The actor has struck up a ‘very close’ friendship with Lydia Hearst, daughter of notorious kidnap victim and bank robber Patty Hearst. Cumberbatch, 35, has been seen at a number of Hollywood parties with the 27-year-old model over the past month. The pair were seated together at the 20th annual Elton John Aids Foundation Oscars Academy Awards viewing party on Sunday night, where one onlooker said they ‘only had eyes for each other’. And perhaps it’s no wonder the British actor is captivated by Miss Hearst, given that her family background is more dramatic than many film scripts.
Her great-grandfather was William Randolph Hearst, the newspaper magnate said to have inspired the megalomaniac central character in Citizen Kane. Her mother was an apolitical 19-year-old American heiress when she was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army, a Left-wing guerilla group, in 1974. Her case grew even stranger when, during her captivity, she joined the SLA, denounced her former life, took the name Tania and carried out an armed robbery on a bank in San Francisco with other group members. She was arrested the following year and during her trial it was claimed that she had developed Stockholm syndrome, the condition in which hostages begin to identify with their captors in order to make sense of what is happening to them.
Cumberbatch is being courted by Hollywood after appearing in Oscar-nominated hits Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and War Horse. He is currently in the U.S. to film the Star Trek sequel, in which he plays a ‘baddie’. He also recently finished shooting Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit, in which he will voice both dragon Smaug and villain Necromancer. Martin Freeman, his co-star in BBC1’s Sherlock, has the title role.
He had a brief romance with fashion designer Anna Jones last year and his sister said: ‘One of his regrets is that he hasn’t found someone to settle down with. ‘I think they would have to be someone not in the acting profession. Someone who was happy to hold the fort while he went off and pursued his career.’
Last night, a spokesman for Cumberbatch confirmed he was ‘very close’ friends with Miss Hearst, adding: ‘They have been friends a while now, but to say they are dating is probably too strong.’