Born in County Dublin, Ireland, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers changed
his name when he began acting. Meyers is his mother's maiden
name. He was born with heart problems and was baptised early out
of fear that he might die; shortly after, his family moved to
County Cork, Ireland, where he still resides. After his father
left the family when Rhys-Meyers was three years old, his mother
raised him and his three younger brothers on her own in rural
Cork with little money. Rhys-Meyers has recalled that a somewhat
well-to-do Anglo-Irish family in Buttevant took him under their
At the age of sixteen, Rhys-Meyers was permanently expelled from school, but he was discovered by casting agents shortly after at a Cork pool hall, the Victoria Sporting Club, and began a career in acting.
Jonathan Rhys-Meyers as Steerpike in the BBC miniseries of Gormenghast. Rhys-Meyers has starred in television series like Gormenghast (2000), as Elvis Presley in the CBS 4 hour mini-series Elvis (2005), which earned him an Emmy nomination and a Golden Globe win.
Jonathan Rhys-Meyers' films include Velvet Goldmine (1998), where he played a glam rock star loosely based on David Bowie, and Bend It Like Beckham (2002). In 2005 he starred in Woody Allen's film Match Point with Scarlett Johansson, Emily Mortimer and Brian Cox. In 2006, he starred as Declan in the film Mission: Impossible III.
Jonathan Rhys-Meyers is also a singer and musician, and sang some of the songs found on the Velvet Goldmine soundtrack.
Rhys-Meyers has been romantically linked to several actresses in the past, including Toni Collette, his co-star in Velvet Goldmine, Asia Argento, Rachael Leigh Cook and Estella Warren. Both he and Scarlett Johansson deny the persistent rumours of having a fling.
Jonathan Rhys-Meyers has recently ended a relationship with young British heiress, Reena Hammer, whose father George Hammer owns the Urban Retreat Spa in Harrods department store.
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