Actor Benedict Cumberbatch smiles as he arrives at the 2014 Vanity Fair Oscars Party in West Hollywood, California in this March 3, 2014, file photo. Cumberbatch and his new film The Imitation Game could bring unsung British World War II hero Alan Turing’s triumph and tragedy to a broad audience beyond Britain. — PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON – Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch has announced his engagement to his girlfriend, theatre director Sophie Hunter.

It was announced the old-fashioned way by his parents – via a notice placed on Wednesday in the births, marriages and deaths section of The Times Of London.

The announcement reads: “Mr B. T. Cumberbatch and Miss S.I. Hunter: The engagement is announced between Benedict, son of Wanda and Timothy Cumberbatch of London, and Sophie, daughter of Katharine Hunter of Edinburgh and Charles Hunter of London.”

A spokesman for the star confirmed the news to London’s MailOnline.

According to the Mirror newspaper, Hunter is a 36-year-old Oxford-educated theatre director.

The 38-year-old English actor’s full name is Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch.

The couple have been keeping a low profile since meeting in 2009 when they appeared in the film Burlesque Fairytales, set in a 1930s London theatre.

They were spotted together for the first time at a French Open match in Paris in June, but had been seen out more often on dates recently.

According to the Sunday Mirror, her mother had recently said, “Watch this space, You never know,” when asked about the relationship.

Cumberbatch’s last romance was with designer Anna James, and he was previously with The Thick Of It star Olivia Poulet, according to MailOnline.

Fans of the handsome star are nursing broken hearts over the news.

“Benedict Cumberbatch engaged? Not words I want to hear right now,” went a response on Twitter. But the newspaper notice was met with approval, with a comment noting it was “a classy” way for a celebrity to do it.

This article was first run in The Straits Times newspaper on November 5, 2014. For similar stories, go to sph.straitstimes.com/premium/singapore. You will not be able to access the Premium section of The Straits Times website unless you are already a subscriber.