Tom Ellis attracted to acting by number of girls in his theatre studies class

Lucifer star Tom Ellis has admitted that he started on his path to acting because of the number of girls in his theatre studies class.

The 41-year-old Welsh actor said he initially wanted to become a professional footballer or work in sports rehabilitation.

However, after discovering the ratio of boys to girls taking theatre studies at his school, he decided to switch.

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Writing in The Big Issue’s Letter To My Younger Self column, he said: “At 16 I hadn’t even stumbled across acting.

“Drama was not something I did at school, I was just so focused on sport.

“I wanted to work in sports rehabilitation.

“I would have loved to be a professional footballer but there were kids that were just so much better than me at school.

“But then I kind of stumbled across theatre studies – my teacher said to me: ‘We need boys for drama. I’ve got 12 girls and one boy’.

“And as (a) 16-year-old with other interests, girls being one of the main ones, I quite enjoyed the maths of that.

“So I probably didn’t join theatre studies for the right reasons. But I absolutely fell in love with it.”

Tom Ellis and Miranda Hart
Tom Ellis and Miranda Hart

Ellis, whose acting credits include EastEnders and Miranda, currently stars in Netflix’s Lucifer, which follows the devil as he moves to Los Angeles to open a nightclub.

Recalling his move to the US, he said: “I don’t like bullies, I’ve always stood up when I’ve seen other people being bullied.

“But actually I’ve allowed myself to be bullied sometimes, in my personal and professional life.

“Coming to work in America, it’s been really strange. It’s been a really amazing hunting ground on the work front. I’ve got on really well here.

“But one of the things I’ve had to get to grips with is self promotion, because people do that unashamedly over here.”

He added: “You have to walk into a room and talk positively about yourself. The UK, I feel, is culturally different.

“If someone goes into a room and bigs themselves up, they’re seen as arrogant. I don’t know necessarily if it’s about arrogance. It’s about backing yourself.

“That’s OK in America. In the UK it’s like you need other people to affirm you.”

Ellis was married to EastEnders star Tamzin Outhwaite between 2006 and 2014, and last year tied the knot with screenwriter Meaghan Oppenheimer.

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