Downton Abbey star Hugh Bonneville underwent a ‘weight loss transformation’ in the months leading up to his split from his 25-year-old wife Lulu Williams, sources claim.
The 59-year-old revealed yesterday that the couple have split, just days after he was seen attending fellow Downton alumni Michelle Dockery’s wedding alone and without wearing his ring.
The couple made a common appearance on the red carpet together, with Lulu, 55, regularly accompanying her husband to premieres and film sets. They were last seen together in public at the Old Vic Theater in London during a gala in April.
A source told the Sun that Hugh, who lived with Lulu in their West Sussex home and had previously described her as his ‘base’, was ‘away from home a lot this year filming’.
They added: ‘He (Hugh) has lost some weight this summer, looking trim, tanned and relaxed.’
Hugh Bonneville has confirmed he has been separated from his wife of 25 years, Lulu Williams. Pictured: Hugh at the Downton Abbey premiere in New York in September 2019
Speculation grew after Bonneville attended Michelle Dockery and Jasper Waller-Bridge’s wedding ceremony last week without his ring. Pictured: Hugh at the wedding on September 24
Hugh and Lulu are a common sight together, with the couple often appearing at premieres together. Pictured: Hugh and Lulu at the world premiere of Downton Abbey in September 2019
Bonneville became famous in Downton Abbey. Pictured: Hugh as Reverend Roland Wise in the BBC series Rev
Bonneville still wore his gold wedding ring while attending the coronation concert in May
However, it seems that the divorce did not go smoothly. Another source told the newspaper: “It’s clear Lulu feels like 20 years of marriage counts for nothing.”
Lulu often accompanied her husband to premieres and movie sets and her recent absence led to rumors that the couple was having problems.
The actor, famous for his role as Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham, had never shied away from expressing his love for Lulu, having previously called her his ‘base’ and ‘anchor’ and praised his wife as the backbone of their household.
Bonneville was spotted grinning last week at Dockery’s lavish wedding to Jasper Waller-Bridge – the brother of Fleabag maker Phoebe – without his wedding ring.
The heartbreak comes just five years after the couple renewed their vows at Graceland Chapel in Las Vegas.
The pair met as teenagers but reunited later in life and got together in their 30s, thanks in no small part to Hugh’s mother Patricia.
Hugh has said: ‘Lulu ran a marquee company… my mother called her to rent some chairs or something and said, ‘Do you remember Hugh?’
“It infuriated me that I had to give my mother all the credit for reintroducing us.”
Bonneville and Lulu later tied the knot in November 1998.
Bonneville and Lulu were last seen together in public at the Old Vic Theater in London during a gala in April
Hugh Bonneville and Lulu Evans at the Viceroy’s House, film premiere, London, UK – February 21, 2017
Actor Hugh Bonneville and his wife Lulu Williams pose for photographers as they arrive at the world premiere of the film Paddington in London, Sunday, November 23, 2014
Hugh became a superstar for his portrayal of the Earl of Grantham in the ITV period drama Downton Abbey. Pictured: Hugh in the show
Actor Hugh Bonneville and his wife Lulu Williams attend day four of the 2022 Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon
Cast member Hugh Bonneville and his wife Lulu Evans (R) arrive on the red carpet for a screening of the film ‘The Monuments Men’ at the 64th Berlinale International Film Festival in Berlin on February 8, 2014
Lulu regularly accompanied her husband on set, including in 2013 when he was filming The Monuments Men with George Clooney.
Bonneville also admitted in 2009 that his wife helped him lose weight after she said he was as “fat as a pig.”
While appearing as a castaway on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, he selected Mama Cass’s 1968 hit Dream A Little Dream as a tribute to Lulu.
The couple enjoyed entertaining their friends on weekends and walking their two Tibetan terriers, Teddy and Sasha.
During the pandemic, Lulu and her husband – who she called ‘luvvie’ – were both volunteer marshals at their local NHS vaccine center
In previous interviews, Bonneville claimed he was ‘completely indebted’ to his wife for the way she supported him throughout his career while he cared for their son Felix, 20, who had his own on-screen success.
“Lulu’s priority was to be a foundation for Felix and me and I am completely indebted to her,” he said.
Lulu frequently accompanied her husband while he was on set, including in 2013 when he was filming The Monuments Men (pictured at the film’s UK premiere in Leicester Square) with George Clooney
Bonneville has played Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham in the BBC period drama since its launch in 2010 – a role for which he won a Golden Globe – and revealed that the royal family are among the many fans of the popular series.
He was later appointed Deputy Lieutenant of West Sussex by the Royal Family in 2019.
His first major film role was in Frankenstein as the right leg of Robert De Niro’s character The Monster.
More recently, he has starred in two Paddington films and has been signed on for the third installment, which has gone into production.
This Sunday he will perform at the Battle of Britain Royal Gala at the Royal Air Force Club in London.
He said of the appointment: “It’s nice because it’s in my county where I live and I do a lot of things like visiting schools and reading a lot in Paddington. It’s basically the same thing, but with a badge. I am very honored.’
He was spotted wearing his gold ring while attending the King’s Coronation Concert on May 7 – again without Lulu.