Best known for playing Neville Longbottom in the Harry Potter movie franchise and for his impressive transformation from geeky kid to hunky adult, Matthew Lewis once took to Twitter to help find his lost wallet. But it wasn’t the missing item’s monetary value that the actor was concerned about. Here’s a look at the very personal reason why his social media followers felt compelled to play detective.
Born in Leeds, England, in 1989, Matthew Lewis began acting at the tender age of five. He made his screen debut in 1995 TV movie Some Kind of Life and later guested on cozy U.K. Sunday-night dramas such as Heartbeat and Where the Heart Is. But it was in 2001 that Lewis’ life changed forever.
Indeed, this was the year that Lewis was cast as Neville Longbottom in the first big-screen adaptation of J.K. Rowling’s boy wizard phenomenon, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. The actor went on to play the Hogwarts student in the other seven installments of the franchise as well. Lewis and his co-stars finally said goodbye to the fantasy world 2011 with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.
And Lewis’ efforts didn’t go unnoticed by the author who’d introduced the world to the boy wizard. Indeed, speaking at the world premiere of the final Harry Potter movie in 2011, J.K. Rowling thanked all of the ever-present cast members, or the Big Seven as she chose to call them. This included Lewis as well as leads Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint plus supporting actors Tom Felton, Bonnie Wright and Evanna Lynch.
In a 2016 chat with Interview, Lewis revealed that he’d been ready for fresh challenges by that point. “After playing the character for that amount of time, I wanted to do different things, I wanted to find new characters, and explore new avenues,” he said. “I literally had no idea what I was going on to.”
“I wasn’t keen to jump back into a robe and be a wizard in something anytime soon,” Lewis added. “But [I was interested in] anything that came up, really. I felt very much that I was starting at the bottom rung again and that being in Harry Potter was no gimmick. I was going to have to leave that behind to lose the Neville Longbottom tag and prove that I could do other things, learn and understand.”
And Lewis didn’t waste any time in moving on from his Harry Potter experience. In 2012 he was cast as Jamie Bradley in The Syndicate, a BBC drama about a group of retail workers who win the National Lottery. The show was written by Kay Mellor, who had given Lewis his first acting gig in Some Kind of Life.
That same year Lewis returned to the big screen in Wasteland, a British revenge drama that also featured Timothy Spall and Luke Treadaway. He also hit the stage in London’s West End for the first time to play Mick in the Duchess Theatre’s production of Jonathan Lewis’ Our Boys. Lewis had first trod the boards a year previously in a touring version of Agatha Christie whodunit Verdict.
Lewis added to his list of stage credits in 2016 when he was cast as Peter in Owen McCaffertie’s play Unfaithful. Fans also had the chance to see him in cinemas again when he played Patrick in romantic weepie Me Before You. But it was on the small screen that Lewis’ career had truly begun to thrive.
Indeed, Lewis enjoyed two seasons as both Corporal Gordon “Towerblock” House in the BBC military comedy Bluestone 42 and as D.S. Samuel Drummond on period piece Ripper Street. The actor then showed up on another gritty, if slightly more contemporary, British crime drama, the acclaimed Happy Valley. Lewis played Sean Balmforth, an angry, binge-drinking, prostitute-using drifter accused of being a serial killer.
Much to many of his fans’ delight, Lewis soon returned to more light-hearted fare. He played Tom Dreyton in another Kay Mellor-penned drama, Girlfriends. And in 2017 he made a surprise guest appearance in an Impractical Jokers episode filmed at Orlando’s Universal Studios. Lewis counts one of the Jokers, Sal Vulcano, as a pal.
Lewis hasn’t given up his Hollywood ambitions entirely, however. In 2018 he joined the likes of Simon Pegg, Margot Robbie, Max Irons, Dexter Fletcher and Mike Myers in Terminal. Lewis played Larry in the noir-ish thriller about a pair of assassins.
Lewis’ hometown of Leeds also appreciated all the work he’d done since rising to fame in the Harry Potter series. For example, one of the city’s universities rewarded the actor with an honorary degree for both his charitable acts and his acting. And Lewis also serves as a Leeds Rugby Foundation vice-president.
Of course, Lewis has become just as renowned for his “ugly duckling” transformation as his acting career. With his chubby cheeks, crooked teeth and unfashionable hairstyle, the star was formerly viewed as the nerdiest of all the Harry Potter youngsters. But by the time he reached adulthood, Lewis had blossomed into a chiseled heartthrob.
The change in Lewis’ physical appearance was considered so dramatic, in fact, that it even led to the coining of a new slang term. According to the Urban Dictionary website, “longbottoming” is the “sometimes slow, sometimes overnight, always surprising transformation of someone, usually a man, from decidedly unattractive to hot as hell.” The phrase was, of course, named after Lewis’ Harry Potter role, Neville Longbottom.
Lewis himself seems to have been a little bemused by this flattering attention, though. Referring to the moment when he’d unveiled his new look several years previously, he told Attitude magazine, “I was 21, I was like, ‘Yeah, this’ll be cool!’ It was never meant to be a ‘Hey everyone, look at me!’“
In fact, in a 2018 interview with MTV, Lewis claimed that all the talk about his appearance could actually be damaging to his career. “I don’t want to be known as the guy who changed into someone who looks better or whatever,” he said. “It is – I don’t want to say a concern – but it certainly is something I think about when I take roles.”
“When opportunities come up sometimes, and you read in the first sentence of the character description ‘has great abs,’ I’m like, ‘I’m not so sure I want to do that,’” Lewis added. “Not least because I don’t have great abs, but because you don’t want to get known for one thing.”
Lewis may now have millions of admirers across the world, but he’s firmly a one-woman man. In 2018 he walked down the aisle with Angela Jones, his girlfriend of two years, at a ceremony in Italy. In a refreshing move, the couple decided to tie the knot away from the spotlight.
Indeed, the world only found out that any nuptials had taken place when Lewis casually revealed the news on Twitter. He joked, “Not only did I miss @ArcticMonkeys in LA but they were performing in Italy at the same time we were there and my wife made me get married instead. Fuming.”
And any fans hoping for pictures of the handsome groom and blushing bride on Instagram would have been sorely disappointed. The only reference to the wedding on Lewis’ official account were the emojis of an American and British flag. That’s because while the actor hails from Yorkshire, England, Jones is a Florida native.
Moreover, it was actually the world of Harry Potter that brought Lewis and Jones together. The couple first met in 2016 when the latter was working at Orlando’s Universal Studios as an event planner. And one of the events she helped to plan just happened to involve the Wizard World of Harry Potter.
Jones had previously studied event management at the University of Central Florida. Following her graduation in 2013, she started working for the Marriott Hotels chain in an admin role and shortly afterwards landed a second job at Orlando’s Universal Studios. She then went full-time at the latter after receiving a promotion.
And it seems as though the pair were completely smitten right from the offset. On her Sunshine State of Me blog, Jones once wrote, “I never believed in soul mates until we met. We came from two different countries, 4,334 miles apart, and yet we were one and the same.”
Lewis eventually asked for Jones’ hand in marriage during a romantic holiday in Paris. Of course, the event planner said ‘yes,’ although just a matter of months had passed since she’d officially become divorced her first husband. Jones herself subsequently stated on her blog that “it’s been that kind of fairytale thing.”
Lewis and Jones made their first public appearance as an engaged couple for the March 2017 premiere of Beauty and the Beast, a blockbuster starring another Harry Potter graduate, Emma Watson. The actor told People magazine at the time that a wedding wasn’t imminent. Referring to his fiancée, Lewis said, “She’s American, so we’ve got quite a lot of things to discuss about location and whatnot before we get anywhere.”
Twelve months on from Lewis’ proposal, Jones posted a throwback photo on Instagram captioned, “When in Paris! This trip, almost exactly a year ago, was full of nights we won’t remember and memories we’ll never forget. I was calling him fiancé for almost a full 24 hours when this photo was taken. I made him take a picture on this couch every night before we went out. He hated it.”
Several of Lewis’ former co-stars took to social media to congratulate the actor on the news about his surprise wedding. For example, Tom Felton, aka Harry Potter’s Draco Malfoy, simply posted “Top lad x.” “You absolute dish! Congrats brother,” commented Sam Claflin, who previously appeared alongside Lewis in Me Before You.
Lewis and Jones may have become married in Italy but that wasn’t the end of their wedding celebrations. In fact, on her blog, the latter revealed that the couple also threw a further two receptions following the ceremony. One was in Jones’ American homeland, while the other was in Lewis’ native England.
And in 2019 Lewis attempted to harness the power of social media when he lost his wallet in London. The star was left distraught after realizing he no longer had the item – but not for monetary reasons. Instead, it was the very personal note engraved on a piece of metal stored inside the wallet that Lewis was most concerned about reclaiming.
Lewis’ resulting post read, “Yo, if you stole my wallet in East London yesterday or even if you just found it: it’s yours, keep it, have the money, the cards, the lot. But the note from my wife engraved on a piece of metal, if you can post that to the address on the driving licence I’d call it evens. Please?”
Lewis’ fans and followers subsequently sprang into action, retweeting the message roughly 7,000 times and bestowing it with more than three times that number of likes, too. One fan responded, “Accio Matthew’s wallet.” For those unfamiliar with the world of Harry Potter, “Accio” is the term that wizards and witches utilize in their summoning spells.
Another follower also made a clever reference to the Harry Potter franchise in their Twitter response, commenting “First Trevor, now this!!!! Hope you find it soon.” The Trevor in question was, of course, the pet toad that Lewis’ character Neville Longbottom was renowned for losing during his time at Hogwarts.
Meanwhile, a tweeter repeated the words of Ravenclaw student Luna Lovegood, writing, “Things we lose have a way of coming back to us in the end, if not always in the way we expect.” Thankfully, all these kind responses appeared to do the trick. Because just three days later, Lewis revealed some happy news.
Lewis first took to Twitter to thank everyone for the overwhelming reaction to his initial tweet, stating, “Wow. You guys are dope. Really humbled by this response.” The actor, who regularly posts about politics on the social media site, then joked, “That got more pick up than any of my Brexit material.”
A joyous Lewis then revealed that his followers’ efforts to help him out hadn’t been in vain. He tweeted, “And guess what I have? My wallet! I did not expect that to happen. I owe you all a debt of gratitude and can’t thank you all enough. You’re amazing. This is a good day.”
Several of Lewis’ followers then responded to his message to express their joy at the news. One particularly excited Twitter user posted, “Yes @Mattdavelewis very pleased to hear and this is the power and good side of social media. Fantastic news!!” Meanwhile, a second fan replied, “Oh my gosh!!! That is so amazing! I’m so happy that you got your wallet back and especially that note from your wife.”
Another Twitter user commented, “Oh I’m so happy! You must be so relieved! #poweroftwitter.” And referring to Lewis’ quip about his more politically conscious tweets, one of the actor’s followers responded, “Yes!!! The power of social media !! And I missed your #brexit material.” Lewis didn’t specify whether all of the wallet’s contents had been returned, however.
In 2019 Lewis added internet show Nutritiously Nicola to his list of credits. He showed up in a couple of episodes of the black comedy, which is based on the exploits of a 20-something food writer who’s battling anorexia. However, it wasn’t exactly the most stretching role of his varied career.
Indeed, Lewis plays a take on his real-life persona who asks leading lady Nicola to help him become hunkier than one of his Harry Potter co-stars, Daniel Radcliffe. The actor’s guest stint was also something of a family affair. His brother Anthony, who’s best known for playing Marc Reynolds in U.K. soap opera Emmerdale, also appeared alongside him.