Coffee and dogs – that’s how Ed Westwick wooed Amy Jackson and swept her off her feet. In our August 2023 cover story, we explore their playful chemistry and more.
Amy Jackson first met Ed Westwick in the fall of 2021 at the Silverstone race track at an Aston Martin event. They were introduced by a mutual friend and they chatted a bit, mostly about their dogs (Herbert, Jackson’s poodle and Humphrey, Westwick’s Frenchie) and then went off in their Astons and raced around the track all afternoon. Before leaving, the Gossip Girl actor came over and casually asked Jackson what she was up to over the weekend. “House hunting in Hampstead,” she said to which he promptly replied that he knew the area rather well. In fact, he knew Hampstead so well that he was familiar with a great dog-friendly coffee shop in case she’d like to go there with Herbert . . . well, the rest as they say is history.
“He knew how to win me over from the get-go…coffee and dogs,” says Jackson with a smile.
Amy Jackson exudes warmth and a delightful aura, even in the gloomy weather of Mumbai. Dressed in an asymmetrical cutout denim paired with a sleek bodysuit, she embodies a fashionista as she steps out of the elevator at Sofitel BKC. Alongside her is her beau, the internationally adored actor Ed Westwick, sporting a classic white T-shirt and khakis. His arrival has caused mild hysteria in Mumbai, with people excitedly whispering, “Dude, did you know Chuck Bass is in the city?”.
It’s been 11 years since the generation-defining Gossip Girl ended but Westwick’s portrayal of antihero-extraordinaire Chuck Bass still holds massive sway in popular culture. Social media went crazy when news of their relationship first hit the airwaves, with tweets and reels celebrating their real-life resemblance to Chuck Bass and Blair Waldorf. The internet discovered Amy Jackson’s impressive track record in Indian cinema, alongside her stunning looks and reputation as a major fashionista in the Indian sub-continent. During her career, Jackson has starred opposite some of the biggest names in Indian cinema – Vikram, Anushka Shetty, Ram Charan, Vijay, Akshay Kumar, Dhanush, Samantha and the one and only, Rajinikanth. However, she remains grounded, crediting her success to following her intuition and embracing self-growth in the fiercely competitive film industry.
While she’s enjoyed success in India, the actress enjoys the fact that now, she has a more global fanbase. “Now more than ever, film regardless of its origin, is appreciated and respected worldwide – it knows no boundaries nor limits; and being able to transport an audience to different worlds, cultures, and experiences, fostering empathy and understanding through my work is extremely important. The Bollywood and Tamil movies I filmed this year both have an international backdrop. I act as a Polish Europol agent as well as a British Governor in which the storyline allows the character to speak both Hindi and Tamil,” she says.
Boasting a combined Instagram following of nearly 30 million, Amy Jackson and Ed Westwick are constantly in the spotlight. While many in their profession struggle with the invasion of privacy and media intrusion into their personal lives, Jackson and Westwick gracefully navigate the world of social media, embracing it with ease. “I embrace my public life and it’s always great to meet people and take pictures as long as people are polite, which most of the time they are. I also like to, you know, be away at home, walk my dogs, be with my family and enjoy my privacy. Balance is always good. Getting into nature is very important to me but social media is a fascinating, relatively new technology and a great way to connect with fans,” he says.
For the Theri actress, social media is a choice and not a necessity. “Social media is an extension of what I’m doing on the big screen – it’s connecting with my audience. I adore acting as an artistic expression but I also understand that my work is supposed to be seen and experienced by an audience and that audience wants to engage. I try to find that healthy balance of having family time, living out in nature as much as possible (we just bought a new house in the countryside) whilst incorporating genuine interactions online all help maintain a sense of privacy,” she says.
That’s refreshing coming from two popular actors but if you’ve ever been in their vicinity, you’d realise that they are fuss-free and always willing to try out new experiences. While Jackson appears to be quite an extrovert, Westwick is “an introverted extrovert”. During our shoot, the duo is extremely comfortable with each other and their chemistry is crackling, to say the least. Dressed in stunning outfits ranging from Manish Malhotra to Bally to Valentino, Amy Jackson exudes sensuality while Ed Westwick is . . . incredibly goofy and fun. They are wont to whisper to each other in between shoots, sharing inside jokes and breaking into spontaneous laughter.
Westwick’s idea of love comes from what he witnessed between his mother and father. “There was something beautiful. They could always count on each other and had the utmost respect for one other and I think that is the most important thing,” he says, having found something similar with Jackson.
“He’s my partner in everything we do. He’s the voice of reason and calmness in chaotic times, he’s direct yet sensitive, an introverted extrovert, able to make me cry with laughter even through some of the toughest times. We share a passion for creating and growing as individuals and as a unit – I’ve never had someone who supports and encourages me to wholeheartedly explore my true self. He makes me feel like I can do anything. And as if that wasn’t enough, he’s the kindest, most caring human being to my little boy, Andreas – I love their relationship,” says Jackson.
Westwick chimes in and says that he is currently looking forward to a movie night in their new house. While the actor has watched a few of his girlfriend’s films (Singh Is Bliing being one of them), he’s eager to watch more. “It’s great fun. She’s had a great career, and I’m in awe of everything she’s achieved, and I’m really excited for her upcoming projects.”
When it comes to Jackson, she’s happy to have found a hopeless romantic like herself. Her son, Andreas, showed her that a mother’s love is the purest form of love. It is Andreas who gave her the strength and courage to make important life choices for both of them. Throughout this journey, she worked on healing, and therapy and went through a whirlwind of self-discovery.
“This is the first time in my adult life that I’ve been in a relationship and felt content and at peace as well as head over heels passionately in love – it’s all about the balance,” she says.
Considering how my group chat is currently going ballistic over the fact that we are shooting with ‘Chuck Bass’, I wonder if Westwick ever gets tired of being associated constantly with the character he played over a decade ago.
“Playing a recognisable character is great. You know, I’m still blown away that so many years later, people enjoy the show and come up to me and have questions about it and everything like that. It’s all been pretty good,” he says. Post Gossip Girl, the English actor and musician has been involved with a series of projects like White Gold, J. Edgar, Bone in The Throat and Billionaire Ransom to list a few.
Jackson herself has been a leading lady in the Southern film industries, but she says that an experience that visibly shaped her acting journey was working on Shankar’s I. Amongst the larger-than-life scenery and songs was a heavy dialogue script; there was one seven-page scene that was filled with local Tamil slang dialogues. “We shot a portion of I in China over fifty days and I remember Vikram, my co-actor, rehearsing with me on this scene in particular at every given moment . . . on the plane, in the car to new locations. It was all about timing, all about bantering off one another and we ran the lines so many times that when we finally came to shoot it, it was second nature and it turned out to be an iconic scene in the film. Vikram’s dedication and commitment to the film as well as helping me give my best performance possible just reinforced that being an actor isn’t solely about whether you’re ready for your close-up – it’s a collective effort of respect, appreciation and dedication to the film,” she says.
We’re nearing the end of our shoot and Westwick is suddenly very interested in Vada Pav, the Maharashtrian staple. Jackson assures him that they’ll try the popular dish out and much more as they travel around the country. Westwick visibly lights up on hearing this. He’s thrilled to be in India and the energy of our great nation has inspired him. And yes, Amy’s been a great host.
“I was definitely welcomed in a great way and felt completely comfortable. Amy has a great, great love and affection for India, having spent so much time there and having worked there and had important relationships that she still has to this day. It’s always great to go with a local when you’re going somewhere. And I kind of had, like, a semi-local/ former resident in Amy. It was wonderful,” he tells me, signing off.