The Stunning Transformation Of Jude Law

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For a lot of people, Jude Law will always be the runaway star of 1999's "The Talented Mr. Ripley." Despite the fact that Law enjoyed a massively successful theatrical career before the film and that he's since gone on to make dozens upon dozens of equally and more successful movies, his turn as Dickie Greenleaf was a life-changing moment.

Law is also known for a lot of other things: his marriages, first to Sadie Frost and then again to Phillipa Coan. Rumors and factual accounts abound of his past affairs and the six children he has brought into this world. Despite the at-times overwhelming interest and scrutiny of his personal life, Law has built a career that has stood the test of time.

Law last took on the enormously important role of Albus Dumbledore in the "Fantastic Beasts" trilogy of films, an opportunity he described as "very good" and something each of his children has been particularly pleased about (via Insider). Here's a look at the career and personal life of Jude Law.

Jude Law grew up in a family of amateur performers

While Jude Law might be the first person in his family to make it big in terms of cinematic and stage success, he's not exactly the first performer that the Law family has known. While Law's parents technically worked as teachers, he shared with Esquire that, while growing up south of London, he was entertained by both his mother and father, who were theatre enthusiasts and amateur performers to boot. As he put it, "They had a passion for theatre, film and music, so there was a lot of that around the house. It was a very happy childhood, I had a lot of love."

Law is well aware of the fact that, while his own childhood was a happy one, his own father's was decidedly less so. As Law told the Observer, he didn't learn just how rough certain parts of his father's life were until he was well into his teen years. "He grew up with his grandma who died when he was about 7," Law explained. "He was taken to an orphanage, no money, and was eventually adopted at about the age of 12."

He developed his passion for cinema at age 14

As someone who has over 80 acting credits to his name (per IMDb), it makes sense that Jude Law has a passion for cinema that began when he was quite young. Law explained to Esquire in 2016 that he began skipping school to go to the movies at the age of 14, often watching three movies back-to-back in lieu of attending class. Like many a teen before and after him, Law always made sure he came home at exactly the right time.

Law has clearly kept his passion for cinema alive as an adult. In 2020, he mused about the future of the movies to Interview Magazine, noting that, in this day and age, it might be wise to continue to combine traditional theater visits with streaming at-home options. "I keep thinking about what we want the future of cinema-going to look like. Perhaps it's supported by streamers, this idea of having two releases," he said. "I feel like we're at a time where you can almost reinvent it."

The British actor landed his first TV role at 17

Jude Law had already been performing onstage when he was offered a role on the television show "Families" at the age of 17. He later told Esquire that the role was huge for him and that he learned a lot throughout his time on the show. As he put it, that education happened both on and off set, as Law suddenly found himself capable of supporting himself on his own. "It was an extraordinary learning curve," he said. "I got myself a flat, I had a bit of money in my pocket for the first time. I was going out, sociali[z]ing and then learning to curb that to get up at [6 a.m.] and be on set."

The show was filmed in Manchester, England, only a train ride from Law's home in London but somewhat of an entirely different world for him. He told Esquire that his time on the show coincided with a time during which the city was culturally relevant, explaining that he was able to take in most of the "Madchester" scene. "I went to the Haçienda a lot, saw Primal Scream live there in 1989, went to Spike Island for The Stone Roses, all of that. It was just a brilliant time," he said.

Jude Law married Sadie Frost in 1997

When Jude Law met Sadie Frost, he was only 19, and she was 26 (per The Hollywood Reporter). At the time, Frost was a married mother of one, but she harbored feelings for the younger actor that she couldn't shake. As she later explained in her autobiography "Crazy Days," "I knew that by even entertaining thoughts of Jude, I was jeopardi[z]ing an idyllic home life, the most secure relationship I'd ever had" (via the Daily Mail).

Eventually, Frost left her marriage, and she and Law bought a home together. In 1996, she became pregnant with their oldest child, Rafferty (who looks just like his famous dad!), and admitted to wrestling with her mental health throughout her pregnancy and after her son was born. The pair went on to welcome their daughter, Iris, in October 2000 and another son, Rudy, two years later (per the Daily Mail).

Things between the two weren't all that they seemed, however, and Frost has been candid about her struggle with post-natal depression and the confidence issues she faced once the family moved to Hollywood (per The Hollywood Reporter).

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

The Talented Mr. Ripley made Jude Law an international star in 1999

A lot of people around the world were first introduced to Jude Law by way of the 1999 film "The Talented Mr. Ripley." Law more than impressed audiences everywhere with his portrayal of Dickie Greenleaf, with Esquire noting that "he perfectly captures the chilly self-possession and the frightening entitlement of the very young, very rich and very beautiful."

Law is certainly aware of the impact the role had on both theater-goers and his own career. For some, he will always be Dickie Greenleaf. As he put it, being in the movie truly altered the course of his career and even his life. "Just in terms of the scale of the attention, the calib[er] of the people I was suddenly rubbing shoulders with in the business," he explained to Esquire. In that vein, Law worked alongside such Hollywood heavyweights as Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Cate Blanchett, and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman.

He enjoyed a successful run in the 2000s

His role in "The Talented Mr. Ripley" set Jude Law on course to become incredibly successful seemingly overnight. He was soon offered a plethora of roles in movies, but later admitted to The Guardian that he never imagined himself becoming a film star at all. As he put it, "I don't know anyone who grew up in the 70s in Lewisham who did. It just wasn't realistic. Theatre was." While he loved movies and has been an avid theater-goer since a young age, the idea of being the star of a film just wasn't on his radar — until, all of the sudden, it was.

But, he said, by the mid-2000s, he wanted to step back to re-evaluate the direction of his career. Law explained his realization that he needed to perform on stage once or twice a year to feel connected to his work. "I feel more in control of the process in theatre and it's more familiar to me," he shared with The Guardian.

This doesn't mean he hasn't enjoyed the movies in which he's been involved. In fact, Law shared with the publication that, although he's enormously proud of his work, "I feel in some areas I've only scratched the surface."

Jude Law and Sadie Frost divorced in 2003

The marriage between Sadie Frost and Jude Law came crashing down around them for good in August 2003, when Frost released a statement confirming the pair's intention to divorce. "I have come very reluctantly to the decision that my marriage to Jude is over," she stated (via The Guardian). However, she went on to emphasize that the two would continue to work together to parent their three children, all of whom were young at the time.

Rumors about why the marriage ended abounded, with some believing that Law and co-star Nicole Kidman had engaged in an affair. Per The Guardian, both Law and Kidman denied the allegations. Per People, Frost explained that Law had forced her into seeking mental health treatment for her post-natal depression against her will, each time after she had given birth to their children.

Their divorce was finalized in October 2003, with People recounting that some sources pointed to an incident with the former couple's then-2-year-old daughter, Iris — who accidentally ingested ecstasy while Law was out of town filming — as the beginning of the end. 

Shortly after their split in 2003, the actor began an on-and-off relationship with actress Sienna Miller.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

The star was the victim of international phone hacking in 2003

While he was in the middle of drafting and finalizing his 2003 divorce from ex-wife Sadie Frost, Jude Law and his then-girlfriend, Sienna Miller, were contending with a truly unexpected event: They became the victims of an international phone hacking scheme. Per BBC News, while testifying in the eventual trial about the phone hacking, Law shared that he began receiving enormous amounts of press attention following three big events: the release of "The Talented Mr. Ripley," his divorce from Sadie Frost, and his relationship with Miller going public.

Law testified that the press attention became uncomfortable and that it felt as if reporters and photographers always seemed to know where he would be, even when the plans were made secretly or he was out with his children. He was quoted as testifying in court, "There seemed to be an unhealthy amount of information that people, or someone, had, that meant they had access to my life and my whereabouts" (via BBC News).

Per Reuters, Law eventually found out that a relative of his had been paid off by the Rupert Murdoch-owned News of the World to report on his whereabouts. At the same time, private investigator Glenn Mulcaire was giving Law special phones to use in which he could record and listen to Law's conversations. Ultimately, Law was awarded damages in the case (via BBC News).

Jude Law returned to his theater roots in 2009

In 2009, Jude Law made good on his personal vow to return to theatrical productions. He took on the title role in a production of "Hamlet" that year, taking a stab at Broadway after decades of theater work in London. As the play's director, Michael Grandage, told NPR, Law had intended to play the role at some point in this 30s and finally had the opportunity to do so.

Law was thrilled with the role, explaining to NPR that part of what makes both the play and the character compelling is that Hamlet can adapt as time passes. He explained to NPR, "Hamlet shifts in the skin. ... He has the capability — and the play has the capability — to morph with the times." 

Co-star Geraldine James, who played Hamlet's mother in the same production, praised his work to the news organization. She shared that Law's turn as Hamlet was never easy to predict, saying, "Sometimes, it's very, very, very emotional ... Sometimes it gets more angry. Sometimes it's more frightening."

The actor has strong co-parenting relationships with his exes

As aforementioned, Jude Law and his ex-wife, Sadie Frost, have three children together. After their marriage ended, Law became a father again — more than once. As shared by Hollywood Life, he had a brief relationship in 2008 with former server Samantha Burke that resulted in the birth of their daughter, Sophia.

In 2014, Law became a father again when it was revealed that he and then-girlfriend Catherine Harding were expecting a child. Law's representative confirmed the news to Us Weekly, noting, "I can confirm that Jude Law and Catherine Harding are expecting a child together in the spring. Whilst they are no longer in a relationship, they are both wholeheartedly committed to raising their child."

Harding later shared that, while Law wasn't in the delivery room when she gave birth, this was her choice, and that the father of her daughter quickly joined the two once the baby was born. She also told the Mirror, "She looks like Jude massively, she doesn't look like me" (via the

In 2019, Jude Law married Phillipa Coan, with whom he had his sixth child

In May 2019, Jude Law and Phillipa Coan surprised everyone when they married in a hush-hush ceremony and managed to evade a lot of media attention while doing so. Marie Claire noted that the two were married in London after dating since 2015.

The notoriously private couple have rarely spoken about one another in public, but Marie Claire noted that, in an interview with Modern Living, Law explained what makes his relationship with Coan work so well. "She's mine and no one else's. I'm very, very happy," he said. "Our relationship is a very private thing, and I think part of the fact it works so well is exactly because of that."

In September 2020, Law and Coan welcomed their first child together and Law's sixth. The actor told Jimmy Fallon that having a baby during the pandemic was an unexpected blessing, as it gave the family a lot of time to just enjoy one another. "We feel pretty blessed that we were in a time where we could, as a family, just nest," he said.

The star joined the Harry Potter franchise for three films

In 2018, Jude Law took on a role that excited people all over the world when he joined the cast of "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them." By stepping into the shoes of Albus Dumbledore, Law began playing the revered magical professor during a time period that "Harry Potter" fans had previously only wondered about but never experienced through the books or films.

Law told Insider that he became interested in the project in the early stages and that he was really happy to be offered the role of Dumbledore. In fact, as he put it, he wasn't the only one. "It was a very good day when I got the phone call saying that they wanted me to play him, and obviously my kids are thrilled," he said.

Law also said he took the role for the opportunity to be inspired by the performances of both Richard Harris and Michael Gambon, who both played the character before him. Law made his third turn as Albus Dumbledore with the release of "Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore" in 2022.