Silent Witness star Emilia Fox is one of the UK's most popular actresses, with a career spanning over 25 years. Born into a family of thespians, Emilia followed in her parents’ professional footsteps and made her first TV appearance as Georgiana Darcy in the iconic 1995 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.
Since 2004, Emilia has played forensic pathologist Dr Nikki Alexander in Silent Witness and describes her character as the best friend she could ever have. The gritty crime drama is currently in its 25th series which has seen Nikki joining forces with the show’s OG Professor Sam Ryan (Amanda Burton).
Busy bee Emilia is already onto filming the show’s 26th series, and we can’t wait to see what happens next. But before that, here are a few things you may not know about the star...
Emilia Fox is a member of the Fox dynasty
Emilia Rose Elizabeth Fox was born in Hammersmith, London, on July 31st 1974, making her a Leo. The daughter of acclaimed actors Edward Fox and Joanna David, performing clearly ran in the genes, as both Emilia and her younger brother, Freddie (who played Mark Thatcher in The Crown) have chosen the same career. And it’s not just Emilia’s immediate family who are stars of the stage and screen.
Her paternal grandfather, Robin Fox was an actor, theatrical agent and chairman of the English Stage Company, and her grandmother, Angela Worthington was an actress and daughter of playwright Frederick Lonsdale.
Emilia’s uncle, James Fox has appeared in a wide range of film and TV productions, and her cousins Laurence, Jack and Lydia are also actors. Laurence is probably the most well-known, having played DS James Hathaway in ITV’s Lewis for 11 years, and has more recently made headlines as a political activist.
She's an accomplished musician
Emilia studied at the independent Bryanston School in Dorset, where she excelled in music — playing the cello, piano and trumpet. As a youngster, Emilia dreamt of becoming a cellist, inspired by her mum and dad’s friendship with the renowned musician, Jacqueline du Pre, whose life was tragically cut short by multiple sclerosis.
Devoted to her music and academic studies, Emilia admits she was a fish out of water at secondary school. In an interview with The Guardian (opens in new tab) she revealed, “I was playing the cello and getting picked up by my mum while other girls were at the bus stop with their skirts hitched up, going clubbing.”
She didn’t intend to become an actress
After finishing school, Emilia went to read English at St Catherine’s College, Oxford, and it wasn’t long after starting she was called to audition for the role of Georgiana, the younger sister of Mr Darcy in the critically acclaimed TV adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.
At the time, 19-year-old Emilia was acting in plays for fun and had no burning desire to make a living out of it. However, acting alongside the likes of Colin Firth — who she remembers talking to about the books she was studying — changed all that and just two years later she landed the lead of Mrs de Winter in Rebecca, opposite Charles Dance.
Since then, Emilia hasn’t had a year out of work and boasts an impressive CV, which includes a role in the 2002 film The Pianist, directed by Roman Polanski, several period productions and treading the boards as Queen Isabel in a theatre production of Richard II.
She’s had a few famous other halves
After being engaged to comedian Vic Reeves in 2000, Emilia went on to marry British actor Jared Harris, but sadly it ended in divorce. Emilia’s next leading man was actor Jeremy Gilley, with whom she had daughter Rose, born in 2010, but the couple parted ways shortly afterwards. Emilia was also romantically involved with hot-headed chef Marco Pierre White between 2012 and 2016.
The star is currently loved up with TV producer Jonathan Stadlen and says she’s happier than ever. Emilia recently gushed about their relationship to the Mail Online, saying: "It's a life-changing thing when you fall in love like this, and I look forward to a day-by-day lifetime of discovery with him. You can never say for definite, but I feel so hopeful. There has been no doubt or hesitation.”
She's co-starred with her mum
Despite being part of a famous acting dynasty, Emilia insists her parents are very down to earth and her school friends were always disappointed by her un-showbizzy home life.
As well as starring with her mum, Joanna David, in Pride and Prejudice, the pair also appeared together in Channel 4’s Celebrity Gogglebox. And Joanna’s potty mouth was a huge hit with amused viewers.
Laughing about her mum’s use of expletives, Emilia said to Daily Mail: "I’m sure they had to cut out quite a lot because she’s got a really filthy mouth. She’s shocking! People have very strong opinions about what you must be like [as a Fox]. And until now not many have been able to see that Mum is funny and larger-than-life. I enjoyed filming it with her.”
She's a Dawn French fan girl
Emilia met legendary comedian Dawn French when they worked together filming Sky 1 series Delicious. The pair might have played on-screen love rivals, but they struck up a firm friendship, and when asked who her three dream dinner party guests would be, Emilia didn’t hesitate in saying Dawn would be one.
In case you’re wondering her other two are, the second is criminologist Professor David Wilson, who Emilia filmed a documentary with and said she finds so fascinating they’d need a 25-course meal. And lastly, her old school buddy, Ben Fogle, who’s also made a name for himself as a successful broadcaster and adventurer.
She’s witnessed a real-life post-mortem
During her years filming Silent Witness, Emilia has carried out autopsies on countless pretend corpses and learned a lot of complex medical lingo in the process. She’s also been able to watch real-life pathologists working on human bodies, an experience that she found thought-provoking and humbling.
Having played the same character for 18 years, Emilia has grown rather attached to her alter-ego and has described Nikki in interviews as the ‘best friend she could have’. “She’s a great ally and a great strength and I love spending time with her,” Emilia told The Mail on Sunday.
“She makes mistakes and questionable decisions, but that makes her more human. I look forward to seeing what she’s going to get up to.”
She learnt Italian during lockdown
Multi-talented Emilia can already speak French and German, but during the Covid pandemic she decided to put her spare time to good use by learning Italian. The star thought she’d be able to put her new linguistic skills to the test when she was offered a part in the detective series, Signora Volpe, set in Italy. However, that wasn’t quite the case.
In a recent chat with You (opens in new tab), Emilia revealed: “I got this lovely job and thought: “Oh, my Italian will flourish and I’ll be fluent by the time I come back.”’ Little did I realise I would be learning English lines solidly from beginning to end… but it was lovely being surrounded by the language.”
In Signora Volpe — which aptly translates as ‘Mrs Fox’ — Emilia plays Sylvia, a former MI6 spy, who ends up getting drawn into a murder investigation.
Emilia enjoys the simple pleasures in life
Down to earth Emilia says it’s the small things in life that make her happy — like eating pizza in her local pub, painting garden furniture, and getting weirdly obsessed with cleaning products.
She’s also a dog lover and owns two long-haired miniature dachshunds, Dolly and Clive. The adorable pooches have appeared on Emilia’s social media, and much to her delight, get on like a dream with her boyfriend Jonathan’s jackapoo, Sailor. Ahh.
Emilia Fox's fact file
Frequently asked questions about the TV star...
How old is Emilia Fox?
Emilia Fox is 47, she was born on 31st July 1974.
Is Emilia Fox married?
In 2005 Emilia Fox got hitched to actor Jared Harris, but their marriage ended in divorce five years later. She’s currently in a relationship with television producer, Jonathan Stadlen.
Does Emilia Fox have any children?
Emilia has a daughter, Rose, from her previous relationship with actor, Jeremy Gilley. The couple split a year after Rose’s birth in 2010.
Where was Emilia Fox born?
Emilia was born in Hammersmith, London.
How tall is Emilia Fox?
Emilia is 5 foot 5.
Instagram: @emiliarosefox (opens in new tab)
Twitter: @EmiliaFox (opens in new tab)
We work hard to ensure that all information is correct. Facts that change over time, such as age, will be correct, to the best of our knowledge, at the time of the last article update.
Laura has been a journalist for over a decade, writing about soaps, TV entertainment, fashion, beauty, and food. After graduating from university, she started her career working at a national soap and TV magazine. During her seven-year stint there she joined the cast of Emmerdale for a tour around the famous village, partied with soap stars at awards bashes, interviewed her acting idol David Suchet, and sat in the front row of Strictly Come Dancing.
Her heart lies with the soaps, and her all-time favourite character has to be EastEnders' Pat Butcher - no one rocked a big earring quite like her. She's also a huge fan of detective crime dramas, particularly old school Inspector Morse, Endeavour, and adaptations of Agatha Christie's Marple and Poirot. When she's not writing, she loves a spot of second-hand shopping and going on adventures with her young son.
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