Eddie Redmayne pursues whatever he wants with a madcap enthusiasm that is pretty much impossible to resist. A case in point is his courtship with wife Hannah Bagshawe.
The duo were teenage friends while he studied at Eton College and she was at a school nearby.
"I saw Hannah across the room at a party and she was very beautiful and very funny and she loves the arts and theatre just as I do, so we became friends," he recalls.
The friendship turned to love when he was making Les Miserables. "I'd finished rehearsals and was about to start shooting in a few days and so I said to myself, 'I'm going to go to Florence for a quick break'.
"Before I went, Hannah and I were on a sort of date and we had a wonderful evening and I suddenly said, 'You don't want to come to Florence with me next week, do you?" She said: 'That's absurd, you don’t mean it.' I said, 'Yes I do!' So our first proper date was in Florence."
To win the part of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything he secured a meeting in a pub with the director. He then launched a beer-fuelled monologue on why he'd be perfect – and landed the role without an audition.
The actor spent four months researching: he met patients with ALS, the same neurological condition as the renowned physicist, worked tirelessly with a choreographer on how to represent his physical decline and read up on science.
The result was a performance that moved Professor Hawking himself to shed a tear and earned the Brit talent his first Golden Globe.
Eddie was born on 6 January, 1982, the son of a London banker. At Eton he was in the same year as Prince William, whom he describes as "a wonderful man".
"We were on the same rugby team. "I always felt slightly sorry for him because everyone wanted to tackle the future king of England. He took all the hits."
From the exclusive school he went on to read history of art at Cambridge University. He began appearing in theatre production before leaving Cambridge, later going on to win Tony and Olivier awards.
Film roles followed in The Other Boleyn Girl, My Week with Marilyn and Jupiter Ascending.
With gorgeous russet hair, freckles scattered like stars across his face and a natty dress sense, he also crossed the radar of Burberry, who picked him to star in their iconic character driven campaigns.
Just before The Theory of Eveything began making waves he proposed to Hannah. He remembers: "We were on holiday and I said to Hannah, 'We're getting married, like right now, come on'. So I booked the venue and that was it. It was quick."
The wedding was a winter wonderland affair that took place just before Christmas 2014, after which he declared it "good weird to say 'my wife Hannah'."