“We met during a play. Sunset Boulevard, 1981,” Ed Harris began, setting the scene of the very first time he laid eyes on his wife of 35 years, Amy Madigan.
The Westworld star continued, speaking to Today: “There was a big semi-circle of seats; there was an empty chair next to me. She was late and I’ve never seen this woman before,” he regaled. “She walked around everybody and sat down next to me. She had really colorful socks on.”
“My big line was, ‘I like your socks.'” It wouldn’t work for everyone, but evidently Harris’s “big line” worked on Madigan; the loved-up couple got married just two years later.
There was a pivotal moment just before their nuptials, Harris recalled. He realized that there was no way he was giving Amy up without a fight. “Marriage became inevitable,” he explained, “when she critiqued my performance in Fool for Love and I found myself listening without getting defensive.”
Perhaps therein lies the married couple’s secret? Listening with an open heart and an open mind. Certainly, their mutual support propelled both actors’ careers in the right direction.
They filmed the 1984 movie Places in the Heart together before Madigan went on to film Twice in a Lifetime and Harris’s acting career went stratospheric. But one thing was, and has remained, abundantly clear: they love working together.
When The Guardian asked Harris, “Is working with your wife important to you? Do you plan to work together again?” the actor replied enthusiastically. “Yeah, funny you should ask. We have worked together, we’ve done several plays together on the west coast. “We’ve done four films together,” he explained, full of praise for his wife. “Amy’s wonderful in Pollock.”
Harris then spoke about marrying Madigan as “a solidifier in my life. [It] gave me some confidence that I was a well-adjusted human being,” he admitted. “Or, trying to be.”
Hearing an often serious, formidable Hollywood actor speaking candidly about his love for his wife is enough to melt even the stoniest of hearts. Harris and Madigan’s partnership is truly inspirational. (By the way, we’re pretty sure she feels the same way about you too, Harris!)
The couple has a grownup daughter together. They welcomed Lily Dolores Harris in 1993, and the beautiful 26-year-old has occasionally appeared with her famous parents at events and award shows. Lily even attended her father’s Hollywood Walk of Fame star unveiling ceremony in 2015, and the family couldn’t have looked prouder.
Some Harris and Madigan fans have speculated whether Lily will join her parents in the acting ranks and branch into television, film, or even the stage, herself. Only time will tell!
After years of partnership, Harris knows that Lily’s mother, his beloved Amy, was always meant for him. When asked who or what was the greatest love of his life by The Guardian, Harris replied without hesitation: “My wife.”
“What does love feel like?” the newspaper retorted, and the actor’s answer was golden: “A lazy swim.”
In a time when long-term marriage is the exception and not the rule, Harris and Madigan’s commitment to one another is something to be celebrated. We wonder whether the powerhouse couple will film together again in the future?
We certainly hope so.