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Martin Henderson’s McKiwi healing

The actor’s hot new role is the cure he needed
Martin Henderson

After 15 years in Hollywood, jetting all around the world and acting opposite everyone from Charlize Theron to Britney Spears, it’s no surprise that Auckland-born actor Martin Henderson found the idea of settling down into a regular television gig “incredibly daunting”.

But at 41, and feeling ready to put down roots in Los Angeles, the Kiwi star joined TV2 hit Grey’s Anatomy. And he had Jennifer Garner to quell any doubts before his first day!

“To be part of an ensemble is great because you can get a job where you’re the main guy and you don’t get any downtime,” says Martin, who kicked off his new role as Dr Nathan Riggs just days after he wrapped playing Jennifer’s husband in the movie Miracles from Heaven.

Martin in action as Dr Nathan Riggs on Grey’s Anatomy.

“Jennifer was the lead in Alias for five years and was saying she had no life. Your entire life is work – you’re there 6am to 10pm, shooting until 4am on Friday, sleeping on Saturday, then you’re learning lines on Sunday! So that didn’t appeal. I love my work, but I’ve reached a point where my work/life balance [in an ensemble cast] is more suited to where I am in life. I’d really like to be in one place.”

It’s a far cry from when Martin moved to LA, hell-bent on a film career. His early days were arduous and it took time to realise the best way to face constant knockbacks was to “come from a place of love, to remember every audition’s an opportunity to do something you love”.

Eventually, with the support of friends and family (including the late Heath Ledger), he began making a name for himself in the acting world.

Pictured with his co-star Jennifer Garner at a premiere.

He made memorable appearances in Pride and Prejudice and Battle in Seattle, then nabbed globe-trotting TV gigs in Off the Map, Secrets & Lies and The Red Road. Along the way, Martin made headlines pashing Britney in her raunchy “Toxic” music video, and for rumoured flings with Aussie actress Radha Mitchell and his Bollywood co-star Aishwarya Rai.

In 2012, Martin was linked to Demi Moore after they were photographed together in Connecticut, but the Everest actor insists they never dated. “It was just a photo,” he says.

Martin shot to fame in the ’90s playing Stuart Neilson in Shorty’s original line-up.

Currently single, Martin is also wary of rushing into romance for the sake of having children. He explains, “There’s that wonderful line by John Lennon, ‘Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.’ I’d like to have a family – if it happens, it would be fun.”

For now, Martin’s enjoying being an uncle to his three young nephews back in Auckland, where he spent last Christmas.

He smiles, “I love going to my sister’s house, where there’ll be a nephew in a tree, another in the sandpit and another playing baseball with kids from down the street. I love those little moments. You don’t see that here in LA.”

Martin shared a brief romance on screen with Shorty receptionist Kirsty, played by Angela Dotchin.

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