Akinnuoye-Agbaje was born in Islington, London, England behind the firestation on Upper Street. His parents are from Nigeria, but moved to London, England, where he was born. He has four sisters and is fluent in several languages, including English, Italian, Yoruba (the language of his parents' ethnic group), and Swahili. He holds a Master of Laws from King's College London. The meaning of his name is broken down thus: Ade- the crown, wale- has come home, Akin- warrior, nuoye- of chieftaincy, Agbaje prosperity and wealth. Akinnuoye-Agbaje is a Buddhist. He was arrested in Honolulu, Hawaii on September 2, 2006 for disobeying a police officer and operating a motor vehicle without a license. He was released later that morning on $500 bail, after spending six hours in jail. On September 26, 2006 he was cleared of all charges after providing proof that he had a license. Those who have trouble pronouncing his name often call him "Triple A", while his family calls him "Wale". At school, he was called "Wally Badger". He said he spent the entire day in character to try to grasp the intensity of Mr. Eko. "The only way I know how to deliver [on set] is to focus; some people can turn it on or off, I'd rather stay in character. There was no socializing. I would start two hours before I went to the set and I wouldn't say any other words other than the ones that I needed to say, that's just the way I work and I think that intensity comes across in my characters". His acting methodology made him seem antisocial and may have been a driving force (according to his interview with the New York Post) in the termination of his character Mr. Eko. However, it has also been reported that Akinnuoye-Agbaje asked to be written off the show after the loss of both his parents.