If you have seen at least one action film recently, most likely Jason Statham was in it. From race car driver to hit man to ex-special forces operator, Statham has made a name for himself as the official action movie star of our generation. Doing all of his own stunts, and starring in over 40 films throughout his career, the English actor has been gracing the silver screen with his cockney accent and crazy fighting moves since the late 90s.
Statham didn’t always live the life of fame and success that he has today, he in fact grew up in a working-class family. His mother a dancer and his father a street salesman/lounge singer, meant the action star didn’t have a childhood with luxury and riches. After a failed professional diving career, Statham moved on to a short-lived life as a model where he was still finding it difficult to make ends meet. He eventually joined the black market where he sold fake perfume and jewelry alongside his father on the street.
It wasn’t until Statham met English crime filmmaker Guy Ritchie that his acting career started to take off. Ritchie actually admired Statham’s past life on the street and casted him right away in Jason’s first film. Statham literally came from the streets to the movie studio and the rest is history.
Besides being an action superstar, Statham is also known for making headlines by dating much younger (and insanely beautiful) women. His current fiancé and mom of his new baby boy, model/actress Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, is 20 years his junior. There are even rumors that the couple already had a top-secret wedding.
Continue reading to find out more about Statham’s incredible journey from diver, street merchant, model, and even music video actor to the world’s most popular action movie star.
Jason Statham was born in Shirebrook, Derbyshire on July 26th, 1972. Statham was born to two parents who loved the arts. His mother, Eileen, worked as a dancer and his father, Barry Statham, was a street merchant, and at night he enjoyed his job as a lounge singer. When Statham was in grammar school, he was best friends with Vinnie Jones, who went on to become a professional soccer player then actor.
Introduced to sports
His best friend from childhood, Vinnie Jones (whom he would eventually act in several movies with) inspired Statham to get involved in sports. Jones was already a very talented soccer player and introduced Statham to the game. The two friends played together on their elementary school’s team, until Statham decided to give it up for something he loved even more. Although Statham enjoyed playing soccer with his best friend, he discovered his passion for diving and decided to focus on that instead.
At first, Statham chose not to follow in either of his parents’ footsteps. In fact, he chose to focus more on sports. For twelve years, Statham was on Britian’s National Diving Squad, where he attended competitions for the 10-meter platform and springboard. In 1990, Statham finished 12th in platform diving during the Commonwealth Games. This was a disappointment for the future movie star, but he had no idea that his career was eventually going to take a turn for the better.
While Statham’s diving career was not the most successful, it definitely aided as a stepping stone that would eventually lead him in the right direction. One day, while Statham was training at London’s Crystal Palace National Sports Centre, an agent from the modeling agency Sports Promotions discovered him. The agent thought Statham’s athletic build and handsome features would make for a perfect model, and they were right.
Jason’s modeling career
Shortly after being signed, Statham landed a job modeling for the clothing brand French Connection. A spokesperson for the clothing line, which was known for designing ‘high street’ clothing, said “We chose Jason because we wanted our model to look like a normal guy. His look is just right for now: very masculine and not too male-modelly.” Statham went on to model in catalogues for big names like Speedo, Adidas and Timberland.
Relationship with Kelly Brook
Statham met the English model turned TV host and actress, Kelly Brook just at the beginning of his modeling career in 1997. She was 12 years younger than him, but the two managed to hit it off after meeting at a photo shoot. Even after Statham started to make it big in Hollywood, the couple stayed together and hung out with their many celebrity friends including Madonna and Vinnie Jones. The pair were together for seven years until Brook started asking Statham about getting married and having kids and the couple split.
To the next one
Shortly after his seven-year relationship with Kelly Brook ended, Jason met the Australian singer/actress/model and former member of the band Bardot, Sophie Monk. Just like Brook, the blonde beauty was also much younger than Statham, 13 years younger to be exact. The relationship didn’t last longer than a year. Statham decided he had to take a break from dating for a while in order to focus on his career.
To the streets
Even though Statham was able to find various modeling jobs, it eventually was just not enough. He was finding it difficult to make ends meet and to get enough jobs as a model. He eventually decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and went to the street to start selling. He sold fake perfume and jewelry on the street corners in order to make some extra money. Even with this extra income, it still was not enough.
Music video actor
Statham knew that he didn’t want to be on the streets forever, so he started to look for other ways to make money. He started going to auditions for different music videos and was successfully cast. He made small appearances in several music videos including: “Comin’ On Strong” by the Shamen in 1993, “Run to the Sun” by Erasure in 1994, and “Dream a Little Dream of Me,” by The Beautiful South in 1995. While the small roles did help Statham get off the streets, he knew that he wanted more.
Meeting Guy Ritchie
As Statham was working as a model/music video actor, he was introduced to big-time British director, Guy Ritchie. At the time, he was working on a film and needed to cast someone as the role of a street-wise con artist. After Ritchie became aware of Statham’s background in blackmarket street sales, Ritchie knew he was perfect for the role and immediately cast him as the role of “Bacon” in his 1998 comedy-crime thriller Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.
With help from Ritchie
Ritchie’s movie was a big success and helped get Statham out in the public eye. Ritchie was pleased with Statham’s talent and decided to collaborate with him two years later in the 2000 film Snatch. In his second movie, Statham go to act alongside already very well-known and popular actors such as Brad Pitt, Dennis Farina and Benicio del Toro. Snatch was also a big hit in theaters, and made more than $80 million at the box-office.
After starring in Snatch, Statham was finally able to really break into the Hollywood scene. In 2001, he got to appear in two triumphant films- the sci-fi action horror, Ghosts of Mars and the sci-fi martial arts action film, The One. In both roles, Statham gave an extremely impressive performance. It didn’t take long until he started getting requests from directors all over Hollywood. It was then that Statham’s career really started to take off.
The supporting actor
Although his career was finally getting off the ground, he still found himself playing mostly supporting roles. From 2002 to 2004, Statham was cast as a supporting role in a number of movies including Mean Machine, The Italian Job and Cellular. By 2005, Ritchie asked Statham to join him for a third collaboration in his movie, Revolver. Statham took on the role, but unfortunately for him and Ritchie, the movie received horrible reviews and ended up being a complete box-office failure.
In 2006, Statham made a quick recovery from his last movie flop, by choosing to star in a dramatic role in the indie film London. The film showed a new, dramatic side of the usual action star. However, after his short run with drama he continued to be cast in action movies. In the same year, Statham starred as the lead, in the black comedy action movie that he is probably most known for, Crank. The sequel, Crank: High Voltage was slightly less outstanding, and was released four years later in 2009.
Best track record
After the Crank movies, Statham became the action movie star, and seemed to suddenly be appearing in almost every action movie under the sun! The well-acclaimed American film critic, hailed Statham’s performances and ascension as an action film star. White even said that Statham had the “best track record of any contemporary movie star.” In 2008, White praised Statham’s performance in Transporter 3 as “a great example of kinetic pop art.”
Kicked out by Hefner
With all of Statham’s newfound success he started really living and enjoying the Hollywood scene. He was invited to the most exclusive A-list parties in the city. In 2008, he received an invitation to Hugh Hefner’s annual Midsummer Night’s Dream extravaganza at Hefner’s mansion. However, after only a short amount of time Statham got dragged out by five security guards. What did he do? He refused to take photos with the girls.
Although Statham is now an extremely well-known actor, it doesn’t mean an end for the action star’s love of sports. He still often plays on LA’s soccer team Hollywood United. The team was founded by Steve Jones, a guitarist from an 80s rock band, and a few of his celebrity pals. Statham’s childhood friend Vinnie Jones is also on the Los Angeles team. Just goes to show that you can’t take the love of the game from the actor, even after all these years.
Good game of chess
Statham’s long list of talents doesn’t stop there. He also enjoys a good game of chess. His friend and former director Guy Ritchie is a longstanding rival of Statham. You can often find the two having a very competitive game in between scenes on set. Jason claims that Ritchie is not nearly as skilled a player and actually owes him a great deal of money from all his past chess losses.
Master of martial arts
If being a professional diver, talented soccer player and skilled chess competitor is not enough, the movie star has even more talents and hobbies. Statham actually has a considerable amount of talent as a martial arts fighter. He even holds a black belt in karate. Due to his insane fighting skills, Statham is one of the only current movie stars who refuses on having a stunt double do his stunts.
Inspired by Bruce Lee
The action star even has recently criticized those actors who play ‘superhero’ roles yet do not do any of their own stunts. In an interview with The Guardian he said, “They are not doing what they’re supposed to be doing.” He continued, “I’m inspired by the people who could do their own work. Bruce Lee never had stunt doubles and fight doubles, or Jackie Chan or Jet Li. I’ve been in action movies where there is a face replacement and I’m fighting with a double, and it’s embarrassing.”
Very close call
For a man who refuses on having a stunt double, he certainly has had some dangerous calls during his career. In 2010, he was starred in the action film The Expendables. While filming the scene where Jason’s character shoots from the nose of the plane, Statham had to withstand rough wind while up in the air. If that isn’t dangerous enough, once the scene came to an end the crew noticed that there was a leak coming out of the engine. Statham is lucky that the plane was able to land safely!
Another dangerous stunt
Another close call for Statham came while filming The Expendables 3 in 2014. During one of the scenes, the actor was driving a truck when suddenly the truck’s brakes stopped working. The truck kept on going and eventually drove right into the sea with Statham still at the driver’s seat! Luckily, Statham was able to escape the sinking truck and swam to shore. He wasn’t hurt but the truck sunk to the bottom of the sea.
Behind the wheel
While Statham is often seen behind the wheel in many of his films from the Fast and the Furious films to The Transporter, the one thing the action star isn’t so good at is driving. According to the Britain’s DMV, he failed his driving test three times as a teen. However, the actor has since improved. He even trained with professional race car driver and champion, Damon Hill.
In 2011, Statham decided to take on a much different role than he is used to, as a voice actor for the children’s animated film Gnomeo and Juliet. The actor was the voice for Tybalt, the Prince of Cats. While the film didn’t really impress the critics, it was still a fun gig for Statham. He also lent his recognizable voice to several video games such as Red Faction II and Call of Duty.
Not now, Marvel
One role that the action star/voice actor still hasn’t taken on, surprisingly, is that of a Marvel superhero. Apparently, last year Statham was rumored to be having serious conversations with Marvel to join the Netflix series Daredevil. He was allegedly thinking about taking on the role of the Man Without Fear’s biggest nemeses, Bullseye. While it would have probably been awesome to see, don’t get too excited just yet. The actor eventually changed his mind and dropped out of the talks.
Spotted in public
Since 2010, Statham has been dating the English model and actress, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, who is 20 years younger than him. The couple were first spotted at the Coachella Music Festival. Huntington-Whiteley is known best for her role in Mad Max: Fury Role. While attending the Golden Globes on January 10, the couple showed off her gorgeous diamond engagement ring for all to see. While the couple is still technically engaged, there have been rumors that the couple already had a top-secret wedding.
With her incredible beauty, it is no surprise that before becoming an actress, the star was a super model. She graced the covers of several fashion magazines and worked as a Victoria’s Secret angel. And before her break-through performance in Mad Max: Fury Road, the actress had a leading role in 2011’s Transformers. While working on that film, the stunning blonde bombshell met Statham and he invited her to attend Coachella with him as their first date.
The engagement caused quite an uproar especially in the British press. Not only because of the age difference, but also because of their backgrounds. While Statham comes from a working-class family, Huntington-Whiteley descended from a family of baronets and who are friends with royalty. While she was raised on her family’s luxurious farm house, Statham was working the black market with his father. Despite their differences, the couple seems to be going strong. Huntington-Whiteley says their relationship works so well because Statham is her best friend.
In February this year, Statham’s fiancé announced her pregnancy in a sweet Instagram pic showing off her adorable baby bump in a bikini. She wrote, “Very happy to share that Jason and I are expecting!! Lots of Love Rosie x.” On June 24th, Statham took on the biggest role of his lifetime, as a new father. The couple excitedly welcomed their new bundle of joy and named him Jack Oscar Statham.
Living the life
Jason Statham has come very far since his street-sellling days. The action star has made quite the name for himself in Hollywood and doesn’t see to be stopping anytime soon. Since the beginning of his acting career, Statham has starred in over 40 films. As of this year, his net worth is estimated at a whopping $40 million. Statham is currently enjoying the good life in his $12.9 million home with his gorgeous fiancé and adorable newborn baby in Beverly Hills.