Meet True Detective star Fiona Shaw's famous wife

Fiona Shaw in True Detective: Night Country
Fiona Shaw in True Detective: Night Country (HBO)

Fiona Shaw has kept us glued to our screens with her haunting portrayal of mysterious survivalist Rose Aguineau in True Detective: Night Country. The Irish actress stars alongside Jodie Foster and Kali Reis in HBO's revived drama, which follows two police officers investigating the puzzling disappearance of eight men from a search station in Alaska.

Fiona has been on our screens for decades, having played iconic roles in various major films and TV shows, including Petunia Dursley in the Harry Potter films, Marnie Stonebrook in True Blood, and Carolyn Martens in Killing Eve. While the actress is a familiar face across the world, how much do you know about her home life? And did you know that her wife is also famous?

The 65-year-old is married to Sonali Deraniyagala, an author, memoirist and economist from Sri Lanka.

Sonali, who is a lecturer in Economics at the SOAS South Asia Institute, is perhaps best known for her memoir, Wave: A Memoir of Life After the Tsunami, which she penned after losing her husband and sons in the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami in Indonesia.

fiona shaw baptiste
Fiona Shaw in Baptiste (Photo: BBC)

Sonali was on a family holiday when the natural disaster struck. Her memoir, which details her heartbreaking account of the horrifying event and the years of grief that ensued, became a national bestseller in North America and was named by the New York Times as one of the Top 10 Books of 2013.

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Fiona and Sonali first met after being introduced by friends. Fiona had read Sonali's memoir and was so moved by it that she wanted to meet her.

Speaking about her relationship with the author, Fiona told Good Housekeeping back in 2020: "I'm married to a very unusual person, but maybe it took a very unusual person to be willing to marry me.

Sonali Deraniyagala and Fiona Shaw at the 65th Evening Standard Theatre Awards, The London Coliseum, UK - 24 Nov 2019
Fiona married author Sonali Deraniyagala in 2018 (David Fisher/Shutterstock)

"Sonali's children, parents and husband were all killed in the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004, and I’m very cognisant of that," the Baptiste star continued. "Its sorrow doesn’t dominate our life, but it definitely defines it. I understand the value of things by being with Sonali.

"She lives knowing that at any moment the world could end because she lost her world. It has brought me into land, I suppose, about lots of things; a lack of arbitrariness about life," she added.

Fiona, who grew up in Cork, tied the knot with Sonali in 2018.

Fiona Shaw in True Detective: Night Country
Fiona stars in True Detective: Night Country (HBO)

Fiona previously told Saga magazine that it was "a good time" for her to get married. "Until then, I had given my life to tearing around the world working," she explained. "I don't think I could have married when I was in my twenties or thirties; I don’t think I was that person.

"I just made a decision when I was about 26 to give myself entirely to the whims of my work, and it was only about six years ago I began to get fed up with that," she concluded.

The couple split their time between London, Ireland, Sri Lanka, and New York, where Sonali teaches at Columbia University.