Natalie Portman’s Permanent Dance Partner

Kwala Mandel
Movie Talk

%photo13% Natalie Portman is full of holiday surprises. The 29-year-old actress simultaneously shared that she is getting married and having a baby."I have always kept my private life private but I will say that I am indescribably happy and feel very grateful to have this experience," she said in a brief statement to EW

It's a big announcement, especially for those who still see Portman as the precocious young star of movies like "Beautiful Girls" and "Star Wars." Naturally, there are more than a few questions about the man she'll marry, Benjamin Millepied, who has maintained more mystery thanks to a career far from the big screen.

Though he's not on camera much, Millepied, 33, is a star in his own right as a professional ballet dancer. "I danced as soon as I could walk," Millepied told Out magazine. The Bordeaux, France, native was raised in Senegal and began dancing at age 8. By age 13, he continued on in France at Conservatoire National and then headed to the School of American Ballet.

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Inspired by Baryshnikov performances, he danced his way into the prestigious New York City Ballet in 1995 and went on to become a principal dancer. And for any who might be tempted to knock his ballet tights? "In France, ballet is on TV," he told Details magazine. "It's a cool thing to be a dancer."

He met Portman when he choreographed the dark Oscar candidate, "Black Swan." He then volunteered himself as Natalie Portman's dance partner in the movie, which took little convincing. "I called Darren [Aronofsky] and I was like, 'I would love to play this part.' He was like, 'you don't have to suggest yourself -- we already think you're totally right for it.'"

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So while everyone in the theater was focusing on Portman's kiss with co-star, Mila Kunis, people should have been paying more attention to her dance partner with six lines and an elaborate Bauhaus tattoo on his abs.

"I was blown away -- especially by Natalie, who was amazing to watch," he told Details magazine.

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The two were photographed getting cozy over summer, amidst reports that he'd just ended a relationship with his previous ballerina girlfriend. His ambitions now include more acting, Broadway projects, and directing. He is currently working on two pieces playing at the Paris Opera, another in Amsterdam, and also choreographing a ballet for the New York City Ballet. "My schedule's booked for three years," he said. And, of course, now he can add in a Hollywood wedding and a new baby.

 

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