But when the original series wrapped in 2002 after nine seasons, she up and left Hollywood for good. Yes, she returns to LA every now and then to work on TV and film projects, but 52-year-old Anderson now calls London home.
Here’s why she left for a new life across the pond…
Why did Gillian Anderson leave Hollywood?
Gillian Anderson was at the top of her game when she decided to leave Hollywood for London in 2002. The actress made the move after filming wrapped on the original The X-Files series.
While she continued to work on TV shows and movies in the US — even revisiting her role as Agent Scully in the 2016 and 2018 series revivals — Anderson made London her home base.
“A lot of people didn’t understand when I moved to London after the success of The X-Files and asked why I would disappear from Hollywood,” she told TV Week last year. “I always missed the UK and always knew I was going to end up back here.”
In the interview, Anderson revealed she was never comfortable with her fame. The star became a household name at just 24 years old when she was cast as Agent Scully in the sci-fi series, opposite David Duchovny‘s FBI Special Agent Fox Mulder. And over the years, she saw an ugly side to Hollywood she did not like.
“Part of that decision [to move] was also that I had a complicated relationship with becoming so famous so young and seeing the worst part of what the industry can be. I really hated it and wanted to get away,” she explained.
Anderson said she’s happy she left Hollywood as it allowed her to put everything into “perspective”, so she’s stay put in Londontown for the foreseeable future.
“The rewards that I’ve been blessed with for following my instincts are many, and I never got to the point of even considering moving back to America,” she said.
Is Gillian Anderson British or American?
After her convincing turn in roles that require British accents — she most recently played Margaret Thatcher in the Netflix series The Crown — fans have wondered if Anderson is British.
They could be forgiven because although the actress was born in Chicago, Illinois, she does have ties to the UK. Her family relocated to North London when she was a baby so her dad, Edward Anderson, could attend the London Film School. He would go on to own a film post-production company.
The family lived in the UK for almost 10 years before moving back to the US when Anderson was 11. But her family reportedly kept their flat in London and they used to spend their summer holidays there.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Anderson said she can’t help but switch between the American and British accent when doing interviews.
“Part of me wishes I could control it, but I can’t,” she told the British paper in 2009. “I just slip into one or the other. When I moved to the States I tried hard to cling on to my British accent because it made me different.'”
In her interview with TV Week last year, Anderson said she always knew she’d return to London as an adult and settle down there.
“I always missed the UK and always knew I was going to end up back here,” she said.
Where does Gillian Anderson live now?
Anderson has been living in London since 2002. She lives in the city with her three children: sons, Oscar, 14, and Felix, 12, who she shares with her former partner, businessman Mark Griffiths; and daughter Piper, 24, from her previous marriage to production designer Clyde Klotz.
The actress is aware that London is as much a paparazzi and tabloid haven as the US, but she still prefers the UK to the US.
“In my formative years, my experience of private life was quite public. And I had a very different experience here in the UK, if one knows what neighbourhoods to stay out of and what restaurants to stay away from. And also, it’s just always felt like this is where I belong,” she told The Guardian in 2019.
Who is Gillian Anderson’s husband?
Anderson was married twice before. Her first husband was production designer Clyde Klotz, who was also an assistant art director of The X-Files. But after three years of marriage, they went their separate ways in 1997.
The actress married film producer Julian Ozanne in 2004 but they also divorced three years in.
Her most recent relationship was with screenwriter Peter Morgan. The duo reportedly split in December 2020 after four years of dating but sparked reconciliation rumours earlier this year.
The pair worked together on the Netflix drama The Crown, which Morgan created and wrote and Anderson recently won a Best Actress Golden Globe for her portrayal as former British PM Margaret Thatcher.
“I’m grateful to Peter Morgan, first and foremost, for he and Nina Gold imagining that I might be able to play her, and for writing such a complex and multifaceted version of Margaret Thatcher,” Anderson said in her acceptance speech.
“I was involved in the background of the series, even prior to being in it, because of my past relationship with Peter Morgan. So, I felt I was part of the family prior to being a cast member.”
During their four-year relationship, Anderson said she never wanted to move in with Morgan, who also lives in London, as they would drive each other crazy.
“My partner and I don’t live together. If we did, that would be the end of us. It works so well as it is and it feels so special when we do come together,” she told The Guardian in January 2020.
“There is nothing locking us in, nothing that brings up that fear of, ‘Oh gosh, I can’t leave because what will happen to the house, how will we separate?’ I start to miss the person I want to be with, which is a lovely feeling.”
What is Gillian Anderson’s net worth?
The actress is worth a reported $44 million. The bulk of her fortune came from playing Agent Sully in The X-Files for 11 seasons. But Anderson could’ve been sitting on a bigger nest egg if she was paid the same as male co-star Duchovny.
According to reports, he was paid more than Anderson when the series was rebooted in 2016, and it took three years for her fight for equal pay. The studio offered to pay her the equivalent to half of his salary, but Anderson didn’t stop fighting until she closed the gap.
“Especially in this climate of women talking about the reality of [unequal pay] in this business, I think it’s important that it gets heard and voiced,” she told the Daily Beast at the time.
“It was shocking to me, given all the work that I had done in the past to get us to be paid fairly. I worked really hard toward that and finally got somewhere with it.”
Are Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny friends?
While the chemistry on the set between Anderson and Duchovny was undeniable, that wasn’t always the case behind the scenes. In a 2015 interview with The Guardian, the actress there were times relations between them were frosty.
“I mean, yes, there were definitely periods when we hated each other,” she admitted. “Hate is too strong a word. We didn’t talk for long periods of time. It was intense, and we were both pains in the arse for the other at various times — I’m not going to get into it. I’m not even going to begin to get into that. But we are closer today than we ever have been.”
Thankfully, they are good friends now but Anderson still can’t help but throw playful jabs at her former co-star. When Duchovny was honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2016, Anderson sent this message to be read out at the unveiling ceremony:
“He was a nice man. A kind man. Quite smart. He liked avocado and pilates. Actor, writer, friend. He will always be my shining star. May his soul be forgiven and rest in peace,” she said.
When later asked about her message likening Duchovny’s moment to a funeral, Anderson said it’s because the star resembles a gravestone to her.
“They asked me to write something, that was exactly what came to mind, and I pressed ‘send’,'” she later laughed. “I mean, it’s such a weird thing, anyway, that whole idea of a star on Hollywood Boulevard. It is akin to a gravestone!”
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