Sir Anthony Hopkins has been involved in theater and films for more than 50 years. Today, The Silence of the Lambs star continues to work as an actor but also enjoys his fair share of piano playing.
Through the years, Hopkins has been married three times. In 2003, he wed his third wife, Stella Arroyave, who’s 18 years younger than him.
Stella started out as an antique dealer in Los Angeles. However, her first meeting with Anthony changed everything – today, she’s a very well-respected director. So who is Stella Arroyave really?
This is all you need to know about their wonderful love story and marriage!
As a young teenager, Anthony Hopkins knew that he wanted to become an actor.
Born on December 1931, 1937 in Port Talbot, Wales, Hopkins turned out to be a very creative soul from the start, and at only 5 years of age started playing the piano. To this day, he still is playing, as well as composing.
“Yes, I started as a kid. I was five. My mother made me go to music lessons, and I took to it. I attempt to do very difficult pieces by Rachmaninoff and Chopin and Scriabin,” he told the New Yorker.
“I have no ambitions to play at Carnegie Hall or anything like that, but I do it for my own pleasure, I have a Bösendorfer piano, and I hide away down in my basement so that I don’t disturb people.
“And I paint. My wife got me to paint some years ago because she found some old drawings of mine,” he added.
“So now I sell my paintings, and there’s quite a market for them.”
Hopkins went to the Cowbridge Grammar School. By this point, he had started to become an accomplished piano player, but at the same time, his childhood was pretty tough.
As he recalled himself, Hopkins wasn’t the greatest of students. But in the end, this filled him with motivation to do something special with his life.
“I was pathetic at school in Port Talbot. I don’t know if it was dyslexia Attention Deficit Disorder, or just me being a problem child, but I sat in the back of the classroom and didn’t know what any of the teachers were talking about — I was bottom of the class at everything. And I was made to suffer,” he said.
“But in a way that was a great gift that life gave me because in the end I was so angry and enraged that I made a certain choice in life. I thought: ‘I will get my revenge, I will become rich and famous and that will show them’.”
At an early age, Hopkins also became interested in acting. He took amateur acting classes at the local YMCA, though in the beginning, he didn’t like them at all. He felt that he wasn’t supposed to be there.
Fortunately, he stood by himself.
When Hopkins entered his early teenage years, his life changed forever. Upon meeting his childhood hero, actor Richard Burton, he quickly realized that he needed to do something in order to become successful. And that’s when everything changed.
“In a way, he was a magical personality because he was the local kid from Tai Bach,” Hopkins recalled.
“I remember thinking, I’ve got to get out of this place. I’ve got to get out of this inner sanctum of my own inadequacy and do something with my life.
Anthony Hopkins wanted to become a successful actor, just like Burton. He was encouraging and inspiring, and at 15, he enrolled at the Royal Welsh College of Music And Drama.
After graduating in 1957, Hopkins went on to spend two years in the British Army. He then moved to London, where he trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. Once there, he continued perfecting his craft.
The legendary actor Laurence Olivier took Hopkins under his wings, teaching him everything he knew.
In 1965, he was invited by Olivier to study at the Royal National Theater, which the actor later recalled in his memoir Confessions of an Actor.
“A new young actor in the company of exceptional promise named Anthony Hopkins was understudying me and walked away with the part of Edgar like a cat with a mouse between its teeth,” Olivier wrote, as quoted by the BBC.
In 1968, Hopkins was cast as Richard I in The Lion In Winter, alongside Peter O’Toole, Katharine Hepburn, and Timothy Dalton. Later, he got the chance to work in the Broadway production of Equus, but at this point, Hopkins had devoted his time to concentrating his talents on television and films.
Hopkins had gotten great critical attention following his work on the stage. He also had a special technique of memorizing, sometimes repeating his lines more than 200 times.
In 1976, Anthony Hopkins’ career took a giant step forward when he was nominated for an Emmy Award following his appearance in The Lindbergh Kidnapping Case. More success followed in the 1980s, as Hopkins starred in several television movies and mini-series, earning himself several nominations.
The 1980s was a great period for Hopkins regarding his career. However, it was in 1991 that he became something of the legendary actor we all know today. It all started when the Welsh actor landed the role of Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs.
Anthony Hopkins – ‘The Silence of the Lambs’
At this point, Hopkins was actually considering skipping Hollywood altogether and instead retiring to the world of theater.
The Silence of the Lambs became a worldwide hit, and not only at the box office. It became only the third film in history to win all five major Academy Awards (Best Picture, Best Directing, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Writing (adapted screenplay). As you may know by now, Hopkins won Best Actor – and his performance was truly stunning.
“I’m thrilled that the movie worked. I’m proud to be in it. I was in the theater, in London, and my agent phoned me— Jeremy Conway, his name was— and he said, ‘I’m sending a script over to the theater called The Silence of the Lambs‘,” Anthony Hopkins recalled in an interview with Variety.
“I said, ‘Is it a children’s story,’ I didn’t know. ‘No,’ he said. ‘It’s with Jodie Foster.’ I said, ‘Oh.’
“I think Jodie just won the Oscar for The Accused, actually. So I came to the dressing room and I started reading it, and I got through about 10 pages. When [the FBI agent] Crawford said, ‘You don’t want Hannibal Lecter inside your head,’ I thought, ‘Ooh, that’s it’,” he added.
I phoned my agent, and I said, ‘Is this an offer? This is the best part I could ever…’ He said, ‘Well, it’s not a big part.’ I said, ‘I don’t care’.”
It turned out to be a huge part for Hopkins, who at the time had just turned 50. His career skyrocketed following his performance, and in 1993, he was once again nominated for an Academy Award for the film The Remains of the Day.
Anthony Hopkins – Academy Awards
Since the ’90s, Hopkins has continued to work as an actor, starring in films such as Nixon, the third Hannibal film, and the 2012 film Hitchcock. Furthermore, he’s been nominated for four additional Academy Awards – in 2021, he won his second for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for his role in The Father.
With the win, Hopkins actually became the oldest winner – at 83 years of age – in any competitive acting category.
In 2006, he was also awarded the Golden Globes lifetime achievement award, the Cecil B. DeMille Award.
Besides being a wonderful actor, Anthony has also experienced love, as well as tough times. He married his first wife, actress Petronella Barker in 1966, and in 1968, the couple welcomed daughter Abigail.
Hopkins, however, doesn’t have any contact with his first daughter today, and the two haven’t seen each other for over 20 years.
“I accepted it years ago. It’s her choice and she must live her life,” he said about his daughter.
“I say to young people, ‘If your parents are giving you trouble, move out.’ You’ve got to let go. You don’t have to kill your parents, but just leave if it’s holding you back.”
In 1973 – one year after the divorce from Barker – Hopkins married Jennifer Lynton. It was rumored that the two had been involved in an affair while he was still married.
Who is Anthony Hopkins’ wife Stella Arroyave?
The couple spent more than 25 years together, before getting a divorce in 2002.
A year before the divorce, Anthony walked into a store while furniture shopping. The owner of the store was a woman named Stella Arroyave, and the two instantly hit it off.
When Hopkins’s divorce was finalized, the two started seeing each other more and more. Soon, it became clear that they were meant to be together. In 2003, the couple tied the knot.
So who is Stella Arroyave?
She was born in Popayan, Colombia in March 1956. She grew up in New York and eventually moved to California to pursue an acting career. However, it didn’t quite work out. In the end, Arroyave opened up her own antique shop in Los Angeles, where she would meet the love of her life, Anthony Hopkins, years later.
Stella Arroyave is 18 years younger than Hopkins, turning 65 earlier this year. Together, the two live a peaceful life in Malibu, California, where Anthony – or “Tony” – enjoys painting, playing the piano, and walking at the beach.
“I have a nice life,’ he says. ‘I am happy, whatever that means,” he said in 2013.
Stella Arroyave – director & screenwriter
Stella wanted to be an actress when she was young – and the opportunity to work in film would eventually come later in life.
She’s now appeared in several films, including The Human Stain alongside her husband and Nicole Kidman. Now, she’s actually a very-well respected director and screenwriter.
“I took a lot of courses at UCLA, writing, directing, filming. I did some music videos,” Stella said. “When I married Tony, I produced the  film Slipstream. I always wanted to produce, direct, and write. It was something I nurtured, studied.”
In 2020, Stella made her directorial debut with the indie film Elyse. She wrote the screenplay as well. Anthony Hopkins, meanwhile, starred as one of the main characters.
It’s safe to say Hopkins has worked with some of the greatest directors and producers. However, working with his wife was something completely different – and Stella loved every second of it.
“He’s a consummate professional. He treated the set and me and the actors as he treated any other film production,” she said. “He knew his lines and asked me what I thought and we had a few good exchanges and ideas.”
“She’s a wonderful woman”
Speaking to Variety, Stella also gave a glimpse into their private life. Before the film, she even spoke to his grammar school teacher, who told him something very revealing about her husband.
“He said that of all the students in the school, he wouldn’t have guessed that Anthony would achieve this level of success because Anthony was a loner,” Stella said.
“The only thing he saw was that he was interested in drawing and piano. It confirmed that Tony is a private man who enjoys being alone. But he’s a genius.
“His focus is his passion — art, music, film, and theater. He’s living his life fully, being himself to the full extent of his passion,” she added.” I think you get it.”
“She’s a wonderful woman who likes to spend money” Anthony Hopkins jokingly said.
“And even as I am sitting here talking to you, is out spending my money. It’s all gone, whoosh. But she’s very good for me, my wife because she slows me down.”
Anthony Hopkins and Stella Arroyave have been happily married for more than 15 years. We wish them all the best in the future – and hopefully, we’ll get to see them star in the same film soon.
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