Can Gillian Anderson ever forgive Jemima Goldsmith for dating her ex? They’ve been friends for years… no wonder the X-Files star is stunned that her pal is dating her former lover just weeks after they split, writes ALISON BOSHOFF
News that Anderson, 52, and Morgan, 57, who writes The Crown (pictured together above) had broken up emerged in mid-December. Yet early in the new year, he and Jemima started a romance which has seen him spending time with her in a ‘social bubble’ at her house
They aren’t perhaps the most likely of girl friends — but until very recently Jemima Goldsmith and Gillian Anderson would have said that they were dear to each other.
Both are very glamorous divorcees of a similar age, living in London with a host of friends in common. Both are, of course, in showbusiness; Ms Anderson is a celebrated actress, made famous by The X-Files and most recently seen, to great acclaim, as Margaret Thatcher in The Crown, and Jemima Goldsmith is a film producer.
At numerous parties you will have seen them chatting — both mingle with the ‘in’, well-connected crowd which includes singer Lily Allen, comedian Jack Whitehall, TV producer Henrietta Conrad, Strictly’s Claudia Winkleman and others.
Here they are (below), pictured with their arms around each other at the 2018 pre-Bafta party thrown by British film producer Charles Finch. The two women chatted away into the night at last year’s event at Loulou’s in Mayfair, too.
A fellow partygoer observed that they formed a sociable knot of three with Ms Anderson’s boyfriend, Peter Morgan, and appeared very comfortable and friendly.
Alas, that friendship now lies in tatters as Ms Goldsmith, 46, has begun a new romance with Morgan — Ms Anderson’s serious boyfriend of four years standing, and from whom she split only a few weeks ago.
News that Anderson, 52, and Morgan, 57, who writes The Crown, had broken up emerged in mid-December. Yet early in the new year, he and Jemima started a romance which has seen him spending time with her in a ‘social bubble’ at her house.
Reports that they are already living together are said by sources to be wide of the mark.
However, they are ‘serious’ about each other already — perhaps no surprise as they have known each other for a long time.
‘They have all three been friends for years,’ I am told. ‘There is a bit of a feeling that Jemima might have been holding a candle for Pete for some time, or at least have had her eye on him.’
Understandably, Gillian Anderson is less than delighted by the news, which appears to show her friend has breached the so-called ‘Girl Code’ which forbids women from moving in on the partners, or ex partners, of their friends.
Well-placed sources say Anderson is ‘upset and very surprised’ by the turn of events. ‘Her eyebrows are raised,’ I’m told. Another mutual friend exclaims less discreetly: ‘Lordy what a pair!’ when news of the coupling became known.
Here they are, pictured with their arms around each other at the 2018 pre-Bafta party thrown by British film producer Charles Finch. The two women chatted away into the night at last year’s event at Loulou’s in Mayfair, too
For Peter Morgan, one of the UK’s most successful writers, also has a reputation for being one of its most intense, and Jemima has a reputation for burning through one high-drama romance after another. As a combination, it sounds combustible indeed.
So who is her new man? And will Morgan be the Mr Right to bring Jemima happiness finally?
Gorgeous, wealthy and accomplished, Jemima Goldsmith’s single status has long been one of society’s great puzzles.
She married cricketer, now Pakistan Prime Minister, Imran Khan when she was just 21 and he 42, and they were together for nine years. She was a shy heiress with a passion for designer labels when they met in a nightclub, and she dropped out of her degree to marry him.
Within a few weeks, they were wed — for him she converted to Islam, learned Urdu and moved to Islamabad.
Some felt that the marriage was an attempt to escape the shadow of her father, the late Sir James Goldsmith, a notorious philanderer who was absent for a lot of her childhood, and fathered eight children by four women, without a shred of remorse.
They have two sons Sulaiman, 24, Qasim, 21, and their divorce in 2004 was said to have been amicable. Her subsequent single years saw romances with a succession of men who have seemed entirely unworthy of her.
There was actor Hugh Grant (caught in flagrante with a prostitute, subject of a famous police mugshot, various love children), comedian and social irritant Russell Brand (recovered sex and drug addict with a penchant for orgies) and twice-divorced PR man Matthew Freud (ten years her senior, who fathered a child with a friend while married to Rupert Murdoch’s daughter Elisabeth).
There was actor Hugh Grant (caught in flagrante with a prostitute, subject of a famous police mugshot, various love children)
Two years ago she was even seen dining with actor Steve Coogan — just a friend apparently but his romantic record is wincingly chequered — and she’s also been spotted with cricket charmer Shane Warne (ex of Liz Hurley).
There also seem to have been brief flirtations / friendships with comedian Jack Whitehall and former footballer Jamie Redknapp, conducted at the Chiltern Firehouse restaurant in 2018 and 2019. All with their own charms, undoubtedly, but none of them hearts and flowers material.
Morgan, at least, seems far less of a womaniser than some of her previous choices, and with his excellent film credentials they have much in common. Jemima recently wrote the screenplay and produced the forthcoming rom-com What’s Love Got To Do With It? starring Lily James and Emma Thompson.
Unlike the rest, he has at least sustained a long marriage and had a settled family life. He was married for 17 years to Austrian beauty Lila Schwarzenberg, born Princess Anna Carolina zu Schwarzenberg, and they have five children.
Morgan once remarked that the need to support his family made him write ‘as if he had a gun held to his head’.
The son of refugees, his upbringing, although comfortably middle class, is worlds away from the power and privilege enjoyed by Jemima Goldsmith, although the pair do share a German Jewish bloodline (Sir James Goldsmith was the son of a luxury hotel magnate and parliamentarian named Frank Goldsmith, who was born in Frankfurt).
Morgan’s father was a German Jewish émigré from Dresden who escaped to England in the 1930s, and Anglicised Morgenthau to Morgan.
His mother is a Polish Catholic who fled the Russians and arrived in the UK in 1947. He grew up in Wimbledon, South-West London, going to Colet Court prep school and then the Catholic boarding school Downside.
Morgan was raised speaking German at home and was known as ‘Fritz’ at school as a result, and always regarded himself as an outsider. ‘I see myself as a complicated mongrel,’ he said. ‘English people spend much of their time laughing at Germans. At most foreigners, in fact. The English are astonishingly intolerant, contrary to their delusional self-image,’ he added.
‘Being the son of refugees gives you a special perspective on everything.’ After school, Morgan went to Leeds University to read English and wrote for the Edinburgh fringe. Drama producer Andy Harries — who developed The Crown for Netflix — has been a close friend for decades and brokered the deal for Morgan to write The Queen, the hit film with Helen Mirren which really cemented his superstar status and earned him a Golden Globe.
In the 1990s he made some small films, including comedies, and wrote Longford about Myra Hindley and Lord Longford for Channel 4. He enjoyed considerable success as screenwriter for Frost/Nixon, The Deal and Rush.
Interestingly, Morgan said that Niki Lauda, one of the subjects of Rush, had propositioned his wife after the two of them met many years before when she was a gorgeous 20-year-old, commenting: ‘You can’t blame him.’ Yet theirs was not an easy marriage. Morgan had previously said that he and Lila were ‘wildly chalk and cheese’, noting that she was far more sociable than he.
He went on to hint that there was plenty of bickering between them during dinner parties. ‘People come to our house . . . and they leave so happy not to be us.’
Ms Schwarzenberg, a journalist, wrote a series of columns for an Austrian magazine which revealed a union peppered by tantrums.
She recalled that her ‘macho’ spouse went into a fury when asked to travel by Smart car which he called a ‘hairdryer’. He declined to go in it, and caught a Mercedes taxi home from the airport instead.
Another flashpoint came over her culinary habits: She wrote in 2013: ‘Peter always says you can gauge the state of our marriage on the number of fishfingers he gets served up in a week.
‘It appears I went too far once again with my culinary neglect towards Peter as I served him the leftovers of the kids’ meal (guess what it was), he took one look and said: ‘I am neither five years old nor a f****** penguin.’ He left the table and left the house in the search of a decent dinner, as he puts it.’
She also described how Morgan gave her a copy of Fifty Shades Of Grey, by E.L. James, during a holiday to Ibiza. She recorded her surprise that her ‘intellectually orientated husband who usually supplies me with premium literature . . . had bought me this ‘housewife porn’ book’.
Adding: ‘When I questioned him about this, he said bluntly that as a woman I should at least be able to form an opinion about the book that had sold 50 million copies worldwide.
‘I should have just been happy but after a few chapters I began to think that maybe this wasn’t just a selfless purchase. According to a book critic: ‘E.L. James’s words bring women into a wave of lust and desire.’ Perhaps that was my husband’s hope, too . . . Peter still carries the fantasy that the combination of sun, sand and sea leads to countless sex sessions.
‘Unfortunately I have to admit that Shade of Grey [sic] didn’t really change much in the course of our holiday, but that isn’t necessarily a criticism.’
The marriage ended in 2016.
He then started to date Gillian Anderson. It’s not known how the two met, but they were supportive of each other’s careers. Morgan was often seen at Anderson’s first nights, and they would frequently be spotted together on the awards season circuit in Los Angeles and London.
One pal described Anderson and Morgan as: ‘Both equally high maintenance, both have been through tons of therapy.’
There was comedian and social irritant Russell Brand (recovered sex and drug addict with a penchant for orgies)
Anderson, twice divorced, recently said that she has been in therapy since she was 14 years old and adds that she writes a gratitude list every night.
Her first husband was a Canadian art director she met on the set of The X-Files. They had daughter Piper when she was 26, and the marriage was over two years later.
She married for a second time in 2004, to Julian Ozanne, and that lasted for two years. She then had sons Oscar and Felix with British businessman, Mark Griffiths, and they split in 2012.
For four years, she and Morgan appeared very happy. In January 2020 she gave an interview saying that they couldn’t live together: ‘If we did, that would be the end of us. It works so well as it is, it feels so special when we do come together. It’s exciting.
‘We choose when to be together. There is nothing locking us in, nothing that brings up that fear of: ‘Oh gosh, I can’t leave because what will happen to the house, how will we separate?’ I start to miss the person I want to be with, which is a lovely feeling.’
Many were surprised when news of their split emerged, although perhaps the hints that all was not well were there for some time — Ms Anderson said little about him when promoting The Crown late last year.
Ms Goldsmith and Morgan, as well as having known each other for years, have numerous professional contacts in common. Goldsmith’s rom-com is being made by the same team that made Morgan’s Frost/Nixon and Rush films.
It seems they may be the biggest power couple in British film — if, of course, their romance manages to go the distance.
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