So when they announced their separation, a collective gasp could be heard from Tinseltown and beyond.
In the early noughties, they had it all — the marriage, the children, the careers. But it all fell apart in 2003 when it was alleged the actor had cheated on his actress wife with their children’s nanny, Ryan Shawhughes.
Hawke vehemently denied the claims, but in 2005 when he finalised his divorce with Thurman, he started publicly dating Shawhughes.
Let’s take a look back at the alleged affair that ended one of Hollywood’s most glamorous pairings.
When did Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman split?
Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman split in 2003 and finalised their divorce in 2005.
Their relationship began in 1996 on the set of their sci-fi thriller Gattaca and they were married in 1998. That same year, they welcomed daughter Maya and four years later in 2002, they welcomed their son, Levon.
Sadly, after five years of marriage and two children later, they called it quits.
Months after their divorce was finalised, Thurman sat for an interview with Oprah Winfrey during which she got emotional when asked about her marriage breakdown amid cheating rumours.
“It’s extremely hard, and it’s hard on the whole family,” the actress told Winfrey. “You’re a family, and then you’re not a family in the same way. Our marriage failed. I should take full responsibility for the failure of my own marriage. Blaming anybody doesn’t make you feel any better.
“It’s excruciating, it’s weird because you know you have a nice boyfriend and then husband, and the children are doing OK and work’s OK. Then suddenly you cross these little ceremonies where it’s all this, this is like a blizzard again … and you can’t believe that you’re feeling what you are feeling, and you are still so far from your life feeling whole again.”
This was Thurman’s second divorce. She was previously married to actor Gary Oldman from 1990 to 1992.
Did Ethan Hawke leave Uma Thurman for the nanny, Ryan Shawhughes?
At the time of their split, it was widely alleged that Hawke cheated with Ryan Shawhughes, the nanny he and Thurman employed to care for their children.
The actor denied the allegations and in a later interview with The Guardian insisted his “marriage disintegrated due to many pressures”. Hawke even likened his situation to The Sound of Music, the 1965 film where Captain von Trapp falls in love with his children’s governess.
“I know people imagine some kind of Sound Of Music type love affair, but the truth is by the time Ryan and I were falling in love, it had been a long while since I had employed her,” Hawke told the publication.
In another interview, Hawke — who was 27 when he married Thurman — said he shouldn’t have been married in the first place as he was too immature to make such a decision.
“Success when you’re young is really overwhelming. The world felt out of control. And I wanted to stop it from spinning so fast. I thought marriage would decrease my variables or something. I was absolutely wrong,” he told Elle in 2013.
“There was this discovery that the male brain isn’t done until 28. I definitely think my frontal lobe was not finished. I had no business taking vows that would last more than two weeks.”
Just before their split, Hawke was filming a movie in Canada where he allegedly had a fling with Montreal model Jen Perzow. The actor denied the allegations and said stardom was ultimately to blame for his split from Thurman.
“Uma and I did not split up over anybody’s infidelity. We had a lot of problems before I ever went up to Montreal,” he told 20/20 in 2004. “It’s tough. You know you’d come up with these rules: ‘One person works, the other person doesn’t.’ Well, then somebody’s always out of town… ‘OK, we’ll all go away together.’ All right, great. Then I’m living in a hotel room taking care of my kids while you’re off on a film set six hours a day doing what you love. Do that for nine months and see what a good mood you’re in.
“It is very difficult for any couple who are married if both people are very ambitious… And our love got beaten up. I don’t know if it’s just too hard to be married to a woman that wants to be a movie star. I know that she has that right to want that.”
Did Ethan Hawke marry his children’s nanny, Ryan Shawhughes?
Despite repeated denials he had an affair with his kids’ nanny, Ryan Shawhughes, Hawke started dating her publicly in 2005 once his divorce with Thurman was finalised.
By January 2008, his rep confirmed the couple were “thrilled” to be expecting their first baby together. And in July that same year, Hawke and Shawhughes were secretly married.
“They were married last month in New York City,” his rep Mara Buxbaum told People at the time. “No further details are available.”
Hawke and Shawhughes now share two daughters together: Clementine, 13, and Indiana, 10.
Speaking to The Guardian in 2012, Hawke said he was settling into fatherhood easier the second time around.
“I’m really the right age now. I like being home. When Maya [his eldest child] was born, I was 27. It was three years after Reality Bites came out. I look at pictures of myself and wonder: ‘What was I thinking? What was he thinking?’
“I think I thought when I was younger that I would, like, get things and then it would all be easy. You’d be able to walk whatever road you wanted and then sadly you would start having arthritis, but by then you’d have kids and everything would be fine. I didn’t really understand what a meandering road adulthood is.”
Is Ethan Hawke still married to his nanny?
This year, Hawke and Shawhughes will celebrate 13 years of marriage. Since going public with their relationship more than 10 years ago, the pair have kept a relatively low profile in Brooklyn, New York, where they live with their two daughters.
Shawhughes, who now goes by the name Ryan Hawke, now works as a producer who has worked on several of her husband’s films, including First Reformed (2018) and Blaze (2018), which he directed. She also had a small role in his film The Hottest State in 2007.
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