Tilda Swinton says the live-in father of her twins has a new girlfriend


Oscar winning actress Tilda Swinton talked to Hello! Magazine about her career and nontraditional living arrangement. Swinton, 48, lives in a resort town in northeast Scotland with her 11 year-old boy and girl twins, Xavier and Honor, and their father, John Byrne, 68. Swinton is outspoken about the fact that she also has a younger boyfriend she travels with, Sandro Kopp, 30, a German artist.

She says that despite the media’s attempt to sensationalize her life, she’s friendly with her ex and there’s nothing scandalous about the fact that they’re living together as friends and raising their children. Byrne even has a new girlfriend, and Swinton jokes that they’re “a foursome”:

Although she and John “haven’t been sweethearts for a while”, they live together amiably – while this year Tilda revealed she has a new romantic partner, German artist Sandro Kopp, 30.

The couple met in 2004 on the set of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, on which Sandro was an illustrator. “Our situation’s must more ordinary than the papers would like to think,” she said. “Often people have children with people who’re no longer their sweetheart then have a relationship with someone new. What rarely happens is they’re still good friends and continue to live in the same house.”

Sandro now accompanies the actress on her travels and to red carpet events – and John has a new romantic partner, too. “He has a ladyfriend. A friendly lady! A sweetheart! I think it’s a foursome now,” she jokes.

[From Hello! Magazine, print edition, December 9, 2008]

Those quotes from Swinton might not be directly from Hello! and it sounds as if she may have said that earlier this month. They do have a unique interview with her, though, and she expands on her situation and is matter of fact about it. She also gives kind of whimsical, off-the-cuff responses, and sounds as if she really is having fun with the interview and doesn’t care how she comes across. Swinton describes herself as lazy and says the only reasons she gets out of bed are for movies and her kids:

On her living arrangement
“I spend most of my time in Scotland with John and our children. I’ve known John since I was 24 – half of my life…

“There’s no need to have secrets about this – when I’m at home there’s John and when I travel I’m with Sandro. Sometimes, we’re all together.”

On preferring to stay in bed
“Most of all I like being at home, in bed. I’m terribly lazy.

“The things that get me out of bed are my children, shooting a film and a film I want to see in the cinema.”

On happiness
“I like silence a lot. Once it’s silent you have the possibility of finding yourself and can be along with yourself. That feeling comes very close to happiness.”

On how she would describe herself
“I feel like a rocket that’s getting rid of the fuel tanks – and even the basic rocket. Only the space capsule is flying towards a new goal, which I can’t see.”

[From Hello! Magazine, print edition, December 9, 2008, subheaders added]

Swinton usually doesn’t wear makeup and her fashion can be described as eccentric. She told Hello! that she’s often mistaken for a man and that “People call me ‘Sir’ in American hotels.”

Ever since I watched Swinton’s very funny and inventive Oscar acceptance speech, where she won best supporting actress for Michael Clayton, I’ve been a fan. I didn’t really “get” her just seeing photos at events. She’s a unique personality and is unapologetic and open about her life without seeming to have an agenda. I hope to see her in a lot more films, but if I don’t, I doubt it will affect her either way. Maybe she’ll get out of bed a little more though, if she’s to be believed.

Tilda Swinton is shown in a rare occasion wearing makeup at the BAFTA awards on 11/6/08. Credit: Juan Rico/Fame. She is also shown with Sandro Kopp at the airport on 3/12/08. Credit: Fame

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25 Responses to “Tilda Swinton says the live-in father of her twins has a new girlfriend”

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  1. geronimo says:

    This I think is all from the Guardian interview dated 22nd Nov. It’s a great piece, by the way, if anyone wants a more in-depth read about her, Byrne and how they make things work. (Not putting the link as fed up of being nabbed by the mods.)

  2. DLR in Canada says:

    hmm, never understood the polyamorous thing. i missed that day in kindergarten when the kids were taught how to share. :P

  3. Kaiser says:

    Eccentric as the day is long.

    She reminds me of a piece in Vanity Fair by Christopher Hitchens about how there’s no eccentric like the English and Scottish eccentrics. Is it genetics?

  4. Shane says:

    A while back I was not liking the vibe I got from looking at her. She was so strange to me.

    She’s not your typical eye candy female celebrity.

    Which I now realize is a great thing!

    Too much of the same stuff over and over is very boring and pigeon holes women into a very narrow spectrum of what is acceptable, both looks and personality wise.

    And that’s not good for any of us actually, male or female.

    So I now see she is heading down the road of Annie Lennox or Whoopi Goldberg, to beat of her own drum.

    Wonderful! What a brave lady.

  5. ri23 says:

    She sounds happier than most people I know. Good for her.

  6. Ernestine says:

    Kaiser, I remember that VF article, and having grown up with tons of Brits and Scots (and don’t forget those lovably odd Aussies), I DO think there’s a certain truth to people like Tilda having a sort of ethnocentric eccentricity. Or whatever.

    Christopher Hitchens can blow me, though.

    I dunno. I mean, that sort of arrangement would cause me to tear my hair out. I’d end up looking like the little girl in The Ring or something — all depressed and frazzled. How can you just JUGGLE and share a bunch of serious relationships?! One relationship is often precarious enough, you know? Yeah. I REALLY don’t get polyamorous people. I am a one-man chick. Always have been. Never ever dated someone else on the sly or anything.

    I’m not gonna judge. Tilda must be the least-jealous/possessive person on the planet, and kudos to her for hooking up with some people (?) who feel the same way.

    Kinda sucks for the kids, though. God, how confusing.

  7. Ernestine says:

    P.S. I forgot to mention that I think she’s a KICK-ASS actress. She’s like Blanchett and Moore — mesmerizing on screen.

  8. IvyMades says:

    She says that despite the media’s attempt to sensationalize her life, she’s friendly with her ex and there’s nothing scandalous about the fact that they’re living together as friends and raising their children.

    She’s NOT polyamorous!
    She lives with her children and ex (their father). They are not together anymore but they share a home.

  9. vdantev says:

    She’s an odd, almost mystical creature, like the villainess she portrayed in Narnia.

  10. Jessica says:

    I really liked her as Gabriel in Constantine… she did a great job!

  11. Bros says:

    kaiser, i swear, we must be twin sisters. i read that piece. loved it. loved the pictures of that one guy’s house. craziness!

  12. Wif says:

    Hallelujah for the functional non-traditional family!!!! We need more of these to teach us how to raise our children with 2 supportive parents who have fallen out of love. Respect and consideration go a long, long way towards raising healthy, happy children.

  13. KateNonymous says:

    It’s not for me, but if their kids are happy and healthy and feel secure, I don’t see a reason to get upset about it.

    While Swinton is a great actress, I thought she really missed the mark in Michael Clayton. I think she won that Oscar for everything else she’s done, not for that characterization.

  14. drm says:

    I have long thought Ms Swinton fab…more power to her, the unconventional more often than not works…usually a lot better in some cases than the conventional

  15. Kaiser says:

    Ernestine & Bros – I agree that, as far as his political writings go, Hitchens can eat a d-ck. But I thought that VF piece on eccentrics was hysterical. My favorite was the story about the aristocrat who’s hobby was “kicking pigeons”.

  16. Baholicious says:

    Put down the red lipstick Tilda, just…no. It looks like there’s a gaping wound on your face.

  17. Sickitten says:

    Well, at least she accepts the fact that she isn’t a looker. Princess Di never did.

  18. Ana says:

    I adore this woman. I love the way she looks. Androgenous (I can’t spell)I REALLY loved her in Constantine.
    I think it’s great she gets along so well with her ex for the sake of the children. It may be confusing for them for a while, but I imagine it’s a helluva lot better than having parents that hate each other and use them as ammo!

  19. Lore says:

    I’m so with her on the silence thing.

  20. morgs says:

    I love you Tilda! Thanks for being a strong women who is in touch with her own wants and needs. She is amazing. Young ladies need more women like her as role models. I personally like her non-traditional living situation. As a child of nastily divorced parents, their living situation sounds quite divine. Who wouldn’t want to raise their children with their best friend? Good luck to you and your family Tilda! Please keep making incredible movies. For anyone who hasn’t seen it, I would recommend ‘The Deep End”. So good!

  21. KDRockstar says:

    Love her, and I get what she’s saying. I think it’s similar to the Demi Moore/Ashton Kutcher/Bruce Willis thing. They are grown-ups and do what is best for the kids. Period.

  22. Cinderella says:

    Sounds like she is happy. I hope her former partner truly is and that she’s not speaking for him.

  23. SeVen says:

    indeed her role in Constantine was Gabriel was amazing. She was also good in Burn After Reading. Shes interesting to watch as she acts and i think the ones who have a “non traditional” out look on life often make the best actors /actresses as its easy for them to break outside of the box.

  24. doodahs says:

    Damn, girl looks good for nearly fifty!! Must be all that Scottish water and fresh air… The Scots/English eccentricity that people talk of is mostly reserved for the ‘old money’ or royalty. The majority of people living in Scotland and England are working class and very down to earth.

  25. Knee says:

    She is great!
    She reminds me of Vanessa Redgrave