Hunnam was born in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, on April 10, 1980. His father, William "Billy" Hunnam (1952–2013), was a junk seller who left the house when Charlie was 2 years old. His mother is Jane Bell, a ballet dancer and business owner, Hunnam has said that his mother did a very good job at being a single mother. He has an older brother named William and two younger half brothers on his mother's side named Oliver and Christian. At age 12, when his mother remarried, he moved to the village of Melmerby, Cumbria. He is of Scottish, English and Irish descent. One of his grandmothers painted portraits. Hunnam is diagnosed with dyslexia, which makes it difficult for him to read and write and suffers from misophobia, fear of germs and dirt in general. During his adolescence, he played rugby and fought with his classmates, so he was expelled from Queen Elizabeth Grammar School in Penrith, Cumbria, which forced him to study and to take exams from his home. After that, instead of going to University, he decided to go to the Cumbria College of Art and Design in Carlisle (now part of the University of Cumbria) to study Performing Arts, and graduated with a degree in the theory and history of film with a side in performing arts, with the idea of writing and directing his own films.