series 3 Christmas Special. Stevens has been much luckier in love in real life. He's been married to South African jazz singer Susie Hariet since 2009. The couple met in 2006 while performing in theater shows and fell for each other almost instantly (via Bustle). Although she's often credited only as a jazz singer, Hariet has also acted on stage and had three movie roles in "Worth" (2007), "Forget Me Not" (2009), and "Dark Room" (2010).

The couple moved from London to Brooklyn Heights, New York to work and parent their three children. In 2014, Stevens told The New Yorker that the family loves New York, but the decision of where to send the kids to kindergarten was a little overwhelming for the couple. "The way people talk about kindergarten — it's sort of the way people talk about universities back home. It seems to carry the same weight and importance, which is slightly terrifying."

Lily James is dating the bassist from Queens of the Stone Age

Audiences were entertained by the youthful shenanigans of Lady Rose MacClare, played by Lily James. In real life, James stays mostly quiet about her love life. She has been linked to Matt Smith, Chris Evans, and Dominic West, but she rarely confirms or denies her relationships and keeps everyone guessing (via Us Weekly). However, if fans dig deep enough, there are clues.

She is currently dating Michael Shuman, bassist for the rock band Queens of the Stone Age. James and Shuman first appeared as a couple in February 2021, when they were seen kissing in Suffolk, England (via People). James all but confirmed the relationship when she posted a picture of the back of Shuman's head on her Instagram, according to People, but the post has since been removed. At the beginning of April, she posted another picture of the pair, but only credited the photographer and had no comment about Shuman.

In October 2021, Shuman left a sweet message on James' Instagram, labeling her "Dream Girl" when she posted a shot of herself looking dazzling for an Armani event in Dubai. But James prefers to keep her head in the acting game. In 2020, she told Harper's Bazaar that if she could speak to her younger self, she would have some sage advice about her dating woes: "Don't be obsessed by boys! Hang out with your girl mates. And don't take everything so seriously — be kind to yourself."

Samantha Bond and her husband enjoy busy, but separate, acting careers

The character of Lady Rosamund Painswick was played by veteran actor Samantha Bond, who is married to fellow actor Alexander Hanson. The couple married in 1989 and had two children during the height of Bond's career. She and Hanson had difficulties at points in the marriage and split up for a short time when their two children were very young. They reunited and have been going strong ever since (via The Guardian).

Despite their successful acting careers, Bond once said the pair would probably not act together again. In 2010, they shared the stage once in Oscar Wilde's "An Ideal Husband," but Bond confessed, "It actually was tricky. He'd been on Broadway for a year and I'd been doing jetsetting visits. He literally flew home on Sunday, and on Tuesday we went to work. So from having had this sort of absentee, rather glamorous husband who I went to visit in New York, suddenly there was this man in my kitchen, in my rehearsal room, in my bedroom, and it was tricky" (via Independent).

Rose Leslie is married to her Game of Thrones love

Rose Leslie, who played the ambitious Gwen Dawson on "Downton Abbey," married fellow Game of Thrones actor Kit Harington. The pair were married in a star-studded gathering in Aberdeenshire, Scotland on June 23, 2018 (via Harper's Bazaar). The couple began dating in 2012 after they met on the set of "Game of Thrones" and played love interests Jon Snow and Ygritte. According to Us Weekly, the couple endured a bumpy five year relationship with breakups before announcing their engagement in 2016.

Life is sweeter now for the happy couple after the birth of their son in 2019. In an interview with "Access Hollywood," Harington said that he and Leslie, along with their son, are "part of a unit together. That's the thing that surprises me about fatherhood. You are now a unit of three."

Leslie and Harington keep a fairly low profile, but they looked dashing at a Met Gala appearance in 2021. The pair coordinated their look with a tribute to Old Hollywood in a rare red carpet appearance, and agreed that the excitement of the event was electric for them. When asked how they felt about the energy of the Met Gala, Harington admitted he was nervous, while Leslie said, "Buzzing! Buzzing! It's amazing. The energy from the crowd is sensational and we feel really fortunate to be here."

Julian Ovenden's wife listens to his recordings when he's not around

When Charles Blake entered the show, audiences were intrigued by the immediately snarky exchanges between Blake and Lady Mary. Julian Ovenden, who plays Blake, had a much warmer start to his relationship with wife and opera singer Kate Royal, despite the fact that it took them three years to start dating.

Royal told the Daily Mail that she always thought Ovenden might be perfect for her. She knew about him through mutual friends but they had a difficult time aligning their busy schedules. It was important to her that Ovenden, a West End and Broadway star, was also passionate about music. "I admire his extraordinary musical talent and gift for performing, added to which I simply couldn't imagine being with someone who was not musical, who didn't understand the way it travels with you through life," she said.

The couple have two children, Johnny and Audrey, and Royal still has a great appreciation for Ovenden's musical abilities. In an interview with Playbill, Royal listed Ovenden's performance of Sondheim's "Being Alive" at the London BBC Prom as a live performance she'll never forget. In 2016, she told The Guardian that her guilty pleasure is listening to Ovenden's recordings when he's not around. "He would be pretty embarrassed if he knew how much praise I have for his singing," she admitted.