The Wheeler Dealers host split from his second wife, HGTV star Christina Haack, in September after less than two years of marriage
Ant Anstead
Ant Anstead
| Credit: Michael Kovac/Getty

Renée Zellweger has a new man in her life: British TV personality Ant Anstead!

The U.K. native and host of Wheeler Dealers became a familiar face as Christina Haack's car-loving, jokester husband on her HGTV show Christina on the Coast. But 8 months after the couple announced their split in September after less than two years of marriage, Anstead has moved on with the Oscar winner.

PEOPLE confirmed Zellweger, 52, and Anstead, 42, are dating after meeting earlier this month on the set of his forthcoming Discovery+ show Celebrity IOU: Joyride, in which she appears. TMZ was the first outlet to report on the new couple.

But Anstead had a fascinating life on and off-screen, long before his high-profile romances. How much do you know about the handy Brit beyond the headlines? Read on for 8 surprising facts about Ant Anstead.

1. He started his career as a police officer.

Before turning his love of cars into a full-time job, Ant was a police officer back in his native England. His law enforcement career started when he was 18 and ended at 25. He became one of the U.K.'s youngest armed police officers when he joined the tactical fire-arm unit at 23.

"I knew I didn’t want to go down the education route with University etc., so ended up a copper, and I can honestly say, it’s the best decision I have ever made," Ant told Influx in 2016. "I loved being in the police ... I received two commendations for bravery and have faced a number of life-threatening incidents – really opening my eyes to what humans are capable of. When you’re standing in front of someone armed – that’s real fear – it kind of makes standing on stage or in front of a camera easy."

2. He’s written two books.

The TV star also has a passion for writing. He has penned two books to date and mentioned plans for a third. In 2018, he released Cops and Robbers: The Story of the British Police Car and Petrol Head Parenting: How to Diagnose and Nurture a Petrolhead — a children’s book for budding car lovers.

3. He played semi-professional soccer for 15 years.

A true Brit, Ant is also a great "football" player. Throughout his athletic career, he played over 700 games in the Ryman League in the positions of goalkeeper and striker.

Ant is seen on episodes of Christina on the Coast playing in a recreational soccer league in California, with his family cheering him on from the sidelines.

4. He’s even more famous in England.

Anstead starred in the U.K. series For the Love of Cars, in which he served as a restoration expert, starting in 2014. He's also been the charismatic mechanic on Wheelers and Dealers, another auto-centric show, produced for Discovery U.K. and Velocity Channel in the U.S. (He moved to California upon joining the show’s 14th season in 2017, but revealed in November 2020 that he'd be leaving the series.) In addition to Joyride, which will also feature Mary J. Blige, Octavia Spencer and James Marsden; Anstead will appear alongside Property Brothers' Drew Scott on Drew's Dream Car, coming soon to Discovery+.

While on a trip to London early in his relationship with Christina, he documented being recognized on by a fan (coincidentally, a police officer) while on a pedicab ride in the city.

5. He’s a World Record holder.

Ant holds the World Record for the most expensive straight-six Aston Martin ever sold at auction. He restored then sold the sports car for £150,000 (approximately $193,275).

RELATED VIDEO: Christina Anstead Felt ‘Very Lonely and Frustrated’ in Marriage With Ant

6. He has his own production company.

The father of three — he has two children, Amelie, 17, and Archie, 14, from his first marriage and shares son Hudson, 1, with Haack — started his own production company, called Ant Anstead Limited, in 2014, according to IMDb. He produced and starred in a TV documentary called The World's Most Expensive Cars in 2017.

7. He built his first car before he could drive.

Ant has said that he loved to build and fix anything he could get his hands on as a child, going as far as building his first car from a kit at 16.

"Cars have always been my guilty pleasure," he told Influx. "I didn’t even have a driving license but knew I wanted to build cars. I remember as a 14-year-old, walking to the local cattle market and buying a lawnmower to power my wooden soapbox…"

8. He’s fighting for a cure for MS.

The TV star actively supports Harrison’s Fund, a charity that hopes to find a cure for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. The organization is named for a boy currently fighting the disease.