Very unequal fortunes, tortured tweets and the love Lady Mary's left behind
13:10 GMT, 6 November 2012
Unequal relationship: Joseph Millson follows Michelle Dockery to the Emmy Awards
Had Joseph Millson been a character in Downton Abbey, his actions as a spurned lover would almost certainly have been dramatic and tumultuous.
He might have penned an anguished letter to the object of his desire before throwing himself down a stairwell – or set sail to a far-flung colony, never to be heard of again.
Living in the modern world, however, he vented his agony on Twitter when he was given his marching orders by Downton actress Michelle Dockery, who plays Lady Mary Crawley.
'Just wait for someone worth being in a relationship with, stop wasting your time on the ones who don't deserve you,' he wrote.
'Delete delete delete. Photos,
emails, texts. Cleaning out.'
Joseph, 38, doesn't name 30-year-old
Michelle in his tortured tweetings, but since neither of their
representatives are denying the split, it is reasonable to assume he is
referring to her.
The couple were last photographed together arriving at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles for the Emmy Awards on September 23.
Michelle was nominated for Best Actress In A Drama Series, but lost out to Homeland's Claire Danes.
It has to be said Michelle and Joseph didn't look all that happy. She,
luminous in a full-length, midnight blue Louis Vuitton gown, was walking
on ahead with a serious expression on her beautiful face, as he skulked
In the days afterwards, Michelle is believed to have told her boyfriend of five months that it was over.
could have been the inevitable outcome of a rebound relationship – they
got together not long after Michelle broke up with Trent Davies, an
American architect she had been with for three years.
It might also be connected with the fact she and Joseph are two actors
moving in opposing directions. Michelle, in huge demand thanks to the
phenomenal success of ITV1's Downton Abbey, is heading for Hollywood.
Meanwhile, Joseph, who plays trauma registrar Luc Hemingway in BBC1's medical drama Holby City, heads to his flat in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, each evening. Between Hemel Hempstead and Hollywood it is hard – impossible, perhaps – to find middle ground.
The pair's respective schedules last week illustrated the gulf between them. Michelle was in New York filming the action drama Non-Stop with Liam Neeson and Julianne Moore.
Joseph was in Cardiff recording radio plays in which he takes on the role of author George Orwell.
Michelle's rise towards super-stardom has been sharp and swift since taking on the role of Lady Mary Crawley in 2010
Given Claire Danes' victory over Miss Dockery at the Emmys, you have to ask why Joseph posted this tweet on Tuesday:
'Loving the repeat of Homeland whilst tucked up in my hotel room.' Bizarrely, he even posted a fuzzy picture of himself in bed watching the programme.
Hell hath no fury, it seems, like an ambitious actor scorned.
A well-informed source told me: 'It appeared a very unequal partnership. And right now Michelle is utterly focused on her work. She knows this is her big chance and she's running with it.'
Michelle's rise towards super-stardom has been sharp and swift since taking on the role of Lady Mary Crawley in 2010.
In the U.S., where the series was first screened in 2011, she is feted and fawned upon as though she really is the aristocratic Lady Mary.
But, then, it has been noted by some friends that away from the cameras she may have picked up a few Lady Mary-esque mannerisms.
Michelle's own background is definitely more downstairs than upstairs.
She's an Essex girl – born in Dagenham and raised in Romford – and the youngest of three sisters.
Her dad, Michael Dockery, is a Dublin-born lorry driver-turned-environmental analyst, and his wife, Lorraine, is a former shorthand typist.
Michelle's great-grandmother Maud Malyon was born in 1910 in Newham, East London, and was a domestic servant.
Michelle's friends have affectionately called her 'Chelle' all her life but, according to one associate, they now feel she prefers not to be referred to by that nickname.
A source says: 'The thing about Michelle is that though she has been a successful actress for some time, the whole Downton thing has been crazy and she's been propelled into this super-league very quickly.
'She has designers begging her to wear her clothes, magazines wanting to photograph her – she's hot property.'
Michelle's appearance has become very Hollywood. She has lost a lot of weight, and her red-carpet look is full-on glamour.
One associate recalls seeing her looking very different a few years ago, shortly after she had won the part of Lady Mary.
In Demand: Michelle with her Downton Abbey co-star Dan Stevens
'I was with friends at Soho House, the private members' club in London, and someone pointed out Michelle and said: 'She's going to be big, she's just won a part in this new series called Downton Abbey.
'She was wearing jeans, a rather scruffy top and smoking cigarettes, which she was rolling up herself and smoking out on the balcony.
'She had a bottle of beer that she was drinking from a pint glass. It was a slightly affected, Leftie, socialist-type look.
'When she was introduced to me, she described herself as an actor, not an actress.'
As a child growing up in Romford, Michelle always knew she wanted to perform, as did her elder sister, Jo, who is now 34 and also an established actress. (The eldest sister, Louise, 36, teaches at a language school in Barcelona.)
Michelle went to stage school three evenings a week, often taking weekend and after-school jobs to pay for it, including a spell working in a pie-and-mash shop.
After leaving Essex's Chadwell Heath Foundation School – now the Chadwell Heath Academy – she won a place at the prestigious Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
She graduated in 2004 and made her TV debut the following year as Betty in the BBC Victorian drama Fingersmith.
But it was Michelle's acclaimed portrayal of Eliza Doolittle in Peter Hall's production of Pygmalion at The Old Vic in 2008 that got her noticed among influential TV casting agents.
The following year she was introduced by friends to Trent Davies, and they starting seeing each other before moving into a flat together in Clerkenwell, East London.
Hell hath no fury: Michelle poses with her fellow stars Jessica Brown Findlay (centre) and Laura Carmichael (left)
They were often seen out and about together and seemed happy. In an interview a year ago, Michelle was asked whether Trent would propose to her on her 30th birthday.
She replied: 'Who knows I hope so.'
But at the beginning of this year, they split up. Michelle remained at the Clerkenwell flat while Trent moved out. Michelle has not said what caused the split. In May, she began dating Joseph Millson, who was also newly single.
He had married the actress and singer Caroline Fitzgerald in 1999, and they had a son and a daughter before divorcing last year.
Joseph, best known for playing Dr Sam Morgan in Peak Practice before joining Holby ten years ago, moved out from the family home in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, to a flat in nearby Hemel Hempstead.
His romance with Michelle, however, was to prove fleeting. According to clues gleaned on his Twitter account, it all went wrong at the end of September.
On September 20, after the couple arrived in the U.S. for the Emmys, Joseph happily tweeted: 'Hey, Los Angeles, you are looking lovely today.'
The Emmys took place on September 23, then seven days later Joseph wrote: 'It's by falling down that we learn how to stand.'
So, had he been pushed by Miss Dockery The tweet in which he wrote about not wasting your time on someone who 'doesn't deserve you' is believed to have been sent around this time, but has now been deleted from his Twitter account.
He did retweet it to another Twitter user, however, on October 6. Despite his Twitter outpourings, Joseph did not respond to an invitation through his agent to talk about the split.
Michelle's publicist said she had no comment to make. As for her responding on Twitter, well, that's extremely unlikely.
After all, could you imagine Lady Mary Crawley doing anything quite so vulgar