This romance has been making headlines. His British humour and honesty complement her wisdom and enthusiasm for life. On his maiden trip to India, Gossip Girl actor Ed Westwick and his girlfriend, Singh is Bliing actress Amy Jackson, opened up about their relationship, experiencing Mumbai monsoon and more. Excerpts…
Tell us about how the two of you met?
Ed: I made the first move. We were invited to an event in England at a racetrack. I was there with my friend, who knew Amy. So, I walked over and asked her out on a coffee date. I knew we both had pets, so I even suggested we could walk our dogs (smiles).
Amy: I definitely fancied him before I met him, but I was a little shy when he came over to talk. I was looking for a new place in London at the time and he suggested that we could check out a new area and grab a coffee. That was very smooth. But it was walking the dogs that won me over.
What drew you to each other?
Ed: Amy has this wonderful ability to be strong and kind at the same time. If Amy and I end up having a daughter, she is the perfect person to teach that little girl how to be a woman.
Amy: He is very connected to my emotions and feelings. We can say a million things to each other without saying a word. He has great communication skills and gets me.
Is marriage on the cards?
Ed: We both are in a good place and we both want that. When the time strikes, yes, maybe! I got to keep it a surprise, right?
Amy: Yes. We are very happy and cemented.
Ed, were you aware of the massive popularity that Gossip Girl continues to have in India?
I have some Indian friends in London who told me about it, but I wasn’t aware of the extent of it. I had a very warm and surprising welcome here. It feels good to know that people continue to like Chuck Bass.
Amy: He is being stopped nonstop for pictures. I will speak for him because he will be modest. It’s nice to see the love he has been getting here.
Ed, It happened during Twilight, but do you still get compared to Robert Pattinson because how similar you two look?
Not since a long time but he is a good-looking guy and a great actor so why not?
Amy, it’s been a while since you moved back to the UK. How does it feel like to be in India again?
I am back and I am better. I’ve returned after four years, and it feels incredible. I feel like I picked up where I left off. Mumbai has changed a lot. There are buildings left right and center, but the people are still the same. I kept in touch with my close friends here. It’s nice to be back, have that reunion and make some new memories. I missed this a lot.
A lot happened in the past few years. You became a mother. You have a beautiful baby boy from a previous relationship. You are also getting back to the movies. Take us through this new phase of your life.
I will be shuttling between India and the UK. I have two movies here that I am working on. The South one is ready, the Bollywood one will begin soon. I am a working mom now. I want my son (Andreas Jax Panayiotou) to be proud of what I am doing. I want to support him. He has been to India. He came for one of the shoots with me. I want him to see this world and see me working.
Would you like to see Ed working in a Bollywood movie, too someday?
He’s got the dance moves so I think he can do it.
Ed, this is your first visit to India. What struck you the most about Mumbai?
Ed: It’s my first experience of being in India. I love it, I can feel the pulse, the energy. Mumbai takes the intensity to another level. I have lived in New York, Los Angeles and London but Mumbai is go-go-go, the pace is insane. There is so much activity. The spirit of the people is high. I am excited to make this the first of many trips. I don’t why it took me so long to come here but now I have a beautiful reason to come for. Amy is working on a movie here. I am incredibly proud and excited for her. I am very happy to be here.
Amy: Mumbai is really the city that never sleeps. It can put New York to shame when it comes to being lively and busy.
Did you have any perception about India that was debunked once you landed here?
Ed: I don’t think I had fully grasped what a monsoon season was until I got to Mumbai. Now I do. The city is vibrant even in monsoon. If I like it here in this weather, I am going to love it in the sunshine, right? There have been no surprises as such. It’ just what I expected. A very busy place filled with lovely people. I knew the food was amazing. Indian food is the number one take-out food in the UK and will always be. We had a thaali for lunch in Mumbai the other day. They kept bringing the food and I kept eating it.
Amy: He had four portions, which is great. Food plays a prominent role in every English household and Indian food is extremely popular in the UK. Not just the food but even the culture. Jay-Z performing a remix of Panjabi MC’s ‘Mundian To Bach Ke’ or Diljit Dosanjh at Coachella, the crossover was spectacular. Lines are getting blurred and Indian films or music are getting more international.
The city is cooler in monsoon, so most of us Mumbaikars in fact, prefer the rain.
Ed: Many have said that, and I am trying to understand where you are coming from (smiles). I love some sunshine and blue skies.
Amy: We come from London so if we weren’t in sunshine that’s okay. Before heading back to the UK, we are going to Udaipur to see some Rajasthani culture and palaces. We want to experience another part of India. Everyone was warning us that it’s going to be so hot there but that’s exactly what we want.
Amy, you have shot extensively in India for films in several languages. Any places that you particularly want Ed to see?
I desperately wanted him to visit Mumbai first. This city is my second home. I have lived here for many years and have the best memories. It was important for me that he saw this side of my life and met the people that are close to me. I asked him if he wanted to go north or south, he said north, so we chose Rajasthan. I shot ‘Singh Is Bliing’ in Punjab, which was amazing. The food was incredible, but I thought this time around he could see some palaces, get immersed in the culture and sunshine and Udaipur isn’t too far so we chose that. I also want him to see Kerala. We want to come back desperately and visit the elephants in Tamil Nadu. Chennai is also like a home. I have spent countless days there. I want him to see the whole country. I have made a list.
Ed, how familiar are you with Indian films?
I am not very familiar, but I have a list of movies recommended to me by people on this trip. I am going to watch them. Yash Raj directed me to their documentary ‘The Romantics’. I will watch that to learn a bit more about Indian cinema. I love Amy’s movies of course.