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Olivia Colman — things you didn't know about the 'The Crown' star

Olivia Colman at the the 73rd British Academy Film Awards in London.
(Image credit: Matt Crossick/PA Archive/PA Images)

Olivia Colman made her acting breakthrough in the Channel 4 sitcom Peep Show, before going on to appear in hit TV series such as That Mitchell and Webb Look, Rev., Flebag, Twenty Twelve, The Iron Lady and Accused to name but a few. 

She won high praise for her role as DS Ellie Miller in Broadchurch, and has been awarded Golden Globes for her roles in The Night Manager and for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown. As well as also winning a Golden Globe for her role as Queen Anne in The Favourite, Olivia also won an Oscar for the part in 2019.

Olivia was also appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2019 for her services to drama. 

But what else is there to learn about the much-loved TV star? Here are a few things you might not know.

1. Her real name isn't Olivia.

Despite becoming a household name as Olivia Colman the actress was born Sarah Caroline Colman, but is known professionally as Olivia. She changed her name when she launched her acting career because there was already a Sarah Colman registered with Actors Equity Association. 

2. She met her husband at university. 

Olivia met her husband, Ed Sinclair, at Cambridge University in 1999 when they were both cast in a student production of Alan Ayckbourn's Table Manners together. The couple got married in 2001 and now have three children. 

Olivia and her husband, Ed Sinclair, at the Oscars in 2019.

Olivia and her husband, Ed Sinclair, at the Oscars in 2019. (Image credit: Getty)

3. She had to put on weight to play Queen Anne in 'The Favourite' 

Instead of wearing costume padding, Olivia decided to gain weight to play Queen Anne in The Favourite. However, in contrast, she had to lose weight to play Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown. She told OK Magazine: "I had to put on a lot of weight for Queen Anne, but I had to lose weight for The Crown. Well, I didn't have to because everyone was being very polite and nice, but I decided I needed to. It would have felt a bit wrong to play Queen Elizabeth II as the same size as Queen Anne. I probably wouldn't say yes to putting on weight again for a job because it's been very difficult to lose."

4. She trained to become a teacher. 

Before discovering her passion for acting, Olivia's first career plan was to become a teacher. She trained as a primary school teacher at Homerton College in Cambridge but later admitted that she would have been a terrible teacher because she wasn't very committed.

5. She stole toilet paper from Buckingham Palace. 

Well, technically her husband was the one who actually stole the toilet paper while at Buckingham Palace for a formal dinner, but it was all Olivia's idea. Apparently she thought it would be fun and he came home with two squares! In fact toilet paper is a bit of a reoccurring theme for Olivia, because she was also the voiceover for a series of Andrex adverts in 2013.

6. She's spent a huge amount of time watching 'I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!' 

Before you go thinking Olivia is a huge fan and has got every episode on record, she actually spent a lot of time watching one series in particular, which was 2005 when Carol Thatcher won the show. This was all in preparation for when Olivia played Carol in The Iron Lady, and she watched Margaret's daughter on the reality TV show to get her voice just right.

7. She loves being at home with a cuppa. 

While Olivia is used to attending glamorous parties and award ceremonies, she has confessed that she would rather be at home with a cup of tea. Olivia told The Guardian that after she won her BAFTA for The Favourite in 2019 she turned to her husband and said,"Can we go home? I want to out my socks on and have a cup of tea." The pair were apparently home by 10pm. 

Olivia Colman's fact file. 

Answers to the most frequently asked questions about the actress.

How old is she?

Olivia Colman is 46 years old. She was born on 30th January 1974.

Is she married? 

Olivia Colman married her husband Ed Sinclair in 2001. 

Does she have children?

Olivia Colman and her husband Ed have three children. 

Where was she born?

Olivia Colman was born in Norwich, Norfolk. 

How tall is she?

Olivia Colman is 1.7 metres tall.

Instagram: @itsoliviacolman

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.