This week at the Pink Heart Society our Natasha brings us a Welshman ...
Having spent some weeks singing the praises of the English hero I thought it was time I redressed the balance a little and moved the focus to another bit of my heritage. I wandered over to Scotland for Burns Night so this week I reckon it's time I showed you the charms of a Welshman.
Ioan Gruffudd (which, should you meet him, you pronounce YO-an GRIFF-ith) was born 6 October 1973 in the village of Llwydcoed near the town of Aberdare, in the county borough of Rhondda Cynon Taff, Mid Glamorgan, South Wales. It's perhaps easier to remember he grew up in Cardiff!
And if you're struggling with the name I'm afraid you are just going to have to work at it as he has no plans to change it.
'I'm determined not to lose my name. It's who I am. It has neither aided my progress nor hampered it. It's just who I am. My character. My make-up. My culture and heritage is a very rich one. So what if it's difficult for people to pronounce? We all learned how to say Schwarzenegger.'
His first language is Welsh and Ioan began his acting career in Welsh television. Between 1987 and 1994 he was in the soap opera 'Pobol y Cwm'. Then, at 18, he went to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and in 1996 he played Jeremy Poldark in 'Poldark' on TV. Anyone else seen the original series???????
1997 he played Oscar Wilde's lover John Gray in 'Wilde' and Officer Lowe in 'Titanic'. Between 1998 and 2003 he's been Horatio Hornblower in the TV series 'Hornblower'.
Hornblower aside, you might also have seen him as Pip in the BBC production of Charles Dickens' 'Great Expectations' (1999) and Philip Bosinney in ITV's adaptation of 'The Forsyte Saga' (2002).
Movie-wise he starred in '102 Dalmatians' (2000), 'Black Hawk Down' (2001), 'King Arthur' (2004), 'Fantastic Four' (2005), Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer' (2007) and as William Wilberforce in 'Amazing Grace' (2007).
2007 was a busy year as he also married his long-term girlfriend, Alice Evans. They met on the set of '102 Dalmations' and married on 14th September in Mexico. (And here's a bit of movie nonsense. Alice Evans stars in one of my Film on Friday recommendations, 'The Abduction Club', as does one of Ioan's close friends, fellow Welshman, Matthew Rhys. They shared a flat for something like eight years. You might know him from 'Brothers and Sisters'. All evidence would suggest Matthew isn't gay in real life, btw.)
Ioan and Alice now live in Los Angeles, California, and plan on staying.
'I had lived in London for 12 years and to be honest with you I haven't missed Wales – I've hardly missed London, I love Los Angeles that much. When you live here and get to know the place, it's just wonderful, such an easy way of life. I'm surprised that the place has offered me so much pleasure and I really enjoy it.'
Humph!!!! I still miss living in Central London and I left almost 17 years ago now. Grief.
This is a kind of hero quote:
'As long as you understand that you find happiness through family, friends and love, then money is just a nice bonus.'
For Trish, I have to tell you he's 5ft 11" which may not be enough.
Oh and he plays the oboe really very well.
So, what do you think?
Natasha's latest Harlequin Romance Wanted: White Wedding is released in NA and the UK this month.
Romantic Times Magazine says: 'Natasha Oakley's Wanted: White Wedding (4.5) has its share of deeply touching moments, but what makes it stand out are the humor and the wonderful characters.'
You can find out more about it on her website and you can hear her moan about her sheikhs and other assorted disasters by visiting her blog.
Her contribution to the Niroli series, 'The Tycoon's Princess Bride', is available here and won the Romantic Times Magazine Best Presents of 2007 and is nominated for a RITA®.
'Crowned: An Ordinary Girl' has finalled in the National Readers' Choice Awards.