Guy Ritchie

Guy Ritchie Biography

Director (1968–)
Guy Ritchie is a British director whose films include 'Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels' and 'Sherlock Holmes.' He was married to Madonna for eight years.


Born on September 10, 1968, in Hertfordshire, England, director Guy Ritchie was lauded for his debut feature film, the crime caper Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998). He stepped further into the spotlight by marrying pop star Madonna; the marriage lasted from 2000 to 2008. Ritchie's career hit a low point with Swept Away (2002), but he found success again when he directed Sherlock Holmes (2009) and its 2011 sequel, with a remake of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (2015) to follow.

Early Life

British director Guy Stuart Ritchie was born on September 10, 1968, in the town of Hatfield, located in Hertfordshire, England (near London). Growing up, he struggled with dyslexia and attended a number of different schools. However, having been caught using drugs, Ritchie was asked to leave school at the age of 15.

Breaking Into Film

With few qualifications, Ritchie ended up taking a series of low-level jobs, including work as a bricklayer and as a bartender. When he was 25, a friend who directed commercials hired Ritchie as a runner. That position gave Ritchie an entry into the world of directing. He soon began helming commercials and music videos, and then broke into film with his short The Hard Case (1995).

His short movie was well-received, but Ritchie still found it difficult to get backing for a full-length feature. After years of trying, he succeeded: Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels came out in 1998. The film, a crime caper, was applauded for breathing new life into that genre, and found a wide audience.

Directing 'Snatch' and 'Swept Away'

The popularity of his first film also brought Guy Ritchie to Hollywood's attention. His next film, Snatch (2000), was another darkly humorous look at gangsters in London. However, this time the cast included stars like Brad Pitt, Benicio del Toro and Dennis Farina. Snatch was also a critical and commercial success.

Unfortunately for Ritchie, his next feature Swept Away (2002), which starred his then-wife Madonna, was panned by critics and largely avoided by audiences. It was the nadir of Ritchie's directing career. His next two films, Revolver (2005) and RocknRolla (2008), were returns to his black comedy roots. However, they did not achieve the same level of success as his earlier crime capers.

Global Hit: 'Sherlock Holmes'

Ritchie's career took off once more with his film adaptation of Sherlock Holmes (2009), as well as its sequel Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011). Both films, starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law, were massive successes at the box office, earning more than $1 billion combined worldwide. 

In the fall of 2013, Ritchie began filming a big screen adaptation of the spy TV series The Man from U.N.C.L.E., featuring Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer. The film is slated for a mid-August 2015 release. 

Personal Life

Though he became known as a director, Ritchie's personal life has also brought him into the public eye. In 1998, Sting and Trudie Styler introduced Ritchie to pop star Madonna. The two embarked upon a relationship and had a son, Rocco John, in August 2000. In December of that year, they married in a castle in Scotland.

In addition to Swept Away, Ritchie directed Madonna in her music video for "What It Feels Like for a Girl." The two adopted a second son, David Banda, from Malawi in 2006. The adoption was finalized in the spring of 2008. Unfortunately, the couple split up later that same year; their divorce became final in January 2009. Though Madonna and their children relocated to New York City, Ritchie remains involved in his sons' lives.

In 2010, Ritchie began seeing model Jacqui Ainsley. The two had a son, Rafael, in 2011. They became engaged in 2012; in November of that year, Ainsley gave birth to their daughter.

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