Since Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie split in 2016, Pitt hasn’t had any publicized relationships. In mid October, rumors hit that the actor had begun dating 21-year-old East London native Ella Purnell.
In Touch reported the pairing after Pitt cast the actress as the star of the new Starz show he’s producing. “Brad had Ella in mind from the get-go. He went out of his way to cast her,” a source told In Touch. “Ella is incredibly flattered by all the attention she’s getting from Brad. She’s told friends he’s always been her No. 1 celebrity crush.”
Shortly after, however, the Mirror reported that a source close to her told them, “It’s completely made up. They’re not dating.”
Other outlets dispelled the gossip as well. For example, Hollywood Life said, “Sure, he admires her work and there’s no denying she’s gorgeous, but everyone around him is saying there’s no truth to this story of them dating.”
Learn more about the starlet who caught the attention of the newly divorced bachelor.
1. Brad Cast Her in His New Show
As executive producer of Sweetbitter, the new drama series coming to Starz, Pitt cast Purnell as its protagonist. In the show, which premieres in May of 2018, she plays a 22-year-old waitress in New York City. See the trailer above.
A source told In Touch:
Although Brad’s been working on his sci-fi space travel film Ad Astra, he’s been checking in with Ella weekly as she preps for production. Brad plans on coaching Ella for the show. He’s sure it’s going to be a hit and that it’s going to make Ella a star…It’s only a matter of time before Brad takes their relationship to the next level.
The source continued:
He realizes the huge age difference and that everyone would look at the relationship as a midlife crisis mistake…He’s taken with Ella’s spunky, funny demeanor and formidable acting skills.
According to the Mirror, Brad discovered Purnell when he saw Miss Peregrine’s Home For Children. In the Tim Burton film, released in 2016, she played an orphan.
It was always Purnell’s dream to work with Burton. “It really felt like a collaboration with him and for an actor that is like ‘Omg you actually appreciate and value my opinion and we’re going to use my line. I really learnt to believe in myself and trust in my own instincts,” she told Vogue.
2. She Played the Younger Angelina in ‘Maleficent’
At 17, she played the teenage version of Angelina Jolie in 2014’s Maleficent. However, as fate would have it, the pair never met.
In an interview with Flickering Myth, she explained:
I never met her. I had just come out of hospital before and got a call from my agent saying they wanted me to play the teenage Maleficent, which was great, and they want me to fly in a harness for three weeks. I shot my scenes during the re-shoots as they had re-shot the first half of the movie so there’s a very quick shot in there and they used a lot of my stunts but you don’t see my face.
Her career in the entertainment industry started while she was a child in London. “I did a bit of baby modeling. I loved it,” she told Interview magazine. At 9, I started taking classes at Sylvia Young Theatre School. One day they asked if I wanted to join their agency. You get in if you’re cute, I guess. When I was 11, I did Oliver! in the West End. I’m desperate to get back into theater; that’s my true passion. Cheesy musicals.”
When she was 12, she starred in her first feature film, Never Let Me Go, co-starring Carey Mulligan and Andrew Garfield.
3. She’s Been Romantically Linked to Tom Holland
Purnell got cozy with a fellow Brit, actor Tom Holland, in February of 2017. The Spider-Man star, who is the same age as the starlet, allegedly wooed her at the BAFTA Awards [British Academy of Film and Television Arts]. The Sun reported that the two wound up in his room at a London hotel for an after after-party. That night, Holland also took home the EE Rising Star Award.
Dressed in Miu Mui, Purnell made The Telegraph’s best dressed list that evening alongside names like Kate Middleton, Meryl Streep and Emily Blunt.
Although she dresses like a fashionista, Purnell does not want to be characterized by her looks. She told Vogue, “I’d like to be smart, fun and real. It’s very easy to just put together a pretty dress, some heels and some jewels. I don’t want to be that girl. It’s all about being brave, taking risks.”
4. Her Fans are Called ‘Purnellephants’
Purnell is humbled by the fact that she has a loyal fan base, and tries to make time for them as much as possible.
She told Nylon about her biggest supporters, saying:
They’re so lovely, I feel like they’re my mates! I didn’t really have idols growing up, but some of my friends were huge fangirls. People just dismiss it, but it’s really important to have someone to look up to, so I try to interact as much as I can. A little like can make someone’s day, and I’m happy to do it.
5. She’s Philanthropic
When she’s not filming, the actress serves as the ambassador and events manager for Educate2Eradicate. The nonprofit explains their mission as such:
Educate2Eradicate was founded solely to focus on preventative measures in order to protect British citizens from Honour Abuse. Educating the next generation is the only way to break the cycle of abuse for good and ensure we are able to eradicate Forced Marriage, FGM and Honour Abuse within a generation.
Watch the clip above where she explains her role at the organization and its future goals.