Romy Hero Johnson
Despite his fame, Aaron Taylor-Johnson does everything in his power to keep his children out of the spotlight. His second daughter, Romy Hero, was born in January 2012 in London, England, and is also the child of film director and artist Sam Taylor-Johnson, who is 23 years Aaron’s senior.
Romy and her older sister Wylda Rae have rarely been photographed, and Aaron and Sam aren’t prone to sharing details of their children. However, in an August 2023 interview with L’Officiel, the actor revealed that he always knew he wanted to become a dad young – and have a large family.
Aaron is certainly a devoted father, as he has turned down a number of prominent movie roles in order to spend more time with Romy and Wylda. ‘I wanted, purely, to be with my babies. I didn’t want to be taken away from them,’ he told L’Officiel.
During the mid-2010s, the actor was in high demand thanks to his stellar performances in “Kick-Ass” and “Avengers”, which were both major blockbusters; however, he became more selective with his projects following Romy’s birth, and even moved back to England after the COVID-19 pandemic. (The Taylor-Johnson family previously resided in Los Angeles for work reasons).
These days, Aaron finds pleasure in the simple things that life has to offer, such as getting Romy and Wylda ready in the mornings, taking them to school, and doing extracurricular activities with them. Although he has upcoming projects such as “Kraven the Hunter” and is rumored to have be in the running for the next James Bond, the actor’s career clearly takes second stage to his fatherhood.
Aaron is Jewish, and was born in High Wycombe, England, in June 1990. His parents are civil engineer Robert and housewife Sarah Johnson, and he was raised alongside his sister Gemma, who made a small cameo in his 2002 movie “Tom & Thomas”. Between 1996 and 2008, Aaron studied singing, acrobatics, jazz, tap, and drama at the Jackie Palmer Stage School.
A stage actor since nine years old, Aaron played Macduff’s son in a 1999 production of “Macbeth” and went on to have TV roles in “Talk to Me”, “Nearly Famous”, and “Feather Boy”. After portraying a young Charlie Chaplin in “Shanghai Knights” – starring Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson – he also played a teenaged Eduard Abramovicz in “The Illusionist”, which involved learning how to perform simple magic tricks such as balancing an egg on a stick.
However, Aaron’s big break didn’t come until 2009, when he was cast as John Lennon in Sam’s biographical movie, “Nowhere Boy”. His impressive performance in the commercially successful movie won him an Empire Award in Best Newcomer category, as well as a nomination from the London Film Critics’ Circle – and he would also meet his wife Sam during the audition process.
As mentioned, Sam and Aaron’s age gap is a pretty big one: when they met, she was 42 years old, and he was on the verge of his 19th birthday. Over the years, their relationship has been described as disturbing and even predatory due to the initial power imbalance, and plenty of netizens don’t hide their disdain for Sam, who had already divorced and had two children before she met young Aaron.
In January 2023, Aaron and his “Bullet Train” co-star Joey King became a trending topic amidst rumors of them cheating on their respective partners during the filming of the movie. The allegations, which seemingly came out of nowhere, were actually sparked by a blind item on TikTok which claimed that Aaron and Joey had hooked up during the movie’s press tour in Paris. This seems unlikely, as Sam was front and center at the Paris premiere alongside her husband, while Joey made sure to share a loving kiss with her fiancé Sam Piet on the red carpet.
Moving on to Sam, she was born in March 1967, in Croydon, England, and grew up in south London until her parents’ divorce nine years later. At that point, the family moved into an old schoolhouse in East Sussex, with Sam later attending Goldsmiths University of London.
Aaron Taylor-Johnson and wife Sam show off matching tattoos.
They met working on a film Sam was directing/casting. Aaron was 18 and she was 42. pic.twitter.com/v6rrrpRMcw
— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) June 22, 2021
In the early 1990s, Sam made her first significant moves in the art world by exhibiting fine-art photography, including a popular collaboration with Henry Bond. In 1994, she exhibited the multi-screen video work “Killing Time”, followed by “Pent-Up” and “Travesty of a Mockery”. In 1998, the blonde was nominated for the annual Turner Prize but lost out to painter Chris Ofili.
Sam’s career highlights include her 2002 National Portrait Gallery commission, which saw her make a video portrait of David Beckham; her art series “Crying Men”, which features male celebrities crying; and her 2006 survey exhibition at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art. In August 2008, she was chosen to direct a biopic about John Lennon’s childhood which would become her directorial debut, “Nowhere Boy”.
Despite initially being nervous about the magnitude of the project, “Nowhere Boy” released to positive reviews and earned Sam a BAFTA award nomination. A few years later she directed the film adaptation of “Fifty Shades of Grey”, having been chosen from a list that included the likes of Steven Soderbergh and Angelina Jolie; however, the filming process was anything but smooth sailing, as she clashed with E.L James – the author of the “50 Shades” trilogy who was also a producer on the movie – several times.
Sam was initially attracted to the project, and considered it a ‘dysfunctional fairytale’, but she was soon butting heads with E.L due to their creative differences. Although the director didn’t speak about her experience until 2017 – two years after the movie premiered – she had previously denied that she would be returning to direct the sequels, which led to the first rumors of bad blood between her and the bestselling novelist.
According to Sam, every scene was fought over, and the crux of the disagreement was how true to the novel the movie should be. E.L apparently wanted to give fans what they were expecting – especially when it came to the explicit scenes – whereas Sam wanted to ‘create a new universe’ and tone the sexual content down. The director was also criticized online for making herself the focal point of the movie’s PR campaign.
After walking away from the franchise, Sam failed to land any projects on the same scale. In March 2021, it was announced that she would be directing and producing the biographical drama “Rothko”, which has a 2024 release date and stars her husband alongside Russell Crowe. She is also currently working on Amy Winehouse’s biopic, “Back to Black”, which commenced filming in January 2023.
Sam is a two-time cancer survivor, who has overcome colon cancer – with which she was diagnosed in December 1997 – and breast cancer. Currently, she practices yoga and transcendental meditation, which she credits with helping her cope with her busy lifestyle. In 2011, the director was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire, thanks to her contributions to the arts.
Although Aaron has never discussed his dating life prior to meeting Sam, she herself had already married and divorced. Her first husband, Jay Jopling, is an influential art dealer and galleryist with government connections who helped take Sam’s creative career to the next level. The former couple, who divorced in 2008 after eleven years of marriage, share two daughters named Angelica and Jessie Phoenix, who were born in 1997 and 2005 respectively.
Regarding the timeline of Sam and Taylor’s relationship, they announced their engagement at the premiere of “Nowhere Boy” in October 2009 and married almost three years later.