In 2014, Theo James’ life changed forever. His acting career had slowly, steadily grown for several years, but it wasn’t until he starred opposite Shailene Woodley in one of the year’s biggest films, Divergent that the world really turned its attention on the British actor.
You couldn’t blame us. James had the big three that worked in his favour in Hollywood: acting talent, personality and, to put it frankly, extreme good looks. It wasn’t long before fans came up with all kinds of theories about his dating life and supposed partner.
We’ll preface this by saying that James is, in fact, happily married to fellow actor Ruth Kearney, and the pair have been together for years—long before he became an international star. But that didn’t stop fans and media speculating about his love life.
Now, James is back in the limelight having starred in HBO’s successful series The White Lotus (which you can watch now on Binge and Foxtel). Playing Cameron Sullivan, the 37-year-old leaves a lasting impression due to his character’s fast one-liners (courtesy of penman Mike White), and James’ own talent.
Safely assuming that you’re curious and want to know more, below, we unpack James’ life away from the cameras (and clear up those rogue relationship rumours).
Who is Theo James’ partner?
Theo James’ wife is Ruth Kearney, whom he married in 2018. They originally met in their early 20s (reports claim it was around 2009) when they both attended the same acting school, Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. It would be several more years before James and Kearney’s careers took off, but their relationship was signed and sealed much earlier than that.
James previously told the Evening Standard that their romance “made sense pretty early on”.
“She’s very sanguine, thoughtful and funny,” he explained.
The actor has also opened up about how he and Kearney moved through many different phases of success in both their acting careers: “That can be really hard at times, but also that [brings] certain strengths [to] a relationship which helps us being together long term.”
The couple even acted together in British drama Sanditon before welcoming their daughter in 2021. While they’re notoriously private and don’t share many details about their private life, they have made several red carpet appearances together—including for the release of James’ series, The White Lotus, season two.
Did Theo James ever date Shailene Woodley?
No, James and Woodley never had a romantic relationship, but they were very close friends while shooting the Divergent films.
“Inevitably you meet on the test and you don’t know each other, and it’s always slightly awkward because you’re doing a kind of intimate scene with someone you have never set your eyes upon,” he explained, adding, “But she’s really refreshing and she’s very open to collaborating as two people and making the scene as good as possible.”
He added in a separate interview with Culture Calling: “I’ve also had the opportunity to see her evolve as a person in a very wonderful way. Our friendship has grown in the same way, and that’s been a good thing since you’re not just spending time on a set together but you’re also spending months promoting the films all over the world together.”
Did Theo James ever date Taylor Swift?
This rumour came from the rogue side of the internet. A report in 2014 claimed Taylor Swift had set her sights on Theo James following his Divergent success—of course, precisely nothing about the rumours could be backed up and were later proven to be false given James was in a relationship with Kearney.
According to Classicalite, a report from gossip magazine OK! claimed Swift had asked mutual friends to set them both up.
“[Swift] asked her friend Hailee Steinfeld to ask Theo’s friend Douglas Booth, another British actor, if there was a chance [Swift and James] could meet up for a date in Los Angeles,” the salacious (and very much not backed up) report alleged.
Suffice to say Swift was allegedly shut down quickly by Booth. What a dramatic fictional tale!
These days, Swift is happily in a relationship with Joe Alwyn, while James is enjoying parenthood with his wife. Alls well that ends well in this part of Hollywood.