Keira Knightley's ex-boyfriend Jamie Dornan is convinced his good looks held him back when he made the move from model to actor because British casting bosses refuse to hire catwalk stars.

The 31-year-old Northern Irish hunk, who has modelled for designers including Calvin Klein and Christian Dior, has appeared in U.S. fantasy series Once Upon a Time and landed a lead role opposite The X Files actress Gillian Anderson in Bbc drama The Fall.

However, Dornan insists he has struggled to land acting roles in the U.K. because of his modelling work.

He tells Britain's Red magazine, "Modelling doesn't hold you back in L.A. at all. In L.A., they don't think that because you leant (sic) against walls and looked depressed while someone took your photograph, it means you can't act. In the U.K., there's a massive stigma attached to it. You couldn't possibly have had your photograph taken for a living and act."

Dornan met Knightley on a photoshoot in 2003 and they dated for two years before their split.