Everything to know about House of the Dragon star Olivia Cooke (Alicent Hightower)

Olivia Cooke reprises her role as Alicent in the upcoming second season.
"House Of The Dragon" Season 2 UK Premiere – Arrivals
"House Of The Dragon" Season 2 UK Premiere – Arrivals / Karwai Tang/GettyImages

One of the many new faces we met in House of the Dragon season 1 was the very important character Alicent Hightower. Though Alicent was close friends with Rhaenyra Targaryen growing up, everything changed when she was forced into marrying Rhaenyra’s father, King Viserys I Targaryen. We got to watch her journey from childhood to adulthood and all the chaos that came with it. Now, leading into the second season, there's going to be much more turmoil as the civil war between families begins.

While Emily Carey portrayed the younger version of Alicent, Olivia Cooke came in to replace her halfway through the first season. As there are no expected flashbacks in season 2, Carey will not reprise her role, but Cooke will. If you’re curious to learn more about Cooke before the sophomore season premieres this Sunday, June 16, you’re in the right place! Here’s what you should know about the talented actress.

Olivia Cooke
"House Of The Dragon" - Season 2 Premiere At Theatre Du Chatelet / Marc Piasecki/GettyImages

Early life and roles

The English star was born in Oldham, Greater Manchester on December 27, 1993, making her 30 years old. She’ll turn 31 this winter. Interested in acting from a young age, Cooke participated in an after-school theater program as a child. Her first on-screen acting role came in 2012 when she appeared in the series Blackout alongside Christopher Eccleston, Andrew Scott, and other notable names, and she followed that up the same year with a role in the show The Secret of Crickey Hall (which Game of Thrones alum Maisie Williams also appeared in).

Though Cooke might not be a household name (yet), chances are you’ve probably seen her in a movie or show before. Her most notable roles include Emma Decody in Bates Motel, Becky Sharp in Vanity Fair, Rachel in Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, and Art3mis/Samantha in Ready Player One. She also delivered a particularly great performance in the 2019 drama Sound of Metal opposite Riz Ahmed. She deserved more acclaim for that one!

In 2022, Cooke also played the role of Sidonie "Sid" Baker in Apple TV+'s Slow Horses. Up next, the actress will star in a horror film called Visitation from director Nicolas Pesce. Coincidentally, Game of Thrones actor Alfie Allen will be one of her co-stars.

Olivia Cooke
HBO's "House Of The Dragon" Season 2 Premiere / Arturo Holmes/GettyImages

She's rumored to be dating a fellow actor

Though it hasn't been confirmed by Cooke herself, Bustle reports that the House of the Dragon star has been linked to a Welsh actor named Jacob Ifan. The site references the actors' social media pages as clues that point to a potential romance. In April 2022, Cooke shared a photo dump that included a picture of Ifan, and about a month later in May 2022, Ifan shared shots from a trip to Amsterdam, including two photos of Cooke. At the time of this writing, the pair is following one another on Instagram, and Cooke's co-star Emma D'Arcy follows Ifan as well.

The last photo either actor shared of one another came in April 2023, with Cooke sharing another photo dump that included Ifan. Considering neither posts very frequently — and they both appear to keep their personal lives on the private side — they could very well still be dating. But because Cooke has not spoken out about their relationship publicly, we can't be certain.

Ifan is best known for leading the BBC drama Cuffs. He also appeared in A Discovery of Witches, playing the character Benjamin Fuchs.

Follow Cooke on Instagram

Though Cooke doesn't post on Instagram every day, she still has a pretty active page. She uses her account to share gorgeous shots from the red carpet, promotional images and videos, and fun photos with friends. To check out her page, follow the link here. Ahead of the House of the Dragon series premiere, the actress was just shy of 150,000 followers on Instagram, but she now has 838,000! That's pretty impressive.

It's going to be a huge season for the central characters of House of the Dragon in the second season, including Alicent. I can't wait to see Cooke and her co-stars bring it! Don't miss the season 2 premiere, "A Son for a Son," airing on HBO this Sunday, June 16 at 9:00 p.m. ET and streaming on Max.

House of the Dragon fans: Sorry, but the Greens are right. dark. Next. Greens are right

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