Tom Hardy is an only child and was raised in London. He attended prep and boarding schools before becoming a rebellious teenager. He was a thief and demonstrated violent and destructive behaviors. He was arrested when he was 15 for riding in a stolen car and possessing a gun, but he was not charged. Tom's substance abuse began as a teen.
At 19, Tom won a modeling contest and modeled for a short time. He decided to pursue an acting career and studied at Richmond Adult College. He then attended the Drama Centre London where he studied Method acting. Tom married in 1999 after a brief courtship. He did not complete his degree at the Drama Centre because he accepted a role in Band of Brothers and left the program early. His next role was as another solder in 2001's Black Hawk Down.
Tom joined the Star Trek franchise for one film, Star Trek: Nemesis in which he played a clone of Captain Picard. He received a Saturn Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. After filming, Tom suffered what he characterized as a "mental and physical breakdown" due in part to his drug and alcohol abuse. He went into rehab and with the help of his parents and his own commitment to sobriety, he began to change his behavior. He and his wife divorced and there were no children from the union.
Tom continued to work steadily in TV and film and added stage work to his resume in 2003. He won the Evening Standard Outstanding Newcomer Award for his roles in London plays in 2003. He co-founded a theatre company, Shotgun, and one of the first productions Tom directed was a play his father wrote, entitled Blue on Blue in 2006. In 2007, Tom had the lead role in a TV biography Stuart: A Life Backwards and he was nominated for a BAFTA for Best Actor.
Tom and his partner, Rachael Speed, had their first child, a son, in April 2008.