Downton Abbey star Maggie Smith has been a dominant force in theater, film and television since stepping onto the scene as a teenager. After more than 65 years in the entertainment industry, Maggie has won countless awards and proven that she is an outstanding performer. Early on in her career, she found out how to balance acting and motherhood when she welcomed her two sons, Chris Larkin and Toby Stephens.
Born in England in 1934, Maggie grew an interest in theater early on. She began performing with the Oxford University Dramatic Society before heading to Broadway to star in New Faces of ’56. The Academy Award winner later became a member of the Royal National Theatre in the ‘60s before marrying her first husband, Robert Stephens, in 1967.
Maggie and Robert welcomed their first son together, Chris, in June 1967. Their second son, Toby, was born in April 1969. The couple divorced in 1975. The Harry Potter actress married Beverley Cross that year, staying with him until his death in 1998. Maggie and her second husband did not have any children together. She did become a grandmother after both of her sons started families of their own.
After Toby’s birth, Maggie returned to the stage in The Country Wife. The Tony winner kept busy, juggling life as a working mom in a competitive industry.
“Actually I think my children enjoy me more because I work. They’d probably find me rather hateful if I didn’t. If you give up anything that you should do anyway, it’s probably very wrong,” she told The Guardian in June 1969. “One can only go on one’s instincts in this life. Lots of people do enjoy just having babies and it’s a full-time occupation, but if you are not one of those people it’s just hard cheese. I only hope it’s not too hard on the children, but it should be all right for them so long as one is constantly there.”
Though both of their parents were talented performers, Chris and Toby were not pushed to become actors. It was a path that they forged on their own. “They weren’t encouraged to act,” she told Evening Standard in December 2019. “If they wanted to do it, that was absolutely fine, but they don’t have a leg to stand on if they complain about it.”
Keep scrolling to meet Maggie’s two sons.
1 of 3
2 of 3