His real full name is Matthew Rhys Evans, he was born and grew up in Cardiff, Wales. His parents, Glyn and Helen are both educators, his father is a headmaster and his mother teaches disabled people. He has at least one sister, Rachel, who is a "broadcast journalist" with the BBC. His parents still live in Cardiff.
He met his best friend and flatmate, Hornblower star Ioan Gruffudd, in Junior School in Cardiff, the two also attended Clantaf Comprehensive together, where Matthew was finally bitten by the acting bug when he appeared in a production of "Elvis" at the age of 17. He had a stint at the National Theatre School of Wales, and then was accepted into RADA- the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, in 1993. He also won the first Lady Rothermore scholarship, which was presented to him by actress Diana Rigg.
After moving to London he shared a flat with Ioan and was busy all during his RADA years, appearing in House of America before graduation. He also won a Welsh Bafta for Bydd Yn Wrol (Be Brave). He has appeared in several stage productions (most recently The Graduate in London with Kathleen Turner) and television series including one about Colonial New Zealand called "Greenstone" and the popular series recently shown on the UK's ITV, Metropolis.
He is a keen horse rider, and his other known hobbies include watching rugby on telly, talking about rugby, and going to rugby games. Oh, and he apparently enjoys a drink down the pub with his mates, preferring that to clubs because he says "I turn into a 50-year-old man when I'm in a club. The music's too loud and there are too many people."