Where has Star Wars’ Hayden Christensen been? He’s back as Anakin Skywalker in Disney+’s Obi-Wan Kenobi, but after early fame – and dating Natalie Portman – he traded Hollywood for life on the farm

Photos: @sweetest_adoration/Instagram

The much-anticipated Disney+ limited series Obi-Wan Kenobi finally hit the streaming service recently, on May 27 – and with a bang.

According to Forbes, the Star Wars series drew viewership of 2.14 million on its premiere weekend, setting a record for Disney for “the biggest premiere for any programme set in the Star Wars universe”, beating The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett.

Hayden Christensen returns as Darth Vader in the series Obi-Wan Kenobi, available on Disney+. Photo: Lucasfilm Ltd/Disney+/TNS
The biggest draw definitely comes from its stellar cast. Ewan McGregor returns as the titular Jedi master along with his Star Wars protégé Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker – arguably the most controversial character in the pop culture world.
Actors Hayden Christensen and Ewan McGregor in London in May, ahead of the launch of Obi-Wan Kenobi on Disney+. Photo: Reuters

The Canadian actor laid low for several years after his acting career hit some turbulence. But with the recent resurrection of this career-defining character, we take a look at what the actor has been up to.

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He beat 1,500 actors (and Leonardo DiCaprio) to get the role

Actor Hayden Christensen in Las Vegas, in 2005. Photo: Reuters

Christensen began his acting career in a commercial in 1988 before landing his first TV acting role in 1993 in a German/Canadian series Macht Der Leidenschaft/Family Passions, aged 12. He captured the attention of a worldwide audience after appearing in Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides (1999) and Fox’s critically-acclaimed Higher Ground (2000).

Anakin Skywalker, played by Hayden Christensen, in a scene from Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002). Photo: Reuters/Lucasfilm Ltd

A year later he was chosen to play Anakin in the much-hyped Star Wars’ prequel trilogy. It’s reported that he beat over 1,500 other candidates (and even Leonardo DiCaprio) in landing the role. The director and creator of the entire Star Wars saga, George Lucas, needed “an actor who has that presence of the dark side”, according to ScreenRant.

Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. Photo: Lucasfilm Ltd

However, his mega stardom was also met with disapproval from both critics and fans of the franchise. Lucas even responded to the criticism back when Revenge of the Sith came out, widely quoted as saying, “Poor Hayden. His performance is great. They just don’t like the character.”

George Lucas, creator of the Star Wars series. Photo: Getty Images/AFP

Despite the onslaught of criticism and toxicity, Christensen recently told The Guardian that he was grateful for the role, 20 years on.

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Actor Hayden Christensen in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones. Photo: Handout

“I was less than a year out of high school, and I found myself on this big movie production with George Lucas and Ewan McGregor and Natalie Portman and all these incredibly talented people … really, I couldn’t have dreamed it up any better,” he reminisced.

He ‘quit’ acting to live on a farm

In 2010, Christensen traded his Hollywood high life for a quieter time on a secluded, 80-hectare (200-acre) farm in Ontario, Canada. “I’ve always loved the filmmaking process, too. I’ve just had other interests and other things that I wanted to explore as well. It wasn’t like a conscious decision,” he told The Guardian.

Actor Hayden Christensen in London ahead of the launch of Obi-Wan Kenobi on Disney+. Photo: Reuters

He said that he really enjoyed his time on the farm and was aware of the impact his move had on his career, but he is “OK” with it.

He is a fashion darling

Hayden Christensen was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful People by People in 2002. Photo: @beautiful.people.worldwide/Instagram

While his performance as Anakin earned mixed reactions, there is no denying that Christensen is blessed with beautiful genes. He was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful People by People in 2002 and has worked with several fashion brands.

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Hayden Christensen for Louis Vuitton, autumn/winter 2004. Photo: Louis Vuitton

In 2004, he appeared in a slick fashion campaign for the luxury French maison Louis Vuitton. He also starred in a Lacoste Challenge fragrance ad back in 2009.


Since switching to a farm life, the actor has even created a 20-piece clothing line for RW&Co based on his new agricultural lifestyle.

According to Celebrity Net Worth, he has an estimated net worth of around US$12 million.

He is single today – but has dated famous actresses

Padme Amidala, played by actress Natalie Portman, with Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker, in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones. Photo: Reuters/Lucasfilm Ltd

It seems that Christensen found love on the movie set. He was said to have dated his Star Wars co-star Natalie Portman for a brief period of time in the early noughties when the two filmed the first prequel. In 2002, he even said in an interview that he had to fall in love with Portman “just a little bit” to add authenticity to his role.

Hayden Christensen with actress Rachel Bilson on MTV’s Total Request Live in 2008. Photo: AP

However, his longest relationship was with another actress, Rachel Bilson. The two met on the set of sci-fi film Jumper (2007) and were engaged for more than a year before calling it off in August 2010. They reconciled after three months and even had a baby daughter together in 2014 called Briar Rose.

In September 2017, Bilson and Christensen broke up for the second time. Since then, he has dated businesswoman Reena Hammer and was also rumoured to be close with actresses Sienna Miller and Eva Longoria.

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He is very excited to play Anakin again

Hayden Christensen posted this shot with the caption, “Who else misses Darth Vader?”. Photo: Instagram @haydenchristensen

After all is said and done, Christensen is still very excited to play his most iconic character again on the new Disney+ show.

“This is a character that obviously I spent a lot of time with in the past when we were doing the prequels. It was a good four to five years of my life, and so I know him very well. And it’s a character that’s stayed with me over the years, too, and one that I’ve continued to think about,” he told Gamesradar.

Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and his apprentice, Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) in a scene from Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002). Photo: Reuters/Lucasfilm Ltd

In the same interview, the 41-year-old actor also revealed that he got emotional when donning the Darth Vader suit once again: “It brought up a lot of emotions. It was cathartic in a lot of ways.”

Actor Hayden Christensen poses with storm troopers to celebrate the launch of Obi-Wan Kenobi on Disney+ in London, in May. Photo: Reuters

Asked by The Guardian about the chance he might again suffer a backlash from fans, he claims to not be worried: “Noooooo, never! Do you think that’s a possibility? I mean, it’s all on the table, but you know, that doesn’t get factored into these types of decisions for me.”

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Star Wars
  • George Lucas chose him for the role over even Leonardo DiCaprio, but fans attacked his portrayal – now he’s back in a series with Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan
  • He has modelled for Louis Vuitton and dated co-stars Natalie Portman and Rachel Bilson – with whom he has a daughter – as well as being linked with Sienna Miller and Eva Longoria