Rowan Atkinson has had quite the life while enjoying the fame and fortune that comes with being one of the most popular comedic actors in the world. The British star has not only had success as Mr. Bean but also while portraying many other roles over the years. Still, this famously private star has not been able to completely avoid controversy. Most recently, some shocking news came out that will certainly change his life forever!
Making People Laugh
Long before he became famous for his hilarious portrayal of Mr. Bean, Rowan Atkinson was just a boy growing up near Newcastle, England, in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Even as a child, many of the people around him remarked at his undeniable ability to make those around him laugh. Everyone noted that he really seemed to have a gift.
Getting An Education
Still, Rowan Atkinson did not seem to initially have stars in his eyes, or perhaps he just wanted to get his education before pursuing stardom. Whatever the case, he got a master’s degree in electrical engineering before he appeared in a single film or TV show. However, he also knew that he had an itch that only comedy could truly scratch.
Back Into Comedy
Before long, Rowan started focusing more and more of his time on original comedy sketches. He had a passion for making people laugh, and he knew that he was very good at it. When he performed as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe to great success, Rowan took it as a sign that he could have a future in comedic acting if he stuck with it long enough.
At 24 years old, Rowan Atkinson debuted on television screens across England as part of the sleeper hit Not the Nine O’Clock News. Rowan was a perfect match for the off-kilter theme of the parody news show, which never took itself seriously and aimed to lighten up the evenings of all the people that watched it on television.
Little did Rowan know that the best was yet to come. He continued to climb the comedy ladder with another British comedy, The Black Adder. The medieval sitcom placed Rowan in a much different type of role and really showed off his ability to play a wide variety of roles, which is sort of ironic considering the fact that he’s mainly famous for playing one character!
Although The Black Adder found itself off-screen for a couple of years due to budgetary restrictions, it was a cult hit that showed its legs as numerous spin-offs came about in subsequent years. Blackadder II was followed by Blackadder the Third, Blackadder Goes Forth and a number of television specials, including Blackadder’s Christmas Carol.
Lucky In Love
In 1990, Rowan was preparing to marry longtime girlfriend, Sunetra Sastry. He had first met Sunetra when she was a BBC makeup artist, and the two had hit it off. Now, with a new bride and coming off of the success of the Black Adder series, Rowan’s life had really come together as he entered his mid-30s. However, his newest comedy creation would change his life forever.
Mr. Bean Arrives
In 1990, Rowan debuted the character of Mr. Bean for a half-hour special. The character ended up being more popular than Rowan ever would have expected, and he was asked to bring Mr. Bean back several times in recurring TV specials and appearances over the early 1990s. In 1997, Mel Smith directed Bean, the first-ever Mr. Bean movie.
A Legendary Character
Mr. Bean would ultimately become a successful TV show that would run for over 104 episodes, along with all of the other special appearances that Rowan made as the character, including at the 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony. However, in 2012, Rowan broke the hearts of many of his fans by saying that he intended to retire the character after 22 years.
Taking Its Toll
Rowan Atkinson had to explain why he felt it was time to stop playing Mr. Bean. He pointed out that while many of his comedic characters over the years have been dialogue-based, Mr. Bean is a character that requires a lot of physical comedy, which becomes much more difficult to do as you get older and your physical abilities decline.
Tired Of Being Typecast
Furthermore, Rowan pointed out that though Mr. Bean had been a successful character for him, it had also led to him being typecast to a certain degree, which could ultimately make it difficult for him to play other roles in the future. Nevertheless, Mr. Bean has appeared in a couple of short sketches and advertisements since 2012.
Johnny English On The Scene
One reason that Rowan can move away from playing Mr. Bean is that he was able to launch a new character, Johnny English, with great success. The Johnny English film series parodies the popular James Bond spy films, and the first installment did so well that Johnny English Reborn was released in 2011, the year before Mr. Bean was officially retired.
One very distinct part of Rowan Atkinson’s characters is the way that they enunciate words very precisely. In particular, Rowan pronounces the letter “b” very distinctively, which became one of the focuses of the humor in Blackadder II. What many people don’t know is that Rowan does this to correct a stammering problem that he’s always had.
Politically Active Actor
Rowan Atkinson, like many American actors, likes to be active in the world of politics. In particular, Rowan has long fought for free speech, which he has supported by protesting the Public Order Act of 1986, which allows for arrests and punishments over simple insults. Rowan said that such laws restrict freedom of speech.
Fighting For Freedom Of Speech
Rowan has also joined actors such as Ian McEwan to protest the Racial and Religious Hatred Bill, which many were concerned could allow religious groups to censor artistic expression. As a comedic actor, it’s always been important to Rowan that nothing is out of bounds when it comes to comedy or satire.
Racing Through Life
Rowan Atkinson is multi-talented. Not only does he have a passion for luxury cars, but he has actually done some racing in special events. He once owned a rare McLaren F1, and he came in first place on a Top Gear special that featured celebrities racing in everyday cars. In 2001, Rowan was even forced to fly a private plane for a short while as his pilot momentarily fainted. Eventually, the pilot came to and landed safely.
No Porsche, No Problem
Although Rowan has owned a number of expensive cars, there is one type of vehicle he has vowed never to buy: a Porsche. Rowan has admitted that he has a problem with Porsches. Although he maintains that they are very nice cars, he just feels like they aren’t for him and that “typical Porsche people” are not his kind of people. Ouch!
Time To Split Up
Rowan married Sunetra Sastry in February 1990, and the pair were a happy couple for quite some time. Sadly, their relationship came to an end in 2014, when they were separated. Ultimately, they were officially divorced by November 2015, bringing an unfortunate end to a 25-year marriage that began when Rowan was still a budding star.
The British tabloids had a field day with the circumstances behind the divorce, as word circulated that Rowan Atkinson had dated girlfriend Louise Ford at about the same time that he was separated from Sunetra. The timing of the end of his relationship with Sunetra and the beginning of the new one with Louise made what was already a difficult event even messier.
Big News On The Horizon
At age 62, Rowan surprised the world with some wonderful news. Well, it’s more accurate to say that Rowan and his girlfriend Louise Ford surprised the world. In November 2017, Louise Ford was spotted shopping in North London, and you could clearly see a baby bump. Before long, the word got out for sure, and everyone knew. That’s right; Rowan was going to be a father again!
Excited To Be A Father Again
The child will be the first that Rowan has with Louise Ford. Although Rowan is famously protective of his private life, there have been numerous reports regarding Rowan’s excitement to become a father again. One source told the media that the couple was completely “over the moon” about the news and that Rowan couldn’t wait for the baby to come sometime in early 2018.
A lot of people were very surprised about the revelation, mostly due to Rowan’s age. Although Rowan is 62, he is quite young at heart, and it is far from rare for older men in Hollywood to become fathers at a more advanced age. Rowan is actually pretty young when you compare him to Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger, who became a father for the eighth time at 73 years old!
Supporting Their Favorite Actor
Fans of Rowan Atkinson have taken to social media with enthusiasm to congratulate Rowan and Louise Ford on the impending arrival of their first child together. “They’ll be excellent parents!” one fan enthused, while another exclaimed that she was “so happy for them both!” Certainly, Rowan and Louise feel that they are ready to take their relationship to another level and become a real family.
The Family Is Getting Bigger
Of course, Rowan has been a father for quite some time, going back to his marriage with Sunetra Sastry. The couple had a pair of children, Ben and Lily. Rowan seemed to be a very proud parent to his son and daughter, although again, the private nature of his personality kept his kids out of the limelight for the most part. You have to wonder how they feel about welcoming a new sister or brother!
Most recently, Rowan’s daughter Lily was the source of a bit of controversy. From a bird’s eye view, it always seemed that Rowan and Lily had a healthy relationship. She has been seen accompanying him to events and genuinely seemed to be quite a supporter of Rowan’s career, as well. She even carved herself a nice following on social media.
However, everything abruptly changed in 2017 when there seemed to be some trouble that arose. Lily suddenly changed her last name from Atkinson to Sastry, her mother’s maiden name. The move was a puzzling one that instantly made fans of Rowan’s wonder whether there had been some kind of trouble between father and daughter.
Of course, Rowan Atkinson is not the type of person to acknowledge or address such events publicly, and Lily was not going to answer to any of the persistent questions about the sudden change, either – because she deleted all of her social media accounts around the same time. Now fans were really baffled and curious as to what was wrong between the two.
No Easy Answers
Reports have emerged from sources close to Rowan and the family, but even insiders have been puzzled by the whole thing. Although the divorce was definitely hard on Lily and the rest of the family, it’s not immediately clear whether that was the primary reason for the change. As a burlesque dancer, maybe Lily didn’t want to be in her father’s shadow?
Returning As Johnny English
Regardless of the potential drama with daughter Lily and the excitement over the new baby, Rowan is ready to continue his successful career, with a new installment in the popular Johnny English film series coming in October 2018. Recently, Rowan even played the role of Mr. Bean another time for a popular Chinese film series.
Facing The Future
Rowan is not one to back down from a challenge and also is certainly not one to back down from adversity. Although he may be having some difficulties due to his divorce from Sunetra, he seems 100% to making his relationship with Louise Ford work as they welcome a baby into their lives. Regarding his career and personal life, Rowan is focused on the future.