Christian Charles Philip Bale (born 30 January 1974) is an English actor. He has starred in both blockbuster films and smaller projects from independent producers and art houses.
Bale first caught the public eye at the age of 13, when he was cast in the starring role of Steven Spielberg’s Empire of the Sun (1987). Based on the original story by J. G. Ballard, Bale played an English boy who is separated from his parents and subsequently finds himself lost in a Japanese internment camp during World War II. In 2000, he garnered critical acclaim for his portrayal of serial killer Patrick Bateman in American Psycho. He is known for going to great lengths to portray characters in film, notably for the psychological thriller The Machinist (2004), where he lost 63 pounds (28.5 kg) to play the role of Trevor Reznik.
Bale went on to receive greater commercial recognition and acclaim for his performance as Bruce Wayne/Batman in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012). He also portrayed Dicky Eklund in the David O. Russell-directed biopic The Fighter (2010), for which he received critical acclaim and won several awards, including the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role. In 2013, he starred in the comedy-drama American Hustle, another film directed by Russell, which garnered him critical acclaim and a second Academy Award nomination, and first in the Best Actor category.
Bale was born in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, the son of English parents, Jenny (née James), a circus performer, and David Bale, a South African-born entrepreneur, commercial pilot and talent manager. Bale has three sisters. He has stated, “I was born in Wales but I’m not Welsh – I’m English”. He spent his childhood in Wales, Surrey and Dorset in England, and Portugal. He attended Bournemouth School, but left at age 16.
His parents divorced in 1991, and while his mother and sister Sharon stayed in Bournemouth, he moved with his father to Los Angeles, California at age seventeen. Bale has not spoken to Sharon since he was arrested without charge after allegedly ranting at her at The Dorchester hotel in 2008. His first acting role was a commercial for the fabric softener Lenor in 1982. A year later, he appeared in a Pac-Man cereal commercial playing a child rock star. In 1984, he made his stage debut in The Nerd on London’s West End with Rowan Atkinson.
On 29 January 2000, Bale married Sandra “Sibi” Blažić (born 1970), a former model, make-up artist, and personal assistant to actress Winona Ryder; the couple have two children: daughter Emmaline (b. 2005), and son Joseph (b. 2014). Bale has resided in Los Angeles, California since 1992.
Like his late father, Bale actively supports environmental groups such as Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund. Along with his wife Sibi, he is on the Board of Trustees of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund. Bale is also the stepson of feminist Gloria Steinem.
On 22 July 2008, Bale attended a London police station by appointment and was arrested in connection with an alleged assault on his mother, Jenny, and sister, Sharon, who called the authorities. After being held for more than four hours, he was released on bail, pending further investigation. He has denied these allegations. On 14 August, British police declared that they would take no further action against him. The charges were dismissed for lack of evidence.