Brit movie star Idris Elba divorced me because I didn’t have ‘the right look’, says his ‘secret’ second wife – The Sun Jump directly to the content

Brit movie star Idris Elba divorced me because I didn’t have ‘the right look’, says his ‘secret’ second wife

EXCLUSIVE: Star’s ‘secret’ second wife tells of six-week marriage that ended in heartbreak

IDRIS ELBA split up with his wife after cruel pals told him the marriage
would ruin his career because it was not “the right look”, his ex has

Heartbroken Sonya Hamlin was dumped by the Luther star just six weeks after
tying the knot.

Speaking out for the first time, the lawyer told The Sun on Sunday: “We were
madly in love. But Idris was getting a lot of flak for getting married and
being married.

Heartbroken ... Sonya tells how the rising star's career stood in the way of their marriage


“Everyone was like ‘Dude, you’re the hottest sex symbol’.

“I know people were telling him he was going to ruin his career. He was being
told it was an important part of his career to be a single sex symbol in
Hollywood and that being married would damage that. Some people used to say,
‘Why her?’

“It wasn’t the right look, that’s what they were telling him. It used to
upset him. He was like, ‘Why don’t people just let me be happy?’ ”

Londoner Idris, now 43, had finished his breakthrough role in the US, The
Wire, and was sifting through movie offers when the pair met in 2006.

It was three years after his divorce from his first wife with whom he has a
daughter Isan, now 15. He and Sonya married three months later.

The two were introduced by a mutual friend in her hometown Baltimore, Maryland
— the gritty city where The Wire was filmed — but bonded over their mutual
love of London where Sonya, now 44, had lived as a student.

She recalled: “When I first met him, I told him how I used to stay in Notting
Hill Gate and would go to this wine bar and he knew exactly where it was
because they played reggae and he loves reggae.

“He was like, ‘What do you know about that?’ That was how we hit it off! And
he always used to make sure I had English chocolate, I love chocolate. I
lived on it when I was in London.

Idris Elba wedding certificate


“He would always find me Smarties. Even with his busy schedule he would do it.”

Sharing never-before-seen photos of her and Idris together, Sonya also
described the chemistry when she first met the actor, currently providing
the voice of the tiger Shere Khan in Disney’s remake of The Jungle Book.

She said: “We got on from the moment we met, we meshed very well. He’s not shy
and neither am I and we fell very much in love with each other.

“We went on normal dates — dinner, movies and we used to just have fun in the
house. We used to always coordinate our outfits when we dressed.

“And he was a very good cook and loves cooking Caribbean food.”

In April 2006 the couple travelled to Las Vegas to watch a boxing title
showdown between American fighters Floyd Mayweather and Zab Judah with some

During the trip they decided to marry on a whim and wed the day after the
match at the Little White Wedding Chapel.

Sonya said: “We were just chilling on sun loungers early in the day by the

“I know I was drinking a mimosa and we were talking and were both in a great
mood. We had talked about marriage before and how we would want to keep it
plain and simple.

“We were madly in love by then and we were like, ‘Let’s just do it’. We
were both excited. It was a mutual decision.”

Whirlwind ... the pair were married at a Vegas chapel

Splash News

The pair then sneaked off from their pals to choose a ring in a shop at their

Sonya said: “He got me a beautiful diamond ring.

“We picked it and it was not cheap, he was very generous.”

They then got a cab to the courthouse to get a marriage licence and headed
straight to the chapel.

They said their vows as the sun was setting, with a total stranger, a Las
Vegas estate agent, as witness.

The pair then phoned their families with the good news, and then headed to
Jamaica for a honeymoon. Sonya said: “We snorkelled, swam, ate good Jamaican
food, relaxed and laid by the pool and at the beach.

“We’d sit and chill and talk for hours — about anything and everything.”

Asked if they also spent time in bed, Sonya laughed, just adding: “He’s
romantic. He’s very romantic.”

And when pressed about whether Idris is a good lover, she simply said: “I
can’t talk on that but obviously he wasn’t bad because I wouldn’t have
married him! You don’t marry someone if they’re not.”

The pair then returned to settle down in Sonya’s Maryland home.

But things quickly began to unravel with Idris keen move into films and
Sonya’s property law firm booming.

She explained: “He was on the cusp of moving from TV to movies, he was getting
tons of offers to do movies. He was travelling all the time. I was on the
cusp of a huge real estate boom, at that point I had ten employees.”

But as well as the bad timing, Sonya blames friends of her husband who she
believes told him to dump her because she would be bad for his image.

She is still angry about that, saying: “I couldn’t understand how it would
damage his career because I saw actors like Denzel Washington be
successfully married.

Early days ... Idris with first wife Kim, who he wed in 1999


“But I don’t think those actor’s wives are running law firms.”

After a showdown six weeks after the wedding, they decided to split.

She said: “I mean at that point in time his career was on the line.

“There was no certainty he was going to go on and be a big star and he had
a daughter to provide for and maybe he had to make the tough decision.

“He was protective of me, but maybe he listened to people in his ear. He just
felt bad about it. he used to say, ‘You deserve for me to be around’ and ‘I
know you have your practice that you worked really hard for and you can’t
get up and leave and come be with me three, four, fives months at a time
while I’m filming in another country’.

“Of course I wanted to save the marriage. It wasn’t easy for either of us. We
wavered a couple of times. We were both just sad. He hugged me of course. It
was very sad.”

Idris asked Sonya if she would arrange the divorce because she was a lawyer.

She agreed and first tried to file it in Maryland but strict divorce rules in
the state would have meant they had to separate for a year first.

So instead they got a lawyer in Las Vegas to have the marriage annulled — by
claiming she had been drunk.

Sonya admits now that was a lie to get the marriage over quickly — and it led
to reports that the pair were only married for one day.

She said: “It’s not true. One thing I want to clarify is we were not drunk. I
wasn’t and neither was he.


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“We might have had one or two like everybody does in Vegas but by no means
were we drunk. You can’t be anyway to go through the whole process.”

Sonya admits the spilt broke her heart, saying: “It did, it did. I didn’t date
anybody for years. I was just like, I don’t want to have to go through
anything like that again.

“At one point in time he was the love of my life — we were totally enamoured.
And anybody that knows us or saw us would tell you, ‘They were madly in

Since the split Idris has had a tricky time in his relationships.

He first had a fling with pole dancer Desiree Newberry, then settled down with
make-up artist Naiyana Garth — who friends say is a “Sonya lookalike”. They
had son Winston, now two, but split earlier this year after it was alleged
Idris had an affair with rap artist K Michelle.

But Sonya dismisses rumours that the actor, who is currently starring in
action flick Bastille Day, has hooked up with supermodel Naomi Campbell.

Speculation about the pair began after they were recently seen leaving a
nightclub together.

Sona says: “I remember him telling me years ago that they were really good
friends. No, no — I think they’re just old friends.”

But she added: “I’d be happy for him if he got married again and he genuinely
loved that person.

“I’m not a jealous person. I want him to be happy just like I’m sure he wants
me to be happy.

“I don’t think he’s ever going to have a problem being lonely.”

‘He’d be perfect as 007’

Could it be? Rumours Idris will be cast as next James Bond are rife

Getty Images/ WireImage

RUMOURS abound that Idris Elba is in the running to replace Daniel Craig as
James Bond – and Sonya reckons her ex would be brilliant.

She said: “I know he would kill it in that role. I think he would want it.

“He’s got the talent, he’s got the charisma, he’s got the range, the depth.

“He would do extremely well in that role. I recommend him as a person –
although I can’t recommend him as a husband because it didn’t work out.”

Bookies have given Idris odds of four to one to take the role, with other
stars linked including Damian Lewis and Tom Hid- dleston.

Meanwhile, Sonya has no doubt that Idris – who played the title role in 2013’s
Oscar-nominated film Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom – will one day win of the
coveted gold statuettes.

She said: “He’s got an Oscar coming no question.

“I would bet my bottom dollar he’s going to win an Oscar.”

His life and loves

1972: Born Idrissa Akuna Elba in Newham, East London.

1986: Starts helping an uncle with a DJ business. Soon sets up on his
own as a DJ, which he still does as a sideline.

1990: Lands place at the National Youth Music Theatre. Begins first TV
roles in Crimewatch reconstructions.

1999: Marries make-up artist Kim Norgaard.

1995: First proper TV guest roles, in drama Bramwell and as a gigolo in
an episode of Absolutely Fabulous.

2001: Moves to New York.

2002: Lands role on US drama The Wire, playing gangster Russell
“Stringer” Bell. Daughter Isan is born.

2003: Divorces Kim.

2006: Marries US lawyer Sonya Hamlin. They file for divorce six weeks

2010: Begins playing detective John Luther in BBC1 smash hit series

2011: First big Hollywood movie role in Thor.

2013: Plays title role in Nelson Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom. Begins
dating Naiyana Garth, a make-up artist like first wife Kim.

2014: Girlfriend Naiyana gives birth to their son Winston. The same
year, Idris is reported to have had an eight-month affair with R&B star
K Michelle.

2016: Splits from Naiyana in February, days after being seen leaving a
nightclub in New York with supermodel Naomi Campbell.