Not to mention Gwen Stefani (and her husband, Londoner Gavin Rossdale).
In my (albeit limited) experience, it seems like American women and English men often find romance, yet American men and English women make for unlikely couples.
(Emily Blunt and John Krasinski are an exception.) After interrogating men and women from both sides of the Atlantic, as well as consulting an expert, a few theories emerged.
It's certainly true for me and other American women who live by Jane Austen's canon and never miss an episode of Downton Abbey: We're primed to put English men on a pedestal.
This frequent phenomenon, paired with the romantically timid disposition of many English men, works wonders."Most British men are terrified of rejection," said Jean Smith, a cultural anthropologist living in London.
The American (who is married to an Englishman, of course) conducted a study comparing the flirting behaviors of New Yorkers and Londoners and concluded that of the four demographics (English men, English women, American women, and American men), English men are, by far, the most afraid of rejection.
The night I met George, the epitome of a charming Englishman, I was immediately drawn to him. After a long night out wandering the city with George, he put me into a cab. It hadn't even crossed my mind, but after the aloof coolness of the hipsters who populated my alma mater, Englishmen—with their jokes and their endearing awkwardness and their humor—were a welcome change.
Even though he wasn't stereotypically handsome, he was delightful and quick to make fun of himself—and to tease me: the typical American. When I wrote my college friend Rachel about George, she wrote back: What is with you and English guys?
He was English, witty, slightly bumbling, and had a crooked smile. He was also part of an emerging pattern: He wasn't the first British guy I'd romantically clicked with. When I first moved to Beijing right after graduating from Brown, I never intended to fall for so many English guys.
I'd like to think that I did know, but judging by how headfirst I was diving into the relationship, I couldn't have been sure.
How does a girl from Texas end up with a tendency to go after English guys? Three years and four English boyfriends later, I was left wondering the same thing.
In my defense, I'd say Gwyneth Paltrow, who recently announced her separation from Chris Martin—who, in turn, blamed the breakup on his own lack of enthusiasm for life—would probably understand the initial attraction.
As would Emma Stone (who is dating Brit Andrew Garfield).
Or how about Jennifer Lawrence (and her Englishman Nicholas Hoult)?