Lily Allen is the daughter of the raucous Welsh actor and comedian Keith Allen and the English film producer Alison Allen. Lily's mother was a producer on The Other Boleyn Girl, Shaun of the Dead, and Elizabeth, as well as several other films. As a child, Allen attended some of the most prestigious schools in England including Bedales School, Millfield, and Hill House School, the latter of which was Prince Charles's junior alma mater. Her wild ways of drinking and smoking led to her being kicked out of 12 different schools. The last school she left on her own accord at the age of 15, later stating that she did not want to "spend a third of her life preparing to work for the next third of her life, to set herself up with a pension for the next third of her life."
While in school at age 11, Allen was overheard singing an Oasis song on the playground. Her teacher began giving her singing lessons during lunch, and Allen ended up singing "Baby Mine" during a school concert. This was a turning point for Allen; she knew then that she wanted to involve music in her future as a profession. She began taking lessons in piano, singing, violin, guitar, and trumpet. As a member of the school chamber choir she sang "In the Bleak Midwinter" for her first solo performance.
When she was 14, Allen ran away from home to attend the hip Glastonbury music Festival. Then Allen decided at age 15 to begin focusing on her music. As Allen began songwriting, she was also studying horticulture. She has later stated that if she ever stopped being successful in her music, she would go back to being a florist.
At the end of 2005, she'd begun posting demos of her songs on her MySpace page. Her demos included covers of other artists including Creedence Clearwater Revival and Ludacris. She used the social media outlet to attract a fan base, and before the year was up she'd scored a recording contract with Regal/Parlophone, as well as earned airplay on the prestigious BBC Radio One. However, by 2009, Allen had quit using social media altogether and she deleted her MySpace page after receiving a great deal of negative press because of her personal posts and remarks on her page that had at times been inflammatory. For instance, she'd made judgmental comments towards other bands including criticizing the Kooks' lead singer who wore a "broken straw hat and dark sunglasses" during a performance on Top of the Pops in 2005.
In 2011, Allen started a record label called In the Name Of. The label is backed financially by Sony Music, and the Cults were the first group to be signed to the label. Allen has also started a clothing store, "Lucy in Disguise," and took time off from performing to start a family.
Allen reserves songwriting for when she's in the studio. Outside the studio, she's "an observer of people and life." She told Daniel Rachel, author of The Art of Noise: Conversations with Great Songwriters: "That's my thing: people-watching. I'm so fascinated by human interaction and how people get on and why we do what we do. I try and take that fascination and put it into my music, for sure. When I'm genuinely fascinated by it I'm not doing it for the songwriting. I just use the songwriting as a vehicle for my fascination."
The "F--k You
" singer has often been told that she swears too much, a criticism that surprises her because the habit is so ingrained that she doesn't even notice it. "I just don't realize it," she told Daniel Rachel. "I do it in front of the wrong people. When we were getting married the vicar would come over and I'd have dropped milk on the floor: 'Oh, for f--k's sake...'"
Lily Allen married Sam Cooper, a builder and decorator, on June 11, 2011 at St. James church in Cranham, Gloucestershire, England. Allen was seven months pregnant with her first child, Ethel, at the time. She gave birth to their second daughter, Marnie, two years later.
Lily and Sam's relationship started disintegrating after a couple of years of marriage and they agreed to break up while sitting in their favorite Italian restaurant in the summer of 2015. She recalled in her 2018 memoir My Thoughts Exactly, "We were both miserably sad. We were both in tears. We both felt some kind of relief."
Lily's younger brother Alfie Allen is an actor best known for portraying Theon Greyjoy in Game of Thrones
. Her protective tribute to him, "Alfie
" was a Top 20 hit in the UK in 2007.
Allen's label, Parlophone, dropped her in 2019 after her album No Shame tanked. In response, Allen accused Parlophone of failing to promote her because she accused an executive of sexual assault in her autobiography.
Lily Allen tied the knot for a second time on September 7, 2020, when she married Stranger Things star David Harbour. The nuptials took place at the famed Graceland Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas with the ceremony officiated by Elvis Presley impersonator and chapel co-owner Brendan Paul.