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The Downton Abbey Characters You Might Not Realize Are Married In Real Life

More than six years since its series finale aired, ITV's "Downton Abbey" remains a cultural force to be reckoned with. Not only has the massively successful franchise earned numerous plaudits via awards shows like the Emmys and the Golden Globes, it has also managed to transplant its good fortune to the big screen. 

In 2019, the first "Downton Abbey" film was released to positive reviews from fans and critics alike (via Rotten Tomatoes). Perhaps even more importantly, the film also earned a substantial profit, pulling in nearly $194 million worldwide on a measly $13 million budget (via Box Office Mojo). The success of the film quickly led creator Julian Fellowes to begin work on a sequel (via Entertainment Weekly). Less than three years later, the recent release of the first trailer for "Downton Abbey: A New Era" earned quite a big reaction from fans.

Of course, much of the success of "Downton Abbey" lies within the viewers' devotion to the characters onscreen. Whether audiences are focused on the relationship between Matthew (Dan Stevens) and Mary Crawley (Michelle Dockery) in the early seasons or the later relationship between Mary and Henry Talbot (Matthew Goode), it's obvious that fans of the series often want to root for couples on the series. What may not be quite so obvious is the fact that two actors in the franchise are actually married in real life.

Imelda Staunton and Jim Carter have been married since 1983

"Downton Abbey" fans have known Mr. Charles Carson (Jim Carter) since the pilot episode of the series, but it's some time before audiences meet his better half. Born in 1856, Carson lives much of his life at Downton Abbey, working there in various positions from the age of 19 to 70. In the sixth and final season of the series, Carson marries Elsie Hughes (Phyllis Logan) and resigns his position at Downton Abbey (via Fandom). 

In real life, however, actor Jim Carter is married to another recognizable face: actress Imelda Staunton. Though Staunton is arguably best known for her role as "Harry Potter" villain and ailurophile Dolores Jane Umbridge, "Downton Abbey" fans will also surely remember her for her role in the first "Downton Abbey" movie, in which she plays Lady Maud Bagshaw, a distant cousin to the Crawley family at the center of the series (via Fandom).

According to the Daily Mail, Carter and Staunton have been married since 1983 and have one child, actress Bessie Carter. Though Carter and Staunton's daughter has yet to appear in the "Downton Abbey" franchise, "Bridgerton" fans should recognize her as Prudence Featherington (via IMDb). You can next watch Staunton as Queen Elizabeth II in the upcoming fifth season of Netflix's "The Crown."

"Downton Abbey: A New Era" is set to be released in theaters on May 20, 2022 (via IMDb).