When will Mr Right bewitch Emma Watson? Harry Potter star is single at 29 and says she’s now ‘self-partnered’ despite a string of eligible boyfriends. So, asks ALISON BOSHOFF, why can’t she find the magic?
Spa breaks in Koh Samui, jolly nights backstage with pop star Taylor Swift, road trips in California and long weekends in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, the celebrity hotspot favoured by Jennifer Aniston and George Clooney . . .
A string of handsome boyfriends, many of them millionaires (one of whom was seen kissing her only a fortnight ago) . . .
The attentions of a stylist both off duty and on, lucrative beauty campaigns and the endless flattery of the fashion industry . . .
And that’s before we get to the £3 million London townhouse, the ski chalet in France and an acting career which, despite years of middling reviews, remains stellar.
Emma Watson at age 17 pictured on holiday with rugby player Tom Ducker, also 17, in 2007
Emma Watson sits on the lap of her then-boyfriend actor Johnny Simmons while they have lunch in 2011
Emma Watson cuddles up to then-boyfriend Will Adamovicz in California in 2012
Yes, Emma Watson, 29, has many reasons to be cheerful. Indeed, with her beauty, success and a £55 million fortune, one could argue that she has more reasons than most.
Yet the truth is that, since shooting to fame at the tender age of ten after she was cast as Hermione Granger in the first of the Harry Potter films, it seems she has agonised over rather than enjoyed her dizzying success.
When her father, who had been giving her an allowance of £50 a week, sat her down in her late teens to tell her that the J.K. Rowling movie franchise had already made her a millionaire many times over, her reaction was to feel physically sick.
‘By the third or fourth film, the money was starting to get . . . serious,’ she said. ‘I had no idea. I felt sick, very emotional. It was a real shock.’ As she explained when Disney’s Beauty And The Beast was released two years ago: ‘I’ve been doing this since I was ten or 11, and I’ve often thought, I’m so wrong for this job because I’m too serious.’
Actress Emma Watson and new boyfriend Matthew Janney in north London in 2014
Emma Watson out with then-boyfriend William Mack Knight in London in June 2016
And now, as she prepares for the release of her next film appearance as Meg March in Little Women, it seems that anguished Emma has been battling her demons again.
Talking to Vogue magazine, she revealed that she has suffered from ‘incredible anxiety’ about having not married or started a family by the time she reaches 30 next April.
Describing her single status as being ‘self-partnered’, Watson says she has now come to terms with it, though she panicked as she grew closer to her landmark birthday. ‘I was like: ‘Why does everyone make such a big fuss about turning 30? This is not a big deal . . .’ Cut to 29 and I’m like: ‘Oh my God, I feel so stressed and anxious,’ ‘ she said.
Stylist and friend Caroline Sieber says that Watson is ‘sober in her thinking’ — which is one way of putting it. Private to a fault, she loves jigsaws, yoga and cats. That’s not to say that this currently ‘self-partnered’ star has been short of romance, with ten beaus over the past dozen years.
‘The boyfriends or partners I’ve had have generally made me feel really cherished. They’ve built me up,’ she said.
At 17, an early boyfriend was rugby player Tom Ducker, but her most serious romance seems to have been with another rugby player — and fellow Oxford student — Matt Janney, with whom she broke up in 2015.
Then there was another Oxford student, Will Adamowicz. The relationship lasted from 2011 to 2013.
Emma Watson strolling with actor boyfriend Chord Overstreet in 2018
She was then seen out and about with actor/producer Roberto Aguire, who she first met in 2005 on the set of Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire. She also seems to have a particularly weak spot for young tech millionaires as she has dated at least three of them, most significantly U.S. entrepreneur William ‘Mack’ Knight.
A Princeton graduate from a wealthy New York family, his father was the director of a golf club and he worked with his twin brother at a Silicon Valley software start-up.
They were introduced by friends on the charity circuit. His mother, Katherine, said: ‘I have met Emma, and she’s a wonderful girl.’ The couple dated for two years, until late 2017.
Then came a six-month love affair with handsome Glee actor Chord Overstreet. They broke up during the summer of last year.
Over the past 12 months she has also been spotted sharing cocktails with tech CEO Brendan Wallace, a 36-year-old New Yorker who is co-founder of a venture capital fund. By this summer, she had moved on to another tech millionaire, Brendan Iribe, CEO of Oculus. They were seen leaving a restaurant in Santa Monica in August.
Later that month, though, she was reportedly romancing model Dominic Piazza. Finally came her liaison with the mystery man with a hair bun, who was pictured kissing her in London last month.
It’s a longer list of amours than you might expect for someone who claims to be ‘self-partnered’, but then Watson is a young woman who solemnly examines her life.
It is possible that when she gave the interview, she was between boyfriends. A fan of meditation, Watson writes poetry, pens a diary when she is unhappy and went on a week-long silent retreat to try to find her ‘inner home’. By her own admission, though, Watson has ‘really wrestled with’ fame.
She says: ‘I’ve sat in therapy and felt guilty about it. I’m like, why me? Somebody else would have enjoyed and wanted this more. And I’ve struggled a lot with the guilt around that . . . I should be excited and I’m struggling.’
Born in Paris to lawyers Chris Watson and Jackie Luesby, she moved to the UK aged five, and her parents promptly divorced. She was cast in Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone when she was nine, having been picked out of a line-up in her school gym.
She reflected: ‘I got the first part I ever auditioned for, and it’s so bizarre and otherworldly what happened to me.’ Of course, that schooling was vastly disrupted with her Harry Potter filming schedule and she ended up being tutored on set by the sister of one of her teachers.
The films were almost as huge as the books, and she completed filming the final two-part Harry Potter film — Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows — only in June 2010, when she was 20.
Perhaps significantly, unlike co-stars Rupert Grint and Daniel Radcliffe, Watson’s parents didn’t drop everything to be with her.
She said: ‘My parents couldn’t take the time off; they had careers and they weren’t together. They couldn’t swap in and out like Rupert Grint’s and Dan Radcliffe’s parents. And my mother had my younger brother to look after, she couldn’t leave him.’
Sources who remember her from the Potter days say her father Chris’s influence was paramount, even though she lived with her mother in Oxfordshire. An Oxford graduate who now works at one of the larger London law firms, he was often the one who went with her on publicity junkets and to film premieres worldwide.
After he and Emma’s mother Jackie divorced in 1995, he remarried, to Elizabeth Green, and they have three further children, Toby and twins Nina and Lucy.
Watson was troubled from time to time by their ‘awful’ divorce. The reasons for the split are not known, but it seems that Watsonfound herself in marital no-man’s land more than once.
‘All I can tell you is that there was a lot of unhappiness connected with the parents,’ said a source close to the Potter films. ‘They are both strong people who had plenty of views.’
In an early interview, Watson talked of ‘juggling two parents’, and said this was useful when it came to balancing the demands of filming with her school work.
She says at times she felt removed from her family. ‘There were moments when it got so big where I almost had vertigo and . . . felt disconnected and part of the peace within myself is remembering my identity,’ she told Vogue magazine. ‘I’ve had to ask: ‘Am I still your daughter?’ Because it’s felt so weird sometimes.’
Her contract came up for renewal in 2006 while she was shooting the fifth film, Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix, and she says her instinct was to quit.
She hated the insanely busy schedule and ‘agonised’ before committing to another five years.
Emma Watson snuggles up with then-beau Brendan Wallace during a vacation in Mexico in 2018
‘There’s no burning passion to act,’ she said soon after Potter finished. When the cast and crew held a final wrap party around Christmas 2010, she didn’t come.
While the three key actors were genuinely good friends in the early years, the bond seems to have loosened considerably during the making of the last movie.
She left Britain, accepting a place to read literature at Brown University, an Ivy League institution in Rhode Island, New York.
While at Brown, Watson spent time introspectively puzzling over whether she had ever wanted to be an actress in the first place.
She said in 2017: ‘It’s something I’ve really wrestled with. I’ve gone back and I’ve quizzed my parents. When I was younger, I just did it. I just acted, it was just there.
‘I was finding this fame thing was getting to a point of no return. I sensed if this was something I was ever going to step away from it was now or never.’
It took her five years to graduate; she made more films and spent a year at Worcester College, Oxford. In the U.S., she fell in with a moneyed social set. One friend’s father was dating TV personality Tyra Banks and Watson’s boyfriend was Rafael Cebrian, rock star son of the co-founder of Spain’s El Pais newspaper.
Emma Watson seen passionately kissing a mystery man while out for lunch in London earlier this month
There was also a romance with U.S. actor Johnny Simmons, but it allegedly ended after he refused to accompany her back to Britain, when she enrolled at Oxford.
Today, Watson’s social circle includes fashion figures such as Antoine Arnault of the French LVMH dynasty.
Outside her film career, she’s been the face of Lancome perfume and launched a collection with the ethical fashion label People Tree.
In 2014, she became a UN goodwill ambassador, and also runs a feminist book club, Our Shared Shelf, on Twitter.
She is a #MeToo campaigner, wearing a fake ‘Times Up’ (sic) tattoo for the Oscars in 2018. She also took feminist author Gloria Steinem to a Beauty And The Beast screening to assuage her own conscience over playing a Disney princess.
Watson had insisted that her Belle should wear boots and be the inventor of a washing machine, rather than a sappy ballet shoe-wearing household drudge.
She said: ‘I’m a pain in the ass; I’m difficult; I don’t fit. But as I’ve got older, I’ve realised, No! Taking on those battles, the smaller ones and the bigger ones, is who I am.’
Could it be the beautiful, clever and talented Ms Watson is a touch too introspective to settle down long-term with a partner?
For now, it seems, the only person who really understands her is her ‘self-partnered’ self.
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