Dhafer L’Abidine celebrated his 46th birthday yesterday (November 26). In honor of the occasion, we list five lesser-known facts about the Tunisian star below.
#1. He was a professional football player.
Before his breakthrough in Arab cinema, the Tunisian actor was an athlete whose football career got cut short due to an injury. L’Abidine played soccer for the Tunisian league, before moving to the United Kingdom when he was 23 years old to pursue acting, enrolling himself at the Birmingham School of Acting, which he graduated from in 2002.
#2. He received international recognition before making it big in the region.
Shortly after graduating from acting school, L’Abidine would go on to land a role in British television show Dream Team, which eventually catapulted him onto the international stage. In addition to the smattering of TV shows that followed, the actor also featured in big-budget Hollywood films including Children of Men, Sex and the City 2, and The DaVinci Code. It actually wasn’t until Taht El Saytara, a 2015 Ramadan TV series, where he starred as the husband of an ex-drug addict (played by Nelly Karim), that L’Abidine gained star status in the Arab world.
#3. L’Abidine met his wife during a TV interview.
The Tunisian star is married to a former British actress and singer. The two met during a TV interview while promoting a project that they had both worked on (but not had any scenes together). The couple went on to get married and have an eight-year-old daughter together named Yasmin. “We complement each other. That’s what makes our relationship work,” he said in an interview with Enigma Magazine. “We have the same values and the same dreams. You can’t take each other for granted. You can’t be selfish in a relationship. You have to work at it and learn to fully understand and accept one another by being present and communicating. While I love my job, to me, family is the most important thing,” he states.
#4. The actor was recently appointed as the Goodwill Ambassador for Arts.
In 2016, the actor was appointed as the Goodwill Ambassador for Arts by the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALESCO). He was appointed at ALESCO’s inauguration ceremony in Tunisia in recognition of his “never-ending efforts in spreading awareness to promote art and culture in the Arab world”. Notably, L’Abidine set up a production house in his home country that offers opportunities for rising creatives in Tunis.
#5. L’Abidine is fluent in four languages.
The Tunisian star speaks English, Arabic, French, and Spanish fluently, which has allowed him to work in a number of international series like British drama series Wire in the Blood in 2004, Italian thriller Il Mercante di Pietre, and French film Anonymes.
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