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Top 10 Celebrities Who Relocated to the UK

Written by Q.V. Hough For various reasons, these American celebs took refuge in the United Kingdom. Welcome to WMUK, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 U.S. Celebrities Who Relocated to the UK. For this list, we’re focusing on notable American celebs that either lived temporarily in the United Kingdom or became permanent residents. Special thanks to our user Dan Paradis for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool: WatchMojo.comsuggest

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For various reasons, these American celebs took refuge in the United Kingdom. Welcome to WMUK, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 U.S. Celebrities Who Relocated to the UK.

For this list, we’re focusing on notable American celebs that either lived temporarily in the United Kingdom or became permanent residents.

#10: T. S. Eliot

Until the age of 39, this literary fellow was a tried and true American. T.S. Eliot was born in St. Louis, Missouri and later received an Ivy League education at Harvard University. In 1914, he was awarded a Merton College, Oxford scholarship, which brought him overseas. He soon met a Cambridge governess named Vivienne Haigh-Wood, which only increased his fascination with the United Kingdom. In 1927, Eliot became an official British citizen, and he ultimately remained in the UK despite his failed marriage. Today, his early poems remain masterpieces, and his later work came from a distinctly British point of view. Over the years, Thomas Stearns Eliot heavily influenced UK society, both through his own work and by publishing British writers.

#9: Henry James

As one of the more notable trans-Atlantic realists, this man familiarized himself with the United Kingdom during his early years. In fact, Henry James set up shop in London by 1869, shortly before his first novel, “Watch and Ward,” was published. Just over 40 years later, James received the first of three Nobel Prize nominations, with the last coming in 1916 – the last year of his life. While these accolades are significant for James’ legacy, 1915 was also significant in that he finally became an official British citizen, before passing away in Chelsea not long after.

#8: Tori Amos

As a five-year-old, this minster’s daughter was the youngest person ever admitted to the prestigious Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore, Maryland. Nearly a quarter century later, Tori Amos released her acclaimed solo debut, “Little Earthquakes,” surely a classic of early '90s American alternative rock. In 1998, Amos married an Englishman named Mark Hawley - a sound engineer– and she now records from her Cornwall barn, otherwise known as Martian Engineering Studios. Tori Amos still spends time in her native America, but her sound comes from the Celtic Sea, full of UK inspiration.

#7: Terry Gilliam

In 1969, the Monty Python comedy group arrived on the British scene. Yet, one of the members, Terry Gilliam, was actually born in the American Upper Midwest. Upon his UK arrival, the American animator worked on the kids’ series “Do Not Adjust Your Set,” where he met Michael Palin, Eric Idle and Terry Jones, all of whom would become Monty Python collaborators. In 1968, Gilliam became a naturalized citizen and embarked a career that would greatly impact the film industry and UK pop culture as a whole. Due to political concerns, Gilliam further distanced himself from his birth nation by renouncing his American citizenship in 2006.

#6: Gillian Anderson

Here’s an American-born actress that wasn’t lured by the U.K. like some of her contemporaries. Gillian Anderson actually grew up in North London – Harringay and Crouch End, to be precise - as her father moved the family to attend the London Film School in Covent Garden. Gillian spent her younger years in England before returning back to the American Midwest, which explains why she shifts between accents. To many, she’s known as Agent Scully from the American hit series “The X-Files,” yet she identifies with London more than Hollywood and continues to live in her beloved UK today.

#5: Tim Burton

During his formative years, this American film director lived in Burbank, California so naturally, he was close to the Hollywood scene. In 2001, however, Tim Burton found love with the eclectic, English actress Helena Bonham Carter, and the two settled in the Belsize Park community of North London, living in conjoined homes for personal space. Though Burton and Bonham Carter broke up in 2014, the director continues to live in the United Kingdom - a place that he described as “home” when he first visited, as the societal texture contrasts with the normalcy of his California upbringing.

#4: Gwyneth Paltrow

For a full decade, this Oscar-winning actress called London home. Raised in the beachside community of Santa Monica, Gwyneth Paltrow lived the Hollywood lifestyle early in her career, dating actors like Brad Pitt and Ben Affleck. But then she met Coldplay singer Chris Martin, who was born in Devon and studied at University College London. The couple ultimately married in California in 2003 and later moved into a Belsize Park mansion. Alas, Gwyneth divorced from her English beau in the mid 2010s, but Martin set up shop in LA across the street from his ex-wife to stay near their children.

#3: Stanley Kubrick

Born and raised in New York City, this American film director didn’t exactly embrace the Hollywood system. In fact, Stanley Kubrick mostly kept to himself, even while on set. In 1961, Kubrick and wife Christiane settled in the United Kingdom, and for the next several decades, the director worked primarily from his Hertfordshire home. He rarely left England after his relocation, making him somewhat of a mythical character stateside. His work also reflects that change, as while his early films can be considered American classics, films like “Dr. Strangelove” and “Lolita” are most definitely British productions.

#2: Madonna

By the late '90s, this American musician had long been in the spotlight. On the flipside, Guy Ritchie of Hertfordshire had just begun his film career after releasing “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.” After meeting at a party hosted by Sting a few months earlier, as fate would have it, the movie’s soundtrack would be released on Madonna’s label, Maverick Records. This meeting of the minds ultimately led to romance. When the couple married in 2000 they settled in the UK, taking up residence in the illustrious Ashcombe House of Wiltshire, and when they divorced Madge relocated to London’s Marylebone community, where they had previously purchased a ₤7m, 10-bedroom Georgian townhouse.

#1: Kevin Spacey

As a true renaissance man, this New Jersey native has conquered Hollywood and Broadway. In 2003, Kevin Spacey’s professional success led him to London, as he became the artistic director for the legendary Old Vic theater. The experience had a profound effect on Spacey, stating that it gave him “a whole new perspective.” He retained his theatre position until 2015, the same year in which he was named – for a 2nd time – an honorary Commander and Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire for his creative contributions to British theatre. Some American celebrities relocate to the UK for love and family – and, in a sense, that’s exactly what Kevin Spacey did, too, as he’s become the UK’s “adopted son.”

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