Michelle Pfeiffer, David E Kelley defy Hollywood odds by celebrating 3 decades of marriage

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Michelle Pfeiffer appeared to be more in love than ever with her husband, David E. Kelley, after the couple recently celebrated three decades of marriage.

On Monday, the 65-year-old actress shared a romantic photo in which she was seen embracing the 67-year-old television writer and producer as they stood outside in front of trees decorated with white lights.

“Lit up trees this time of year never cease to fill me up with the magic of the holiday season,” the “Scarface” star wrote in the caption of her Instagram post, adding a sparkle emoji.

On Nov. 13, Pfeiffer marked her 30th year of marriage to the “Ally McBeal” creator and commemorated their milestone anniversary on social media.

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“30 years of bliss,” the three-time Academy Award nominee wrote alongside a selfie of the couple. 

Pfeiffer and Kelley first met after being set up on a blind date by the actress’s best friend in January 1993. The “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” star was previously married to actor Peter Horton from 1981 to 1988.

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During a 2022 appearance on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Kimmel,” the California native recalled that she was hesitant to meet Kelley at first. 

“I was kind of nervous … and I’d had a couple of bad blind dates and I had sworn off of them, and my best friend said, ‘Please, just this last time, meet this guy, David Kelley,’ and I said, ‘OK,'” Pfeiffer told Kimmel. “I thought it was a good idea to do like a bowling party.”

Pfeiffer remembered that she initially thought her sister, Dedee Pfeiffer, might be a better match for Kelley after noticing that the two were “chatting it up” during a dinner ahead of the bowling party.

“We all met for dinner before, which was the awkward part, probably. I think the bowling part was OK,” Pfeiffer said. “Somehow, he ended up sitting across from my sister and I ended up sitting across from his best friend.”

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“And he and my sister were just chatting it up because she’s very charming and really good socially,” Pfeiffer continued. “I’m not so good. And he’s a little bit shy, we’re both a little bit [shy].”

“I say to my best friend ‘I think I should set Dedee up with him. They seem to be really hitting it off,’” Pfeiffer recalled. 

“My friend said, ‘Don’t you dare. I will kill you. I am sitting across from your next husband,'” Pfeiffer said.

She continued, “We hadn’t spoken two words. I don’t know how she thought that, but it didn’t start off great.”

However, Pfeiffer and the “Ally McBeal” creator began dating seriously shortly afterward. Prior to embarking on a relationship with Kelley, the actress had already started private adoption proceedings. In March 1993, she finalized her adoption of daughter Claudia Rose.

michelle pfieffer david e kelley

“The adoption process was already in motion when he and I met. So, when she came, he and I had only been together for about two months,” Pfeiffer told Good Housekeeping in 2007 via People magazine. 

Pfeiffer said the unconventional circumstances ultimately strengthened their relationship.

“So, we had this child with us right away, and most people don’t have that,” she said. “But I really got to see [Kelley] in a situation that certainly would separate the boys from the men. Obviously, he really rose to the occasion.”

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Pfeiffer continued, “We both got to see each other as parents before we progressed in our relationship together and, in a strange way, it took the pressure off as a couple.”

“It was sort of perfectly timed. I mean, it’s a real testament to the kind of person he is but also to the fact that sometimes the traditional way of doing things isn’t always the best way.”

michelle pfieffer david e kelley and their children

The couple went on to tie the knot in November 1993, less than a year after they first met. Kelley officially adopted Claudia and the pair welcomed their son, John Henry, in August 1994.

During a 2002 interview with ABC, Pfeiffer explained that she and Kelley made spending time together as a couple a priority after becoming parents so early in their relationship. The Emmy Award winner told the outlet that the two have a date night every Saturday during which they go out for dinner and a movie.

“I’m always talking to people who [say], ‘Oh, gosh, we haven’t had a date,’ they can’t think when the last time was they went out with their spouse,” Pfeiffer said. “I think because we became parents, two months into the relationship, and so it was really, really important in the beginning.”

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At the end of the ’90s, Pfeiffer was one of the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood. However, the former beauty pageant queen embarked on a career hiatus in the 2000s, though she continued to take on occasional roles. It would become the first of several long breaks from acting for Pfeiffer.

Pfeiffer has previously explained that she chose to semi-retire from the entertainment industry at the height of her fame so she would be able to focus on her family. 

“I’m always feeling that my best performance is still in me,” Pfeiffer told Zap2It in 2012. “And I think all artists feel that whether you’re a painter, actor, a musician — I hope so. I think it’s what keeps me going.”

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She explained that she had only been working sporadically since she selected roles based on her children’s schedules. However, Pfeiffer told the outlet that she planned to ramp up her workload once she became an “empty nester.”

“My daughter left for college last year; it was a big deal, not for her, for me,” she said. “And I adjusted and I worked a lot. I think that was part of coping. I was avoiding the whole thing.”

“Now, I have one more year left with my son. I’m looking ahead … I’m sort of good at looking ahead for disaster. I have, like, a radar for that — meaning big empty-nest syndrome for me. I think I’m preparing myself, and I’m sort of slowly easing my way back into being in the work force.”

Pfeiffer launched a full-scale career resurgence in 2017 and has worked steadily over the past few years. However, the actress has rarely collaborated with her husband. Pfeiffer appeared in an uncredited role in a 1995 episode of Kelley’s television series “Picket Fences,” and the couple last worked together when she starred in the 1996 film “To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday” which he wrote and produced.

During a 2021 interview with the New Yorker, Pfeiffer explained why she avoids working with the “Big Little Lies” creator, who she said “writes for women like nobody.”

michelle pfieffer david e kelley

“I’ve seen a lot of couples where they seem to have a really great marriage, and then they work together and next year they’re filing for divorce,” she told the outlet.

Pfeiffer further elaborated on her decision not to work with her spouse during her interview with Kimmel in 2022.

“Nobody writes, honestly, better for women than he does,” Pfeiffer said of the 10-time Emmy Award winner. “It’s unbelievable. And yet, I value our relationship more than a good part, and I just think it’s too risky.”

She continued, “We’re both kind of fierce when we work, and so if I come home and I’ve had a bad day, and I’m upset about something, I want him to be on my side because he hasn’t heard the other side.”

The actress added, “There’s value in that.”

During her 2002 interview with ABC, Pfeiffer explained that sharing similar values has contributed to the strength of their relationship.

“We don’t really shut the world out,” she explained. “We just get along. I think we want the same things for our children, want the same things out of our relationship, and we have a similar work ethic … that we both love our work, and we love to be challenged.”

In 2012, Pfeiffer reflected on how she and Kelley managed to defy the odds and sustain a lasting marriage in Hollywood.

“I chose really well with David. I got really lucky,” Pfeiffer told the outlet.

She continued, “I never take him for granted. I’ve never met a person who has more integrity than my husband. I respect that.”

“There’s his humor and intelligence, too, and he’s really cute, all those things — but if you don’t respect your partner, you’ll get sick of him.”



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