Introducing the director who stole Rita Ora’s heart: MailOnline takes a look at Taika Waititi

Introducing the Oscar-winning director who stole Rita Ora’s heart: New Zealand-born filmmaker and actor Taika Waititi who has married the singer has over 20 blockbuster movies to his name (and he’s worth over £10million!)

  • He got hitched to fellow Kiwi film producer Chelsea Winstanley at a New York City ceremony in 2011, but the pair are believed to have quietly split in 2018
  • The pair have two daughters: Te Hinekāhu, ten, and Matewa Kiritapu, six, while Chelsea previously gave birth to son, Maia, when she was 20 and went on to raise him as a single mother
  • Taika has garnered a number of honours and nominations, including an Academy Award, a British Academy Film Award, a Writers Guild of America Award, Golden Globes and Primetime Emmys
  • Rita married director Taika in an intimate London ceremony, according to reports, and they have both been pictured with gold bands on their ring fingers in recent days 
  • It was claimed in June that they were to wed one another after almost simultaneously popping the question

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Rita Ora has married director Taika Waititi in an intimate London ceremony, according to reports, and they have both been pictured with gold bands on their ring fingers in recent days.

The Hot Right Now hitmaker, 31, and her director partner, 46, started dating in March 2021, before going public with their romance that August before getting engaged two months ago.

And as Rita allegedly changes her surname to Waititi-Ora, MailOnline takes a look at the New Zealand-born filmmaker who has over 20 blockbuster movies to his name – and he’s worth over £10million!

Introducing the Oscar-winning director who stole Rita Ora's heart: New Zealand-born filmmaker and actor Taika Waititi (pictured with the singer) has over 20 blockbuster movies to his name (and he's worth over £10million!)

Introducing the Oscar-winning director who stole Rita Ora’s heart: New Zealand-born filmmaker and actor Taika Waititi (pictured with the singer) has over 20 blockbuster movies to his name (and he’s worth over £10million!)

Who was Taika previously married to?

He got hitched to fellow Kiwi film producer Chelsea Winstanley at a New York City ceremony in 2011, but the pair are believed to have quietly split in 2018.

Taika met Chelsea, a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ producer’s branch, when she interviewed him for a TV documentary series profiling Maori artists.

Having directed a number of docs, including the upcoming picture, Toi Tū, Toi Ora: Visual Sovereignty and Merata: How Mum Decolonised the Screen, which she produced in 2018, Chelsea was also billed as producer for her former husband’s 2019 horror mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows as well as Jojo Rabbit.

Chelsea co-produced Saving Grace, Te Whakarauora Tangata, a documentary about domestic abuse by filmmaker Merata Mita.

Exes: He got hitched to fellow Kiwi film producer Chelsea Winstanley at a New York City ceremony in 2011, but the pair are believed to have quietly split in 2018 (pictured in 2017)

Exes: He got hitched to fellow Kiwi film producer Chelsea Winstanley at a New York City ceremony in 2011, but the pair are believed to have quietly split in 2018 (pictured in 2017)

Do they share any children?

The pair have two daughters: Te Hinekāhu, ten, and Matewa Kiritapu, six, while Chelsea previously gave birth to son, Maia, when she was 20 and went on to raise him as a single mother.

Taika has been known to bring the little ones onto the red carpet with him at premieres including Thor: Love & Thunder in July 2022, as well as 2019’s The Lion King.

Chelsea told The Spinoff in 2020 about balancing motherhood and her career: ‘I feel guilty about pursuing dreams, that I’m not that mum interacting with the school at the moment, the general mother guilt of working, and of course you know there will be some consequences of that’.

Doting dad: The pair have two daughters: Te Hinek¿hu, ten, and Matewa Kiritapu, six, (pictured in June 2022) while Chelsea previously gave birth to son, Maia, when she was 20 and went on to raise him as a single mother

Doting dad: The pair have two daughters: Te Hinekāhu, ten, and Matewa Kiritapu, six, (pictured in June 2022) while Chelsea previously gave birth to son, Maia, when she was 20 and went on to raise him as a single mother

What is Chelsea doing now?

She has been based in her native New Zealand since 2019, where she told a national publication: ‘I’m just sick of women portrayed as living in the shadow of their partners, that’s all.

Chelsea continued to the New Zealand Herald: ‘I made one film with him, I was a film-maker before I met him and I continue to do my own stuff.’

Causing speculation that she had split with Taika following the 2020 Oscars, the mother-of-three posted a photo with her own mum at the awards.

She wrote: ‘This is a better one of my stunning mama date!! Way better date than a seat filler! (For those of you who have sent me sweet uplifting messages you know what I mean).’

Confirming the news, she went on to write, ‘#notmyhusband,’ alongside a portrait of Taika.

New life: She has been based in her native New Zealand since 2019, where she said: 'I'm just sick of women portrayed as living in the shadow of their partners, that's all'

New life: She has been based in her native New Zealand since 2019, where she said: ‘I’m just sick of women portrayed as living in the shadow of their partners, that’s all’

What awards has Taika won?

Taika has garnered a number of honours and nominations, including an Academy Award, a British Academy Film Award, a Writers Guild of America Award, Golden Globes and Primetime Emmys. 

For the 2005 short film Two Cars, One Night, he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film (2004).

He released the comedy-drama Jojo Rabbit in 2019, to critical acclaim, and nominations for the Academy Award for Best Picture, the Golden Globe Award for Best Musical or Comedy Film, and the Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing in a Feature Film. He also won the BAFTA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. 

Taika was named an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to film in the 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours. 

Talented: Taika has garnered a number of honours and nominations, including an Academy Award, a British Academy Film Award, a Writers Guild of America Award, Golden Globes and Primetime Emmys (pictured in 2020)

Talented: Taika has garnered a number of honours and nominations, including an Academy Award, a British Academy Film Award, a Writers Guild of America Award, Golden Globes and Primetime Emmys (pictured in 2020)

When did he start dating Rita Ora?

Rita sent fans into a frenzy when she took to Instagram in April 2021 to share a cosy photo showing Taika hugging her as she posed for the camera.

He and Rita went public in May when they arrived together at the premiere of RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under at the Sydney Opera House.

They avoided being photographed on the red carpet, but took their seats side by side in the front row once inside the venue.

As they awaited the start, Rita and Taika talked closely together, whispering in one another’s ears as the singer appeared to lay her hand on Taika’s shoulder.

However he was caught up in scandal when he was photographed getting cosy on a balcony with his songstress girlfriend Rita and actress Tessa.

Both Rita and Tessa were in Sydney filming scenes for the Kiwi filmmaker’s upcoming Thor sequel Love and Thunder.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Marvel executives were left vastly unimpressed after seeing images of the Thor director cuddling up with the two women on the balcony of his Bondi home last Sunday.

The publication claimed that Taika’s display – in pictures obtained exclusively by MailOnline – also ruffled feathers among the bosses at Marvel’s parent company Disney.

Loved up: Rita sent fans into a frenzy when she took to Instagram in April 2021 to share a cosy photo showing Taika hugging her as she posed for the camera (pictured in September 2021)

Loved up: Rita sent fans into a frenzy when she took to Instagram in April 2021 to share a cosy photo showing Taika hugging her as she posed for the camera (pictured in September 2021)

What was his childhood like?

Taika, who was born Taika David Cohen, grew up on both the East Coast and in the Aro Valley of Wellington.

While his father was an artist of Te Whānau-ā-Apanui descent, his mother, Robin Cohen was a schoolteacher.

His parents split when he was five, and he was raised primarily by his mother.

After attending college, he studied theatre at Victoria University of Wellington where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1997.

Taika began receiving some fame in New Zealand after he began making comical short films and touring the country as part of comedy groups.

Throwback: Taika, who was born Taika David Cohen, grew up on both the East Coast and in the Aro Valley of Wellington

Throwback: Taika, who was born Taika David Cohen, grew up on both the East Coast and in the Aro Valley of Wellington

When did Taika and Rita reportedly marry? 

Rita married director Taika in an intimate London ceremony, according to reports, and they have both been pictured with gold bands on their ring fingers in recent days.

The Hot Right Now hitmaker, 31, and her director partner, 46, started dating in March 2021, before going public with their romance that August before getting engaged two months ago.

A source told The Sun: ‘It was a really intimate ceremony and super special for everyone there. Their nearest and dearest can see how madly in love they are.

‘Despite living in the spotlight, Rita is determined to keep the relationship as private as possible and didn’t want to make a big song and dance about the wedding.

‘Rita’s already back in the studio working on her third album, with her latest session being with Ava Max and Noah Cyrus’ writer Rollo.’ 

In recent days Rita has done little to quash speculation that she and Taika had secretly tied the knot, after she was seen wearing a gold band on her ring finger. 

She delighted fans with a photo dump on Monday as she shared sultry snaps from her recent getaway in Paris. 

Rita modelled an array of dazzling outfits in the post, yet it was her jewellery that caught the eye as she was spotted wearing a gold band that matched the one Taika was also seen wearing in a previous snap. 

New Zealand-born filmmaker Waititi was seen sporting a wedding band on Friday. 

In an Instagram snap shared by Rita’s sister Elena, Taika, 46, could be seen sporting the gold jewellery on his left finger as he enjoyed a drink in the sunshine. 

Rita also uploaded the same shot to her Instagram, but the singer tellingly covered Taika’s hand with her caption.

Some-ring to tell us? The singer, who sparked wedding speculation when she was seen wearing a gold band on her ring finger, has reportedly already changed her last name

Some-ring to tell us? The singer, who sparked wedding speculation when she was seen wearing a gold band on her ring finger, has reportedly already changed her last name

When did marriage rumours begin?

It was reported in June that the couple were to wed one another after almost simultaneously popping the question. 

The British singer and the filmmaker were said to be planning an imminent, low-key ceremony abroad before celebrating with their fellow A-listers in a big London bash later this year.

It is understood that Rita, who is working on several films and The Voice Australia, and Taika, who is planning a string of movies, hope to tie the knot once their work commitments have wrapped up. 

A friend told The Sun: ‘This isn’t about them doing a big showy thing and crowing about it beforehand. It’s just about them being in love and deciding the time is right to formalise their relationship. They couldn’t be happier. 

‘They didn’t do a whole, ‘Will you marry me?’ thing and an Instagram post.

‘There’s no ring or big build-up. They just got closer and closer and eventually said to each other almost simultaneously, ‘I want to marry you.” 

In August, the couple, who began dating in March 2021 after meeting in Australia, were said to be moving so fast in their relationship they started discussing marriage, a source told New Idea.

‘Taika calls Rita ‘wifey’ all the time and chats about how he’s going to be her first and last husband,’ the insider said.

‘Everyone around them downplays it as flirty banter, but [Rita is] definitely hoping he’s for real,’ they continued, adding that she is ‘absolutely obsessed’ with her Thor director beau.

At the time, Rita had reportedly started joking about getting married in a ‘quick, hippy-dippy’ Californian ceremony, and then celebrating with a bigger party at a later date.

Couple: It was reported in June that the couple were to wed one another after almost simultaneously popping the question (pictured in March 2022)

Couple: It was reported in June that the couple were to wed one another after almost simultaneously popping the question (pictured in March 2022)

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