Where are the Bend It Like Beckham cast now? From Hollywood & soap stardom to booze battles & mental breakdown at 22

Where are the Bend It Like Beckham cast now? From Hollywood & soap stardom to booze battles & mental breakdown at 22

THEY kick-started some impressive careers playing football-mad teens on Bend It Like Beckham, alongside a string of well-established stars.

But while some of the cast have scored some major work goals since, others have battled personal issues including a highly-publicised drink problem and mental health struggles.

Leading star Keira Knightley has become a Hollywood sensation since the movie's release in 2002, despite suffering a mental breakdown at 22, while her on-screen best pal Parminder Nagra had a string of top TV roles before embracing a quieter life post-divorce.

But things have been particularly difficult for their on-screen love interest Jonathan Rhys Meyers, who has battled with drinking problems for years.

The actor, who has gone on to bag huge roles in Match Point, The Tudors and Vikings, was arrested for drink-driving this week, after allegedly crashing his car in Malibu, reported TMZ.

It follows a rocky few years, which have seen him in and out of rehab multiple times – but he's continued to land some major roles despite his personal struggles.

Now, we look at how he and his co-stars' lives transformed after the movie…

Keira Knightley (Jules Paxton)

Keira, 35 – who played Jess' best friend Jules – boasts a net worth of around £45 million, as well as an OBE – and has hardly stopped working since appearing in the film as a teen.

She famously starred as Elizabeth Swann in the first three Pirates of the Caribbean movies, as well as Juliet in Love Actually.

Since then she's had top spots in movies like Pride and Prejudice, Atonement and The Imitation Game.

However, while her career continued to go from strength to strength, the actress recently revealed she was diagnosed with PTSD aged 22, as she struggled with the pressure of movie fame.

She told the Hollywood Reporter Awards Chatter podcast: “I did have a mental breakdown at 22, so I did take a year off and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

“I went deep into therapy. From the inside, all you’re hearing is the criticism. I literally felt like I was worthless.”

Fortunately she has recovered now and has revealed she's "in a good place".

Keira has also enjoyed high-profile relationships in the years since, with 50 Shades actor Jamie Dornan and her Pride & Prejudice co-star, Rupert Friend.

She now reportedly lives in one of several homes – a plush family home in Islington, London – with her husband, Klaxons rocker James Righton, and their two daughters, Edie, five, and Delilah, one.

Parminder Nagra (Jess Bhamra)

In Bend It Like Beckham, lead actress Parminder, 45, was star player Jess, backed up by a then-unknown Keira.

But while she's enjoyed some big TV roles in the years since, she's largely settled for a much quieter life recently.

After Bend It Like Beckham, she played Neela Rasgotra in long-running US medical drama ER, before appearing in thriller TV series Alcatraz in 2012.

She also went on to have a supporting role as a guidance counsellor in Season 2 of Netflix's 13 Reasons Why.

Parminder married her long-term partner, photographer James Stenson, in 2009, who she now shares son Kai David Singh Stenson with.

However, she filed for divorce in 2012, citing ‘irreconcilable differences' as the reason – sparking a bitter legal battle over their wealth. According to reports, she was eventually able to keep her income, residuals and royalties from her acting roles.


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A post shared by parmindernagra (@parmindernagra)

She's now seen sharing loving family photos on Instagram and posing in the odd fashion shoot, as she embraces a happy and quiet home life.

Jonathan Rhys Meyers (Joe)

After playing heartthrob Joe in the movie, Jonathan has had a rocky time of it in the spotlight – despite landing some huge roles.

While he's denied being an alcoholic, the star's battles with booze have been well documented over the years and it is believed the actor has had around six stints in rehab – first checking in for treatment in Malibu in 2005, the MailOnline reported.

He is then said to have returned two years later in 2007 and a third time in 2009.

In November 2011, the actor was ordered to pay a restitution of €1,000 by the French courts and given a judgement of a suspended sentence for public intoxication 24 months earlier.

Meanwhile, in 2018, The Sun Online exclusively revealed how the 43-year-old actor screamed at his wife "f**k you, I'm going to divorce you" after she calmly asked him to stop smoking his e-cigarette on board a plane.

The Dracula star later explained that airports can prove a trigger for him, but added: "There's never an excuse for me to drink."

Despite his personal struggles, his loyal actress wife Mara Lane has remained by his side throughout, since they married in 2016, and the pair share son Wolf Rhys Meyers together.

He's also enjoyed major roles in everything from The Tudors to Match Point and August Rush.

Archie Panjabi (Pinky Bhamra)

She was already a successful actress when she played Jess' sister Pinky in the film, but Archie Panjabi, 48, is since best known for her role as Kalinda Sharma on American legal and political drama The Good Wife.

It earned her a Primetime Emmy Award in 2010 and an NAACP Image Award in 2012, as well as a stream of nominations.


A post shared by Archie Panjabi (@archiepanjabi)


A post shared by Archie Panjabi (@archiepanjabi)

She also starred alongside Russell Crowe and Marion Cotillard in the 2006 Ridley Scott-directed romantic comedy A Good Year, and alongside Angelina Jolie in the 2007 film adaptation of A Mighty Heart.

In 2018, she appeared in hit ITV series Next of Kin and she's also starred in The Constant Gardener and BBC Two crime drama The Fall.

Archie married husband Rajesh Nihalani in 1998. She relocated to New York from England when she was working on The Good Wife.

Anupam Kher (Mr Bhamra)

While Anupam Kher was already a well-established actor by the time he played Jess' father Mr Bhamra in the film, he has gone on to enjoy big success since too.

The 65-year-old appeared in Bride and Prejudice in 2004, Lust, Caution in 2007 and Oscar-winning Silver Linings Playbook in 2012.

He also delighted fans when he reunited with his on-screen daughter Parimnder on ER, incidentally playing her strict father once again in the medical drama.

The actor, who has been UN ambassador for gender equality, has also been in films like Hotel Mumbai and Love Sonia. He is happily married to actress Kirron Kher, and is step-father to her son, actor Sikandar Kher.

Shaznay Lewis (Mel Goines)

Unlike her co-stars, Shaznay Lewis – who played teammate Mel Goines in the film – was best known as a singer when she joined the cast.

The 45-year-old had reached stardom in All Saints when she ventured into acting, but the band had split shortly before.

In 2014, All Saints reformed to support fellow 90's popstars the Backstreet Boys on their UK and Ireland tour. The band then had their second reunion in 2016.


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The star married dancer Christian 'Storm' Horsfall in August 2004 and in February 2006, they welcomed their first child – son Tyler-Xaine. They had a daughter named Tigerlily in November 2009.

Shaznay has remained close to her former bandmates, and was recently seen on a family day out with Nicole Appleton.

Ameet Chana (Tony)

Ameet, 45, played Jess' childhood friend Tony in Bend It Like Beckham, and it proved a springboard for him – as he went on to land the role of Adi Ferreira in EastEnders.


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He appeared in Run, Fatboy, Run in 2007, as well as landing guest spots on Casualty and Doctors.

He also presented a show on Sunrise Radio and is married to Shikha Varma.

Juliet Stevenson (Paula Paxton)

Much like her fellow on-screen parents, Juliet Stevenson – who played Jules' mum in the film – was a top actress already when she joined the cast.

The 64-year-old actress was best known for her role in the film Truly, Madly, Deeply in 1991, as well as Emma in 1996.

After Bend It Like Beckham she starred alongside Julia Roberts in Mona Lisa Smile in 2003 – playing campus nurse Amanda Armstrong – before landing roles in Being Julia in 2004 and Infamous in 2006.


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She has spent years raising awareness of the global refugee crisis, through campaigns and speeches.

Juliet has two children with her British anthropologist partner Hugh Brody. According to her Instagram page, she's also a strong supporter of Extinction Rebellion.

Frank Harper (Alan Paxton)

Appearing alongside Juliet, actor Frank Harper, 57, played Jules' football-loving dad Alan.

He'd already appeared as Dog in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels before the film, and then went on to star opposite Danny Dyer in The Football Factory in 2004.

Frank also had a cameo in hit This Is England in 2006 and has appeared in Ripper Street, as well as British TV shows including The Bill, Doctors and Waking the Dead.

However, he too has retreated somewhat from the limelight in recent years, and hasn't been active on Twitter since 2016.

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