Joe Wright Turned Down Dinner With Clooney to Propose to Rosamund Pike

“[George Clooney] was a bit surprised – I couldn’t tell him why, but I was just about to propose and was getting a bit nervous."

Rosamund Pike wearing a black dress with her arm around Joe Wright, who is wearing a white suit
Rosamund Pike, Joe Wright. Photo: Ian West - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Image


Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning actress Rosamund Pike and Golden Globe-nominated director Joe Wright.

How They Met

In typical Hollywood fashion, the couple met on the set of the 2005 Pride & Prejudice adaptation — which Wright directed and Pike starred in. She was 25 years old and he was 31.

According to The Guardian, Pike and Wright "began seeing each other tentatively during the shoot," but things didn't get serious until the film wrapped.

Interestingly, Pike also worked on the film with her ex-boyfriend, actor Simon Woods.

"I tried very hard not to cast Simon, but I knew he was perfect," Wright told The Guardian in 2005. "Finally I rang Ros and asked if she'd mind, and she said, 'Absolutely not.' They hadn't seen each other for two years but the next day they were dancing together. It was lovely."

Rosamund Pike wearing a bronze evening gown with her arms around Joe Wright, who is in a tuxedo
Franco Origlia/Getty Images

The director reportedly proposed in 2007, just two days ahead of the Venice Film Festival premiere of his film Atonement. Wright told The Observer that he'd had to turn down a dinner invitation from George Clooney in order to pull off the big ask.

"He was a bit surprised – I couldn't tell him why, but I was just about to propose and was getting a bit nervous," Wright said of Clooney.

Why We Loved Them

Wright — for all his later, uh, wrongs — was quite effusive when it came to his relationship with Pike.

"I just properly love her," Wright told The Guardian in early 2008. "She's so intelligent and uncompromising. She impresses me so much in every way and we have a laugh. I feel I can do anything with her, go anywhere, do anything, if we want to. The pipe dreams happen with her."

He continued to praise his bride-to-be.

"I spent so many years trying to be cool, to be someone I wasn't really, but now after four years with her, I find I'm accepting that fat kid who wore cravats to school and who couldn't read. I had a dream the night I got engaged, in Italy, that I had a heart transplant, and it really feels like I'm a new person, a person I like much more."

Wright surprised Pike with a "thank you" credit on Atonement. "Without her, the film wouldn't be half what it is," Wright said in an interview. "There's a lot of stuff about being in love in the film, and she helped me understand that."

When They Peaked

Coordinating white-on-white is a choice — one that requires bravery, confidence, and an arsenal of Tide to Go pens.

Rosamund Pike in a white evening gown with her arm around Joe Wright, who is wearing a white suit as they both walk the red carpet
Jon Furniss/WireImage

The Breakup

By June 2008, less than a year after Wright had proposed, British tabloids gleefully spread the word: the wedding was off.

The Daily Mail perpetuated a rumor that Wright had called off the wedding after Pike sent out invitations that featured an image of the couple in a hot tub. Furthermore, the outlet reported that days following the split, Wright was "spotted cavorting with a handful of girls at his local lap-dancing club."

Though Pike often avoided discussing the breakup in interviews, the following year she told The Guardian via email that she had "no idea why Joe called off the wedding."

"He was never clear about it," she went on, "Part of what makes it so confusing."

She clarified the tabloid spins, writing, "Our Save the Date cards had been sent out; Save the Date cards which had a 1950s-style picture of the two of us in LA, taken by a friend at Christmas, done like an old-fashioned postcard with slightly unreal colors — we'd both designed it and the design was to make people laugh! Which it did! — but no invitations. My mother had to write to everyone to say that the wedding was no longer going to take place."

Rosamund Pike wearing a yellow gown with her arm around Joe Wright, who is wearing a tuxedo as they walk the red carpet
Vince Bucci/Getty Images

As for the bit about Wright's post-breakup activities, Pike called BS. "I also think that the stories about Joe being seen in lap-dancing clubs are false," she said. "It really doesn't sound like him."

Pike refused to publicly condemn Wright, calling him an "extraordinary man.

However, the bruises remained. "I don't think you ever get over something like that," she said.

The actress spoke of the media coverage of her and Wright's split again in 2010, telling The Sunday Times that the wedding planning had not been as far along as the tabloids made it sound.

"I mean, all this stuff about organising flowers and cakes! It's like, no way!" she said. "The truth is that I hadn't even tried on a fucking wedding dress! When you're an actress you've so many chances to do the fairytale thing. For me it wasn't about the wedding at all, it was about the marriage. I was really interested in marriage, and what it means, and what one promises. I take that very seriously. To say those things, and to commit to somebody in that way."

She added that "losing that trust was massive. Massive."

Rosamund Pike in a white floral gown with a flower in her hair as she has her arm around Joe Wright, who is wearing a green shirt and blue blazer
Philip Cheung/Getty Images

In 2011, Pike alluded to the ordeal in an interview with InStyle UK. "When you're about to get married, and then you're not, it's all a big shock," she said. "You think, well, OK, so I'm never going to lead a totally conventional life now. It sort of cleans the slate and now I can be exactly who I am. Everyone gives you leeway too, because they can see that you've had something pretty painful go on."

In 2014, Pike spoke broadly of her relationships with her exes, telling The Sunday Times, "I'm still proud to have been in a relationship with them. They're all people I admire."

"Even if you get hurt by someone … Sure, it takes a few years. I may not have said that at the time but they're people I'm happy to have shared time with."

Wright, despite his many words of praise for Pike during their relationship, declined to comment on its demise. When asked to address the split during an interview with The Sunday Times in 2012, the director simply told the reporter "No."

Where They Are Now

Pike has been with mathematician Robie Uniacke since 2009. The couple share two sons: Solo, who was born in 2012 and Atom, who was born in 2014. After the 2014 hit movie Gone Girl with Ben Affleck, Pike starred in the Netflix thriller I Care a Lot in 2020. Up next for the actress is the thriller Saltburn with Jacob Elordi and Rich Flu.

Wright wed musician Anoushka Shankar in 2010. The pair welcomed sons Zubin in 2011 and Mohan in 2015 before splitting in 2018. The director has since been linked to actress Haley Bennett, with whom he welcomed a daughter in late 2018.

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