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23 January 2018Last updated
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Real Women

Emily Blunt on family and career

Love, life and normality in Hollywood. How Emily Blunt balances her blockbuster career with being a wife and mum

Louisa Wilkins
1 Feb 2016 | 12:00 am
  • Source:Corbis Images

Emily Blunt first sprang to our attention as the sharp and sassy assistant in The Devil Wears Prada 
back in 2006, starring opposite the inimitable Meryl Streep and rising
star Anne Hathaway. Since then the actress hasn’t looked back. In 2014, she featured alongside another Hollywood heavyweight, Tom Cruise, in Edge of Tomorrow, and is now filming the movie adaption of last year’s must-read, Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train. She’s also scored one for the women with her convincing performance in what would typically be a male lead as a task force agent in Sicario.

Born in London in 1983 to Joanna and Oliver Blunt – a former actress and teacher, and a barrister, respectively – Blunt is the second of four children and has said that her childhood was a happy one, but that she suffered from a stutter at the time.

“I was a smart kid, and had a lot to say, but I just couldn’t say it,” she told W magazine. “It would just haunt me. I never thought I’d be able to sit and talk to someone like I’m talking to you right now.”

Last year, though, her newfound verbal confidence caused a controversy when quips about her new US citizenship ruffled some feathers.

The actress, who turns 33 this month, married The Office’s John Krasinski in 2010. The couple have a daughter, Hazel, who turns two this February, and her rep confirmed at the end of January that they have another little one on the way.

From all accounts, he’s as down to earth as she is. They live in Ojai, California, known for it’s natural beauty and its residents’ focus on health and spirituality.

Despite her rumoured net worth of Dh58 million, Blunt still seems like she could genuinely be the girl next door, it’s just now she’s the girl next door to the likes of close friends Jimmy Kimmel, Matt Damon and Jennifer Aniston.

“I don’t feel I lead a glamorous life. Most of the people we’re friends with are people you can just hang out with,” she says of her day-to-day life. She adds, “You should have seen us this morning. It was… well, not chaos, but like everyone else in the morning with a small baby.”

Here we look at just how Blunt manages to maintain her trademark level head, and consider some of her frank advice on marriage and motherhood…

Love and marriage

Blunt has no blinkers on when it comes to the fact that marriage is hard work; a year after her wedding she said, “Marriage is something that needs to be worked on every day. I don’t know if I’m the one to give marital advice – but marriage is certainly easier if you are open, trusting and loving.”

She has also said, “People quit on jobs. They quit on marriages. They quit on school. There’s an immediacy of this day and age that doesn’t lend itself to being committed to anything.”

John, however, can’t stop himself from gushing about his wife and their marriage.

“It’s really that we just got lucky,” the 36-year-old said in a recent interview. “It’s one of those things, I’m having more fun now than the day I met her, and it’s pretty wild. I don’t know the formula to it, but I think she’s hilarious.”

While she’s clearly happy now, the course of true love hasn’t run smoothly for the actress. Before she married John, she was engaged to Canadian crooner Michael Bublé, whom she met backstage at a concert in 2005.

In 2008 the couple split when it was alleged that the Home singer cheated on the actress, a rumour he has since addressed, saying, “I was a jerk and I was careless and reckless with the hearts of women I was with.”

Emily, on the other hand, is far more guarded when it comes to discussing the allegations.

“I don’t know, it’s complicated,” Blunt responded when she was quizzed about the rumours by shock-jock Howard Stern in a radio interview. “I’m going red… I never want to talk about it.”

Despite the disappointment, it seems that the actress remains a true romantic. After meeting Stanley Tucci on The Devil Wears Prada set, Emily introduced him to her sister, Felicity.

“Emily loved Stanley on the set of Devil, and just thought they would hit it off, so she set them up,” a source has said of the couple, who have since gone on to marry and have a son, Matteo Oliver.

Motherhood

Emily’s forthrightness extends to her style of mothering toddler Hazel too. She wants her daughter to have a gadget-free childhood, saying, “I think everything is on a gadget nowadays and I just want her to have the satisfaction I had as a kid. You want things to be sensory for kids.” She adds she’s not particularly technology savvy either. “Kids are just remarkable on these things [but] I’m a dinosaur with them. I barely know how to turn things on. She’s going to teach me more than any computer class.”

When promoting her movie Into The Woods last year, Emily spoke about reading her tot fairy tales, saying, “She sits on me, this little thing, and she understands turning a page already and going on a journey, I think that’s amazing.”

Taking the lead

With a string of action movies under her belt – Edge of Tomorrow, The Adjustment Bureau and Looper to name a few – Emily is often cited as a fitness inspiration and quizzed about her training routine. Her physical transformation for roles has been remarkable. For Edge of Tomorrow, which saw her star as Rita Vrataski, a super-soldier, she undertook a gruelling training schedule.

”In these male-fuelled genres, it’s usually the woman who’s holding the hand of the guy and he’s running through explosions leading her, and I wanted to be doing the leading,” she said of her character and preparation. She was encouraged to take up gymnastics, a martial arts self-defence system, weight training and sprint training.
“I prepared as much as I could, and then the first day when I showed up and put the suit on, I just thought, ‘Oh no, I’m going to start crying.’ And then you get used to it, and it becomes like second nature.”

But even when she discusses fitness or health plans, she manages to avoid sounding like a Hollywood cliché.

“I’m trying the whole eye-rolling gluten-free thing – it makes me feel really energetic,” she said ahead of one interview, retaining her trademark likeability. She added, “I’m on a health kick [but] I’m drawn to cheeseburgers, so I’ve got to just try and keep it on an even keel.”

Life as an American

When journalists or actors discuss Blunt, the term ‘nicest person in Hollywood’ comes up time and time again. It seems that no one has a bad word to say about the typically British and very polite actress. That was, at least, until she made a joke about her newly acquired US citizenship, which was misread by the American masses – a reaction that “astonished” the actress. Just before this she had admitted the nationality decision was mainly for tax reasons and that she was upset she had been made to renounce “my queen” as part of the formalities. But she went a step further when, after watching a political debate with Donald Trump, she joked that she may have made “a terrible mistake”.

“I was bummed,” the actress said to Howard Stern in discussing the outcry over her comments. “I was sort of astonished by the outrage because it was meant completely as an innocuous joke. So I think I was more taken aback, so it did bum me out.

“It’s simply because I live there, and have done for seven years. My husband is American, my daughter is American,” she told The Guardian. “I will continue to live there, and that’s where my life is. It felt better to embrace it, and it’s certainly a more protected position for me to be in.”

“Americans are a lot more open, of course. There’s something more declamatory in the way you express emotions,” she has said in celebration of her life Stateside. “It’s a stereotype but it’s true. British people can appear repressed in expressing emotions. Not very good at self-evaluating, or affirming situations, touching…”

The controversy aside, there can be no doubt she’s in the right place at the right time for her career to soar.

Emily diaries

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Love and life

Blunt believes people walk away from relationships too easily and works hard on keeping hers healthy – from being wife to fellow actor John Krasinski, to mother of Hazel, to friends of many including Amy Adams. Although she met Adams on a film set back in 2009, Blunt says, “She still very much feels like my sister.”

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An adaptable actor

Blunt is nothing if not versatile, having played roles as diverse as a fashion snob in The Devil Wears Prada; a drug taskforce agent in Sicario; royalty in The Young Victoria; and a singing baker’s wife in Into The Woods.

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Regal on the red carpet

No wallflower, Blunt’s red-carpet look is always elegant and bold – as seen here in gold and white Michael Kors dresses at the 2013 and 2015 Golden Globes, and in a red Prada dress at the premiere of Edge of Tomorrow.

Louisa Wilkins

By Louisa Wilkins

Editor