The Untold Truth Of Andrew Garfield

Those who didn't see "The Social Network" or a handful of other films with Andrew Garfield in supporting roles were likely introduced to the actor in an iconic superhero suit. Following in the footsteps of Tobey Maguire before him, Garfield reprised the role of Peter Parker in "The Amazing Spider-Man" in 2012. Two years later, Garfield and his on-screen love interest, played by Emma Stone, returned for the sequel "The Amazing Spider-Man 2." But this would be the last time Garfield suited up, with the role going to Tom Holland in the proceeding comic book films

Fortunately, Garfield showed that he had much more to offer than being a part of the MCU. His incredible performances included his role in the 2016 film "Hacksaw Ridge," for which he earned his first Oscar nomination for best actor in a leading role, per The Hollywood Reporter. 2021 was also a big year for Garfield, who starred in "The Eyes of Tammy Faye" and "Tick, Tick ... Boom!" The New York Times recapped.

Outside of film, Garfield electrified audiences on stage in the Broadway production "Angels in America." For his performances, he took home the Tony award for best actor, even beating out Denzel Washington. But behind all the accolades was an actor with a difficult life. Garfield encountered multiple hardships while working on movies along with other tragedies in his personal life. Despite setbacks and other struggles, he continually delighted fans, sometimes using his personal experiences. This is his untold truth.

Inside Andrew Garfield's international childhood

Andrew Garfield was born in Los Angeles, and when he was 3 years old, his family relocated to his mom's native England. "It was my mother's decision to raise us in England and I think it was the right choice," Garfield told The Telegraph about growing up in Surrey county. While there, his parents owned an interior design and lampshade business. Garfield had only positive things to say about his family, describing his parents as "perfect." "My dad's an amazing motivator and a very inspiring man," he added. 

After his parents' business closed, Garfield's mom found work "as a nursery schoolteacher and his father as a coach at Guildford swimming club," The Guardian reported. Garfield, meanwhile, remembered watching movies and being "a monkey child. I was like a clown." But at school in Banstead, he was sometimes more introverted and described himself as "a navel gazer in the extreme." According to Garfield, other kids at school would bully him "for being small and slight."

The young boy aspired to entertain others. Garfield told Wired that as a kid, he wished he could sing and dance like Justin Timberlake. The actor even had a chance to meet Timberlake when the two worked together on "The Social Network." Garfield was also interested in superheroes long before his acting career began. Alluding to his future role, Garfield recalled his mom making him a Spider-Man costume by hand when he was 3 years old, per Variety.

How he learned to act

As a teenager, Andrew Garfield's parents encouraged him to explore his creativity, so he signed up for acting classes in the English town of Guildford. Garfield also became involved in drama at the private London Freemen's School. "In childhood fantasies I had dreamt about being in movies just as I thought about being a professional skater or an astronaut or a rock star. But I never seriously thought I would do it," Garfield told The Telegraph. He said of one of his earliest performances, "I played Fat Sam in Bugsy Malone. It was really bad but I loved it." 

Fortunately, Garfield's drama teacher encouraged the young man to seriously consider a career in acting. As a result, he remembered, "I began to feel excited about how it could happen on a bigger scale." By the time he was 18, Garfield was attending the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama at the University of London. The prestigious arts school has other famous alumni including Sir Laurence Olivier, Carrie Fisher, Dame Judi Dench, and Riz Ahmed.

Garfield credited the school with fostering an environment where he could embrace his emotions. "I was just a goof," Garfield told CBS about his time as a student in London. But he said this was necessary because in his opinion, "I needed somewhere to do that in a way that wasn't annoying." Even if he teetered on annoyance, Garfield felt the school encouraged this behavior from students.

Andrew Garfield reveals what fame is like

2007 was a huge year for Andrew Garfield: He took home the best actor award at the BAFTA ceremony for his role in "Boy A." Off-camera, Garfield was dealing with immense nerves. He confessed that he had a "semi-panic attack" on the night he won the award, The Telegraph reported. The following year, he continued to have self-doubt about his acting skills. "I don't think I am ever going to be famous. That is just a hunch I have. I feel like the work I do has been very specific so far and it is not exactly mainstream, so until I do one of those projects, I think I am safe," he said.

Although joining the MCU as Spider-Man was a huge opportunity for Garfield, the actor admitted that he had no idea what came along with the role. "I was naive to the whole process of making one of those big-budget films," he admitted to The Guardian. The outlet observed that he didn't appear to enjoy the press tours to promote the comic book movies, even though his co-star and later girlfriend Emma Stone was seemingly trying her best "to loosen her boyfriend up" during them. 

This discomfort wasn't always there, as Garfield revealed to The Telegraph that he once thought it was "as exciting as hell" to become a famous actor. After he hit the big time, he confessed, "I'm sensitive, I'm really anxious, and although I have confidence I have to access that sometimes."

How the actor was first discovered

The first appearance by Andrew Garfield on the big screen hinted at his future success in Hollywood. In 2007, he appeared in "Lions for Lambs," which Robert Redford directed and starred in alongside Tom Cruise and Meryl Streep. Garfield told Wired the experience was "ridiculous" because he got to work with three famous actors right away. 

Garfield's journey to snagging the plum role started in 2004 at the Royal Exchange Theater in Manchester. After proving his skill on stage through his performance in the show "Kes," the actor "was invited to screen-test for Stephen Daldry and the tape found its way to Robert Redford," The Guardian recapped.

Even though Garfield is half British, he even fooled the veteran Redford. The director allegedly hired Garfield after watching his audition tape and thinking the young actor was American. Garfield credited listening to his American dad speak for helping him nail the accent. "I have grown up with that in my ear so, like anything, it just becomes second nature. So I do feel like that is an advantage and a really lucky one," he told The Telegraph. Looking back on his first performance, Garfield said, "I did my job, I think I'm fine. I can't say I'm good, I can't say I'm bad," per The Telegraph. At the time, Garfield ignored compliments for his role and felt that viewers would pay closer attention to the three big stars. He also didn't believe his life could change as a result of the movie.

Andrew Garfield goes all in while filming

In the movie "Hacksaw Ridge," Andrew Garfield played the war hero Desmond Doss. The story involved Doss saving 75 people on a "death-defying battlefield," and Garfield admitted to Wired that filming the battle scenes was physically demanding. He joked that on the first day, it only took him carrying one guy to become exhausted. "I literally had to lay down for two hours," he said. The experience had the actor praising the real-life hero for his "superhuman" efforts.

The actor endured more difficult environments while working on the film "Silence" by Martin Scorsese. While on location in Taiwan for four months, "Garfield slept three hours a night, trekked mountainous terrain, endured typhoons, and fasted enough to lose 40 pounds," The Guardian reported. During this time, he remembered having "vivid nightly dreams about food." He also went through intense spiritual training at home before traveling to Taiwan. He worked with a priest and used an apartment in Manhattan "as a quasi-monastic retreat" where he performed "rigorous spiritual exercises," per The New York Times. This included fasting and prayer, which overall contributed to what Garfield described as a "deep spiritually transformative experience."

Lin-Manuel Miranda, who directed Garfield in his film "Tick, Tick... Boom!," said that the actor is well-known for his devotion to his craft, even at his own expense. "No one suffers as beautifully as Andrew," Miranda told Variety. "That's hard to do, and I think he's sought after for that."

Life with two identities

Andrew Garfield spent much of his life hopping back and forth across the pond between the United States and England. Since he was born in Los Angeles but raised south of London, Garfield is a dual citizen of the two countries. With most of his childhood spent in England, he acquired a British accent as his normal speaking voice, he explained to Wired. He even still remembered his postal code from Banstead, his childhood town in England.

Though it may seem like a dream to have multiple nationalities, Garfield admitted that world events can greatly affect how he feels about it. "I have a love-hate relationship with both countries and used to be very proud to have both passports. Today, I'm slightly less proud," he told the Independent. According to the actor, politics in 2019 played a part in this change. "I don't want to get into Brexit but in the US we have a president who was elected through media manipulation to a great degree," Garfield explained during his interview. After talking about "tools of manipulation that are available to evil people," he ended the discussion by musing, "What do I know about politics and policy?"

In a discussion with Interview, Garfield remembered growing up with a romantic idea of the United States after watching American films. He even admitted that he once got a job at Starbucks because he thought coffee shops were filled with "really smart, interesting, quirky girls with thick, black-rimmed glasses."

The high-flying Andrew Garfield

When he was 6 years old, Andrew Garfield's parents convinced him to start gymnastics. "I hated it to begin with but I got pretty good," Garfield told The Telegraph. It was more than just a casual hobby. "I came third in the national championships when I was 12. I should have won it, but I bricked it in the set floor routine," he recalled. If he stuck with it, perhaps the young man could have made it to the Olympics. But he quit the sport after being "pushed too hard, too young." 

Next, Garfield picked up skateboarding. In an interview for Wired, he called skateboarding his first true love as a teen. At the peak of his skills, Garfield claimed he landed a kickflip over a set of seven stairs on the South Bank of London. But he also revealed that he once broke his wrist while going down a ramp. With a background in gymnastics, he said his love of movement translated into his performance as Peter Parker, revealing that his favorite part of filming the Spider-Man movies was performing his own stunts whenever possible.

Another one of Garfield's impressive athletic abilities is swimming. In the film "Tick, Tick... Boom!" he filmed a scene for three days where he was simultaneously singing and swimming underwater. Director Lin-Manuel Miranda said of Garfield, "Once he got started, the stunt double looked at me and said, 'I can't swim that fast,'" per the Los Angeles Times.

The spiritual side of the actor

Andrew Garfield's relationship with religion is a complex story that started when he was 8 years old. At the time, his hero was the famous social activist Mahatma Gandhi, The New York Times reported. The actor also grew up with a Jewish father, per Out. His grandfather too was Jewish, but "Garfield was brought up in a secular household," according to The Guardian. For "Hacksaw Ridge," Garfield teamed up with director Mel Gibson, who has allegedly made anti-Semitic comments. Before agreeing to join the film, Garfield met with the "Passion of the Christ" director. After the interaction, Garfield approved of Gibson and considered him a "good soul."

Personally, Garfield admitted, "I'm always having a crisis of faith, with everything." The actor said he feared overly devout people because in his opinion, "That's how religious wars get started." To explore his spirituality, Garfield linked up with a pastor in New York. "I had no relationship to [Jesus] beforehand," he said. But as a result of his spiritual journey, he found a "very specific relationship with Jesus."

In Martin Scorsese's film "Silence," Garfield portrayed a Portuguese priest alongside Adam Driver. During the film's premiere in Vatican City, Pope Francis joked that Garfield should be ordained after watching his performance. "I love the pope – he's a really progressive guy," Garfield said. The actor added about the religious figure, "But I loved the pope before he was even aware of my existence."

The reason Andrew Garfield left Spider-Man

Although he had superhero-sized shoes to fill, Andrew Garfield came onboard to continue the success of Spider-Man films after the aughts trilogy starring Tobey Maguire. Garfield himself was originally recruited to make a follow-up trilogy. But after "The Amazing Spider-Man 2," the actor was allegedly fired from the franchise. People speculated that one of the reasons for his early departure may have come after he upset Kaz Hirai, the chief of Sony, which produced the movies. 

In internal Sony emails leaked by Wikileaks, one discussion involved an incident with Garfield in Brazil. Hirai was scheduled to announce "The Amazing Spider-Man 3" at an event, but Garfield never showed up. "Here we are about one hour away from our Gala event and Andrew decides he doesn't want to attend. He has a rather scruffy beard and he just wants to be left alone," Hirai's email said, via International Business Times.

Garfield claimed he was jet-lagged and not well enough to attend. But he also revealed that things weren't going so well behind the scenes of the movies. "What I'll proudly say is that I didn't compromise who I was, I was only ever myself. And that might have been difficult for some people," he told The Guardian. For example, he claimed the studio felt his eyebrows were too bushy and spent considerable time making them thinner. Garfield added about the entire experience as Spider-Man, "I learned so much about what feels good and what doesn't."

What he's said about his sexuality

In preparation for his role in "Angels in America," Garfield spent time outside of rehearsals watching the reality series "RuPaul's Drag Race." His character in the play was Prior Walter, a drag performer and "gay man battling AIDS in the '80s," per Variety. "This is my life outside of this play. I am a gay man right now just without the physical act – that's all," Garfield said, according to Gay Times

As a result of the comments, Garfield received some backlash for being a self-proclaimed straight man playing a gay character. Looking back at his choice of words, he explained the intention of his quote. "I think part of what I was trying to say was about inclusion, and about that openness to my impulses," the actor told Out. As for the role, both Tony Kushner, the playwright for "Angels in America," and co-star Nathan Lane praised Garfield's performances in the show. Kusher also explained how he and Garfield spoke about how to best portray the character. The playwright said that a straight actor playing a gay man on stage was "a gesture of real power. It is a refusal of hiding."

Garfield was also unafraid to show physical affection to men in several public appearances. For example, the actor kissed his tablemate Ryan Reynolds at the Golden Globe Awards. After talking about the experience on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," Garfield tenderly locked lips with the host.

Andrew Garfield's hidden talent

As the star of "Tick, Tick... Boom!," a movie musical, Andrew Garfield surprisingly had little singing experience. He admitted on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" that he never sang before signing onto the film. Instead, he landed the role thanks in part to his mutual massage therapist with Broadway legend Lin-Manuel Miranda. The massage therapist lied and told Miranda that Garfield could sing well. Without hearing proof, Miranda contacted Garfield to play the lead role in his movie.

Miranda revealed that he became impressed with Garfield after watching his performance in "Angels in America." The "Hamilton" creator recalled, "I didn't know if he could sing, but I just felt like he could do anything. So I cast him in my head probably a year before I talked to him about it," per The New York Times

With a history in musical theater and a clear vision for his debut film, Miranda trained Garfield to be a better performer. This included sending him "to a vocal coach and ensuring that the actor would be able to play enough piano so the camera could pan from his fingers to his face throughout the film." Garfield recalled these training sessions and revealed that even though it wasn't easy, he gained a lot from his hard work with the vocal coach and Miranda's musical direction team. He told Wired it was a privilege to learn how to sing, "a skill that I've always wanted to attain."

A look at his dating history

Andrew Garfield's first celebrity relationship was with "Raising Hope" star Shannon Woodward. The couple dated for three years before separating. But not long after, Garfield linked up with Emma Stone while the two worked together on "The Amazing Spider-Man." An insider source explained that the actors started dating but kept things rather private since Stone was also fresh out of a relationship with Kieran Culkin, Us Weekly reported. 

After four years together, the couple ended their high-profile relationship in 2015. For his next relationships, Garfield was rumored to be connected with actor Susie Abromeit from "Jessica Jones" and British singer Rita Ora, as recapped by Us Weekly. Then, in 2019, Garfield appeared to be involved with Irish actor Aisling Bea, whom he was seen with at a performance of "Hamilton" in London. But things were not meant to be — in 2021, Garfield was spotted holding hands with Alyssa Miller, a model and alleged ex of Jake Gyllenhaal, People reported.

In an IMDb Q&A, Garfield gave fans some insight into his thoughts on love and relationships. "Yes, I do believe in love at first sight but I also believe that you would love absolutely anybody if you knew their story," he revealed, via People. According to Garfield, he felt traditional family structures were outdated. "I believe that the modern notion of romantic love is seriously misguided and it creates a lot of problems in our modern world," the actor added.

Brotherly love for Andrew Garfield

Andrew Garfield admitted that while his family life was generally positive growing up, he also struggled a bit. "I got lost in my teenage years ... I was very sensitive and didn't cope very well," he revealed to The Telegraph. As for the reason, he admitted that part of the problem came from his older brother. The actor explained, "My brother is super-intelligent and a pretty sorted guy. He's an over-achiever and was head boy at school." As a result, Garfield revealed that he felt some pressure and tried "to get out of his shadow a little bit."

His brother, Benjamin, went on to become a pulmonary doctor. Garfield said he was extremely proud of his sibling and believed Benjamin's profession was "the most noble thing one can do." He even started a standing ovation for Benjamin, who was in the crowd on an episode of "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert."

Before going to school for medicine, Benjamin was briefly an actor, too. Garfield revealed that his father was an aspiring filmmaker and recorded the two boys in a boxing movie. At the time, Garfield was 3 years old and Benjamin 6. "He roped us into beating the s*** out of each other," Garfield said about his dad. Luckily, the actor revealed that no blood was shed, but this may have laid the groundwork for their teenage years. "We were very competitive," Garfield admitted to The Telegraph.

Tragic details about the star

Prior to working on "The Eyes of Tammy Faye," Andrew Garfield received the news that his mother had cancer. She told her son to work on the project despite her health status and said, "I would struggle with you not doing it on account of me," Garfield told Variety. Prior to the end of filming, Garfield returned to England to be with his mom before she died in 2019. 

Garfield recalled, "Those last two weeks I got to be with her were probably the most profound two weeks of my life." Surrounded by the rest of his extended family, Garfield said the experience "was full of grace in the midst of the terrible tragedy." Garfield's next project, "Tick, Tick... Boom!" also helped him cope with the grief from his mother's death. During an appearance on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," Garfield explained how his role in the film as playwright Jonathan Larson — who died in his 30s — was a reminder that life is short. Garfield said of his mom, "I can honor the most beautiful person that I've ever experienced in my life through my art and use it as a way to heal, use it as a way to sew up the wounds."

Sadly, this wasn't the first time someone close to Garfield died too soon. While working on "The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus," the film's lead and "Garfield's friend Heath Ledger died from a prescription drug overdose," The Guardian recapped.

The charitable side of Andrew Garfield

In addition to being charming and talented, Andrew Garfield is also incredibly thoughtful to others in need. For much of his career, the actor has used his influence to help with charitable causes. For example, when he and his ex Emma Stone were spotted by paparazzi in New York City in 2014, they used the opportunity to perform a good deed. They were photographed covering "their faces with signs that bore handwritten messages directing attention to a number of youth and cancer organizations," the Los Angeles Times reported. Stone's sign pointed to Garfield, who listed websites of four organizations including Autism Speaks and WWO. His sign also read, "Here's to the stuff that matters. Have a good day!" 

Garfield and Stone made similar signs in 2012 after they noticed the paparazzi waiting for them outside a restaurant in New York, per E! News. In addition to WWO, Garfield's note called for people to support Gilda's Club NYC.

Beyond making signs, Garfield once put himself at risk to help support a charity. When he was a guest on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," the host asked him if he could perform a backflip in front of the live audience. If successful, Ellen DeGeneres would donate money to support breast cancer research. "You want me to potentially do injury to myself for a good cause? Let's do it," Garfield said. Of course, the actor stuck the landing with ease, all while "wearing loafers and very tight pants." As a result, DeGeneres donated $30,000.

How much is he worth?

In 2010, Andrew Garfield was set to earn half a million dollars for his first Spider-Man film. For the sequel, he was scheduled to take home $1 million and then $2 million for the never-made final film of the planned trilogy, Deadline reported. This was far lower than Tobey Maguire earned for the three prior Spider-Man movies, per Variety. But thanks to his other movies and successful run on Broadway, Garfield picked up plenty of other hefty paychecks. As of 2021, he was worth an estimated $13 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.

Garfield spent some of his money living in Manhattan, where he and Emma Stone used to live together in a "New York City townhouse." After the two split up, their luxurious pad went up for sale. The home was listed for $18.75 million in 2017 after first appearing on the market in 2010, Architectural Digest reported. The couple also reportedly lived together in Beverly Hills. Though it's not clear if just one or both actors owned the house, the Real Estalker reported their shared mansion cost $2.5 million, via New York Daily News.

As a dual citizen, Garfield also lived in London. The actor had a gap between projects after 2018 and spent some of his free time on home improvement there. According to GQ, he renovated his London home by "turning the basement into a sort of minimalist zen chamber." Plus, he spent time "swimming and practicing woodworking."