olivia cooke house of the dragon

Italian holidays and karaoke: Inside House of the Dragon star Olivia Cooke’s fun-loving life

Can we be friends?

Set 200 years prior to the events of Game of Thrones, House of the Dragon covers the Dance of Dragons – a war between two factions of the same house. Despite the second season focsussing on the animosity between Rhaenyra Targaryen and her half brother Aegon, fans were quickly distracted by Alicent Hightower, played by no other than Olivia Cooke.

Securing herself as a fan favourite among us all, her performance was absolutely stunnin’, as Olivia herself might say. But who is the stellar actor and what is she like outside of the show? Here’s everything you need to know about Olivia Cooke from House of the Dragon.

Olivia is 30 and is a northerner

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Olivia Cooke grew up in Oldham, Greater Manchester. Her mother had a career as a sales representative, and her father is a retired police officer – her parents are divorced. She attended Royton and Crompton Academy and studied drama at Oldham Sixth Form College, leaving before the end of her A-levels to appear in a BBC drama series in 2012.

Her first big break was in Bates Motel

You’d be wrong, however, if you thought that House of the Dragon was her first major production. In 2012, Olivia appeared in One Direction’s Autumn Term tour video as a student getting a piggyback ride from Harry Styles, before going on to break into the acting world proper when she starred in Blackout.

She then began securing prominent roles in Bate’s Motel, Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl, and Ready Player One. Olivia has also starred alongside Oscar Isaac, Olivia Wilde, and Samuel L Jackson in Life Itself.

The actress’s love life is akin to something we’d see on the big screen

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Her love life has been something straight out of a romcom, with the actress admitting that during the Covid-19 pandemic, she slid into the DM’s of various celebrities (sadly she didn’t get any replies.) In 2022, she was linked to Jacob Ifan, a Welsh actor, but they split around five months after the speculation surrounding their relationship began. Prior to this she was seen cosying up with Ben Hardy, an ex-Eastenders star, before calling it quits a few months after they began dating back in 2020.

Olivia has admitted to struggling with her mental health from time to time

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In an interview given to The Guardian, back in 2022, the actress revealed that after returning to London in 2020 after many years living in New York, she fell back in with her old friends, and had largely shaken off the anxieties and insecurities that had plagued her since her early 20s. The pause brought about by the Covid pandemic was “a tonic”, she admitted. “Being in London, I just felt like I’d come home.”

Olivia went on to talk about her issues with depression and low mood from an early age, recalling how filming from a young age affected her: “It was a big old lovely cocktail: Being homesick and not knowing it, having not stopped since I was 18, being on my own for large swathes of time.”

Thankfully, by 2019, Olivia explained how she started to have consecutive days without “the incessant, persistent, anxious thoughts”.

She has a great relationship with her co-stars on House of the Dragon

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Olivia Cooke joined House of the Dragon midway through the story in season one, but she reportedly gets on very well with her co-stars. In an interview with Harper’s Bazaar alongside Emma D’Arcy, the pair revealed that they have a close off screen friendship. Their fondness of each other was also confirmed after the pair were described as being “prone to fits of laughter, constantly finishing each other’s sentences and clearly delighted by their reunion”.

On a separate instance, Olivia admitted she had way too much fun with castmates whilst filming the series. She said: “A lot of my scenes were with Fabien Frankel, and Rhys (Ifans), who was just hysterical.

“He’s such a naughty little schoolboy and has this incredible ability to stay as serious and stoic as possible, but cause absolute mayhem for the rest of the cast.”

She added: “It’s so important to have someone like that on set who is a disruptor; it keeps you on your toes and makes it a joy coming to work. He made up so many nicknames for Fabien that he would say just before a take, like, ‘Oi Tinder Swindler!’ Or, ‘Oi Justin Bieber!’ And then it’ll be, ‘Action’. I’d suddenly be in character saying to him, ‘Don’t kill Rhaenerya, please.'”

Olivia loves to travel with friends

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A big fan of travelling, Olivia seems to jet off with friends as often as she can. To be honest, she looks to have a great time with her mates wherever they meet up, including over karaoke it seems.

The actress is certainly one to watch, and House of the Dragon season two is available to watch on HBO and Sky now, with new episodes each week!

For more like this look at Olivia Cooke from House of the Dragon and all the latest news, drops, quizzes, and memes, like The Holy Church of Netflix on Facebook.  

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• The shocking House of the Dragon theory that one key character secretly died off screen

Featured image via Instagram @livkatecooke