He's our new Sunday night crush, but who is Aidan Turner?
That mop of thick hair, the dreamy eyes and rugged good looks… Since Aidan Turner burst onto our screens as Ross Poldark, he’s fast become the nation’s new obsession. But just who is the swashbuckling heartthrob who’s stolen our Sunday nights?
Born on 19 June 1983 to an electrician father Pat and an accountant mother Eileen in Dublin, Ireland, Aidan had a turbulent time at school, often getting into fights with other kids. As with many unruly little boys, it was left up to his mother to fix it. ‘I remember my mum getting called up a lot,’ says Aidan. ‘But she said to me recently: “No, you were fine.” I think she just didn’t want to upset me.’
His great talent was ballroom dancing. He competed around the country and internationally for 10 years, even representing Ireland. But Aidan left school still unsure of his next move.
‘I wasn’t very academic, so I didn’t want to go to college,’ he admits. He worked as an apprentice for his dad and loved music. ‘I play guitar, but I’m not a great singer, so I couldn’t front a band.’ He even toyed with the idea of being a snooker player.
‘Then I saw a notice in Dublin’s Gaiety School of Acting,’ he says. ‘I didn’t know anything about this world. I felt intimidated from the get-go and thought: “That’s just right for me.” The sense of potential failure is a buzz.’
Aidan graduated from the school in 2004 and spent the next few years taking parts in various theatre productions. In 2007, aged 24, he made his first foray into TV, appearing briefly in historical drama The Tudors, followed by BBC2’s Desperate Romantics in 2009.
Then he landed his breakout role in the BBC3 supernatural series Being Human. Aidan played tormented, sexy vampire Mitchell, a role that won him a firm female fanbase. It also caught the attention of film director Peter Jackson, who was so impressed with Aidan he cast him as ‘hot dwarf’ Kili in The Hobbit trilogy in 2012.
But Aidan found the transition from TV to big-budget CGI blockbusters daunting. ‘You’re aware that you’re standing in front of a green screen talking to a tennis ball, but then you relax and it becomes very easy to act as if everything is really there,’ he says. ‘The problem comes when the tennis ball is replaced with Sir Ian McKellen. You have to look into his eyes and you’re like: “F***! It’s Sir Ian McKellen!”‘
Twelve weeks of training in preparation to play Kili meant Aidan could add horse riding and ‘being pretty decent with a sword’ to his ever-growing CV. He was awarded Best Male Newcomer at the 2014 Empire Awards.
Then Poldark came knocking. Aidan didn’t even need to audition. ‘The offer came in and I said: “What the hell’s Poldark?” I had to Google it,’ he says Aidan. ‘I called my mum and she said: “You’d better not mess this up!”‘
The 18th-century romantic saga is the story of soldier Ross Poldark, who returns to his Cornish tin mines after spending three years in the army, only to find the love of his life engaged to another man.
Off-camera, Aidan‘s love life has been almost as dramatic. He dated actress Charlene McKenna, 30, between 2007 and 2009, before falling for his Being Human co-star Lenora Crichlow, 30. The pair dated for two years, before he quit the series as she stayed on.
It’s thought the break-up was pretty devastating for Aidan. ‘My heart’s been broken,’ he’s confessed. ‘I don’t know anyone on the planet who hasn’t had their heart broken. Love is love. It’s the purest and rawest thing we have in life and everyone experiences it.’
In 2012, he started dating fellow Irish thespian Sarah Greene, 29. Aidan says of their initial relationship: ‘It was all very platonic and we never hooked up, but that’s how we got to know each other. Then years later we met again and it just sort of took off.’
Filming The Hobbit trilogy took Aidan to New Zealand for 18 months early on in their relationship. He’s since admitted that the times spent apart haven’t always been easy.
‘It’s all we’ve ever known and it makes for good times when we meet up again and have a month straight when we’re both unemployed and watching movies every day,’ he says. ‘It’s fun to laze around and do normal things.’
It’s certain 31-year-old Aidan‘s stardom isn’t fading any time soon. And what does TV’s hottest new talent think about his sex symbol status? ‘It’s a little awkward. But it’s nice that the show has gone down quite well and people are positive about it,’ he says. Modest as well as gorgeous. We approve.