Jamie Dornan had a ‘feeling of segregation’ in Northern Ireland during The Troubles


As I’ve become more familiar with Jamie Dornan, it’s weird that I’m only now realizing that he grew up in Northern Ireland. Most press accounts simply identify him as “Irish actor Jamie Dornan,” but he grew up just outside of Belfast, and his childhood coincided with the tail end of The Troubles – remember, The Good Friday Agreement only came in 1998. I bring this up because Jamie has a new interview with The Telegraph – you can read the full piece here. He briefly discusses his childhood and The Telegraph asked him directly about The Troubles. Some highlights from the piece:

Jamie on fame: “Nobody sane wants just to be famous. I hate it when people say you’re asking for it by doing films. No, I’m asking for work, and I’m asking to get paid for doing something I love. I’m not asking to be followed down a street by some f****** pap. Being with Keira [Knightley] was an insight into how rotten the whole thing can be. A young girl is being followed around the street, there is nothing positive to say about that.”

Growing up outside of Belfast during The Troubles: ‘I think people from Northern Ireland have some kind of unspoken general feeling of what it is to be around segregation,’ Dornan, who considers himself, nominally, a Protestant, says. ‘You have an awareness of it because you know how much grief it’s caused. It’s a tiny percentage who have ruined it for that country, that pisses everyone else off.’

His nickname, The Golden Torso: ‘What does that mean? Is it a colour reference? I think it is meant to be a compliment. I hope it is.’ The chief thing he recalls from the Calvin Klein shoots is ‘a lot of people rubbing me down with dark, oily tanning stuff – I mean, I’m a white Irish guy, it was a problem.’

Modeling: ‘I’d always really wanted to act; but the modelling contracts came more easily.’

New fatherhood & sleeplessness: ‘You might sleep a bit less but you’ve got this small life to look after. I am quite good on little sleep. I think a lot of that is an attitude thing. I think the same about hangovers. You can compound your misery by not getting out of bed and not facing the day. But if you actually get the f*** up you might not be as miserable.’

[From The Telegraph]

So, he was a Protestant in the time of The Troubles? Well, then… it wasn’t as bad for him. Still, I’m sure it was a dangerous time and I’m sure he did see some crazy stuff, segregation being the least of it.

Does anyone else like how much he defends Keira Knightley to this day? He rarely goes on the record about anything having to do with Keira except to say that she’s been dealing with crazy fame and a ravenous press from a young age. He still feels protective of her, I think.

Photos courtesy of Getty, Fame/Flynet.

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34 Responses to “Jamie Dornan had a ‘feeling of segregation’ in Northern Ireland during The Troubles”

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  1. ToodySezHey says:

    So damn hot. When I first saw him in The Fall( a frikking fantastic show starring Jamie and Gillian Anderson, check it out on Netflix) I thought “he is like…a slightly skinnier, less douchified Irish version of Ashton Kutcher”

    Im….ambivalent about his role in 50 Shades.

  2. Div says:

    I like what he said about fame. I won’t lie, I enjoy celebrity gossip but I do think the paps have gotten wildly out of control in the past several years. It seems to very much be an American & British thing too…Other countries have celebrity culture and paps, but it can’t compare. He seems like a nice guy, but I still can’t believe he took on 50

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      I agree the paps shouldn’t be allowed to yell at you or provoke you, but I do think that when you decide to be actor, you’re signing up for being photographed. That’s just part of our culture, and if you can’t stand that, don’t be an actor, or at least a famous one. It may not be what you wanted, but there’s no mystery about it – it’s what you’re going to get.

      • Liv says:

        This. Also, I can’t take him seriously. He signs on for 50 Shades and at the same time complains about paps? What the? He wants fame, he wants fans, there’s no way that someone would sign on for 50 Shades and not want that!

      • Div says:

        I agree to an extent. Actors should know it’s part of the package, but it doesn’t always make it right in a lot of situations. I also think there’s a big difference between paps at a restaurant/night club/red carpet after party/concert/airport and celebs having paps show up at their house/friend’s house/gym/family member’s house…The former I get, but not so much the latter. Emma Stone once mentioned in an interview how the paps used to park outside her house for a couple of hours & one ran up to her when she was in her front yard or something and handed her a business card if she wanted to “call them” (which I thought was interesting since most celebs don’t acknowledge others call them). That just seems crazy IMO. I think there could still be photos and gossip even if there were laws to reform when and where the paps can take pics, but I doubt it will ever happen because I’m sure there is some way to twist it around to free speech.

  3. Giselle says:

    Sorry. Can’t get past Lindsay’s claim that he banged her. He looks lovely but he is probs rotten down below. What a sad thing.

  4. Renee28 says:

    There are plenty of good paying acting jobs that aren’t 50 Shades. If you’re chasing these roles you know you have to deal with fame.

  5. Dnana m says:

    He was so hot in Marie Antoinette!

  6. Kali says:

    I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a sucker for ANY dude with an accent, let alone a hot one, but I think it’s really lovely how nice he is about Keira to this day. According to google, they were together around the 2003-2005 period when she was just blowing up all over the place with all the Pirates movies and the press was just ripping into her. Hopefully he learnt some valuable lessons about how to cope with press/fan attention because he is going to have a lot to deal with when “50 Shades…” comes out….

    • TaraDa says:

      I agree he’s right about the intrusion on the life of celebs in general but he does seem to be making a lot of mileage lately in interviews about paps chasing her as a young woman/girl and his understanding of it and the impact on him. I just remember him clearly on record, at the time they split, saying stuff like the man should be the most successful and the main breadwinner in a relationship and that it was THAT bit of her higher profile and greater earning potential HE couldn’t deal with. I hope a few more years under his belt since have helped with his attitude on that more than him complaining about taking a job everyone a their mother knows would attract more camera lenses.

  7. aang says:

    Would that tiny percentage be the British colonialists who refused to allow the whole of the country freedom?

  8. Maybenow says:

    A little correction there Mr Dornan. You are not a white Irish guy. You are a white Northern Irish guy.

    • YerMomma says:

      He’s Irish or Northern Irish or British or whatever the f he wants to be, per the Good Friday Agreement and every post 97 settlement on the Northern Ireland issue.

      Celebitchy is right, though- as a Protestant living in the wealthiest part of the province he wouldn’t have seen much trouble.

      • Maybenow says:

        You’re right. He has the right to call himself whatever he wants as per the good Friday agreement, but calling himself Irish and actually being Irish are not the same. He might have been born on the island of Ireland but he sure ain’t one of us.

    • Seán says:

      Correction MaybeNow, a person from Northern Ireland is entitled to define themselves as Northern Irish, Irish or British or a combination of these things as per the Good Friday agreement. Apart from that he’s not incorrect either, he might not be from the political state of Ireland but he is from the island of Ireland.

    • Seán says:


      I get that you’re somewhat open-minded but your comments putting such boundaries on people’s sense of nationality or saying that they can be whatever they “imagine” rings a little condescendingly. If someone from Northern Ireland defines themselves as Irish, plain and simple, then they ARE Irish. The Irish government allows them citizenship and nationality in the Republic even though they were born in and grew up in a country ruled by the UK. This notion of telling people what nationality they are or seeing Northern Irish people as “less Irish” than the people who are from the Republic just causes further fractions between both territories. And we should be trying to repair these relationships and not ‘other’ each other if we want to move on past decades of The Troubles. Nationality is an imagined construct anyway that can always change. Up until 1922, the whole island was a part of the UK, but things change. And thankfully so because I’m a proud Irishman who was born and grew up in the Republic of Ireland. But we can’t hold hostilities or superiority against the UK or its various countries/provinces/territories if we want to move towards peace. We’ve come on in leaps and bounds but the stigma is still there in a subtle way.

      • Maybenow says:

        Hi Sean. Thanks for replying and yeah i guess my answer was passive aggressive but as someone who was also born, raised and still living in the Republic we always refer to anyone from Northern Ireland as Northern Irish. Not Irish. Which Mr. Dornan is not. Irish that is. And if he feels he is Irish or Northern Irish or British then he is perfectly entitled to call himself all of the above. But here in the old republic, Northeners are always deemed separate to us in the South. So i stand by what i said. He is Northern Irish. Not Irish.

  9. Tig says:

    I agree with the earlier posters- he was dreamy in MA and goodness he is so terrifying in The Fall- I have to watch those during the daytime!

    Re the paps- I agree that babies/children should be off limits, as well as yelling profanities and hanging outside of folks’ homes. But getting snapped coming out of celeb hangouts or at events? Agreed, that’s part of being famous.

  10. DaisyDuchess says:

    Their shoes at the baftas…

  11. St says:

    The most amazing thing about him is how his face completely changes and looks so much different when he grows beard. It’s like different person.

  12. meh says:

    “So, he was a Protestant in the time of The Troubles? Well, then… it wasn’t as bad for him. ”

    Well, that’s funny. I didn’t realise the Protestants were immune from the bin and car bombs in public places or getting beaten up for wearing the wrong colour in the wrong place. I guess my family are a bunch of liars.

  13. Edie says:

    Nobody else think it strange that he is a northern Protestant and referred to himself as Irish?

    • Kath says:

      No, I don’t think it strange at all. He was born and raised in Ireland and has an Irish accent. What else would he be? Jamaican?

      • Edie says:

        You’re showing your ignorance there Kath. Most Protestants in Northern Ireland would not regard themselves as Irish. And he has a northern Irish accent which is not the same as an Irish accent.
        My point isn’t whether I regard him as Irish, it’s about HIM referring to himself as Irish. As a northern Protestant, that is unusual to say the least. Look it up.