Dominic West Discusses ‘Deeply Stressful’ Aftermath of Being Spotted with Lily James While Married

‘The Crown’ actor, who is married to Catherine FitzGerald, came under scrutiny in 2020 after he was seen out with Lily James

<p>Karwai Tang/WireImage</p> Dominic West in 2023

Karwai Tang/WireImage

Dominic West in 2023

Dominic West is opening up about the rumors that circulated about his relationship after he was photographed in Rome with Lily James while being married to Catherine FitzGerald.

In an interview with The Times published April 21, The Crown actor, 54, spoke about how he and his wife, who have been married since 2010, joked together about the tabloid headlines that followed them after West was spotted getting comfortable with the actress, 35, on a vacation in Rome.

“I hesitate to speak on my wife’s behalf because it was obviously horrible, particularly for her,” he told the outlet, referencing the controversy before letting out a laugh. “But we do joke about it sometimes."

“Whenever we went out together, the papers would always say we were ‘putting on a show of unity’. Even if we’d just been rowing about parking the car or whatever, even if that couldn’t be further from the truth,” he continued. “And so when we go out we do sort of say, ‘Shall we go and have a show of unity up in London?’ ”

Karwai Tang/WireImage; Arnold Jerocki/Getty Lily James, Dominic West
Karwai Tang/WireImage; Arnold Jerocki/Getty Lily James, Dominic West

Related: Dominic West's Wife Reflects on Their 'Wonderful Love Affair' After Lily James Photo Scandal

In photos published by the Daily Mail  in October 2020, West and the Rebecca star were seen riding a scooter together and enjoying lunch al fresco. At one point, The Wire actor appeared to nuzzle James’ neck.

“It was an absurd situation,” said West, who shares two boys and two girls with FitzGerald. “It was deeply stressful for my wife and my kids, but there were lighter moments. That was the best that came out of it, really."

At the time, photographers also captured the duo — who were filming a BBC adaptation of Nancy Mitford's classic novel The Pursuit of Love at the time — at the airport in Rome together. Just one day later, West and FitzGerald publicly addressed the reports.

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In their public address, the couple kissed and posed for photographs outside of their home in London with a sheet of paper that read, “Our marriage is strong and we're very much still together. Thank you. Catherine and Dominic.”

James has previously declined to address the controversy, telling The Guardian in a 2021 interview that there was “a lot to say” but that she wasn't ready to speak.

Related: Why The Crown's Dominic West Feels 'Sympathy' for King Charles (Exclusive)

“Ach, I'm not really willing to talk about that,” James told the outlet about the photographs and media attention. “There is a lot to say, but not now, I'm afraid.”

In his interview with The Times, West also opened up about his love for playing upperclass characters — especially his role as Prince Charles in The Crownbut admitted that he's better suited at playing blue-collar workers.

“I think those are my best roles,” he said. “Some people look good in stiff collars, but I don’t think I’m one of them. I understand upperclass attitudes and ways, and I like those characters, but as an outsider.”

“But my wife who is genuinely upperclass, always tells me, ‘You’re much better in the working-class parts, you’re not very good as upper class, you’re not convincing at all,’ he added. “And I agree with her."

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