Taylor-Johnson is a courteous, no-nonsense Londoner who made her name as a Turner-nominated photographer and visual artist. She’s a woman who knows what she wants, and her firm sense of control, her resilience and discipline have brought her far.
Abandoned by both parents, she scraped her way into an art school during the 1990s and became one of the Young British Artists, famously making a video portrait of David Beckham, as well as her work Crying Men which featured 28 male actors sobbing (including her husband Aaron Taylor-Johnson).
Keep Turning Those Decades
Fueling Taylor-Johnson’s work with the themes of death and decay were her long years of battling colon and breast cancer. But having recently turned 50, her focus now is on life.
“I’m fucking grateful to turn 50. I’ve faced the alternative a couple of times, so turning 50 is a blessing. And I’d like to turn 60 and 70 and 80, too. As long as I can keep turning those decades, I’ll be fine.”
She no longer believes that her art requires her to straddle neurosis and psychosis: “I don’t believe I’m that same person now. I don’t necessarily feel I’m constantly weaving through madness and sadness. I’m calmer and happier, a little more self-assured.”
Her first marriage to an art dealer ended in 2008. A year later, she made her first feature film, Nowhere Boy, about John Lennon. She ended up marrying the lead actor, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, her current husband. She was 42, he was 19.
Proving the Cynics Wrong
Tabloids swooped in and the paparazzi raved over Taylor-Johnson’s marriage. But the fuss now seems so distant. The couple have been married for nine years — lasting longer than many relationships that were, on paper, much more acceptable. Now settled in Los Angeles with four daughters (two from their union, and two from her first marriage), the family is living their lives under the mellow and sunny weather. She has reconciled with her mother, who recently visited.
“I think my grounded nature now and sense of stability come from my relationship with Aaron and family,” says Taylor Johnson.