James Norton39s heartbreak as the actor splits from fiancee Imogen

James Norton's heartbreak as the actor splits from fiancée Imogen Poots after a six-year relationship

He is one of the most sought-after leading actors – and is also known for being a lovely guy off-screen.

But friends say Happy Valley star James Norton is quietly suffering from heartbreak after splitting from fiancée Imogen Poots.

I'm told the couple, who shared a home in East London, parted ways before Christmas after they “grew apart”.

The pair have worked together almost continuously, with James, 38, filming the Bob Marley biopic One Love, which premiered in Los Angeles and London this week.

He plays Island Records founder Chris Blackwell.

IHappy Valley star James Norton is quietly suffering heartbreak after splitting from his fiancée Imogen Poots. Imogen was last seen with James in March 2023

The pair have worked together almost continuously, with James, 38, filming the Bob Marley biopic One Love, which premiered in Los Angeles and London this week

The pair have worked together almost continuously, with James, 38, filming the Bob Marley biopic One Love, which premiered in Los Angeles and London this week

Imogen, 34, spent time in New Mexico in 2022 filming drama Outer Range with James Brolin and is now on set in Northamptonshire filming Hedda, a new adaptation of Ibsen's Hedda Gabler.

In an interview last year to promote the Happy Valley finale, he said of his busy acting life: “It comes at a cost because you don't see each other often, but we're willing to pay that to have someone there.” Your life is close to you, who gets it, who forgives, who sacrifices their Sunday to make an annoying self-video (audition).

They met after meeting during a performance of the play Belleville at the Donmar Warehouse in 2017 and became engaged in February 2022.

Imogen was last seen with James after the premiere of A Little Life, an adaptation of Hanya Yanagihara's novel, in March 2023.

However, she was not seen at any of the One Love premieres in Jamaica, LA or London.

The couple also appear to have unfollowed each other on social media, and Imogen is not among those who liked Norton's recent Instagram posts about the film.

Spokespeople for Imogen and James did not respond to requests for comment this week.

James, who attended Ampleforth College before studying theology at Cambridge, recently completed Joy, a Netflix film about the first “test-tube baby” Louise Brown.

He is currently filming Playing Nice, a four-part ITV drama about parents who discover their children have been accidentally switched at birth. James is executive producer of this show through his own company, Rabbit Track Productions.

In an interview last year to promote the Happy Valley finale, he said of his busy acting life:

In an interview last year to promote the Happy Valley finale, he said of his busy acting life: “It comes at a cost because you don't see each other often” (James pictured)

Imogen and James met while performing alongside each other in Belleville at the Donmar Warehouse in the summer of 2017

Imogen and James met while performing alongside each other in Belleville at the Donmar Warehouse in the summer of 2017

They got engaged in February 2022 (pictured together in January 2020)

They got engaged in February 2022 (pictured together in January 2020)

Speaking about the Happy Valley finale, which featured escaped prisoner Tommy Lee Royce in a final confrontation with Sgt Catherine Cawood, played by Sarah Lancashire, he said: “That scene with Sarah was one of the most extraordinary scenes ever I've ever shot.” The whole set was quiet, like you were in a church.

“She was spectacular and I felt like I was doing a good job.” I usually walk off set thinking, “Oh no, I messed up!” It's terrible! I hate myself. Life is nonsense!'

In the final scenes of Happy Valley, Cawood called her sister Clare and told her that she had had a final encounter with Tommy. “We had another little argument. Of course I won. I think I could have scorched one of your crocheted blankets.'