"I'm Very Ordinary"
Seemingly uninterested in the excesses of celebrity life, rising star Cillian avoids the Hollywood party scene and carefully guards the details of his personal life. He is especially tight-lipped about his relationship with his long-time partner, video installation artist Yvonne McGuinness, although he says she knows him better than anyone and refers to her as his "soulmate." The couple married in Provence in 2004; currently they live in London with their son Malachy, born in 2005, and a second son, Carrick, born in 2007. "My home life is very ordinary," he insists. "I'm very ordinary, I take out the bins on bin night, I change nappies, I just do the usual stuff."
These days, the "usual stuff" includes enjoying long runs, playing with his little boys, and discovering new music online and through his music-journalist friends. He travels with his ukulele and according to The Wind That Shakes the Barley co-star Liam Cunningham is "still a great singer and a dab hand at the guitar." However, Cillian has said he has no intentions of following in the actor-cum-rock-star path of Russell Crowe or Jared Leto. "Even if I was good, the very notion of being an actor with a rock band on the side would mean I'd never be taken seriously."
Although he professes a fear of interviews and eschews chat shows, Cillian comes across as an articulate, smart, down-to-earth, progressive person. In 2004, he lent his high profile to Focus Ireland to spotlight the issue of homelessness. Alongside UNICEF Ambassador Stephen Rea and other cast members, he helped raise €100,000 for UNICEF Ireland at the Breakfast on Pluto premiere in Dublin in 2006. In 2007, he appeared in two public service announcements for Rock the Vote Ireland's campaign to encourage participation among young voters. "I think apathy is dangerous nowadays," Cillian said. "People feel that politics has no relevance to their lives. But if you feel there isn't any relevance, you have the ability to change it and make it relevant."
All in all, Cillian Murphy seems to be one of those rare actors who has been able to keep a level head despite the allure of celebrity, enjoying a private life that is truly private (a single pub night out with colleague Sienna Miller in early 2009 notwithstanding). His calling card is not off-screen notoriety, it's his fine body of work—and given Cillian's commitment to pursue challenging and diverse roles, that body of work will continue to expand and fascinate for years to come.