In a rare interview, Sienna Miller has reflected on how she reclaimed her humiliation after the emotional turmoil of Jude Law’s infamous cheating scandal in the 2000s.
But, before we get into it, let’s cast our minds back to 2003 for a reminder of exactly what went down.
So Sienna and Jude met in 2003 while shooting the movie Alfie. The duo hit it off instantly and wound up dating soon after, before eventually getting engaged on Christmas Day in 2004.
An important piece of context to note is that this was not Jude’s first public relationship. At the time he and Sienna met, Jude was in the midst of a divorce from his first wife, Sadie Frost, with whom he shares three children. Jude and Sadie were married for six years, and their divorce was ultimately finalized in October 2003.
And so, with his divorce from Sadie finally in the past, Jude and Sienna were well on their way to becoming Hollywood’s next It couple. However, things quickly came tumbling down in July 2005 when it was alleged that 32-year-old Jude was cheating on Sienna with his kids’ nanny.
Reports of the affair first surfaced after the nanny in question, Daisy Wright, who was 26 at the time, opened up about her entanglement with Jude in an exclusive interview with the Sunday Mirror. As well as doing a tell-all interview, she also handed over excerpts from her personal diary, where she documented the course of the affair in great detail.
Daisy alleged that Jude had seduced her while they were both based in New Orleans for one of his movie shoots. Her entries also claimed that one of the actor’s three children walked in on her and Jude while they were in bed together, which was supposedly how the children's mother, Sadie, became aware of the affair.
Unsurprisingly, Daisy lost her job shortly after speaking out about their relationship, and, just days later, Jude followed suit with a confession of his own.
In a shocking public apology provided to the British Press Association, the actor came clean about the affair and expressed regret over his actions.
“Following the reports in today’s papers, I just want to say I am deeply ashamed and upset that I’ve hurt Sienna and the people most close to us,” Jude said. “I want to publicly apologize to Sienna and our respective families for the pain that I have caused.”
He added: “There is no defense for my actions which I sincerely regret and I ask that you respect our privacy at this very difficult time.”
When the scandal broke, 23-year-old Sienna was starring in the West End theater production of Shakespeare's As You Like It, and has since opened up about navigating the emotional aftermath of Jude’s affair while performing in front of an audience seven days a week.
“That was one of the most challenging moments I hope I’ll ever have to experience. Because with that level of public heartbreak, to have to get out of a bed let alone stand in front of 800 people every night, it’s just the last thing you want to do,” she said during an interview with the Daily Beast in 2020. “It was really hard.”
In the same interview, Sienna also revealed that the humiliation of the split took such a toll on her mental health that there was an entire six-week period after Jude’s affair was exposed that she has absolutely “no recollection” of.
“There’s a whole six weeks of that experience that I don’t remember. I have no recollection of it,” she said. “People who came to see me said we had dinner, and I don’t remember. I was in so much shock over it all. And I’d really just begun. I was only 23. But if you get through that, you feel like you can get through anything.”
Despite the magnitude of their breakup, Sienna and Jude wound up rekindling their romance in 2009, before splitting up for good in 2011. The pair — who have both gone on to have children with new partners — seem to be on amicable terms, with Sienna revealing in 2016 that she has no hard feelings toward her ex.
“We don't see each other that much. I care about him enormously,” she told Porter Magazine.
And now, Sienna is back in the spotlight ahead of her role in a brand new Netflix show, Anatomy of a Scandal — and it sounds like she utilized the lasting wounds of her very own scandal to bring her character to life.
In the adaptation of Sarah Vaughan’s novel of the same name, Sienna is set to portray Sophie Whitehouse, the wife of a politician whose world is tipped upside down after she discovers that her husband has been accused of raping a colleague with whom he’d had an affair.
Opening up about the role during a brand-new interview with Elle UK, the actor reflected on how playing a wife who's been cheated on uprooted some “ugly” emotions from the past.
“It was familiar terrain, because I've experienced some of the things that she experienced. And the feelings were familiar,” she began, before comparing her character’s journey to her own lived experience. “[But] her way of dealing with what's thrown at her is the absolute antithesis of what my way is. And so, in a kind of twisted, tourism sense, I just wanted to see how it would feel to react differently.”
She went on to acknowledge that her outlook might be surprising to some given the trauma of her past experience, adding that exploring the character gave her an outlet to reclaim the humiliation of Jude’s betrayal.
“I know that sounds weird, because you’d think it would be deeply unpleasant to sit in that space,” Sienna said. “There is something cathartic, I suppose, about spending time in an ugly space that’s familiar. And maybe reclaiming it? I don’t know what the psychology of it is. But there is something where maybe you can substitute a memory with something else.”
But, in spite of the painful memories, it still seems like she thinks fondly of Jude, recalling the “magic” of their early relationship, before things unfortunately turned sour.
"I was just catapulted into a totally parallel universe while being in love [with Jude]," she said of her overnight transition into mainstream stardom. "There was a lot of magic at that time. At first, it was kind of comical, but very quickly it became insidious and, yeah, scary."