A famous dad and a fiancé she met on set: Lily Collins' life in the spotlight.

Lily Collins has spent her entire life around cameras.

The 31-year-old - whose most recent work, Netflix's Emily in Parishas become the guilty pleasure we needed in 2020 - has been living in the spotlight since her birth, and starred in her first on screen role at just two-years-old.

Born in Surrey, England, to musician Phil Collins and his second wife, American Jill Tavelman, Collins' appeared in the BBC series Growing Pains, when she was a toddler.

Watch: Netflix's Emily in Paris trailer. Post continues below video.

Video via Netflix.

Her parents split in 1994, and she moved with her mother to Los Angeles where she spent most of her childhood. 

As a teenager, Collins had dreams of being on camera in a different capacity. She studied broadcast journalism at the University of Southern California and wrote for Seventeen, Teen Vogue and the Los Angeles Times, and had her own column 'NY Confidential' in British magazine Elle Girl. In 2008 she reported on the U.S. presidential election for Nickelodeon.

She began modelling, and in 2007 was selected by Chanel to wear one of their gowns at the 2007 Bal des débutantes at the Hôtel de Crillon in Paris, which was featured on season three of the reality television series The Hills.

In 2008, Spain's Glamour magazine named her its International Model of the Year. 

In 2009, she returned to acting with her adult debut in two episodes of 90210 and the Oscar-nominated film The Blind Side, alongside Sandra Bullock.

Phil and Lily Collins in 2012. Image: Getty. 


In 2019, Collins told The Guardian she was told she could "have other ways in" to the industry thanks to her famous last name, but she never wanted to give anyone the opportunity to doubt her hard work.

"I knew it would take longer to do it on my own, but it would be so much more worth it," she said.

Insisting on carving her own path, she starred in a number of films from 2011 including Mirror Mirror, Stuck in Love and Love, Rosie.

"I got told 'no' so many times," she told Momtastic about her struggle to make it. "People told me I was too green or wasn't as seasoned yet."

In 2017, Collins stared in To the Bone about a young woman with anorexia. She released her book, Unfiltered: No Shame, No Regrets, Just Me, the same year documenting her own journey with an eating disorder.

"When I wrote my book last year, I wrote a chapter on eating disorders a week before I got this script [for To the Bone]," Collins told Vanity Fair. "It really felt like the universe was saying, 'This is either something you need to address yourself, or something you need to bring to new people. It's a conversation that you need to help start among young people - males and females - because it is becoming more and more prevalent for both now'."

As a 16-year-old, Collins was trying to balance her dreams of modelling and acting, along with the stress that came from her dad's divorce from his third wife, Orianne Cevey.

"My life fell out of control. I couldn't handle the pain and confusion surrounding my dad's divorce, and I was having a hard time balancing being a teenager with pursuing two different grown-up careers – both of which I'd chosen myself, but which also focused heavily on how I looked," she told The Sun.

She explained further to Harper's Bazaar:

"When I was younger, I wanted to reach this image of what I thought perfection was and I equated that with, well, with what you see in the media; you think body shape has to a lot do with being perfect.


"I wanted to control how I got there. At that time, I was dealing with high school and relationships, and you're very out of control at that stage in your life. How do you feel in control? Well, I controlled how I ate and looked. Then, as I grew older, I realised that perfection doesn't exist and my priorities have shifted because I want a family one day. I don't want these self-imposed issues to affect whether or not I can have kids – because the reality is you can't have children when you're ill like that."

Collins had enjoyed a steady career for many years, but come 2018-2019, things really picked up.

During this time, she starred in the Les Misérables miniseries, the Ted Bundy biopic Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile and Tolkien, and the biographical film about Lord of the Rings author J. R. R. Tolkien.

Image: Getty. 

As her acting career has taken off, Collins has gone from being recognised as the daughter of Phil Collins to... well, Phil Collins being recognised as her dad.

"Someone told me they were listening to the radio and they were playing classic hits," she recalled to The Sun in 2019.

"At the end the DJ said, 'For all of you who don't know, that was Phil Collins - Lily Collins' dad'.

"That was the weirdest thing, just so bizarre. Even my dad has said to me, 'You know, I am known as your dad now'."

Throughout her career, Collins has kept her personal life private.


In 2013, she stated she doesn't like to discuss her relationships publicly as she recalled the role the media and the internet played in her parents' divorce. 

But we know she dated stuntman Riley Harper from August 2009 to September 2010, before several co-stars.

She dated her Abduction co-star Taylor Lautner in 2010/2011, as confirmed by another co-star Denzel Whitaker. 

Taylor Lautner and Lily Collins. Image: Getty. 

She was then spotted on a number of dates with Zac Efron in 2012 and 2013, and although they never confirmed a relationship, they remained close friends afterwards.

In 2019, they starred in Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile together.

"I used to do reporting for Nickelodeon, so I literally interviewed him at an orange carpet event years ago. We've been friends ever since, so we finally got to work together," Collins told E! News.

She dated Jamie Campbell Bower, her The Mortal Instrument co-star in 2013, before they went their separate ways. During this time, she went on a few dates with Chris Evans. 

She and Bower got back together in 2015, and dated until July 2018.

McDowell and Collins in January 2020. Image: Getty. 


In 2019, she began dating director and writer Charlie McDowell and the two could definitely relate to the unique experience of growing up with famous parents.

He is the son of English actor Malcolm McDowell and American actress Mary Steenburgen, and Ted Danson is his stepfather.

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Already missing our road trip adventure...

A post shared by  Lily Collins (@lilyjcollins) on

The couple became Insta official in July 2019, and a couple of months later it was announced Collins will star in Gilded Rage, a film directed by McDowell and produced by Jake Gyllenhaal.


On September 26, 2020, the couple announced their engagement with Instagram posts.

"I've been waiting my lifetime for you and I can't wait to spend our lifetime together..." Collins captioned photos of the couple and her ring.

McDowell, 37, captioned his post: "In a time of uncertainty and darkness you have illuminated my life. I will forever cherish my adventure with you."

On Live with Kelly and Ryan, Collins said she knew she wanted to marry McDowell from the moment she met him.

"I was very surprised as to when and where it would happen, but it was one of those situations where I knew the second that I met him that I wanted to be his wife one day," Collins said.

"So, it was just a matter of when, really."

Appearing on The Drew Barrymore Show during her Emily in Paris media tour, Collins said she was the happiest she'd ever been.

"I am the luckiest. I am so grateful and I just truly feel like the happiest I've ever been. I am very very lucky."

Feature image: Getty.

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