10 facts about Jonathan Rhys Meyers you never knew

The Irish actor, musician, and model is one of the most well-loved in Hollywood! Consider yourself a super fan (or want to be one)? Check our favourite facts about Jonathan Rhys Meyers below.

Ask a movie fan about the hottest Irish actor, and chances are they will name Jonathan Rhys Meyers. Raised in Cork, he has starred in blockbusters and TV shows such as Alexander, Mission Impossible: III, The Tudors, Elvis, Dracula, and Stonewall

Jonathan has won one Golden Globe (for Elvis) and was nominated for two more, as well as a Prime Time Emmy.

He has also been the face of several Hugo Boss campaigns, is involved in charities, including the Hope Foundation, and is a proud family man.

What else is there to know about the Irishman? Impress your friends with ten fun facts about Jonathan Rhys Meyers.

Ireland Before You Die’s overview of facts about Johnathan Rhys Myers

  • Johnathan Rhys Myers made his breakthrough on the musical drama Velvet Goldmine. He played a glamorous rock-star called Brian Slade and it was nominated for an award at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival.
  • He has three brothers, all of whom are professional musicians! His father, John O’Keefe, was also a folk musician.
  • Rhys Myers was expelled from school at the mere age of 15! This was because he was “unable to sit still” at his school of North Monastery Christian Brothers School in Cork.
  • He has also performed as a part-time model aside from his acting career. He has promoted several Hugo Boss fragrances and was the face of Versace men’s Autumn/Winter 2006 collection.
  • A funny fact about Rhys Myers is that his maiden role was a Knorr soup add. He was only 9 years old at the time it aired back in 1986!

10. He has three brothers – and they all are professional musicians

Jonathan Rhys Meyers has three brothers.
Credit: Facebook / Paul O’Keeffe

Jonathan Rhys Meyers was born as the first of four sons of folk musician John O’Keefe and his wife, Geraldine. His brothers all pursued careers in the arts and went on to become musicians.

Jonathan himself is a self-taught singer and guitarist. However, his number one love is acting. 

9. Jonathan starred in a Knorr soup TV commercial – it was his first-ever acting job

One of the facts about Jonathan Rhys Meyers is that he starred in a Knorr soup TV ad.
Credit: Flickr / Michael Gaylard

One of the funniest facts about Jonathan Rhys Meyers is that his very first role was in a Knorr soup ad. Just nine years old in 1986, his face appeared on national TV, and everybody associated him with vegetable soup. 

Little did we know at the time that this boy would once grow up to be one of our hottest acting exports. 

8. He was expelled from school – at just 15 years old

Jonathan Rhys Meyers was expelled from school.
Credit: Facebook / @northmoncbs

Jonathan attended North Monastery Christian Brothers School in Cork but was expelled at 15 because he was “unable to sit still” during class. 

The actor-to-be wasn’t too sad about it and quickly went on to join the working world. 

7. Jonathan worked on a farm – but he wasn’t much of a help

One of the facts about Jonathan Rhys Meyers is that he worked on a farm.
Credit: pxfuel.com

After his school career was over, the teenager worked as a farm help. However, farm life never was his cup of tea. He spent most of his spare time hanging around pool halls.

When casting agents were scouting for boys for War of the Buttons, he auditioned. Jonathan didn’t get the part but was encouraged to pursue an acting career, a prospect that excited him more than country life. 

6. His breakthrough came with a role as a rockstar – the movie was inspired by David Bowie

His breakthrough role was as a rockstar.
Credit: imdb.com

Jonathan first made headlines with the musical drama Velvet Goldmine, in which he played a glamourous rockstar called Brian Slade.

While the movie, co-produced by REM’s Michael Stipe, is fictional, the main character was inspired by David Bowie. Velvet Goldmine was nominated for an award at the Cannes Film Festival in 1998. 

READ MORE: Top 20 best Irish movies on Netflix and Amazon Prime right now

5. He is a part-time model – he worked for Versace and Hugo Boss

One of the facts about Jonathan Rhys Meyers is that he's a part-time model.
Credit: imdb.com

Besides his acting career, Jonathan modelled for luxury brands.

He was the face of Versace men’s collection of Autumn/Winter 2006 and Spring 2007 and has promoted several Hugo Boss men’s fragrances from 2006 to 2011. 

4. Jonathan had his first drink at 25 – but he quickly became addicted

Jonathan had his first drink at 25.
Credit: Pixabay / mibryant

The Irish actor has made headlines with drunken incidents (see number three). However, it’s one of the little known facts about Jonathan Rhys Meyers that he only started drinking at the age of 25.

Unlike his mates, Jonathan wasn’t particularly interested in hitting the pubs while growing up. However, he made up for it in his later twenties. 

RELATED: Do you agree with Ireland Before You Die’s selection of the top 10 best Irish alcoholic drinks ever, ranked

3. He battled with alcohol addiction – and ended up in custody several times

One of the facts about Jonathan Rhys Meyers is that he battled alcohol addiction.
Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

Jonathan has always been open about his struggles with alcohol. His addiction has led to several arrests, one of them for driving under the influence after crashing his car in Malibu and various stays in rehab.

He was even banned from flying American Airlines after an argument with the staff when he refused to put out his e-cigarette.

2. Jonathan doesn’t like being famous – he stays away from the Hollywood crowd

Jonathan doesn't like being famous.
Credit: imdb.com

Despite the love of his job, the Irishman isn’t too keen on hanging out with other celebs. As he has pointed out in interviews, he hardly has any good friends in the movie business.

Jonathan prefers to spend time with his childhood friends to sipping champagne in a VIP club. He says his family keeps him grounded. 

READ: For more on Irish stars of the screen, check out our article on the top 10 Irish actors of all time

1. He is a proud dad – his son makes him a happy man

One of the facts about Jonathan Rhys Meyers is that he's a proud dad.
Credit: Flickr / UN photo/Pierre Albouy

While the Irishman loves his job, one of the facts about Jonathan Rhys Meyers is that his favourite role is that of a proud dad. In December 2016, the actor and his wife Mara Lane became parents of little Wolf Rhys Meyers. 

“Once you have your first child, you become the past. A child gives you a new perspective on life. I’m much happier than I’ve ever been”, he said in the Independent in 2020. 

Your questions answered about Johnathan Rhys Myers

Read our article on the top facts about Johnathan Rhys Myers and still have some questions? Then we have you covered. Here, we have put together the most frequently asked questions about the topic.

Where did Jonathan Rhys Meyers go to school?

Johnathan Rhys Myers attended school at North Monastery Christian Brothers School in Cork, where he was expelled at age 15.

Where did Johnathan Rhys Myers grow up?

Rhys Myers was born in Dublin, Ireland but was brought up in County Cork.

How old is Jonathan Rhys Meyers now?

Johnathan Rhys Myers was born on 27 July 1977, which means he is now 46 years of age.

Are Cillian Murphy and Jonathan Rhys Meyers friends?

Yes. Cillian Murphy, who also grew up in Cork, is known to be a good friend of Rhys Myers, who is a huge admirer of Murphy as an actor.

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