Olly Alexander: Eurovision 2024, Years and Years split, relationship status and more

Unlike many entrants for Eurovision, you may well have already heard of Olly Alexander. Or at least, you’ve probably heard his voice. The 33-year-old rose to fame as the lead singer of his former band, and subsequent solo project, Years & Years – but also shot to fame with his incredible performance in Channel 4’s hit show It’s a Sin. Here’s everything you need to know about the actor and musician here… 

Olly’s childhood and love of music 

Olly was born on 15th July 1990 in Harrogate, North Yorkshire. His mother Vicki was one of the founders of the Coleford Music Festival, so you’d be forgiven for thinking Olly always wanted to go into music. 

WATCH: Olly Alexander will be UK Eurovision entry

His first love, however, was acting, and he starred in two school plays before going on to study performing arts at Hereford College of Arts. He reportedly wrote his first song on his father’s Casio keyboard at age ten.

His parents’ split up when Olly was a teenager, and he has spoken about his somewhat estranged relationship with his dad. Speaking to The Times, he said: “My dad kind of left but, even before, it felt like a single-parent family… I don’t speak to my dad much but we’ve had a few emails and he’s really supportive and excited about Eurovision.” 

Olly Alexander and Greta Gerwig in 2011© Erin Fotos
Olly Alexander and Greta Gerwig in 2011

The star gained an agent as a teenager after auditioning for the hit show Skins, telling The Guardian: “I started acting when I was young; it just sort of happened. I dropped out of school to work around the world, which was amazing… I really wanted to become a singer or a musician … All of a sudden I was an actor. It was never something I’d set my heart on being… I really hated school because I was totally bullied. But you’re never bullied in drama class because the weird kids do well in drama class. That’s a safe place.” 

Strugglings with self-harm and bulimia

Olly has been vocal about his struggle with bulimia and self-harming as a teenager, telling The Guardian that he struggled with his parents’ divorce and coming to terms with his sexuality. He explained: “It was self-loathing. I didn’t want to be gay. I was convinced I was the reason my parents were splitting up.” 

Olly Alexander in 2009© Gareth Davies
Olly Alexander in 2009

He stopped self-harming after a friend asked him about it, but added that he struggled with bulimia into his 20s. “Bulimia carried on well into my 20s, but it became less and less frequent,” he explained. “It’s really hard to hold down any kind of job if you’re throwing up food all the time, and ultimately you have to choose.”

Years & Years 

In 2010, Olly was invited to join Years & Years by band members Emre Turkmen and Mikey Goldsworthy, after Mikey heard him singing ‘Killing Me Softly’ in the shower following a house party. Sounds like a scene from Pitch Perfect!

Olly Alexander of Years & Years performs on stage during a concert for War Child© Jim Dyson
Olly Alexander of Years & Years performs on stage during a concert for War Child

The band went on to release three studio albums, with hits including Starstruck and King. They disbanded in 2023. Speaking to PA, Olly said: “It had been on the cards for a really long time, in many ways, because we had changed so much as a band. We all still get on and we loved going on tour and playing songs and everything – but when it came to it creatively, we disagreed more and more. It became obvious that we all wanted to do different things.” 

Acting career

Olly has been an actor since he was a teenager, starring in films including Summerhill and Bright Star. He also starred opposite Ben Whishaw and Judi Dench in the West End show Peter and Alice, where he played Peter Pan, and in Skins as Cassie’s stalker. He also starred in The Riot Club, as well as the poplar TV show Penny Dreadful. 

Olly Alexander, Russell T Davies and the cast and crew of It's A Sin in the press room after winning the New Drama award at the National Television Awards 2021 © Ian West – PA Images
Olly Alexander, Russell T Davies and the cast and crew of It’s A Sin in the press room after winning the New Drama award at the National Television Awards 2021

He shot to fame in Russell T Davies’ hit show It’s a Sin, where he played the fun-loving Londoner Ritchie Tozer. His performance was critically acclaimed, with Glamour magazine calling him the “heart of the show”.

Is Olly in a relationship? 

Olly was previously in a relationship with Clean Bandit’s Neil Milan Amin-Smith, but the pair broke up in 2015. At the time, he told Attitude: “We’ve had less and less time to spend together and the time we did have together were such short periods it put so much pressure on our relationship.” If Olly is currently in a relationship, he has kept it very private.

Olly Alexander in 2019© Mike Marsland
Olly Alexander in 2019

Eurovision 2024 

Olly announced that he would be taking part in the Song Contest after admitting that he’d “wanted to do it for a while”. The single Dizzy was released in March 2024, and we can’t wait to see if he takes home the trophy for the UK! 

Olly Alexander attends the "Bonus Track" screening during the 67th BFI London Film Festival at Vue West End on October 5, 2023 © Dave Benett
Olly Alexander attends the “Bonus Track” screening during the 67th BFI London Film Festival at Vue West End on October 5, 2023

The show’s commentator Graham Norton has praised the tune, telling the BBC: “Olly has already done all the things that it’s impossible to prepare someone for. He has played to huge crowds, he can relate to the cameras, and he is used to high pressure situations. Add to that, the fact that the song is a massive bop and I think we could do really well this year.” 

Additional reporting by Ben Left 

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