Hugh Bonneville’s ‘weight loss transformation’ in the months before splitting from his wife Lulu after 25 years of marriage: Downton Abbey actor, 59, ‘was looking trim, tanned and relaxed while away from home filming a lot this year’

Downton Abbey star Hugh Bonneville underwent a ‘weight loss transformation’ in the months prior to his divorce with his wife of 25 years Lulu Williams, sources claim.

The 59-year-old revealed yesterday the couple have split, just days after he was seen at fellow Downton alumni Michelle Dockery’s wedding alone and not wearing his ring.

The couple had been a common sight together on the red carpet, with Lulu, 55, regularly accompanying her husband to premieres and film sets. They were last seen together in public at the Old Vic Theatre in London for a gala in April. 

A source told the Sun that Hugh, who lived with Lulu at their home in West Sussex and had previously described her as his ‘bedrock’, had been ‘away from home filming a lot this year’.

They added: ‘He [Hugh] has lost a bit of weight this summer, he was looking trim, tanned and relaxed.’

Hugh Bonneville has confirmed a split from his wife of 25 years Lulu Williams. Pictured: Hugh at the premier of Downton Abbey in New York in September 2019

Speculation grew after Bonneville attended the wedding ceremony of Michelle Dockery and Jasper Waller-Bridge last week without his ring. Pictured: Hugh at the wedding on September 24

Hugh and Lulu have been a common sight together, with the couple often appearing at premieres together. Pictured: Hugh and Lulu at the world premiere of Downton Abbey in September 2019

Bonneville shot to fame in Downton Abbey. Pictured: Hugh as The Reverend Roland Wise in BBC series Rev

Bonneville still wore his gold wedding ring while attending the Coronation Concert in May

However, it seems the split has not been smooth sailing, with another source telling the paper: ‘It is clear that Lulu feels as if 20-odd years of marriage counts for nothing.’

Lulu often accompanied her husband to premieres and film sets and her recent absence sparked rumours the pair were having troubles. 

The actor, famous for his role as Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham, had never shied away from expressing his love for Lulu, having previously called her his ‘bedrock’ and ‘anchor’ and crediting his wife for being the backbone of their household. 

Bonneville was spotted flashing a grin at Dockery’s lavish wedding to Jasper Waller-Bridge – the brother of Fleabag creator Phoebe – without his wedding ring just last week. 

The heartbreak comes just five years after the couple renewed their vows at Graceland chapel in Las Vegas.

The pair met as teens but reconnected later in life and got together in their 30s, thanks in no small part to Hugh’s mother Patricia.

Hugh has said: ‘Lulu was running a marquee company… my mother rang her to hire some chairs or something and said, ”Do you remember Hugh?”

‘It did infuriate me that I had to give full credit to my mum for reintroducing us.’

Bonneville and Lulu later tied the knot in November 1998.

Bonneville and Lulu were last seen together in public at the Old Vic Theatre in London for a gala in April

Hugh Bonneville and Lulu Evans at the Viceroy’s House, film premiere, London, UK – 21 Feb 2017

Actor Hugh Bonneville and his wife Lulu Williams pose for photographers upon arrival at the world premiere of the film Paddington in London, Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014

Hugh shot to superstardom for his portrayal of the Earl of Grantham on ITV period drama Downton Abbey. Pictured: Hugh on the show

Actor Hugh Bonneville and his wife Lulu Williams, attend on day four of the 2022 Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon

Cast member Hugh Bonneville and his wife Lulu Evans (R) arrive on the red carpet for a screening of the movie ‘The Monuments Men’ at the 64th Berlinale International Film Festival in Berlin on February 8, 2014

Lulu regularly joined her husband while on set, including in 2013 while he was filming The Monuments Men with George Clooney.

Bonneville also admitted in 2009 that his wife helped him to lose weight after saying he was as ‘fat as a pig’.

While appearing as a castaway on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, he selected Mama Cass’s 1968 hit Dream A Little Dream as a tribute to Lulu. 

The couple enjoyed entertaining their friends at weekends and walking their two Tibetan terriers, Teddy and Sasha. 

During the pandemic, Lulu and her husband – who she nicknamed ‘luvvie’ – both were volunteer marshalls at their local NHS vaccine centre 

In previous interviews Bonneville claimed he was ‘completely indebted’ to his wife for the way she supported him throughout his career while looking after their son Felix, 20, who himself has enjoyed success on the screen.

‘Lulu’s priority has been to be a bedrock for Felix and me and I’m completely indebted to her,’ he said. 

Lulu regularly joined her husband while on set, including in 2013 while he was filming The Monuments Men (pictured at the movie’s UK premiere in Leicester Square) with George Clooney

Bonneville has played Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham in the BBC period drama since it launched in 2010 – a role for which he has won a Golden Globe – and revealed that the Royal Family are among the popular series’ many fans.

He was later appointed Deputy Lieutenant of West Sussex by the Royal Family in 2019.

His first major film role was in Frankenstein as the right leg of Robert De Niro’s character the Monster.

More recently he has starred in two Paddington movies, and has been signed on to appear in the third instalment, which has entered into production. 

Next Sunday he is set to perform at the Battle of Britain Royal Gala at the Royal Air Force Club in London. 

He said of the appointment: ‘It’s nice because it’s in my county where I live and I do quite a lot of stuff like visiting schools and reading a lot of Paddington. It’s really the same thing, but just with a badge. I’m very honoured.’ 

He was seen wearing his gold ring while attending the King’s Coronation Concert on May 7 – again without Lulu. 

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