Hayley Atwell — things you didn't know about the actress

Hayley Atwell has dual citizenship between the United Kingdom and the United States.
Hayley Atwell has dual citizenship between the United Kingdom and the United States. (Image credit: Getty Images)

Hayley Atwell has become a familiar face on our screens, most notably taking on the role of Peggy Carter in the Captain America films and starring in the latest Mission Impossible movie alongside Tom Cruise.

She's also starred in films such as Christopher Robin, The Duchess and the live-action Cinderella

She's also appeared in TV shows, such as Black Mirror, Criminal: UK and The Long Song. But despite the fact we see her in roles a lot, there's a lot you might not know about Hayley. Here are some fun facts.

Hayley did not date Tom cruise!

Hayley Atwell and Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning - Part One from Paramount Pictures and Skydance.

(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

Hayley strongly denied rumors that she dated her Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One co-star. She told The Independent she viewed Cruise and the movie's director, Chris McQuarrie, as "sort of two uncles".  

"I would be like, 'Ooh, there's some weird rumors, and it feels base, it feels a little dirty, it feels grubby, it’s not what I’m about'. Why are things being assumed or projected onto me about my relationship with my work colleague and boss?" she told the paper. 

On a happier note, she's engaged to music producer Ned Wolfgang Kelly.

Hayley became a vegetarian at the age of eight.

Hayley Atwell decided to stop eating meat at the age of eight, after seeing chef Loyd Grossman put a live lobster into boiling water on TV. She apparently makes great vegetarian noodles too. During a 2010 interview with The Guardian, she said of her then boyfriend, "He grew up on Turkey Twizzlers, so he thinks I am an amazing cook. Every time I cook him a meal, he goes: 'Babe, you should go on Masterchef.' And I say: 'Babe, it is only noodles with soya sauce…'"

She's very skilled at ventriloquism.

Many of us have hidden talents, and Hayley Atwell has proven she's very good at ventriloquism. Appearing on CBC's Studio q, she proudly demonstrated her surprising skill, minus a doll or puppet. In the hilarious clip, Hayley introduced herself and the radio show without moving her lips. She also showed off her skills on an episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live.

3. Hayley used to play rugby.

In an interview with Mail Online, Hayley revealed she used to play rugby at school. She said that her nickname at school was Hulk Hayley "because [she] wasn’t afraid to fight boys". She added, "I played rugby, too. My two best friends were boys and they taught me how to fight. I was tough."

4. She's acted on the stage as well as the screen.

In 2009, Hayley Atwell made her West End debut in Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge, at the Duke of York’s Theatre in London. She's also starred in Measure for Measure, The Pride, and Prometheus Bound. Her most recent role was in the Norwegian play Rosmersholm, performed at Duke of York's Theatre in 2019.

5. She's friends with Jodie Whittaker.

Hayley Atwell and Jodie Whittaker met at drama school, and have been friends ever since. When Jodie was announced as the first female Doctor on BBC's Doctor Who, Hayley congratulated her on Instagram.

In an interview with Marie Claire, Hayley added: "I’m so proud of Jode! At uni, she was equal parts tomboy and girlie girl – we’d go to fancy dress parties together. But she was also really good at going, 'I don’t understand that word in that script, what does that mean?' I’d be too embarrassed to ask. She taught me it’s OK to not get things."

Hayley Atwell with Jodie Whittaker.

Hayley and Jodie have been friends since drama school.  (Image credit: Getty Images)

6. She has acted in radio dramas.

As well as the screen and stage, Hayley has also lent her voice to radio dramas. She's starred in multiple Doctor Who dramas including Doctor Who: The Doomwood Curse, Doctor Who: The Whispering Forest, Doctor Who: The Sands of Life.

She's also been in radio plays such as Cassandra at the Wedding, Ode to Saint Cecilia and even an adaptation of Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice.

7. She enjoys pranking her co-stars.

Hayley loves playing practical jokes on her co-stars! When filming Howards End with Matthew Macfadyen, she told EW, "We had an ongoing gag that in fact maybe this whole time Margaret's actually kind of evil genius mastermind, and she's set out to completely emasculate Mr. Wilcox, so by the end he's a giant baby and he can't string a sentence together anymore. On the last day of filming I planted a diaper inside Matthew Macfadyen's costume, and then a training potty in his bathroom, and I put a pacifier in his pocket."

Hayley Atwell's Fact File.

Answers to the most frequently asked questions about the actress.

How old is she?

Hayley Atwell is 41 years old. She was born on 5th April 1982.

Is she married? 

No, Hayley Atwell is not married. But she is engaged to music producer Ned Wolfgang Kelly.

Does she have children?

No, Hayley Atwell doesn't have children.

Where was she born?

Hayley Atwell was born in London. She has dual citizenship between the United Kingdom and the United States.

How tall is she?

Hayley Atwell is 1.69m tall.

Instagram: @wellhayley

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.