Keira Christina Knightley is an English film and television actress. She began her career as a child actress, and came to international prominence in 2003, after co-starring in the films Bend It Like Beckham and Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. Knightley has since become a notable lead actress, having appeared in several Hollywood films and earning an Academy Award nomination for her role as Elizabeth Bennet in Joe Wright's 2005 adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.
Knightley was born in Teddington, Middlesex, England to Sharman Macdonald, a Scottish actress turned award-winning playwright, and Will Knightley, an English theatre and television actor. She has an elder brother, Caleb who was born in 1979. Knightley lived most of her life in Richmond, attending Teddington School and Esher College. Knightley suffers from dyslexia, but nevertheless achieved good grades in school to please her parents, and was thus permitted to acquire a talent agent and pursue an acting career. Knightley has noted that she was "single-minded about acting" during her childhood. She performed in a number of local amateur productions including After Juliet (written by her mother) and United States (written by her then drama teacher, Ian McShane).
Knightley (right) and Scarlett Johansson (left) appearing nude with Tom Ford on the Hollywood edition Vanity Fair of March 2006As a result of her rapid rise to fame, Knightley has been the focus of significant media attention. She has been described by press reports as "famously open with media", although Knightley herself has stated "I don't talk about my private life."
She was voted the sexiest movie star of all time by the readers of Empire magazine, was ranked #79 by FHM in the magazine’s UK Edition 2004 100 Sexiest Women in the World list, #18 in 2005, and was ranked the sexiest woman in the world in 2006. The U.S. Edition ranked her #54 in 2004, #11 in 2005 and #5 in 2006. Knightley appeared nude along with Scarlett Johansson, on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine's March 2006 'Hollywood' issue. In May 2006, Knightley was #9 on Maxim's 2006 Hot 100.
Knightley was the celebrity face for the luxury goods brand Asprey, as well as Lux haircare products in Japanese television commercials. In April 2006, she was confirmed as the new celebrity face of Chanel's perfume "Coco Mademoiselle", though the first photo from the campaign was not released until May 2007.
She is the subject of Glasgow band Endrick Brothers song "Star of the Silver Screen" featured on their forthcoming album Attraction versus Love. The song was written after a chance meeting at a party in Glasgow during the filming of The Jacket.
Her Valentino gown at the 2006 Golden Globe Awards won her much acclaim and even landed her the top spot on Steven Cojocaru's "Best Dressed List" on Entertainment Tonight, while the dress she wore to the 2006 Academy Awards was recently donated to the charity Oxfam, where it raised £4,300.
Knightley, who currently lives in London, is dating her Pride and Prejudice co-star, Rupert Friend. She has previously dated Irish fashion model Jamie Dornan, as well as actor Del Synnott, who according to some reports, attempted suicide after their relationship ended, although Synnott and Knightley deny these claims. Knightley has stated that she feels uncomfortable dressing up and that she prefers British men over any other nationality, because she feels that British men are less concerned about their own appearance.
She has denied rumours she is anorexic, although she has noted that her family has a history of anorexia, after her appearance at the Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest premiere led to media speculation that her extremely slender figure was due to an eating disorder. In July of 2006, Knightley noted that she believes that she has become a workaholic, detailing that "the last five years have blended into one. I can't tell you what was last year and what was the year before" and specifying that she is "working too much" and is "quite frightened that if I continue at this rate I will start to hate what I love." As a result, Knightley may take a one year break from acting to travel and focus on her personal life.
Knightley remains a devoted fan of West Ham United, having attended many games as a child.