Bridgerton’s Jonathan Bailey recalls toe-curlingly awkward encounter with Rihanna, and 10 other things you probably didn’t know

Jonathan Bailey shirtless in Bridgerton

Jonathan Bailey has set queer pulses racing in his role as Anthony Bridgerton in the hit Netflix Regency-era period drama – and now, we finally have the chance to get to know him a little bit better.

Bailey, who is gay, sent us all into a tailspin with his racy scenes in the Netflix series, which landed on the streaming platform on Christmas Day.

In a matter of weeks, he has become TV royalty – and the focus of adoration from LGBT+ people everywhere.

The actor sat down with Harper’s Bazaar to dish details about the man behind the character – and it’s relatable, hilarious and adorable all at once.

1. His first crush was Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid

Jonathan Bailey revealed that his first crush was Prince Eric in The Little Mermaid, and we’re sure queer people everywhere will relate.

The actor said his first crush was a toss up between Anita in Heartbreak High and Ariel’s love interest in the 1989 animated classic.

“Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid, with the big blue eyes and, you know, just the whole idea of wanting to be on shore with Prince Eric is pretty dreamy.”

2. Somebody once ran a bath for him, and it was the most romantic moment of his life

In fairness, romantic moments have been in short supply throughout the pandemic – so perhaps Jonathan’s answer to this one shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise.

The actor reflected on the romance of having somebody run a bath for him.

“The most romantic thing I think someone’s done for me is running a bath and then sitting with you while you have your bath, and you know, having a chat, I think is pretty mega,” Bailey said.

“Put the toilet seat down and just sort of be there while you bathe. I think there’s something really sweet and brilliant and, you’re naked, and you know – I think that’s really romantic.

3. A perfect date for Jonathan Bailey involves having a pint and going for a walk

If anyone is thinking about asking Jonathan Bailey on a date, look no further: the actor was happy to tell fans what his idea of the perfect date is.

“For me I think going on a little adventure, getting a pint, exploring, I think it’s good. So maybe a ramble or a bike ride or something like that is nice. Change of scenery,” he said.

4. His party trick is doing a backflip. Yes, really

Apparently Jonathan Bailey knows the best way to get a party started – and it’s by doing a backflip.

Sure, nobody is partying right now anyway, but Jonathan reflected on the party trick he used to wheel out in a pre-pandemic world.

“Once upon a time I could do a backflip, and when the party is sort of halfway through I always feel like perhaps I can recreate those previous achievements, and it’s again quite high stakes because it can really get the party going or it can bring it all to a terrifying end,” he said.

5. The signature Jonathan Bailey dance move is the ‘mum at a wedding’ routine

The actor doesn’t exactly have a signature dance move – but he does have a signature style, and it’s not dissimilar to a mum dancing at a wedding, apparently.

“Signature dance moves, always really sort of welcoming, hippy hands in the air, like a mum at a wedding, really trying to get everyone going,” Bailey said of his dancing style, before revealing that he had to ask a friend how he dances, “and that’s how he described it.”

6. His encounter with Rihanna was truly horrifying

We’re sure most people would kill for the chance to meet Rihanna, but Jonathan’s encounter with her wasn’t exactly perfect.

He met Rihanna at a Netflix party and was, needless to say, “really starstruck”. She promptly disappeared, and when she arrived back to the party, everyone started whispering that she was back.

“I was like, ‘Oh yeah I’ve just been introduced to her, I’ll go over and say hello.’ So I went over and was like, ‘Hey, it’s great isn’t it. How are you doing? You having a good night, yeah?’ Just dancing around, and her team sort of enveloped her and made it very clear that perhaps, you know, that wasn’t my little space to get down.

“So I walked back and someone went, he was sort of jaw open and just said: ‘We don’t do that to Ri Ri.’ And I said, ‘No you don’t, I do.’ And then I walked out of the party and got in a taxi and went home.”

7. ‘Dishonesty’ makes Jonathan Bailey angry

Jonathan Bailey likes people to be honest, up-front and authentic – and we could all do with more of that in our lives.

When asked what makes him angry, Bailey replied: “I think it’s probably dishonesty or a confused sort of transparency. I think it can be really limiting. I think things stop when things are dishonest and things can’t progress.”

8. His superpower would be going back in time and attending gigs

If he could choose a superpower, Jonathan Bailey would gain the ability to time-travel so he could go back in time and watch iconic gigs in person.

“My super power would be to be able to go back in time and be present at certain music gigs. Wembley, Queen, 100 per cent. Also Paul Simon in Zimbabwe. Spice Girls’ first tour. And then relive some that I’ve been to, like Celine Dion. Unbelievable. And seeing Kanye, Girls Aloud and Beyonce all at Wembley in one night, I’d go back and relive that on repeat.”

9. His strangest audition experience was somewhat horrifying

When auditioning for Treasure Island, Jonathan Bailey was asked to perform an improvised scene that involved him tearing off his shirt.

“It was before the MeToo era and those sorts of conversations were taking place but I went in and they said to me, ‘We’re just going to do an improvisation, say that you’re ordering a happy meal and you really want the cheese burger but they’ve run out of cheese burgers, and you’re so livid at the fact that there’s no cheeseburgers for your happy meal that you just rip your t-shirt off, throw it on the floor, and storm out.’ And I did it.

“There’s a video of my pubescent bod on some hard drive somewhere, and actually there’s a lot to be challenged and questioned and talked about there, so maybe that’s for the next video.”

10. If Jonathan Bailey wasn’t an actor, he would have been a teacher

If he wasn’t an actor, Jonathan Bailey would be a primary school teacher.

“If I wasn’t an actor I think I’d love to be a primary school teacher,” he said. “I think all teachers are basically modern day heroes and I love going to see my niece in her nativities and stuff at school, and I always think they’re so sweet and lovely and generous.

“Watching the next generation of Baileys grow up, you just realise how informative those years are, and I think being a part of that is pretty special.”

11. His dream role is as Rum Tum Tugger in Cats

Jonathan Bailey’s dream role would be as Rum Tum Tugger in Cats, famously played by Jason Derulo in the film adaptation that made the world collectively vow to never watch a film again.

“I think when you go towards characters you’re looking for a distance between presentation and what they’re actually feeling and I think in Cats there’s a lot going on there. And also you always want to learn a new skill,” he said.