Dominic West says he relates to 'The Crown' role after 'deeply stressful' Lily James affair rumor

As the saying goes, "Truth is stranger than fiction," but Dominic West has found a parallel between the two.

West, who portrays King Charles III on Netflix's historical drama "The Crown," opened up about his experience playing the former British prince in an interview with The Sunday Times published Sunday.

"I'd had a very acute understanding of what it's like to feel the horror of your name or your photograph coming up in the newspapers," West told the British outlet. "There is that dreadful freezing moment when something is being revealed about you. I think anyone can understand how that feels."

The British actor, who is married to Catherine FitzGerald, went on to allude to his rumored infidelity with Lily James, with whom he co-starred in the 2021 miniseries "The Pursuit of Love." In October 2020, seemingly affectionate photos of West and James were released online, prompting speculation of an affair between the actors.

Dominic West: 'The Crown' star 'spent two days in bed' over negative reviews

"I'd been through it a couple of years previously, and it must have informed how I approached (the role)," West continued. "That gut feeling of horror isn't something you get inured to."

Although West described the media scrutiny of his romantic life as an "absurd situation," he said the rumor made for some unexpected comic relief for his family. "It was deeply stressful for my wife and my kids, but there were lighter moments," the actor said.

'I said too much': 'Crown' star Dominic West explains his falling out with Prince Harry

Dominic West, who plays King Charles III on "The Crown," opened up about his rumored infidelity with former co-star Lily James in a recent interview.
Dominic West, who plays King Charles III on "The Crown," opened up about his rumored infidelity with former co-star Lily James in a recent interview.

"I hesitate to speak on my wife's behalf because it was obviously horrible, particularly for her," West concluded. "But we do joke about it sometimes. Because whenever we went out together, the papers would always say we were 'putting on a show of unity.' … And so, when we go out, we do sort of say, 'Shall we go and have a show of unity up in London?'"

Dominic West backs Ruth Wilson after 'The Affair' exit

In the interview, West also addressed his former co-star Ruth Wilson leaving their Showtime series "The Affair" in 2018. After Wilson told The New York Times that there was a "bigger story" behind her exit that she wasn't "allowed to talk about," The Hollywood Reporter reported that the actress "took issue with the frequency and nature of certain nude scenes" and felt the show was a hostile work environment. She told Stylist, "There was a situation on'The Affair' where things didn't feel right, and I dealt with them, and I managed to protect myself."

Speaking with The Sunday Times, West said that he and Wilson "talked a lot about" the issues that led to her exit, adding that "I suppose I did experience it," without getting into details.

"I don't really like talking about it but … yeah, everything Ruth has said is absolutely right," he said.

Contributing: Brendan Morrow

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Lily James, Dominic West photos informed his 'The Crown' role