The untold truth of Taron Egerton

Before Rocketman launched Taron Egerton's career to new heights, the Welsh actor was just another chiseled face in the Hollywood crowd of would-be leading men. Although big things were expected of him following his breakout role in 2014's Kingsman: Secret Service, Egerton seemed stuck in a holding pattern after big budget bombs such as Robin Hood and middling smaller fare like Billionaire Boys Club and Testament of Youth. That said, Egerton's career is "Still Standing" with his starring role as Sir Elton John — a part he seemed destined to play. 

"It feels like a crossroads," Egerton told USA Today. "It could be a big moment in my career, which is exciting, but also scary. Because if it's not a big moment, there's a fear that I've failed." His "shoot for the moon" performance has earned him Oscar buzz and drawn praise from the Rocketman himself. In a five-star review, NME applauded Egerton's performance: "He's a powerful singer and can swell to match John's huge personality, while also quietening everything for some really moving scenes of despair and hurt. Watching him bounce on stage covered in a rainbow of feathers, you see an actor who knows he's found his moment." 

So what do we really know about this guy other than he looks good in a suit and can carry a tune? Let's take a closer look at the untold truth of Taron Egerton.

He's 'still standing' with his girlfriend

Taron Egerton has been in an on-again, off-again relationship with Emily Thomas. According to the Daily Mail, the Welsh actor and British producer started dating in 2016 but broke up while he was filming Rocketman in 2018. While Egerton never publicly dished details about the break-up, he did mention that he had to "reinvent" himself after the split with a fresh buzzcut. "I found it quite liberating because I just finished the Elton John thing and had this awful hair," he said. "So, I shaved my hair [because] they had thinned it right out and given me this bald patch. It was very cathartic and also, not to put a downer on things, I split up with my girlfriend not long ago and it weirdly felt a bit like reinvention … to sort of change the way I look."

Time apart apparently made these hearts grow fonder because the two eventually reunited. The Daily Mail reported that the "smitten" couple was apparently back on and "only had eyes for each other" at a pre-BAFTA Filmmakers Dinner in February 2019. According to Access, the PDA continued at the star-studded Rocketman premiere in London, where these two "got romantic" in front of cameras on the blue carpet. Egerton even planted a "surprise kiss" on his glamorous gal pal. 

​He's a style icon

This well-heeled actor is a regular head-turner at the Met Gala and has graced GQ magazine's Top 50 Best-Dressed Men in Britain list. "Taron is young and fresh," DSquared2 designers Dean and Dan Caten, told the mag. "Not only does his resume look pretty good, but he does too, thanks to a very sharp sense of style." 

Esquire sang Egerton's praises too, claiming he looked "damn good" in a metallic silver dinner jacket by Tom Ford at the Rocketman premiere — all while smartly not upstaging Sir Elton John. The mag noted that not only is Sir John a knighted "musical legend," but "most importantly, the guy is draped in the finest Gucci every time you see him out and about. His style legend is untouchable, and so, movie portrayals aside, if Egerton is to rock with the best, he better come correct — and stay in line."

The slick actor credited his fine tailored suit game to his breakout role in Kingsman: The Secret Service. "I'm naturally quite a scruffy bugger," he admitted to the Short List, "so it was lovely to have a jaunt into the world of bespoke tailoring. To me, the reason men look good in suits is that it lends them a certain status; it's the equivalent of a suit of armour." 

He considers himself a Welshman

You can take Taron Egerton out of Wales, but you can't take the Wales out of the Kingsman star. Although he was born in Merseyside, England to parents from nearby Liverpool, he considers himself a Welshman "through and through." He spent most of his childhood in Wales after his parents moved to Anglesey, and later to Aberystwyth when he was 12. While he's now a full-fledged movie star, his roots remain firmly planted in the coastal resort town (population 13,000+) where he grew up. 

"It's absolutely at the centre of the universe for me," Egerton told the BBC. "It's where my heart lies. I think about it everyday." The one thing about his beloved hometown that he doesn't like to discuss any longer is the tiny Aberystwyth village of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch — the one that every talk show from The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to The Jonathan Ross Show has jokingly made him pronounce on-air. "I'm so sick of it," he confessed to GQ. "Please, please put this on record. Don't ask me what town I'm from. Yes, it's the long name. There are videos on YouTube of me saying it. You can look it up. It will be just as satisfying listening to old footage of me saying it than me having to say it again." Speaking of names, Taron reportedly means "thunder." (Just when you think this dude couldn't get any cooler, right?)

The real 'Rocketman' sang his praises

According to GQ, Taron Egerton wasn't the first choice to play Sir Elton John. Initially, Mad Max star Tom Hardy was cast but apparently didn't "possess the pipes" for the part. Sir Elton John had met the future Rocketman when he did a cameo on KingsmanThe Golden Circle and was struck by the young actor's "special quality of masculinity mixed with warm kindness." The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer recalled the moment he knew that Egerton would be perfect for the part. "I'd heard him sing 'I'm Still Standing' on the Sing soundtrack," John revealed on Zane Lowe's Beats 1 show on Apple Music. "I knew he could sing and I definitely wanted in this movie people to know that it wasn't me singing. I didn't want lip-syncing. So he was given the brief of 'you're going to sing everything.'"

The five-time Grammy winner admitted that his "songs aren't easy to sing," but he was blown away when he heard the film's soundtrack, which includes Egerton singing hits such as "Tiny Dancer," "Pinball Wizard," and "Saturday Night." "What he's done is quite extraordinary because he sounds like me, but he also sounds like Taron," John said. The actor and musician even recorded a new track, "(I'm Gonna) Love Me Again," which plays over the film's end credits. In a truly meta moment, the two performed a live duet of the title track at the film's Cannes 2019 premiere

He defends 'Rocketman' over straight-washing claims

For obvious reasons, Rocketman has drawn comparisons to Bohemian Rhapsody – a box office and award-winning hit that was simultaneously criticized for "straight-washing" Freddie Mercury. While the Daily Mail reported that Rocketman was a bit "too cheeky" for Paramount execs (who allegedly wanted a naked sex scene cut from the film,) the film's director, Dexter Fletcher, tweeted that the rumors weren't true: "Seeing much speculation about ROCKETMAN!! That's good! It's still unfinished so it's nothing but rumors. It has and always will be the no holds barred, musical fantasy that Paramount and producers passionately support and believe in…"

Egerton pulled back the covers on that controversial sex scene, which involves John losing his virginity to his manager/lover John Reid (played by Game of Thrones star Richard Madden). "I felt Richard's penis … On my leg," recalled Egerton to Attitude. "We shot a scene where we are both naked on a bed and we are rolling around. I don't really know how much further we could have gone." 

Rocketman producer Matthew Vaughn assured the Daily Mail: "This film is going to make people's jaws hit the ground, Elton just said 'Tell it all. Go as R-rated as you need to.' And we do just that, with his blessing. The flaws and the genius are all there." The Hollywood Reporter wrote that the film is a trailblazer, calling it the first major studio project to "depict gay male sex" and explore "its subject's sexual awakening without flinching." 

Taron isn't gay, but he supports LGBTQ issues

Taron Egerton has repeatedly been questioned about his sexuality since taking on the role of gay icon Elton John. Internet chatter regarding if he was really "acting" in those steamy Rocketman sex scenes reached a fever pitch when he posted an Instagram photo of another man with the caption "Cutie. My boy" and a heart emoji. In an interview with Radio Times (via Metro). Edgerton clarified his viral post: "One of the lads was at my London flat and I Instagrammed a picture of him and said, 'Look at this cutie,' and a million outlets reported I was coming out as gay. I'm not gay but two of my mates came out when I was 15 and it was a joy to support them because, as a group, we are all secure in who we are." 

While Egerton has been open about his heterosexuality, he has also spoken up about his open-mindedness, telling GQ that he always "felt more at home in a gay club than at a football match." He added, "I'm not someone who really subscribes to this binary view of male and female archetypes or ways of behaving. And it's only going to happen more and more. The lines are blurring. People are identifying and expressing themselves more fluidly. Our concept of what a straight man or gay man looks like or is expected to behave in 20 years will be nothing like it is now." 

His career is ready for takeoff

Taron Egerton has come a long way since almost calling it quits at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts at age 19. "I was potentially, mentally, a bit young for the culture there," he told GQ. "I think I was a little bit too self-aware for everyone actually." These days, no one's seem prouder of Egerton's rise than the Rocketman himself, who reportedly sends Egerton positive feedback on the reg. "I try and avoid reviews, but Elton sends me them every day," the actor told Jimmy Kimmel Live. "Every. Day."

The well-received biopic premiered at Cannes 2019 to a four-minute standing ovation that brought Egerton to tears. Critics have raved about it too. NME called it a "musical simply bursting with the joy of existing," while Rolling Stone referred to it as "Elton John's 'Bohemian Rhapsody,' with more sex, more drugs and a killer performance from Taron Egerton."

The leading man reportedly had a feeling this role was the right fit. "There was a keen sense that it was a part I could do well, a part I was passionate and excited about, which is important," he told GQ. "There are things you do for different reasons, but in many ways, this one was for me."