Theo James Has Zero Interest in Being a Celebrity

Theo James has certainly been getting a lot of media attention lately thanks to upcoming projects. Though he didn’t return for Sanditon Season 2, he’s got two HBO shows in the works. The Divergent alum nabbed the lead role in the new series, The Time Traveler’s Wife. Furthermore, he was recently added to the ensemble cast of the sophomore season of The White Lotus. But despite his increasing fame, the English actor has no interest in being a celebrity.

celebrity Theo James arrives at the Divergent premiere
Theo James | Gregg DeGuire/WireImage

Theo James studied philosophy before becoming an actor

Though James caught the acting bug at a young age, he didn’t pursue the artform professionally until he was 25. He first earned a college degree in philosophy before going to theater school in England. Eventually, however, he landed on acting as a career path. It didn’t take long before James found some success in the industry. Starring in shows like Downton Abbey and movies like the Divergent series helped him reach celebrity status in Hollywood.

The ‘Sanditon’ star has no interest in being a celebrity

But despite his career, James lives a very private life. He’s rarely seen in the public eye unless he’s promoting a new project. Furthermore, the actor has opted out of social media altogether. Turns out, he has a very good reason for keeping to himself. In an interview with L’Officiel Netherlands, James explained why he’s content to keep to himself despite being famous.

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“I really value privacy,” James explained. “I believe that acting is a profession where you go home at night and do normal things. Today there is a thin line between celebrity and actor. Though the two are completely different things: acting is a profession and celebrity is not. I’m not interested in the second at all. I don’t feel any need to continuously share parts of my life with complete strangers.”

James recalls an awkward fan encounter that he had in New York

Continuing on, James shared an anecdote where he felt like someone saw him solely as a celebrity rather than an actor. It was then that he had to put a boundary in place.

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“A while ago I was in New York with a couple of friends — it was late at night and I had a couple of drinks — when someone saw me and asked for a picture,” James shared. “I said. ‘It’s 1 am, I don’t want to take a picture, but I’d like to talk with you.’ Quickly it seemed that he wasn’t interested in that and only wanted a picture. You know, these days there are so many pictures and selfies … all empty evidence. If I’d met someone I look up to or who’s movies I think are amazing I’d want to talk with them about the movies and discover the person behind the part. I wouldn’t find a picture important.”

Clearly, James has found a way to navigate the entertainment industry. Not buying into the “celebrity” side of entertainment certainly hasn’t prevented him from having a successful acting career.

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