The Downton Abbey alum, 40, and her beau, 34, shared the news on Thursday, January 20, in the U.K.’s The Times, which read: “The engagement is announced between Jasper, son of Michael Waller-Bridge of King’s Lynn, Norfolk, and Teresa Waller-Bridge of Battersea, London, and Michelle Dockery, younger daughter of Michael and Lorraine Dockery of Gidea Park, Essex.”
Dockery and her partner — the brother of Fleabag alum Phoebe Waller-Bridge — have been dating since 2019, according to the British newspaper, and made their red carpet debut at the Rome Film Festival shortly after.
The Defending Jacob alum, who is set to reprise her role as Lady Mary Crawley in this year’s Downton Abbey: A New Era, was previously engaged to John Dineen before he died of cancer in 2015. He was 34.
“I don’t have the vocabulary to describe what it felt like,” the Godless star told The Guardian in November 2017 two years after the PR executive’s death. “I’ve never been more committed to anything in my life than to him. So at the time everything just shut down. Work, everything. Work didn’t matter. You suddenly become an [oncological] expert. This stuff becomes your world, and that of course was my priority.”
Dockery continued at the time: “I never lost hope. No. I’m not exaggerating when I say that John did not complain once, never, not once, and that gave us strength. It’s what keeps you going, that positivity – to never lose that hope for a miracle. I couldn’t have done it any other way. … John was a very private person, and the hardest thing was keeping it out of the press when he was sick. It took a lot.”
The England native told the British outlet that she had “spent more time in hospitals that year than some people do in a lifetime” and had learned to “see things different” after her loss.
“I wouldn’t wish it on anyone or expect them to know,” Dockery noted. “Oh, I refer to myself as a widow, yes. We were engaged and married at heart, and so I do consider myself a widow.”
After moving on with the TV producer, the pair kept their budding romance relatively quiet.
“This is something that’s personal,” the Anna Karenina actress said, playing coy during a Tatler interview in February 2020 when asked about her beau and his famous sister, 36. “I guess what I’ve learnt is to keep talking about the work. There are a lot of other things that come along with success and that would be my advice for anyone: keep your head down, make it about the job.’ I feel grateful. I’d achieved a lot by the time I was 30. … But it’s put me in a position now where I can slow down. This business, it never really stops. You do something, you promote it, you’re on to the next job. I’m learning I need to find ways to switch off. Unwind.”
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