Michelle Dockery announced her new engagement in the most British way possible. The 40-year-old Essex native confirmed her betrothment in The Times, per Hello Magazine. “The engagement is announced between Jasper [Waller-Brige], son of Michael Waller-Bridge of King’s Lynn, Norfolk, and Teresa Waller-Bridge of Battersea, London, and Michelle Dockery, younger daughter of Michael and Lorraine Dockery of Gidea Park, Essex.”
Michelle is best known for playing Lady Mary Crawley on Downton Abbey, and this engagement is a bit of an ITV/BBC crossover. Jasper, 34, is the brother of Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the creator and star of the award-winning Fleabag. Phoebe is also the showrunner, head writer, and executive producer of the first series of Killing Eve. Her brother has reportedly been dating Michelle since 2019, and they made their red carpet debut at the Rome Film Festival shortly after they struck up the romance.
Previously, Michelle was engaged to John Dineen, a commercial public relations executive, but he tragically passed away in December 2015 after a battle with cancer. “I never lost hope,” Michelle told The Guardian in 2017 when discussing her former fiancé’s health. “No. I’m not exaggerating when I say that John did not complain once, never, not once, and that gave us strength. It’s what keeps you going, that positivity – to never lose that hope for a miracle. I couldn’t have done it any other way.”
“Oh, I refer to myself as a widow, yes. We were engaged, and married at heart, and so I do consider myself a widow,” she added. “I don’t have the vocabulary to describe what it felt like. … I’ve never been more committed to anything in my life than to him. So at the time everything just shut down. Work, everything. Work didn’t matter. You suddenly become an [oncological] expert. This stuff becomes your world, and that of course was my priority.”
Michelle talked with Tatler in 2020 about how she could keep her romance relatively private in this day and age. “I guess what I’ve learnt is to keep talking about the work. There are a lot of other things that come along with success, and that would be my advice for anyone: keep your head down, make it about the job.’ I feel grateful. I’d achieved a lot by the time I was 30,” she said.”