Tom Payne’s character on ‘The Walking Dead’ may have met his end on Sunday’s episode of the series, but the actor shared some exciting news on the live episode of ‘Talking Dead’ after the show aired– he’s engaged!
Payne, 35, is now engaged to Swedish singer and model Jennifer Akerman. Here’s what you need to know about the couple:
1. They Have Been Dating Since 2013
According to People, Akerman and Payne have been an item since 2013.
The two are six years apart– Akerman is 29, while Payne is 35.
How did the news of their engagement come about? While speaking on The Walking Dead’s aftershow, hosted by Chris Hardwick, Payne was asked when he heard about his character’s demise. He shared, “I got the call like, an episode before and I was texting my girlfriend, now fiancée…”
At that point, Hardwick interrupted him and offered him a “Congratulations!”
2. She Was Linked to Tom Cruise in 2012
In 2012, Akerman was linked to superstar Tom Cruise. Rumors that the two were an item surfaced after they were photographed together in a Stockholm nightclub.
Not long after the picture went viral, Tom Cruise publicly denied he and Jennifer were an item. A source was then quoted as telling E! News, “The whole thing is completely ridiculous. Jennifer was there with her whole family who were cropped out of the picture. She happily lives with her boyfriend in LA.”
Reports from the nightclub claimed that the two were spending time together in the VIP area of the club.
Speaking to the outlet Noje in 2013, Akerman opened up about her meeting with Cruise, saying, “He is extremely nice.” She went on to say that they were familiar with each other becuase Cruise had worked with Jennifer’s sister. “He said he had respect for musicians and wanted to hear my music. It’s fun, because I think there’s so much focus on them so they think it’s nice not to talk about themselves.”
3. She “Calls Him out on His S***”
In an interview with Women’s Health Magazine last year, Payne opened up about his relationship, and what makes it work.
He said, “She was the first person who wasn’t afraid to challenge me and call me on my shit.”
The actor continued, “A few weeks in, we had an argument on the street, and I said to her, ‘I don’t do this!’ I was in a relationship for 10 years before this one, and we never argued, mainly because I always had the power. But with this relationship, it’s a fifty-fifty split. We’re totally invested.”
Akerman, who has blogged for Veckerovyn, Chic, and Metro Mode, was featured as a celebrity dancer on the dance show ‘Let’s Dance’ in 2013.
4. She Is the Sister of Actress Malin Akerman
Jennifer is the sister of actress Malin Akerman, who fans may recognize as Katherine Heigl’s sister in 27 Dresses.
Malin has also appeared in movies like The Utopian Society, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, and held a supporting role on the comedy series The Comeback.
Jennifer admits that people have treated her differently because of her sister. Speaking to Noje in 2014, she said that she would have pursued music and modeling were even if her sister was not a successful Hollywood actress.
Along with acting, Malin is a singer, and was the lead vocalist for an alternative rock band called The Petalstones.
5. She Is a Model and Singer
Akerman works primarily as a singer and songwriter. At 19, she moved to Los Angeles to focus on her modeling career. Not long after, she decided to turn her attention to music. These days, Jennifer is repped by an agency in New York City. She admits that the modeling world can be cutthroat, sharing with Noje, “But I’m actually a little bit crazy about that industry, how to look at girls that they are so thin and lose weight. I hate it.”
Speaking to Noje, the musician said, “I’ve always dreamed about it. When I came to the United States I went and saw a lot of new bands. A year ago, I felt that was what I really wanted to do so I chose to bet on myself.”
Asked where she sees herself in five years, Jennifer said, “I have released two albums, been on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, played at the Coachella Festival and collaborated with lots of great musicians and producers.”