James Norton's ultra-private love story with famous fiancée Imogen Poots amid reported split

Imogen Poots in a grey jacket and James Norton in a black blazer
Imogen Poots and James Norton attend The Charles Finch & CHANEL 2023 Pre-BAFTA Party (Dave Benett)

James Norton has reportedly split from his fiancée Imogen Poots, two years after they got engaged.

The Happy Valley star and the 28 Weeks Later actress have been dating since 2017 and have kept their romance out of the spotlight, so it comes as no surprise that neither of them has commented on their relationship status. See everything we know about James and Imogen's private love story, from their long-distance relationship to their secret engagement.

Work romance

Imogen Poots in a striped dress with James Norton in a black suit
The couple met in 2017 while starring in Belleville (Dave Benett)

The couple's relationship started after they starred in a theatre production of Belleville at the Donmar Warehouse in 2017. Despite portraying characters embroiled in a violent marriage, the couple's romance began to blossom off-stage.

Earlier that year, James had ended his two-year relationship with actress Jesse Buckley, who described their split as "acrimonious."

She told The Times: "We have broken up, yes. It was acrimonious, but it's a tough job to have a relationship and he is a great man and we are great friends. That's it. How diplomatic can I sound?"

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She added: "If you are away for a year filming, you are just not physically around at points."

Long-distance relationship

Imogen Poots in a black dress with James Norton
The couple's engagement was revealed in 2022 (Karwai Tang)

Long distance was also an obstacle in James' relationship with Imogen, with both of their acting careers taking them to other sides of the world.

Speaking about splitting her time between London and New York, Imogen told ES Magazine in 2020: "It's all I've ever known. I've never known something to fall apart because of distance."

After moving in together in Peckham, East London, the Need For Speed star jokingly added: "Sharing a bathroom, however, is quite another matter."

At the time, Imogen added that travelling was "very addictive" and hinted that she didn't have plans to "slow down."

"I find work to be my happy place, in a way. Because it’s all I’ve ever known: packing up a bag and moving on. That restlessness that’s inherent in you is very addictive. And I suppose now I’m supposed to slow down and set up a farm or something.

"But I’m not ready to do that. I want to keep exploring the world," said Imogen, but her plans may have changed after she got engaged to James.

Secret engagement

Imogen Poots holding a glass and wearing her engagement ring
Imogen Poots showed off her engagement ring at the press night for A Little Life (Dave Benett)

The couple's engagement was first revealed in February 2022. They have not shared details of the proposal or Imogen's engagement ring, but she has been spotted wearing a vintage cluster ring during public appearances, including at a party for A Little Life in 2023.

However, James made a rare comment about the "cost" of spending time away from loved ones amid his busy acting career, praising his "forgiving" fiancée.

While Imogen travelled to New Mexico for Outer Range in 2022 and Northamptonshire for Hedda, James was based in West Yorkshire for the third season of Happy Valley in 2022 before filming the new One Love movie in London and Jamaica.

He said once filming for the British crime TV drama wrapped: "It comes as a cost because you don't see each other a lot, but we are willing to pay that for the benefit of having someone in your life close to you who gets it, who is forgiving, who will give up their Sunday to do an annoying self-tape (audition)."

Rumoured split

Their conflicting schedules are said to have been a factor in their rumoured split, with the couple reportedly calling time on their romance before Christmas. HELLO! has reached out to James and Imogen's representatives for comment.

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