Get to know Jonathan Bailey, the actor behind Anthony Bridgerton

Though you may already recognize Jonathan Bailey, 'Bridgerton' season 2 turns the heartthrob into a household name

Jonathan Bailey attends the "Bridgerton" Series 2 World Premiere at Tate Modern on March 22, 2022 in London, England
(Image credit: John Phillips/Getty)

Season two is finally here and fans can't stop talking about Jonathan Bailey, Bridgerton's latest star to get hearts throbbing and pulses racing. 

While much of the hoopla over season one of the Regency-era Netflix hit was rightfully directed at the dashing Duke of Hastings, played by Regé-Jean Page, eyes are focused on Bailey's buff Anthony Bridgerton for season two. 

Before you get wrapped back up in the world of Lady Whistledown, Queen Charlotte and the rest of the gossiping residents of the Ton, here's everything you need to know about series star Jonathan Bailey. 

Who is Jonathan Bailey, 'Bridgerton' star?

Jonathan Bailey is a 33-year-old British actor hailing from Benson, Oxfordshire, England. 

He made his acting debut on stage as Tiny Tim in the 1995 Royal Shakespeare Company production of A Christmas Carol in London when he was seven years old. Though he knew he wanted to be an actor from the age of five, he did not end up attending drama school and instead earned a degree from Open University. 

In an interview with Last Minute Theatre Tickets, Bailey said of his decision: "Although I think drama school is really important, I don’t believe there’s a right or wrong way of becoming an actor...I learnt quite a lot on the job and was able to take risks when playing parts. So yeah I didn’t go to drama school but everything worked out okay." We'll say!

Jonathan Bailey on playing Anthony Bridgerton

If you have read the Bridgerton books in order, then you know that the second edition of the series both on-page and on-screen will direct its focus to Anthony Bridgerton, the eldest of the Bridgerton clan and a rakish bachelor to boot.

Bridgerton season 2 will see the viscount on his quest to uphold the family name, marry a suitable bride and produce an heir—until he gets tangled into a messy, passionate love triangle with sisters Kate (Simone Ashley) and Edwina Sharma (Charithra Chandran). 

In a recent interview with GQ, Jonathan Bailey said that he "started to think about [Anthony's] charm...what it means to be a rake, and how his anxiety and self-hatred plays into that" during season two. 

“Going into the first season, I wanted to fully break Anthony,” show creator Chris Van Dusen told GQ, “so that we could put him back together in the second.” 

The Bridgerton season 2 trailer dropped on Wednesday, March 9 and fans were positively beside themselves at all of the romantic drama—not to mention several scenes of Bailey's Anthony in various stages of undress. 

Jonathan Bailey and Simone Ashley chemistry

The chemistry between actors Jonathan Bailey and Simone Ashley is palpable from that first, fated horseback ride in the park—but how did they nail that tension?

"There's a trust that develops where you touch base before a scene and loosely have a moment," Jonathan said at a recent press event, per HELLO! magazine. "What I think is quite important, what I've discovered, is to make sure that you keep your cards and your power together and that you're united."

"We just developed a shorthand that was actually, really, when it came down to it, just a look," he added.

Simone Ashley concurred, saying: "We were both just as enthusiastic. I think we have that in common, that drive that is, 'If we are going to do this, let's do this.'"

"[We have] a very open communication. To put it simply, brilliant writing and having that as an actor, it's all to do with the truth… Neither of us ever did anything for the sake of it," the actress added. 

And speaking of the intimate scenes the two actors shared, Ashley told People: "Johnny was an amazing co-partner to work with."

"We worked with an amazing intimacy coordinator who ensured that it was choreographed and it was a safe space where we could communicate and make sure that we knew exactly what was going to be happening on the day. And I think that’s something that Johnny and I had throughout the whole series," she continued. "We always had each other’s backs and made sure that each other, as much as we were doing our own work and we were on our own journeys, we would always check in with one another and make sure that they were okay."

Jonathan Bailey Instagram: what's his handle?

Jonathan Bailey's official Instagram page—on which many behind-the-scenes Bridgerton snaps can be found, along with handsome editorial shots, vacation pics and cameos from his cute pup Blumin—is under the handle @jbayleaf

Is Jonathan Bailey gay?

Yes. Speaking to GQ about coming to terms with his sexuality, Bailey said: “[An actor friend] was told, ‘There's two things we don't want to know: if you're an alcoholic or if you're gay.’ All it takes is for one of those people in that position of power to say that, and it ripples through.” 

“So, yeah, of course I thought that. Of course I thought that in order to be happy I needed to be straight,” he added. 

Thankfully, he later decided to publicly embrace his sexuality, telling the outlet: “I reached a point where I thought, 'Fuck this, I'd much prefer to hold my boyfriend's hand in public or be able to put my own face picture on Tinder and not be so concerned about that than getting a part.'”

And although his off-camera sexuality does not match that of his onscreen character Anthony Bridgerton, Bailey has no qualms with gay actors playing straight or vice versa. “Yes, I’m looking forward to gay actors playing gay parts, but for me it’s so important that everyone at home can see a bit of themselves on screen, to allow them to feel heard and seen, and also allow them to have aspirations," he told the Evening Standard

"We know there has been a history of needing to be closeted to succeed and be famous, especially in acting. And the idea of not being able to believe heterosexual relations and narrative if you know one of the actors is gay…everyone should be able to play absolutely everything," Bailey continued. "One of the hang-ups and shadows of the past is that we need to be a lot more open to the idea of sexes playing different sides. There have been amazing performances by straight people playing gay and by gay people playing straight.”

On how his own sexuality might affect how he's perceived on Bridgerton, "there hasn’t been anyone who’s had any animosity, or challenged it, so that’s good,” Bailey told the outlet. 

"I knew that I wanted to be visible about my sexuality, because in all the territories that Netflix goes out in, there might be a boy somewhere that goes, 'Wait, what?' Which is what I didn’t have when I was young," he added. "All I know is that I’m happy to keep working really hard and if there are opportunities for representation, and to make that point, then that’s something I’ll always strive to do."

Jonathan Bailey partner: is he dating?

Jonathan Bailey has remained quiet about his romantic relationships and is not currently dating anyone publicly.

Jonathan Bailey height: how tall is he?

The English actor stands at a very respectable 5 foot 11 inches, the same height as his Bridgerton co-star Regé-Jean Page.

Jonathan Bailey West End performances

Jonathan Bailey's stage work stretches back decades, from productions like King Lear with Ian McKellen to American Psycho with Matt Smith. In 2019, he won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical for his portrayal of Jamie in the 2018 West End revival of Company

He will next headline the West End production of Mike Bartlett's Cock at the Ambassadors Theatre in London opposite Golden Globe winner Taron Egerton. The play—which opens on March 15, 2022, and will run through June 4—follows John (Bailey), a gay man who is happy in his relationship with his longtime boyfriend (Taron Egerton) until he meets the woman of his dreams (Jade Anouka).

ATG Tickets, Cock at The Ambassadors Theatre (starting at £20)

ATG Tickets, Cock at The Ambassadors Theatre (<a href="" data-link-merchant=""" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">starting at £20)

Jonathan Bailey 'Crashing' and other TV roles

Prior to Bridgerton, TV viewers might remember seeing Bailey in beloved British series like Phoebe Waller-Bridge's Crashing, Michaela Coel’s Chewing Gum, the ITV crime drama Broadchurch, the Channel 4 sitcom Campus, the BBC Two mockumentary comedy W1A or as a teenage Leonardo da Vinci in the CBBC series Leonardo.

You can next catch him in Bridgerton season 2, which premieres on Netflix on Friday, March 25. 

Christina Izzo

Christina Izzo is the Deputy Editor of My Imperfect Life. 

More generally, she is a writer-editor covering food and drink, travel, lifestyle and culture in New York City. She was previously the Features Editor at Rachael Ray In Season and Reveal, as well as the Food & Drink Editor and chief restaurant critic at Time Out New York

When she’s not doing all that, she can probably be found eating cheese somewhere.