Actor Hugh Grant famously left his bride at the altar in Four Weddings and a Funeral, but the star — a seemingly confirmed bachelor in real life — flipped the script when he married his girlfriend of six years, Anna Eberstein, 39, in a surprise civil ceremony on May 25. As they exited the London registry office, the couple beamed with happiness and Anna held their little daughter on her hip.
“Hugh loves Anna and wants to spend the rest of his life with her,” an insider exclusively told Closer Weekly. “Anna is the one person who has managed to change him.” Just a few years ago, the Notting Hill actor, 57, recorded a video where he said he doesn’t believe in marriage. “[I am] not a massive believer in marriage,” he said. The actor later told Howard Stern in an interview that marriage brings out “possessiveness, ownership, and jealousy.” But with the 2011 birth of his first child, Tabitha, with former girlfriend Tinglan Hong, his perspective shifted.
Hugh and Anna.
Becoming a dad, he previously told People, “was the nicest thing that’s ever happened to me.” The dryly self-deprecating actor who’s often ambivalent about his career, positively glows with happiness these days. He now has five children, two with Tinglan and three with Anna, 39. “Having kids with Anna obviously had an impact on Hugh wanting them to be a proper family and he made it official,” the insider said. “Hugh is a hands-on dad and will also make a great husband.”
Anna truly has had a strong influence on Hugh. A Swedish TV producer, she has her own career and since she’s “free-spirited and isn’t possessive,” said the insider, “Hugh doesn’t feel the need to escape.” Rather, the two “are best friends and confide in each other about everything.” Still, Anna has questioned him about the 1995 scandal when Hugh was caught with a Hollywood prostitute.
“Hugh told her being arrested was a wake-up call [and] a stupid mistake,” the insider revealed. So they’ve left his past behind to focus on building a new life together with their kids. “It’s just lovely to have all that love around. Suddenly you love someone more than yourself,” Hugh told People of fatherhood. “It’s unheard of in my case! And they love you. It’s enchanting.”
His disenchantment with acting has lifted a bit, as well. “I’m too old and ugly to be the leading man in romantic comedies now, thank God,” he continued. And in the past months he’s played villainous Phoenix Buchanan in the hit Paddington 2, and he’s earning rave reviews for his role as predatory British politician Jeremy Thorpe in A Very English Scandal, which premieres on Amazon on June 29.
“[I’ve been] doing more character parts,” Hugh said at a BAFTA Life in Pictures event. “I think I’m better at them, to be honest, and they’re a lot more fun.” The fun continues at home, where newlyweds Hugh and Anna spend time watching TV and playing simple games with the kids. “My little girl at two likes her [diapers] on my head,” he told People with a laugh. “Well, it’s always amusing to put your underpants on your head. I like that game.”
For more on Hugh Grant, pick up the latest issue of Closer Weekly, on newsstands now — and be sure to sign up for our newsletter for more exclusive news!