Rhys Ifans reveals he was a squatter while he was at drama school

Rhys Ifans attending The White Crow UK Premiere held at the Curzon Mayfair, London. Rhys Ifans Picture date: Tuesday March 12, 2019. Photo credit should read: Matt Crossick/Empics
Rhys Ifans used to be a squatter. (Matt Crossick/Empics)

Rhys Ifans has revealed he had “a double life” living as a squatter during his time at drama school.

The Notting Hill and Elementary actor grew up in Wales and moved to London a year before starting at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

As he didn’t have anywhere to live he stayed in squats, taking the door off of council properties to gain access.

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Speaking on Rob Brydon’s podcast, Ifans shared that although it was “dangerous” and “of course illegal”, he has fond memories of that time in his life.

Rhys Ifans attending the fifth annual Into Film Awards, held at the Odeon Luxe in Leicester Square, London.
Rhys Ifans said it was a 'great life' being a squatter while he was at drama school. (PA)

"For my whole period in drama school I lived in squats,” said the 53-year-old. “I lived in about fourteen, fifteen different squats."

“It was of course illegal, and I guess looking back, dangerous," he said. "But it was a great life.

"It would be council properties, council flats. You take the steel door off in the middle of the night and then as soon as you change the locks put a notice on the door.

"They had to then switch the gas and electricity on and then you could be in it for weeks to months."

The star said he and a group of friends moved in and out of different squats of "varying degrees of comfort and discomfort” for years.

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Rhys Ifans starred with Hugh Grant in 'Notting Hill'. (Andrew Shawaf/Getty Images)

"In a sense I had this real double life, which was wonderful,” he said.

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"I had this kind of elitist wonderful life in college and then this extraordinary kind of vagabond existence when I went home each night.”

Ifans said that in those days it was “easy to do”.

"It’s nigh on impossible now to break a squat but then it was relatively simple,” said the star.

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