He played three minor roles in the film The Laramie Project when he was in second year in his drama school, and was spotted by the film's casting director, who eventually introduced Friend to a larger role.
In 2005, he had his first starring role as Ludovic Meyer in the film adaption of Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont, in which he starred opposite Joan Plowright.
In 1998, she launched a successful modelling career, hitting the runway for Alexander Mc Queen, and in 2011 was appointed as a global L'Oreal Ambassador.
Rupert Friend asks to meet me at a farm café in Dalston, east London, near to where he lives.
Keira waited a hot minute, then jumped into a relationship with James Righton (some say there was overlap between James and Rupert). The actress’s spokesperson confirmed she had accepted the Klaxons rocker’s proposal following a 15 month courtship.
The London-born star, 27, started dating the 28-year-old keyboard player last year after being introduced by mutual friend Alexa Chung.
"I grew up in the Oxfordshire countryside so this café is as close as it gets."Friend, who, much to his annoyance, was best known as Keira Knightley's boyfriend for five years, until they split up in 2010, is starring in the London revival of Dennis Potter's controversial play Brimstone and Treacle, at the Arcola Theatre.
The foreboding weather is a fitting backdrop to our discussion of his latest dark character, Martin Taylor, who wheedles his way into the suburban household of Mr and Mrs Bates.
I always wonder about the girls (and boys) who are with a significant other for years and years without marrying, and then as soon as they break up, they jump into a new relationship and get engaged really quickly. She was with Rupert Friend for more than five years – they split up about a year and a half ago. Actress Keira Knightley is engaged to marry her rocker boyfriend James Righton.
This is the actor's first stage outing since his well-received West End debut at the Garrick Theatre in 2010, playing a closeted film star in Douglas Carter Beane's comedy The Little Dog Laughed.
Despite a string of films in which he has starred with Johnny Depp (The Libertine, 2004) Michelle Pfeiffer (Chéri, 2009), Emily Blunt (The Young Victoria, 2009), Friend craves quiet, nature and DIY.
Friend received his professional acting training at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London.
He considered himself a late starter: "I was about to set off sailing around the world when I heard I'd got into drama school.