Oscar-winning British actor Colin Firth has opted for Italian citizenship, the country’s interior ministry has confirmed.
His wife Livia Giuggioli, 48, an environmental entrepreneur who founded Eco-Age was born in Rome, making the Pride And Prejudice heartthrob and Bridget Jones star eligible for the country’s citizenship. The 56-year-old now has dual citizenship and can therefore keep his British passport.
Firth said he had applied for an Italian passport because of “the uncertainty around” alluding to Britain’s exit from the European Union. He was awarded the Commander of the British Empire for services to drama in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2011, the same year he won an Oscar for playing the Queen’s father as King George VI in The King’s Speech.
The actor who has a home in Chiswick, west London spent his formative years in Nigeria where his father worked in education said he had links to the country dating back to more than two decades.
“I was married there and had two children born in Rome,” he said.
The actor who was recently on the red carpet at the Venice Film festival with his wife said she was applying for a British passport, while his two children already have dual citizenship.
He added: “We never really thought much about our different passports.
“But now, with some of the uncertainty around, we thought it sensible that we should all get the same.”
The Italian interior ministry confirmed Firth had been granted a passport. It stated: “The very famous actor, who won an Oscar for the film The King’s Speech, is married to a citizen from our country and has often declared his love for our land.”
Firth, who won best actor at the 2011 Oscars for his portrayal of King George in The King’s Speech, has been married to his second wife since 1997.
He added: “I will always be extremely British (you only have to look at or listen to me).
“Britain is our home and we love it here.”
A biography on his wife’s Eco-Age website describes the Firth family arrangements saying “Livia currently resides in London with her husband Colin, two children, one cat and four fish”.
He said that he will continue to be based in the UK, but added: “Anyone will tell you when you marry an Italian you don’t just marry one person; you marry a family and perhaps an entire country.
“Like almost everybody I have a passionate love of Italy and joining my wife and kids in being dual citizens will be a huge privilege.” This is not the first time Firth will cause political ripples. He withdrew his membership of the Liberal Democrats after the party under Nick Clegg backed university tuition fees after promising in its manifesto it would not.
Firth’s wife Livia, 48, was born in Rome is the uber-connected founder and creative director of Eco-Age Ltd., a company which was once a landmark on Chiswick High Street with its sustainable range of products like bamboo bicycles and a facade covered in green leaves.
She is best buddies with Stella McCartney, another avowed fashion designer who eschews leather in her manufacturing process. She is also well-known and respected in fashion circles for creating the Green Carpet Challenge which dresses celebrities at events like the Oscars in ethically-sourced jewellery and frocks. The initiative that recognises brands that campaign for sustainability awarding them its newly launched brand mark.
As an Oxfam Global Ambassador, she has travelled to Ethiopia, Kenya, Bangladesh and Zambia, connecting with the people at the beginning of the supply chain. She is also a founding member of Annie Lennox’s ‘The Circle’, a powerful women’s advocacy group.
She is a UN Leader of Change and has also been recognised with the UN Fashion 4 Development Award. In 2014, Livia was awarded the Rainforest Alliance Award for Outstanding Achievement in Sustainability and the Honorary Award of the National German Sustainability Foundation.