Who Is Dominic West's Wife, Catherine FitzGerald?

In recent years, Dominic West won praise for his portrayal of King Charles III in the final seasons of Netflix's royal drama "The Crown." However, it's illustrative of his talent that West's breakout role came not in his native U.K., but in an American TV show. So authentic was his portrayal of beaten-down Baltimore police detective Jimmy McNulty in HBO's "The Wire," in fact, that most viewers who watched the show had no idea West was a Brit until hearing his actual accent in interviews. The same held true for his subsequent HBO series, "The Affair," in which he once again played an American — this time, novelist Noah Solloway, whose extramarital fling blows up his life while also sending him down a dark path.

West's fans may be familiar with his body of screen work, yet may not know much about his private life. When he's not on the clock, he spends time with his children wife of many years, Catherine FitzGerald. 

Born in Limerick in 1971, West's better half is a renowned figure in her own field. What's more, her story is every bit as fascinating — and perhaps even more so — than that of her husband. Grab your garden trowel, because it's time to dig into the life of Dominic West's wife, Catherine FitzGerald.

Catherine FitzGerald is an acclaimed landscape designer

It's not uncommon for actors to marry on-screen love interests, or even someone within another facet of the entertainment industry (Helen Mirren, for example, has long been wed to director Taylor Hackford). Dominic West, however, took a different route. His wife, Catherine FitzGerald, has no connection with show business at all, and has long been a landscape architect. As West told British Vogue in 2015, FitzGerald's temperament is such that not maintaining her career was never an option. As he put it, "she would go mad pretty quickly otherwise." At that time, West referenced his wife's involvement with a massive project to restore the garden at Northern Ireland's Hillsborough Castle (one of the royal residences), on which she'd worked for eight years. "It's a big public garden, so she's very busy doing that, and she loves it," West declared.

On her website, FitzGerald shared that she cut her teeth assisting acclaimed British garden designer Arabella Lennox-Boyd, whose gardens have won her six gold medals at the Royal Horticultural Society's Chelsea Flower Show.

FitzGerald has worked on both private and public gardens of varying sizes, ranging from Hillsborough Castle to small courtyards in urban homes. Her philosophy when creating landscapes is drawn from British poet Alexander Pope, taken from his line, "Consult the Genius of the place of it all." As she wrote, "I seek to create gardens which feel completely of their place rather than imposed, acting with nature and local idiom rather than against it."

She's an Irish aristocrat

"The Crown" star Dominic West might've called Prince Harry a friend once upon a time, but it's his wife, Catherine FitzGerald, who's the actual blue blood in the family. In fact, she's descended from a noble lineage dating back hundreds of years; her father, Desmond FitzGerald, was the 29th Knight of Glin, a title with a history dating back to the 1300s and, ever since, had been held by a member of the FitzGerald family. As a profile on West and Catherine in House & Garden noted, the Knight of Glin has traditionally abided in the FitzGerald family's ancestral home, Glin Castle, just outside the Irish city of Limerick. Because Catherine's father had no male heirs, that ancient hereditary knighthood died along with him when he passed in 2011. 

In addition, Catherine once had a title of her own — albeit not one she was born with, but attained from her first marriage. In 1995, she wed Edward Lambton, the 7th Earl of Durham; during the period of their marriage (they divorced in 2002), she was known as Viscountess Lambton. 

According to West, Catherine's upper-crust background has given her the authority to criticize his ability to play aristocratic characters. "My wife, who is genuinely upper class, always tells me, 'You're much better in the working-class parts, you're not very good as upper class, you're not convincing at all.' And I agree with her," West told The Times.

Growing up in a literal castle was a magical experience for Catherine FitzGerald

Catherine FitzGerald's father was just 12 years old when he became the 29th Knight of Glin, a title that also included the FitzGerald ancestral home in Ireland, Glin Castle. In order to afford the vast costs associated with the castle's upkeep, in 1993 her parents decided to transform it into a luxury hotel.

As a young girl, growing up in an ancient castle with so much to explore was a singularly unique experience. "The top floor consisted of extraordinary bat-infested rooms full of old Victorian clothes in trunks, and we'd play in them," FitzGerald told the Irish Independent in 2019 of her childhood. "Or we'd go up on the roof and play up there for hours. It was quite strange, I suppose."

In addition to the massive home itself, FitzGerald and her sisters also spent plenty of time roaming the expansive grounds surrounding the estate, something that she credits for sparking her lifelong love of gardening. "I have many wonderful memories of playing in the garden at Glin as a child: my sisters and I made elaborate dens in the rhododendron bushes and epic journeys wading up the stoney stream which borders the gardens' eastern side," FitzGerald recalled in an interview with Favorite Plant.

She and Dominic West fell in love in college but parted ways

Catherine FitzGerald met Dominic West when they were both attending Trinity College in Dublin. They hit it off and promptly became romantically involved. "We went out together for six months, and we had great fun," she told the Irish Independent in 2021. "We had a wonderful love affair ... But at the end of the summer, I left him. And he has not let me forget it! But I couldn't have settled down with him right then forever. That would not have been a good idea for either of us."

West related his nearly identical version of their early college romance — from his perspective, however — in his 2015 interview with British Vogue. "I fell in love with my wife when I was at university and I managed to persuade her to fall in love with me for about three months but then she ran away and married someone else," he recalled. 

After going their separate ways, they reconnected when they were in their 30s. She'd been married and divorced, while he'd fathered a child during the course of a relationship that didn't work out. When the former sweethearts met each other again, all those years later, the attraction that drew them together in Dublin immediately reignited. "We were both, then, at the right time in our lives," FitzGerald said in the Irish Independent. "And it was lovely to have that shared history, from earlier days."

She and Dominic West married at her ancestral castle

After reuniting and rekindling their college romance, Catherine FitzGerald and Dominic West got married in 2010, following a three-year engagement. They tied the knot in — where else — Glin Castle. The bride arrived for the nuptials in a horse-drawn carriage, wearing a wedding gown that was designed for her by designer Siana Yewdall, a close friend. "I feel so excited, really happy, really thrilled," FItzGerald told the Irish Examiner at the time. "It's a fairytale."

According to West, the celebration involved all the local townsfolk, who'd long been closely associated with the FitzGerald family — just as the forebears had been symbiotically connected with the previous Knights of Glin. "The wedding was a real hoolie," West told Home & Garden of the reception, using a British slang term for a raucous party. "The whole village was involved, with Thomas Coolahan, the publican, postman, and funeral director, running the bar with gusto."

Having experienced their own dream wedding at Glin Castle, West and FitzGerald later promoted the castle as a boutique venue for weddings — and had no hesitation in using their own as a calling card. "It's a good advertisement for a wedding then," she said of their ceremony in a 2018 interview with the Irish Independent.

She rescued Glin Castle from being sold

By 2015, the expense of maintaining Glin Castle was becoming increasingly difficult for Catherine FitzGerald, her sisters, and their mother. That was when they made the difficult decision to sell it. After placing the castle up for sale, they went for two years without finding the right buyer, and ultimately agreed to take it off the market. Instead, they came up with a plan that would allow it to remain in the family. "We decided to hang on tight and keep it," Catherine's mother, Olda, Madam FitzGerald, widow of the final Knight of Glin, told the Irish Independent in 2018.

That plan provided Glin Castle to become home for Catherine, husband Dominic West, and their children whenever they're in Ireland (they also own a home in London). In order to offset the costs related to the property, Glin Castle can now be rented for exclusive use, for special events such as weddings, parties, and the like. Their goal, Catherine explained in a 2021 interview with the Irish Independent, has never been to turn a profit, but merely to pay for the castle's upkeep. "It's a labor of love," she said. "I appreciate how special these places are, and how rare they are, this unbroken history. If I could make it pay for itself, I'd be satisfied. It's lovely to be on the map for tourists, it's a valuable link for them."

She's devoted her life to Glin Castle's gardens

When the painful determination was made to put Glin Castle on the market, nobody realized how difficult it would be for Catherine FitzGerald to part with the place than her husband, Dominic West. He well understood how much the garden had come to mean to her, and how much of herself she'd invested in it over the course of her life. "With the sale of the house, I realized I was asking Catherine to give up her soul," he told Home & Garden. "She has devoted 20 years to the garden. It's at the core of her being."

For FitzGerald, nurturing the property's lush and vast gardens over the decades shaped her just as much as she'd shaped the foliage. As she expressed to Veranda, that vast expanse of the garden is the whole point. "The farther you go, the more you are meant to lose yourself," FitzGerald said.

West has come to recognize that the garden at Glin Castle, despite all the other gardens that his wife has created throughout her career, is both her magnum opus and what continues to give her pleasure. "The garden is Catherine's masterpiece that she has been working on all her life, and it is central to her idea of home," West added. "When she is out there, her spirit is unassailable."

She's the mother of four children

Prior to reconnecting with Catherine FitzGerald, Dominic West and then-girlfriend Polly Astor welcomed daughter Martha West. He then went on to have four children with FitzGerald: Dora West, Senan West (who made his screen debut as Prince William on "The Crown"), Francis West, and Christabel West.

It's because of their kids, Dominic told House & Garden, that they've never regretted pulling Glin Castle off the market and keeping it in the family. "Glin enriches my life and my kids' lives in terms of identity and continuum," Dominic explained. "My children are surrounded by Irish wit and humanity. They have a far broader existence than they would anywhere else in the world."

For FitzGerald and Dominic, hanging onto Glin Castle meant that their children will eventually be able to leave their own mark on the castle, just as they have, and as their ancestors have done for hundreds of years before them. "Generation after generation of the family has added to Glin, each in its own way," FitzGerald explained in an interview with The Gloss. "The house has its own spirit, which won't let us out of its grasp."

She handled the interior design of their London home

Having read this far, it should be abundantly clear that Catherine FitzGerald isn't merely the wife of actor Dominic West, but a hugely talented and highly respected landscape architect in her own right. Yet not only does she have a flair for outdoor design; she's also been able to translate that gift into an indoor setting as well. 

Case in point: she took the reins on decorating the London home that she and West share with their four children, with she and West opting to design the place themselves rather than hiring an interior decorator. As People pointed out, they undertook the transformation of an 1840s dwelling that had been converted into multiple apartments, converting it back into a single-family home. "The house was falling down, and the garden was overgrown," FitzGerald recalled in an interview with Lonny. "But it was magical in its feeling and bones — full of light and personality."

The most essential aspect of her design was ensuring the place felt like a home, reflecting the journey the family has been on together, as opposed to living with a generic interior from a hired-gun designer. "I suppose I most like taking pieces I've found on my travels and then putting them together," FitzGerald told Lonny.

She launched her own gardening festival in Ireland

While Catherine FitzGerald may own a home in London with husband Dominic West, it's fair to say that her heart has always been in Ireland. That was certainly true in the spring of 2024 when she partnered with Minnie Preston of Ballintubbert Gardens and House to launch the Festival of Gardens and Nature. 

Speaking with the Limerick Leader, FitzGerald said the intent was to create a local festival that would appeal to not just hardcore gardeners such as herself, but also to novices who were simply curious about gardening and wanted to learn more. "We felt there was a missing link in the offering and that we could fill that gap as those events are quite focused, we wanted to broaden it out to beginners, people who are starting out gardening or those interested in the current situation we're in with climate change," she explained. 

Contributing to that inclusive feel, the festival offered food trucks and organic coffee for attendees to enjoy. "It's got a wonderful, friendly vibe, which we wanted to create with our festival and perhaps that makes it a little bit different to some of the other conferences and symposiums," she said of the inaugural edition of the festival. "This is meant to be fun as well."

She stood by her husband after his public scandal with Lily James

Dominic West's marriage to Catherine FitzGerald encountered a pretty substantial speed bump in 2020 when paparazzi photos hit the internet, featuring West sharing a scooter and enjoying a cozy lunch in Rome with fellow actor Lily James. Page Six described their interpersonal interaction as "intimate" and "romantic," sparking rumors of an affair.  

Rather than issuing a denial through a publicist, West and FitzGerald instead stepped out of their London home together, where representatives of various media outlets had gathered. As Us Weekly reported, the two kissed, posed for photos, and left a handwritten note reading, "Our marriage is strong and we're very much still together. Thank you." Despite their apparent solidarity, at the time a source told The Sun that FitzGerald had been holding "family crisis talks" with her sisters regarding the future of her marriage. 

Years later, West addressed the scandal in an interview with The Times. "I hesitate to speak on my wife's behalf because it was obviously horrible, particularly for her ... It was deeply stressful for my wife and my kids,"  he said. He did, however, admit that they also managed to laugh at the situation. "Whenever we went out together, the papers would always say we were 'putting on a show of unity' ... so when we go out, we do sort of say, 'Shall we go and have a show of unity up in London?'" he recalled.

Catherine FitzGerald is sought after for her gardening know-how

While Dominic West is in high demand for his talent as an actor, the same is true of Catherine FitzGerald in her field. In addition to being contracted by clients as a landscape architect, FitzGerald has also written about gardening for such publications as House & Garden, The Garden, The Telegraph, and Interiors Magazine. 

She also shared her knowledge in a piece she wrote for Irish magazine The Gloss. As she explained, she'd spent hours upon hours planting during the previous season, only to be dissatisfied with the results when everything bloomed the following season. Yet that, she explained, is the nature of gardening; if a particular plant doesn't work in the spot in which it's been planted, all one has to do is move it somewhere else, where it will hopefully be more aesthetically pleasing. "Gardening is a gradual progression and nothing is ever fixed," she wrote, "which is why it's so endlessly absorbing."