Ned Rocknroll (birth name Edward Abel Smith) is an English national who is best known as the third husband of Academy Award winning actress Kate Winslet, whom he married in 2012. The nephew of famous businessman Sir Richard Branson, he works as the Head of Marketing Promotion and Astronaut Experience at his uncle's spaceflight company Virgin Galactic, which is developing commercial spacecraft to take tourists to space. He is thought to have got his job thanks to his uncle, and according to his first wife, the title he holds at Virgin Galactic is also something he himself came up with. Following his marriage to Winslet, he reportedly decided to stay at home to take care of their kids and to renovate their over $4.0-million property. A devoted husband, he is often mentioned by Winslet in her interviews for his “incredibly supportive” role in her career, as well as personal life.
Childhood & Early Life
Ned Rocknroll was born as Edward Abel Smith in 1978 to Lindy Branson and Robert Abel Smith. His parents separated when he was only a toddler. He was raised by his mother and stepfather, Robin Brockway, “in an arty, chaotic household” in Parsons Green, South-West London along with his four brothers. After growing up, he started working in the marketing department of his maternal uncle’s company.
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The Meteoric Rise to Stardom
Ned Rocknroll became the centre of media attention overnight after he was spotted with Kate Winslet in late September 2011. They were pictured at the memorial service for Richard Branson’s father Ted at the Royal Geographical Society’s headquarters in Kensington, London. They were again spotted holding hands at San Francisco Airport the next month. Around the same time, his divorce with his first wife, socialite Eliza Pearson, the eldest daughter of a wealthy British Viscount Cowdray, was finalized. While she had left him after 20 months of marriage, she reportedly wanted him back after she learned that he was dating Winslet. Among all these, there was particular interest in his unusual surname and how he got it.
Ned Rocknroll is a person who likes to have fun—be it with his appearance or his surname. According to his first wife, he thought people often take themselves too seriously, and discussed many times changing his boring birth name to something fun. He even considered having no surname at all, but that was not an option legally. So he changed his last name by deed poll to 'Rocknroll' in 2008. Over the years, his unique surname and his high profile relationships have kept him in the news.
Controversies & Scandals
Ned Rocknroll was subjected to a controversy in mid-2016 after embarrassing pictures of him taken at a friend's fancy dress party a few years ago were published online by an American media outlet. The images were originally shared by his friend on his Facebook page, but were soon taken down, and a court had granted his appeal to ban the publication of the pictured in January 2013. However, the American publication was not governed by the same laws, which led to the controversy.
Ned Rocknroll got married for the first time to socialite Eliza Pearson in an open-air pagan-style wedding ceremony led by a druid in September 2009 at her family's 17,000-acre Cowdray Park estate in West Sussex. They separated in April 2011 and filed for divorce in June. Contrary to what many sources believed, he was not in a relationship with his second wife, actress Kate Winslet, at the time. This was later confirmed by Pearson who stated that "the split was very amicable" and they were still "the best of friends".
He reportedly met Winslet before, but both were in relationships at the time. They met again while both of them were on vacation on Necker Island, a private resort owned by his uncle, Richard Branson. While Winslet was there with her on-off boyfriend, Burberry Model Louis Dowler, Rocknroll went there to nurse a broken heart after the separation. On August 22, 2011, The Great House at the island caught fire when it was struck by lightning caused by Hurricane Irene. The building was totally burned down, but Winslet reportedly carried Richard Branson's 90-year-old mother to safety. The two eventually got to know each other and immediately fell in love. The couple had been secretly engaged for months, and reportedly didn't even inform her parents when they got married in New York in December 2012. At the wedding, Winslet was walked down the aisle by her longtime friend and Titanic co-star Leonardo DiCaprio. Apart from his two step children from Winslet's earlier marriages, the couple also has a son named Bear Blaze Winslet, who was born the following year. They live with their children at Wnslet's property by the sea at West Wittering.