The untold truth of Ian Holm’s wife

Actor Ian Holm died on June 19, 2020, at age 88, his agent, Alex Irwin, confirmed to The Guardian. Holm, who starred as Bilbo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogy, died of a Parkinson’s-related illness, Irwin shared in a statement to the outlet. “He died peacefully in hospital, with his family and carer,” it read.

Holm built an impressive career before his death, starring in The Aviator, Alien, and The Fifth Element, to name a few high-profile projects. He also is the voice of Chef Skinner in the 2007 animated film, Ratatouille. 

But arguably Holm’s biggest role to date was playing Bilbo in LOTR, as he touched on in a 2004 interview with The Independent: I get a lot of fan mail addressed to Bilbo and sometimes Sir Bilbo – it’s hardly ever addressed to Ian Holm, in fact.” He added, “My business manager drafts the replies, and then I pop into the office and sign them ‘Bilbo’ but, of course, it hasn’t changed my life. Nothing could possibly change my life.”

Outside of work, Holm was a dad to five kids and married to his fourth wife, artist Sophie de Stempel, at the time of his death. He and Stempel didn’t have any children of their own together. 

As fans revisit Holm’s legacy, some have expressed interest in learning more about Stempel. Here’s everything we know about the impressive painter.

Ian Holm's wife is a talented artist

Sophie de Stempel married Ian Holm in 2003. The renowned artist painted many portraits of Holm throughout his life and in the days leading up to his death, sharing the moving work with fans on Instagram. “With great sadness the wonderful lam Holm died today,” she said of his passing.

Stempel is well-known for her involvement with Lucian Freud, a renowned British painter who died in 2011. Holm’s wife was one of “Freud’s sitters,” appearing nude in a few of his realist portraits, including Standing by the Rags and Lying by the Rags, per the Tate’ museum’s website.

The artist “studied painting at the City and Guild School of Art” and “lived in France and Spain as well as four years in Morocco, painting,” as her faculty bio on the Royal Drawing School’s website states. 

“Drawing is a passion for me,” she said in her bio. “I believe many things, ideas, films start by putting pencil to paper. I have always collected drawings and prints; really it is the beginning of understanding how something could be made, the first steps to painting. A bit like the need to see trees in winter, their structure before full bloom, or understanding the inside of a clock.”

Nicki Swift gives our condolences to Stempel and his loved ones.

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