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Olivia Colman reveals paparazzi ‘meltdown’ that forced her from London

British actor moved from south London to the Norfolk countryside during the lockdown for a quieter way of life

Nicole Vassell
Thursday 16 November 2023 17:38 GMT
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Oscars 2019: Olivia Colman wins best actress award

Olivia Colman has said that frenzied paparazzi interference outside her London home forced her to move to the countryside.

The Oscar and Bafta-winning actor revealed that photographers following her car prompted a “terrified meltdown” before she made the decision to flee the city in search of privacy.

In an interview with Vogue, Colman, 49, spoke about the pitfalls of fame, and how it impacted her decision to leave her home in Peckham, south London, for the leafier surrounds of Norfolk, where she was born.

“We’ve moved to the countryside and it’s lovely,” she said, referring to her husband, the screenwriter Ed Sinclair, and their three children: two teens and an eight-year-old.

“It’s where I’m from. We never fell out of love with London,” she explained. “I love London, but it became difficult… Just a******* standing outside your front door, following you on the school run.”

After clarifying that she means paparazzi, Colman continued: “Yeah. I was scared. At one point, there were two cars chasing us and I was having a sort of meltdown, terrified. I was crying and they were laughing.”

Colman rose to fame in 2013 when she starred in the ITV crime-drama series Broadchurch. In the years that followed, she has played lead roles in major projects such as Queen Elizabeth in The Crown, and Stuart monarch Queen Anne in The Favourite, for which she won an Academy Award for Best Actress in 2019.

Olivia Colman

Elsewhere in the interview, published on Thursday (16 November), the former Peep Show star spoke about her appreciating the times in her career when she wasn’t working as consistently. Now, she prefers being in private spaces to avoid people treating her differently, or taking unauthorised pictures of her in her daily life.

“People taking what they think is a sneaky photograph. It’s always obvious, you always know, and it’s awful,” she said.

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“Don’t do it. It happened the other day at my kids’ school, a mum took one. You can’t even go: ‘Sorry, don’t do that,’ as then they say, ‘I wasn’t! I didn’t!’ And then you look like a d**k. It’s a shame… I wish I was braver but I’m not.”

Colman will next appear in Wonka, the story of Roald Dahl’s eccentric chocolatier, in cinemas from 8 December.

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