Relationships in Hollywood aren’t known for their longevity or stability, but just as Meryl Streep has proven to be the exception in so many ways, her four-decades-long marriage to husband Don Gummer is another example (via Oprah Magazine).
Streep first met Gummer in 1978, following a major personal tragedy: Her previous partner, John Cazale, whom she’d met when they acted together in the Shakespeare in the Park production of Measure for Measure had recently died from lung cancer (via Bustle). The two also acted together in what would be Cazale’s final film, The Deer Hunter.
“Meryl stayed by his side every single moment,” The Deer Hunter‘s director, Michael Cimino, shared with People in 1995. “By her devotion to John, I knew she had great courage” (via People).
Faced with packing up her possessions after losing Cazale, Streep’s brother came to her assistance, and brought with him his friend, sculptor Don Gummer. Sparks didn’t fly at first, but it wasn’t long before there was more than just friendship between them.
Initially, Streep and Gummer settled for exchanging letters as Gummer was traveling. Not long after his return, Streep moved into Gummer’s apartment while she filmed Kramer vs. Kramer. Six months later, they were married (via People).
The secret of their long-lasting love
While their courtship may have been short, the marriage between Streep and Gummer has been anything but. The two have now been wed for more than 40 years, and in that time they’ve had four children together: Henry Wolfe, Mamie, Grace, and Louisa (via Oprah Magazine).
And it would appear that neither of their careers has taken a backseat. Streep has appeared in dozens of films throughout her career, and today holds the record for the actor with the most Oscar nominations, having been nominated 21 times and winning three (via Variety). For his part, Gummer has continued his work as a sculptor, displaying his art in museums and galleries across the country, as well as a number of public commissioned pieces (via Art Daily).
Despite the tenure of their union, it would appear Streep and Gummer have not lost appreciation for each other, with Streep saying in 2012 as she accepted her Oscar for The Iron Lady, “First, I’m going to thank Don, because when you thank your husband at the end of the speech they play him out with the music, and I want him to know that everything I value most in our lives, you’ve given me” (via YouTube).
For anyone wondering what the secret to their success might be, Streep chalks it all up to the importance of (what else?) communication. “You have to talk about all the issues that arise, even the smallest things,” she told New Zealand Women’s Weekly (via TooFab). “You have to listen to your partner’s problems, suggestions, and advice, and accept that you’re not always right. Conversation is the key to a successful marriage.”
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