Date of Birth
19 December 1981, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
6' (1.83 m)
Hayden Christensen was born April 19, 1981 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. His parents, Alie and David Christensen, are in the communications business. He is of Danish (father) and Swedish and Italian (mother) descent. Hayden grew up in Markham, Ontario, with siblings Kaylen, Hejsa, and Tove. Hayden set out to become an actor when a chance encounter at the age of eight placed him in his first commercial, for Pringles. When he was thirteen, he had starring roles in several dramatic television series.
His biggest break was a major part in the Fox Family Network's Higher Ground (2000). On the series, Hayden showed off his acting talent as a teen who was sexually molested by his stepmother, and turns to drugs in despair. Later, he appeared in the television movie Trapped in a Purple Haze (2000), where he co-starred with his friend Jonathan Jackson. Hayden also had a role in the film The Virgin Suicides (1999).
On May 12, 2000, it was announced that Christensen would star as Anakin Skywalker in the prequels Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002) and Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005). The star was chosen by director George Lucas because he felt that Hayden had raw talent and good chemistry with actress Natalie Portman. Lucas stunned the movie world by picking the then-unknown actor after he had turned down such big names as Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonathan Jackson, as well as 400 other candidates.
His role as the troubled, misunderstood teenager Sam Monroe in Irwin Winkler's Life as a House (2001) won him 'Breakthrough Performance of the Year' from the National Board of Review. The film also placed him as a nominee for 'Best Supporting Actor' at both the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Awards. Hayden then starred in Shattered Glass (2003), quoted by some of the real Stephen Glass' colleagues as giving an eerie and uncanny portrayal.
Since his Star Wars days, Hayden has headlined several action films, including Jumper (2008) and Takers (2010).
When not working, he enjoys spending quality time with his family (such as big brother Tove), hanging out with his friends, and exploring other hobbies such as the blues, jazz and piano.
Hayden was in a relationship with actress Rachel Bilson from 2007 to 2017. The two have a child, born in 2014.
Has a younger sister named Kaylen Christensen (b. 1984), an older sister named Hejsa Christensen and an older brother named Tove Christensen.
Was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful People by People Magazine in 2002.
Was discovered when his older sister, Hejsa Christensen, a former trampoline champion, was shopping around for an agent. No one was home to baby-sit him so he went along and it was suggested that he get an agent, himself.
One of Teen People Magazine's "25 Hottest Stars under 25" in 2002.
Resides in Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada.
Attended Unionville High School in Markham, Ontario, Canada.
He fractured his hand during the filming of a rather violent scene in Life as a House (2001) in which his character hits a wall.
Grew up playing competitive tennis and hockey.
A digital rendering of Hayden appears in the 2004 DVD version of Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983), as the spirit of Anakin Skywalker. This replaced Sebastian Shaw as the ghostly image that appears beside Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda at the end of the film. Hayden said in an interview that he had been unaware of this change.
Graduated from Baythorn Public School in 1995.
Was a "ball boy" at the Canadian Open tennis matches. Jumped out too soon during a match in which John McEnroe was playing, causing an interruption in play.
He, his brother and their friends "kidnap" one another on each of their birthdays, drive to a location unknown to the birthday-boy and then spend the day riding dirt-bikes.
Supports Manchester United Football Club.
His Canadian father is of Danish and English ancestry, while his American mother is half Italian and half Swedish. His maternal grandmother, Rose (Rao), was raised in Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of Italian immigrants.
Named one of Teen People Magazine's "25 Hottest Stars Under 25" in 2005.
His favorite scenes to film in Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005) were the scenes in which he acted with Ian McDiarmid.
Named one of People Magazine's "50 Hottest Bachelors" in 2005.
Competed with his sister Hejsa Christensen (the captain), brother Tove Christensen and a family friend in Eco-Challenge Fiji Islands (2003). The Eco-Challenge consists of a 500-kilometer (300 miles) race that included the tasks of hiking, swimming, kayaking and mountain biking their way through the Fiji archipelago. Only 23 out of 81 teams finished this race. Christensen was one of the youngest competitors in the race.
One of the youngest competitors in Eco-Challenge Fiji Islands (2003).
Is the only actor to have portrayed Anakin Skywalker and his Sith alter ego, Darth Vader, in the same movie, Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005). All other times, Anakin and Vader have been played by different actors.
One of Teen People's "25 Hottest Stars under 25" in 2002 and 2005.
He and Jessica Alba visited Bellevue hospital and spent time with little children, bringing them Christmas cheer while filming Awake (2007).
Is one of three Star Wars actors who has also appeared in a film directed by a fellow cast member. Frank Oz directed Ian McDiarmid in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988) and Terence Stamp in Bowfinger (1999). Hayden appeared in The Virgin Suicides (1999), directed by Sofia Coppola.
Is the third actor to play Anakin Skywalker, and is the only who has played the non-Vader Anakin more than once. Sebastian Shaw played the role only in Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983), and had died by the time the prequels were made. Jake Lloyd played Anakin in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999). Hayden played the young adult Anakin in both Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002) and Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005).
On the set of Factory Girl (2006) in Louisiana, he shared a house with co-star Sienna Miller.
Is partially of Swedish descent, as are his on-screen mother Pernilla August and son Mark Hamill from the Star Wars films.
Is an alumnus of the Arts York Drama Program at Unionville High School, a school that specializes in the creative arts.
Was ranked #11 on Entertainment Weekly's '30 Under 30' the actors list. (2008).
His favorite actor is Joe Lando.
Favorite actor and mentor is Kevin Kline.
He and his girlfriend Rachel Bilson got engaged on December 25, 2008. They ended their engagement in June 2010, but got back together the following year. Later in 2017, the couple have split again.
Currently filming Awake (2007) in New York. [December 2005]
Currently filming Virgin Territory (2007) (aka "The Decameron"). [May 2005]
Currently filming New York, I Love You (2008). [August 2008]
In Detroit, filming Vanishing on 7th Street (2010). [October 2009]
Filming Factory Girl (2006) in Shreveport, Louisiana. [January 2006]
Filming Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005) in Australia. [June 2003]
Hayden holds dual citizenship in the United States and his native Canada.
His now ex-girlfriend Rachel Bilson gave birth to their first child, a daughter named Briar Rose Christensen, on October 29, 2014.
Actors are observers. They're trying to have an understanding of human sensibility. And how do you have that accurate observation if you regard yourself as someone of great importance? When you're the one constantly being observed, because they view you as a celebrity? It's all wrong.
All my characters have characteristics I don't know anything about and that's the joy. Being able to justify their actions, and find sympathy in their wrongs, and understand their accomplishments. After Life as a House I took a while off and tried to remember who I was at the beginning of the film. You obsess, and it's exhausting, to lose your sense of self.
All I want is all what my mother wanted for me when she raised me - to be happy. For that, I don't need to be in a relationship. I don't need to have a certain level of respect. I just want to care very much about what I do and be kind to everyone in the process. It's important that I can feel that. That's happiness.
I have two sisters and a mother, obviously, so I grew up with a household of girls. Maybe I have a greater respect for women because of it.
I wish they taught green screen acting classes.
Ewan McGregor and I had very similar first-time light sabre experiences. We both burned ourselves! These things are hot - they're full of batteries!.
It's such a struggle to protect your integrity and dignity in this industry ... they really want to attack your morality and your beliefs. They need you to give up a certain part of yourself before they'll initiate you into 'stardom' ... I've always been kind of a hermit. I find my joy in the little things they want to take away from me. Prior to all this, I took pleasure from being the observer. Now I'm the observed.
[on his favourite scene in Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002)] I love the sequence in which "Obi-Wan" visits "Yoda" when he's giving lessons to the Jedi apprentices. At that moment, an image of the universe is projected because Obi-Wan is looking for the planet Kamino. I find this marvelous and very poetic.
I don't find Hollywood interesting, so I'm thinking of studying architecture instead.
 [Christensen's father found out his son was a smoker when he saw a picture of him in Sydney, during the filming of Attack of the Clones, with a cigarette in his mouth.] He was disappointed in me. I don't condone smoking. It's stupid. But I still do it.
 They [my parents] still nag at me when I sleep in. They're happy for me, but they're not really too impressed at all.
 I always kind of felt like I had some sort of understanding of everything that was superior to my classmates.
 [At the age of 17, I arranged some meetings in Los Angeles] to see what it was like down there.