The Untold Truth Of Benedict Cumberbatch

Rolling into the 2010s, British actor Benedict Cumberbatch began to gain recognition for his electrifying performances. The Independent referred to the well-spoken actor as "the thinking woman's crumpet" and "weirdly fanciable." He proved this with a wide range of skills, especially when it came to crafting signature characters on screen.

Cumberbatch received his first Best Actor nomination at the Oscars for his outstanding performance as Alan Turing in the 2014 film "The Imitation Game." His second Oscar nomination came as a cowboy in the Netflix movie "The Power of the Dog," per The New York Times. He's performed onstage in Shakespeare productions while also portraying Sherlock Holmes in a modern day retelling of the famous fictional British detective. Cumberbatch also showed his superhero side in the MCU, including two solo films, "Doctor Strange" and the 2022 sequel "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness," (via The Hollywood Reporter). While he admitted all these projects might cause some people to think Hollywood is overloaded with Cumberbatch, the actor said, "If you can stand by the work and be proud of it, and if it's varied and diverse, then, great. You just roll with it." Fans agree, including his most loyal devotees who refer to themselves as Cumberb****es. Outside of all his film and TV roles, Cumberbatch's life plays out like a movie, with relationship ups and downs, generosity, heartbreak, and a near-death experience that is almost too intense to believe.

Calling all Cumberb****es, this is the untold truth of Benedict Cumberbatch.

Benedict Cumberbatch had a simple childhood

Benedict Cumberbatch is an only child, the son of two actors — Wanda Ventham and Timothy Carlton. Ventham went to school with Dame Judi Dench at the Central School of Music and Drama, so Dench knew Cumberbatch since he was a kid, she told People. The young boy grew up in London and remembers his upbringing fondly, crediting his parents with providing him opportunities to succeed and calling them both heroes in an interview with People. According to Cumberbatch, he spent his earliest days looking up at the sky, which is probably why his first word spoken was helicopter. "They were the biggest things in the sky," Cumberbatch told GQ about his obsession with the aircraft.

For education, Cumberbatch attended the Harrow School in London, an all-boys boarding school, from the age of 8. "It suited me down to the ground," Cumberbatch told the Independent about his boarding school experience. "I fell in love with the place," he added. According to Cumberbatch, his time at the school was instrumental in his development. Instead of getting into less favorable activities, school helped Cumberbatch focus his energy "into craft and acting and music and rugby and other sports," he told Esquire

Cumberbatch said he was a talkative and curious child who was full of energy — not that every day was easy for the young boy. Cumberbatch admitted that he was often insecure and remembered, "I was petrified by the idea of what other people thought of me."

The imitation game with Benedict Cumberbatch

During an interview with MTV, Benedict Cumberbatch showed his impressive impression range. In only one minute, the actor did his best to sound like John Malkovich, Sean Connery, Michael Caine, Matthew McConaughey, and Alan Rickman. In fact, his Rickman impersonation is so good that "The Simpsons" called on Cumberbatch to provide the voice for the "Harry Potter" character Professor Snape, played by Rickman, per Entertainment Weekly. Following the death of Rickman, "The Simpsons" tweeted a clip from the episode with the caption, "A (brief) tribute by Benedict Cumberbatch to the great Alan Rickman."

While appearing as a guest on "The Graham Norton Show," Cumberbatch had the audience in stitches by imitating the host and his distinctive laugh. He then said a few words as Smaug the dragon, which Cumberbatch voiced in "The Hobbit" trilogy. In the same interview, the actor showed off his impression of Jar Jar Binks, perhaps the most despised character in the entire "Star Wars" franchise. Cumberbatch provided his best Chewbacca impersonation too, while sitting next to Harrison Ford in the interview. Ford, who played Han Solo alongside Chewbacca in several "Star Wars" films, was visibly stunned by Cumberbatch's accuracy. This gift is less surprising to people who have worked with Cumberbatch. Stephen Moffat, a co-creator for "Sherlock" said of Cumberbatch's ability to copy others, "He's got a remarkable ear. He can pick up people seriously fast. He could do me. He could do you," Moffat told GQ.

Benedict Cumberbatch is talented in many ways

Prior to becoming an actor, Benedict Cumberbatch aspired to be a professional artist. As a young man, he earned an arts scholarship to the Harrow School, per the Independent. Though he abandoned that career path and focused on drama, Cumberbatch later showed he still brimmed with other artistic talents — like when he drew a self-portrait and donated the piece to be auctioned off to benefit the New End Primary School in London, per The Hollywood Reporter. In fact, the actor showed off his drawing skills for charity several times. A Tumblr user posted a self-portrait that Cumberbatch drew of himself as Sherlock Holmes. According to the post, the actor created the piece for the Willow Foundation, an organization devoted to helping ill young adults.

Sticking with the artist theme, Cumberbatch portrayed real English artist Louis Wain in the 2021 film "The Electrical Life of Louis Wain." The subject was known for his peculiar artwork, often revolving around whimsical looking cats. While filming, Cumberbatch would draw on set to envision life as Wain. "I'd settle down and start painting on a piece of glass or I'd start copying his drawing. Or trying to do stuff blind, or trying to do stuff with two hands," Cumberbatch told The Hollywood Reporter, referencing Wain's two-handed painting technique. Cumberbatch became so intrigued by the subject that he wrote the foreword to a biography on Wain, who he called an oddball outsider that deserved more love, via The Guardian.

How Benedict Cumberbatch started acting

One of Benedict Cumberbatch's earliest performances as an actor was portraying Joseph in his school's nativity play. Already devoted to perfection in acting, he remembered pushing the girl playing Mary off the stage when she forgot her lines. Cumberbatch luckily became more even-tempered and began to perform in school plays as a young man. "I always had self-belief in my talent. You have to," the actor told GQ

Following in the footsteps of his parents, Cumberbatch pursued acting as a career by studying drama at the University of Manchester after taking a year to travel around Tibet. Initially, Cumberbatch went by Ben Carlton to keep with the tradition of his actor father who changed to the stage name Timothy Carlton. Smartly, a colleague suggested that Cumberbatch use his real family name. Cumberbatch went even deeper into studying acting and enrolled in the drama program at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. He graduated as a 24-year-old and immediately started performing, per the Independent.

For critical recognition as a professional actor, Cumberbatch won a BAFTA for his role as the title character in the Showtime series "Patrick Melrose," per The New York Times. Though the actor had yet to win an Academy Award as of 2022, Cumberbatch said he had many more great performances to come. "I'm 45 and I'd like to work for another 40 years or so, so there's a lot of life to still give," he told The New York Times.

Benedict Cumberbatch recounts his most terrifying moment

Prior to his breakout role as the leading man in "Sherlock," Benedict Cumberbatch nearly saw the end of his career and even worse, the end of his life. It started when the actor traveled to South Africa in 2004 to work on the mini-series "To the Ends of the Earth." Filming was going great, including exciting leisure time, until one night Cumberbatch and two of his co-stars in the series found themselves in grave trouble. While trying to fix a flat tire, six men surrounded the actors, tied their hands up, and forced them into a vehicle. "I was scared, really scared," Cumberbatch told The Hollywood Reporter. "I was really worried that I was going to get raped or molested or just tortured or toyed with in some way, some act of control and savagery," he revealed. It appeared even worse when the men stopped driving off-road and threw Cumberbatch outside of the vehicle.

At that moment, Cumberbatch vividly remembered thinking that he was about to die. As his face was covered with a cloth, the actor felt he was seconds away from being shot and thought, "No matter how loved you are in this life, you will die alone," he told GQ. After pleading to be spared, Cumberbatch realized the attackers left and he sprinted towards the first light he saw. Luckily, a woman was outside to untie Cumberbatch's hands. The actor said was grateful to be alive after the entire ordeal.

Benedict Cumberbatch is a music man

Showing he could be a leading man outside of Hollywood films, Benedict Cumberbatch once linked up to sing with an iconic classic rock band. While the guitarist David Gilmour from the legendary British band Pink Floyd performed at a 2016 concert at Royal Albert Hall in London, he welcomed Cumberbatch on stage, The Telegraph reported. The actor provided lead vocals for the song "Comfortably Numb," as seen in a concert video. Though more of a joke, Cumberbatch tried to sing pop music once. During an interview for MTV, he impersonated Taylor Swift singing. Additionally, Cumberbatch sang along to the Elbow song "Gentle Storm" in the music video.

In terms of pleasurable listening, Cumberbatch enjoys more atmospheric tunes that evoke feelings. One of his favorite bands is the Icelandic post-rock band Sigur Rós. "It transports me. It gives me a mental landscape that is very inspiring," he told The Hollywood Reporter about the group's music. 

Cumberbatch also listens to similar music to get into character. In preparation for his role in "The Power of the Dog," the actor would listen to classical orchestra music and the soundtrack to the film "There Will Be Blood," which Jonny Greenwood scored. Greenwood, who is also the guitarist for Radiohead, went on to do the music for "The Power of the Dog," The Hollywood Reporter noted.

The complete dating history of Benedict Cumberbatch

While at school in Manchester honing his dramatic acting skills, Benedict Cumberbatch found a romantic connection with a fellow thespian, actor Olivia Poulet. The two dated and lived together in London, per a 2011 article by the Independent. A few years later, Cumberbatch revealed that he and Poulet actually ended their relationship in 2010. Looking forward, he told The Big Issue, "I'm building a home at the moment, and it would be nice to fill that home with love and life and children." 

As Cumberbatch became increasingly famous, he found it difficult to find lasting connections with potential companions. "It is harder [meeting women], because people think they know more about you than they actually do. And you can't control that. You can't control perceptions of you," the actor revealed to GQ. He briefly dated Anna Jones, a fashion designer, but the two broke up in 2012. Cumberbatch's half-sister Tracy felt it was his high intelligence that made it tough for his girlfriends, she told the Daily Mail.

Cumberbatch finally found his match with Sophie Hunter, a theater director. "We're so happy, and we just wanted to let everyone know how happy we are," Cumberbatch told People about their engagement. On Valentine's Day in 2015, Cumberbatch and Hunter held their wedding ceremony at a medieval church with royal history in Mottistone, England, on the Isle of Wight. The private affair reportedly included British actors Tom Hiddleston and Andrew Scott in attendance, per People.

Life as a dad for Benedict Cumberbatch

In his 30s, Benedict Cumberbatch didn't have any kids but he was open to starting a family, he told the Independent. At the time, Cumberbatch was together with actor Olivia Poulet. "I would love to have children," Cumberbatch told Event Magazine (via Marie Claire). "I was happy as an only child, but I've always wanted to be part of a bigger family," the actor said. He added, "I can't wait to do an interview like this and just talk about my child." 

A month before getting married in 2015, Cumberbatch announced that he would have his first child with his soon-to-be bride Sophie Hunter. The couple had a boy and named him Christopher after Cumberbatch's character in the film "Parade's End." The boy's middle name Carlton continued a tradition with the same family middle name as Cumberbatch, his dad, and his grandfather. "Having a baby — it's massive," Cumberbatch told Vogue about becoming a father.

In 2017, Hunter and Cumberbatch had their second son together, Hal Auden. The name was the nickname for the title character in Shakespeare's play "Henry V," according to the Daily Mail. Around the time of the birth, the actor's wife legally changed her name to Sophie Cumberbatch, People reported. A year later, Sophie walked the red carpet with her husband and appeared to have a baby bump, E! News reported. The pair had their third son Finn in 2019 but never officially announced the birth, per The Atlantic.

Benedict Cumberbatch is deeply involved in world events

Since the start of the 2022 war between Russia and Ukraine, Benedict Cumberbatch has been a vocal supporter of Ukraine. He even went so far as to house Ukrainian refugees who fled from their country during the conflict. As for why he volunteered his own house to welcome a family from Ukraine, "I want to give them some stability after the turmoil that they've experienced, and that's within my home," Cumberbatch told Sky News. According to Cumberbatch, he was also financially supporting others to host families. He too mentioned his work with ​​the Refugees at Home charity to provide psychological support to refugees.

The selfless actor used a moment meant to commemorate his personal achievements to bring awareness to tragedies in the world. He addressed the war in Ukraine during his Hollywood Walk of Fame induction speech, per Reuters. Cumberbatch said he was supporting the Ukrainian people, while also discussing his "support for the people of Russia who are opposing the kleptocracy and the idiocy of their rulers." Cumberbatch implored attendees and anyone else listening to act beyond simply giving prayers for all those involved in the conflict. "We need to see what we can do as citizens of the world," Cumberbatch said in his call to action. He suggested people could contact embassies, support groups and human rights organizations, talk to banks, or work with corporations to take an active role in the devastating war.

Benedict Cumberbatch's family tragedy

When Benedict Cumberbatch was still a child, his half-sister Tracy would babysit him in London. One memorable moment from his childhood was when Tracy accidentally left him on the roof and forgot he was there. "I mean, it was funny. She was in the kitchen with her friends and she suddenly saw the snow falling through the window," Cumberbatch told GQ. The actor said he had "turned blue" from the cold but apparently his younger self stayed positive through the entire experience.

Cumberbatch's mother Wanda Ventham had Tracy with her first husband before giving birth to the actor. Tracy stayed with her mom after Ventham remarried to Cumberbatch's dad Timothy Carlton. She was 17 years older than Cumberbatch and went on to become an artist who was often referred to as Tracks. "She was a brilliant fine artist but ended up doing a lot of restorative work on canvas and on frames and carpentry," Cumberbatch told the Daily Mail about her work.

Sadly, in 2021, Tracy died from cancer after living with the disease for seven years. The actor said it was horrible to learn about her death but he fondly remembered Tracy. Even with the cancer diagnosis, Cumberbatch revealed she continued to make art for him and other family members, including homemade "Christmas and celebratory cards of any kind of festival. She was very gifted." The actor added about his late half-sister, "She was nothing to do with this world. She was markedly different."

Inside one of his most famous roles

He wasn't yet a star but Benedict Cumberbatch made the most of his opportunity in the 2007 film "Atonement." His scene stealing skills combined with his work on the film "Starter for 10" the year before left a memorable impression on Mark Gatiss, the co-creator of the BBC series "Sherlock," which debuted in 2010. "Having taken the plunge on a modern-day Sherlock Holmes, everything about Benedict, his age, his look, his 'otherness' marked him out. We drew up a huge list of possible Sherlocks but, in the end, we saw no-one but him," Gatiss revealed to Esquire. Cumberbatch was 34 years old when the series started and the success turned him into a true leading man.

As he took on other projects, these roles sometimes affected his on-screen detective work as Holmes, like when he bulked up to play Doctor Stephen Strange in the MCU. On the last day of work for the film "Doctor Strange," Cumberbatch flew out that evening to Wales to start filming another season of "Sherlock." As the actor remembered, "I was not in Sherlock shape, I was in Doctor Strange shape so I was quite big," he told Digital Spy. Cumberbatch then needed to drop weight quickly because of the bulk, as he noted, "he's not necessarily, Sherlock." More than just losing weight for "Sherlock," Cumberbatch also learned to play violin for the role, according to The Guardian.

Benedict Cumberbatch's odd relationship with two wheels

In 2018, four men in London attacked a young man on a bicycle working for the food delivery service Deliveroo. Benedict Cumberbatch was in an Uber with his wife Sophie Hunter before he jumped out to intervene. Ironically, the attack took place only a few blocks away from a Sherlock Holmes statue in the city. The actor reportedly broke up the mugging and scared the four men off. "He seemed to know exactly what he was doing. He was very brave," the Uber driver told The Sun about Cumberbatch's heroic moment.

On the flip side, Cumberbatch once injured another biker. Michael Lawrence was cycling on the Isle of Wight in 2019 when he was struck by a vehicle. In the driver's seat of the luxury SUV, a Lamborghini Urus, was Cumberbatch. As a result of the collision, Lawrence apparently had a bloody injury on his arm after smashing into the vehicle's side mirror. Cumberbatch got out of the car and told the biker, "You were in the middle of the road," a friend of Lawrence told The Sun. Not knowing who the driver was, Lawrence reportedly slapped Cumberbatch across the face. After the physical contact, Cumberbatch supposedly removed his baseball hat and the attacker finally recognized the famous actor. Both men cooled off and Cumberbatch even offered to drive Lawrence to the hospital. The actor reported the incident and, in the end, Cumberbatch didn't press charges against the man for slapping him.

He revealed how the pandemic affected him

Towards the end of 2019, Benedict Cumberbatch was on location in South Africa filming "The Mauritanian." He became wildly ill, even vomiting between scenes, as he told the Independent. Not long after, news started to appear of the first global cases of COVID-19 and the actor felt he may have been an early recipient of the virus. "I was thinking, oh my god was I actually patient zero. I was so ill – it was borderline pneumonia," Cumberbatch recalled. The actor recovered, but sadly, the virus was more harmful to a close friend. While in Los Angeles to unveil his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Cumberbatch talked about his dear friend Patrick "P-Nut" Monroe, a celebrity fitness trainer who died from COVID-19. 

Actor Tom Hardy supposedly introduced Cumberbatch to Monroe. "The last I heard from him was a text on a ventilator in an ICU unit," Cumberbatch said in his speech, per Variety. "This has been a really painful year for so many, hundreds of thousands, millions of people around the world. Not just those who've lost loved ones because of this, but also because of the separation and the anxiety and tensions that has caused," Cumberbatch added.

Looking back, Cumberbatch revealed he was humbled by the pandemic. He learned from all the difficult experiences about the power of nature. According to Cumberbatch, he felt the pandemic forced everyone "to stop and to contemplate," he explained to The Guardian.

The charitable side of Benedict Cumberbatch

Benedict Cumberbatch can stir up emotions both with acting and with his real life generosity. He's been involved in many philanthropic endeavors throughout his career, like when he helped the Motor Neurone Disease Association. In a private agreement, Cumberbatch waived his £7 million fee for narrating a documentary about author JRR Tolkien's great grandson Mike Tolkien who died from the disease. "Benedict's secret gesture is the most incredible tribute to Mike," film maker Royd Tolkien told Express.

Cumberbatch has long been associated with GEANCO, an organization that helps vulnerable people in Nigeria. He was the guest of honor at the 2016 event, where he met the founders and learned more about the charity. GEANCO presented Cumberbatch with its Global Promise Award for his charitable work and "all he has done and continues to do for vulnerable women and children," co-founder Afam Onyema said (via PR Newswire). In 2018, Cumberbatch teamed up with Omaze for a competition to raise funds for GEANCO, a "charity very dear to my heart." In the promotional video, Cumberbatch delivered a dramatic reading of the song "I'm A Little Teapot."

Cumberbatch also supported The Prince's Trust, who provide youth support in the United Kingdom. Showing his fitness and generosity in the same event, Cumberbatch participated in the Palace to Palace cycling event, riding an impressive 45 miles from Buckingham Palace to Windsor Castle. As an ambassador for the event, Cumberbatch raised over £20,000, the Press Association reported.

Here's how much Benedict Cumberbatch is really worth

Beyond making money as a world-class actor, Benedict Cumberbatch earned money through endorsements, like a photoshoot with GQ sponsored by Mercedes-Benz. The actor was also the face of an ad for famous Swiss watchmaker Jaeger-LeCoultre. All combined, Cumberbatch was worth an estimated $40 million as of 2022, according to Celebrity Net Worth.

In real estate, Cumberbatch has been quickly upgrading in impressive homes as his celebrity increases. Back in 2008, the actor paid £475,000 for an apartment in the Hampstead area of London. Two years later, he bought the apartment underneath him for £300,000 and combined the two places, per the Evening Standard. In 2015, Cumberbatch bought a four story home in North London for £2.7 million or nearly $3.4 million, The Sun noted, per The Washington Post. Also that same year, Cumberbatch bought a huge £10.8 million Hidden Hills mansion in Los Angeles, the Daily Mail reported.

In 2022, Cumberbatch appeared ready to expand his portfolio in the American housing market. Sources said that Cumberbatch was particularly interested in a 300-acre property and farm in the Southwestern United States, complete with a mansion, for £4 million, or about $5 million, The Sun revealed. If the place comes with horses, Cumberbatch may go from on-screen cowboy for his role in "The Power of the Dog" to a real life cowboy.