Sonya Nicole Hamlin:
• American lawyer born in 1974 of mixed ethnicity
• Specializes in property law and runs a real estate agency with 10 employees
• Married actor Idris Elba in 2006, divorced in 2008
• Lives in Maryland and earns close to $120,000/year with a net worth of $1.6 million as of 2020
• Boxing fan and has brown hair and brown eyes, is 5ft 5in tall and weighs 172lbs


Early life, family, educational background

American lawyer, Sonya Nicole Hamlin was born in 1974 of mixed ethnicity. She is best known for being British actor Idris Elba’s second wife. She studied law in Washington and London and is specialized in property law.

Who is Idris Elba?

English actor, producer, singer, rapper, songwriter, producer, writer and DJ, Idrissa Akuna Elba was born on 6 September 1972 in Hackney, London, England, to parents who immigrated from Sierra Leone and Ghana. His list of famous roles includes as Stringer Bella in HBO’s series “The Wire,” Nelson Mandela in the 2013 biographical film “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” and DCI John Luther in BBC One’s series “Luther.”

He has been nominated for four Golden Globe Awards, all for Best Actor in Mini-series or Television Film, and five Primetime Emmy Awards. He won one Golden Globe in 2012 for “Luther.”

Idris appeared in 2007’s “American Gangster” directed by Ridley Scot and 2012’s “Prometheus.” He played Heimdall in several Marvel films, including “Thor” in 2011, it’s sequels in 2013 and 2017; “Avengers: Age of Ultron” in 2015 and “Avengers: Infinity War” in 2018. Some of his non-Marvel films include starring in “Pacific Rim” in 2013, and 2015’s “Beasts of No Nation” for which he won a BAFTA, and was nominated for a Golden Globe in the Best Supporting Actor category.

He has also lent his voice to several animated films, such as Chief Bogo in 2016’s “Zootopia,” Shere Khan in “The Jungle Book,” and Fluke in “Finding Dory.”

Idris’ directorial debut was in the 2018 adaptation of Victor Headley’s 1992 novel, “Yardie.”

As of May 2019, Idris’ films have grossed over $9.8 billion globally at the box office. In North America, he has grossed over $3.6 billion in the box office, and he is also listed as one of the top 20 highest-grossing actors in North America.

Aside from his acting career, he performs as an R&B musician, and as a DJ under the stage name, DJ Big Driis or Big Driis the Londoner. He was in Time’s 100 list of the Most Influential People in the World in 2016 – he’s been ranked as one of the sexiest men in the world numerous times.

His first wife was Danish make-up artist, Hanne Nørgaard (1999-2003).

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Their daughter, Isan, was born in 2002. After his divorce from Hanne, he dated pole dancer, Desiree Newberry, and the pair were together for ten years before she cheated on Idris, and they broke up. After his divorce from Sonya, he began dating make-up artist, Naiyana Garth in 2013, in 2014 she gave birth to their son, Winston. After several infidelities from Idris, they broke up in 2016.

He is now married to American model, Sabrina Dhowre – they became engaged in 2018 and tied the knot on 26 April 2019. In his interview with People magazine for Sexiest Man Alive, he spoke about proposing to Sabrina. He said it was the ‘most nerve-wracking’ moment of his life. He went on to say, ‘In terms of wanting to make someone feel super special and feel my love, that was pretty romantic for me.’

On 16 March 2020, he posted a video to his Twitter account that he tested positive for COVID-19/Coronavirus. As of early 2020, he has an estimated net worth of $20 million.


After graduating with a law degree, Sonya opened a firm to practice law. Not only is she a lawyer and legal adviser, but she also runs a real estate agency. At the agency, she oversees ten employees. She filed for bankruptcy in 2009, but has seemingly bounced back.

Personal life

Sonya met Idris in 2005 through a mutual friend at a party. At the party, they shared a few drinks and quickly fell in love. On 16 April 2016 in an interview with the “Daily Mail” Sonya said, ‘I didn’t really know who he was. My friend just said he was a really nice guy.’ She said that he was not super famous when they met. ‘Living in Maryland I was vaguely familiar with “The Wire,” but I didn’t know who he was.’ At the time of their meeting, Idris was auditioning for a film and had just wrapped up a three-year run on “The Wire.”

She said that even though they met at a busy, crowded party, they were still able to ‘hit it off.’ Sonya added that they clicked instantly, neither of them are shy people, and their outgoing, bubbly personalities are what attracted them to each other.

When reminiscing on their early relationship, Sonya said that they would co-ordinate their outfits and would go on regular dates, such as to the movies and dinner. They would sometimes stay home for their date as Idris is good at cooking. He ‘would cook Jamaican food: he loved aki and saltfish,’ he would often make porridge and eggs for breakfast. She went on to add that although he is extroverted, he is still a ‘homebody’ and very much enjoyed staying home with Sonya to listen to music and watch television while lounging in jeans and a T-shirt.

On their first date, they bonded over their fondness of London, as Idris grew up there and Sonya attended a university in London to obtain her Law degree. After falling in love and becoming a couple, they moved into a Maryland apartment together.

On 8 April 2006, they attended a boxing match in Las Vegas between Zeb Judah and Floyd Mayweather, and it was in Las Vegas that they decided to marry. She recalled their decision in her “Daily Mail” interview, saying that they did not go to Las Vegas planning on getting married, but one day they were lounging in the sun, drinking Mimosas, chatting and in high moods. At the time, they had been dating for a couple of months and knew it was time to take their relationship to the next level.

Idris Elba and Sonya Nicole Hamlin

They both excitedly exclaimed, ‘Let’s just do it!… As far as we were concerned, we were going to spend the rest of our lives together.’

They visited the hotel’s jewellery store, and Idris purchased a diamond wedding ring for Sonya, then went to the courthouse to get their marriage license. On 9 April 2006 at sunset, they were married at the Little White Wedding Chapel. The only witness at their ceremony was Daniel Krastev, a stranger to the couple who works as an estate agent. Daniel also took the couple’s wedding photographs. Soon after, they took-off to Jamaica for their honeymoon. Throughout their honeymoon, they kept their marriage a secret. However, problems arose, and their marriage did not last very long.

In her interview with “Daily Mail,” Sonya spoke about what contributed to their marital issues.

She said that when Idris was working on getting into the film industry, she was thriving in her career as a real estate agent and lawyer. She noted that it was challenging times, and although she was the primary provider, he had too much pride to accept it. No matter what, he would always pay for meals. ‘He’d whip out his wallet and pay for anything. He’d spend his last penny on me. He’s a man’s man.’

She elaborated that he wanted to end the marriage after six weeks. People would ask why he chose her, and their comments upset Idris. He would respond with, ‘Why don’t people just let me be happy?’ Sonya did not understand how their relationship would ‘damage’ his career, when other actors such as Denzel Washington were in long-time, happy marriages, ‘But I don’t think those actors’ wives are running law firms.’

Idris has said that actors generally marry actresses or models. Still, he wanted to ‘date someone who’s regular,’ but by choosing Sonya, she received negative comments and would be called ‘Miss Ordinary.’ He said that time, ‘… wasn’t easy for either of us.’ According to Maryland laws, they were not allowed a divorce until after one year of marriage. To by-pass this problem, Sonya hired a lawyer from Las Vegas who argued that she was drunk on their wedding day and the marriage was ultimately nullified.

She said that the divorce was heartbreaking because they were genuinely in love at the time of their split, but it was evident that things between them would not sort themselves out. Idris’ industry friends told him that marriage would bruise his career, because people would want him to be single.

Idris Elba

Although he felt sad about their break-up, he felt that his job was more important and decided to turn his focus on that.

Sonya thinks that the timing was off for their relationship; she was unable to abandon her career and follow Idris to Los Angeles. Traveling would not have worked well for them, because Sonya’s law firm would not have been able to survive with her always moving between Maryland and Los Angeles. Not only that, but Idris would often travel overseas to film movies, and that would be for several months.

Thinking back on the day they decided to split, Sonya and Idris were in Maryland. She particularly recalls the moment when he hugged her, and they both expressed how sad they were. ‘He was protective of me, but he listened to people in his ear. He was the love of my life.’

Sonya currently lives in Maryland on the US eastern seaboard. As far as the public knows, Sonya does not have any children, and at 46 is unlikely to now give birth.

Hobbies, favorite things and interesting facts

Sonya is a massive fan of boxing.


She has brown hair and brown eyes. She is 5ft 5in (1.65m) tall and weighs around 172lbs (78kgs).

Net worth and salary

According to sources, she earns close to $10,000 per month, rounding up to a total of $120,000 a year. She has an estimated net worth of $1.6 million, as of early 2020.

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