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The two Brits were first spotted together at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2004, but denied any relationship rumors for months afterwards. "Me and Matt are not together," James said of The Crown star to the Scottish Daily News in 2014. "He's just my friend and we hang out a lot. We have the same circle of friends. We get on really well as we have a lot in common with acting."
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But after they were caught smooching a few months later, in October, they couldn't hide it much longer. That lip lock all but confirmed Smith and James's romance.
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They made their first joint red carpet appearance at the Milan premiere of her film, Cinderella, where they looked positively smitten with one another. However, James has said she's committed to staying quiet when it comes to her romantic life. “In regards to your love life, you’re just entering into a whole of pain if you talk about it," she told InStyle UK. “If you’ve never said anything, there are no sound bites to haunt you when you’re crying into a box of Kleenex after it all goes wrong.”
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They later went on to do a film together: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, in which James played heroine Elizabeth Bennet, and Smith her unlucky admirer, Mr. Collins. The movie had them doing press together for months on end, including this SiriusXM radio interview in July 2015, at which Smith looked at James with an adoring gaze.
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James said that filming with Smith was difficult, not because of their relationship, but because he was so funny, she found it difficult to stay in character. "I couldn’t keep a straight face in any of his scenes because I thought he was so funny, it was just amazing and he totally improvised," she said. "I think most of my lines were cut whenever he was in a scene because I was just laughing."
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That same summer, the stars were caught making a stop at London hot spot Chiltern Firehouse, arm in arm.
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The next year, in February, the two shared a warm hug at the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies premiere. Both rose to fame from their work on the British small screen: Smith in Doctor Who and now The Crown and James in Downton Abbey.
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Most recently, the duo stepped out together to celebrate the launch of James's latest Burberry campaign, the same week The Crown was released on Netflix — an exciting few days for the duo!
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