Mystery of Emma Watson’s disappearance
Emma Watson's name is entrenched in blockbuster folklore, as one third of the legendary Harry Potter trio.
The films made household names of Daniel Radcliffe (as Harry Potter), Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) and Watson, who played the highly intelligent and unapologetic Hermione Granger.
But in recent years Watson has turned her back on Hollywood, retiring from acting and even letting her social media channels lay "dormant." The message is clear: Fans shouldn't expect to hear from Emma Watson.
Despite this seclusion, Watson is still regular tabloid fodder, making headlines this week after actor Seth Rogen revealed she left the set of their 2013 comedy film, This is the End.
While speaking to British GQ, Rogen was asked about the rumoured incident in which Watson refused to shoot a particularly edgy scene for the racy comedy.
"I mean, I don't look back on that and think, 'How dare she do that?' You know?" Rogen said of the moment. "I think sometimes when you read something, when it comes to life it doesn't seem to be what you thought it was."
Rogen backtracked on his comments the next day, saying the GQ interview was a misrepresentation of what really happened.
Born in Paris to lawyer parents, Watson, now 30, was only 10 when she was chosen for the role of Hermione, her first ever TV or film credit.
She was immediately propelled to global recognition alongside her co-stars, with the debut film becoming the highest-grossing movie in 2001.
As the years went on, Warner Bros. churned out seven more Harry Potter films, though Watson didn't struggle breaking free from the significance of her character.
She became a red carpet regular, modelled with the likes of Burberry and Lancome, conducted high-profile interviews and continued to act in various different roles.
Her most recent successes were the 2017 Disney adaptation of Beauty and the Beast, for which Watson was paid an eye-watering $19.7 million (the movie grossed $1.26 billion worldwide), as well as the Oscar-nominated film, Little Women, in 2019, which was her last film credit.
In the last few months, Watson has not only retreated from acting, but the public eye altogether.
The actress, who was appointed a UN Women goodwill ambassador in 2014, hasn't posted on her social media channels since June last year, and her bio on Instagram, which still has 60 million followers, reads: "Emma's official Instagram page is currently dormant and is not being updated." Her profile picture is a black circle, and it's been over a year since she last posted a photo of herself.
Her agent told the Daily Mail in February that Watson was "not taking on new commitments".
The publication claimed Watson was enjoying her private life with her rumoured fiance Leo Robinton, whom she has been dating for 18 months.
A source said to the publication: "Emma has gone underground, she is settling down with Leo. They're laying low. Maybe she wants a family."
The couple were reportedly living secretly in Ibiza for several weeks leading into January, spending their mornings reading the papers over "smoothies at a vegan cafe".
Now, she is back in Los Angeles with Robinton - who reportedly makes big money selling legal cannabis in LA.
Despite her high profile, Watson has always tried to keep her private life private, but that hasn't stopped her from being hounded by the British press.
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On her 18th birthday, Watson was photographed by paparazzi who were trying to take pictures up her skirt.
She has also had to deal with numerous stalking threats.
As a result of the public interest, Watson has never discussed her romantic relationships.
"I can't talk about my boyfriend in an interview and then expect people not to take paparazzi pictures of me walking around outside my home. You can't have it both ways," she told Vanity Fair in 2017.
In June last year, Watson told Vogue she had joined the board of directors at Gucci-owned luxury goods company, Kering, where she chairs the sustainability committee.
"During this pandemic, like many of us, I have had time to reflect on the work I want to be involved with and what is meaningful to me moving forward," she said.
"Having been so public in making films and being so active on social in my activism, I am curious to embrace a role where I work to amplify more voices, to continue to learn from those with different experiences.
"If people notice a new quietness from me, it does not mean I am no longer there or do not care! I will just be doing my work in a different way - fewer red carpets and more conference meetings!
"This is a unique moment in time and I intend to embrace the opportunity it presents for change."
Originally published as Mystery of Emma Watson's disappearance