Stuart Townsend became interested in performing when he attended a two-week acting course at the Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin, Ireland, to be with his girlfriend. He then signed on for two years and eventually founded his own acting company, Ether for Lunch, with a group of friends. Townsend made his theatrical debut in 1996's Trojan Eddie and then landed significant roles in a variety of European films (Shooting Fish, Wonderland, Resurrection Man). Next, Peter Jackson hired Townsend to portray Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. But the day before filming was to begin Jackson let Townsend go when the director decided he needed an older actor for the role. (Viggo Mortensen eventually landed the plum part.) However, Townsend gained attention in Hollywood with starring turns in About Adam and the doomed vampire flick Queen of the Damned that, unfortunately, is most remembered for the untimely death of leading lady Aaliyah shortly before the film's release. Happier times arrived on the set of Trapped when he embarked on what would become a nine-year romance with costar Charlize Theron. He and the future Oscar winner went on to appear together in the romantic drama Head in the Clouds, and she starred in his 2007 directorial debut Battle in Seattle about protest riots at the 1999 World Trade Organization conference. Prior to that, Townsend turned to the small screen as the lead in the short-lived remake of the 1970s cult series Night Stalker. He returned to the big screen in 2007 costarring with Ryan Reynolds and Emily Mortimer in the comedy-drama Chaos Theory. He occasionally can be heard voicing characters for the satirical animated series Robot Chicken.
- Paid the rent as a boxer while attending Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin.
- Became friends with Orlando Bloom on the set of The Lord of the Rings.
- Chloe Townsend — Sister
- Dylan Townsend — Brother
- Charlize Theron — Ex-significant Other
- Lorna Townsend — Mother
- Ella Townsend — Half Sister
- Hugo Townsend — Half Brother
- Peter Townsend — Father