He’s a widely loved actor. She’s a successful entertainment publicist-turned-screenwriter. Yes, Paul Rudd and Julie Yaeger have the makings of an A-list Hollywood couple and yet, they’re incredibly un-Hollywood.

The pair met in 1995 on the heels of Rudd’s big break in the cult classic Clueless and have been together ever since. But despite over two decades of happiness, very little is known about their relationship. Over the years, they’ve managed to stay far, far away from tabloids and magazine headlines without ever having to sacrifice their showbiz careers. How is this possible? Perhaps it’s because they’ve always prioritized the same thing: family. 

Here’s what we can learn from Paul Rudd and Julie Yaeger’s non-Hollywood romance: 

Paul Rudd has made a name for himself playing funny, lovable characters in films like Anchorman, Knocked Up, The 40-Year-Old Virgin and so many others. The year 1995 marked his big break when he played Josh in Clueless, but that was also a time when not everything was going well for him.

As he revealed in an interview with Mr Porter, that was the year he was robbed at gunpoint and lost a friend in a car crash, then had his car stolen, his rental destroyed in a hit-and-run and his second replacement hit — all in the span of a week. That series of unfortunate events resulted in a “meltdown” and, eventually, the decision to move to New York. 

As the actor recalled in a 2018 interview with Marie Claire UK, Amy Heckerling, Clueless’ writer and director, had told him “You need to get a publicist,” so that’s what he did. He set off to the Big Apple to pursue his dreams, but once again, things got off to a rough start. Or did they? If not for his frazzled arrival in NYC, he might never have met his future wife.

Things always happen for a reason

According to Nylon Guys, “When [Rudd] arrived in the city, he went straight to his publicist’s office with his luggage. As he was late for an audition, a girl working there offered to drop off his bags at his friend’s apartment.” The girl was none other than Julie Yaeger and, “a few days later, hardly knowing anyone in the city,” he asked her out to lunch.  

In his interview with Marie Claire UK, Rudd recalled how his future wife “was the first person I met in New York. We started talking and there was a maturity with her — she had experienced some tragedy in her life, I had too, and the impression I got was, wow, this is a woman. This isn’t a girl,” he explained of his attraction.

“I was really taken with who she was and how she had overcome and was in the process of overcoming adversities in her life,” he continued. “There was a perspective that she had and still has on the world that you don’t come to easily — it’s earned and most people don’t have it at such a young age.”

In 2003, the pair said “I do” after eight years of dating and in 2004, they had their first child, son Jack Sullivan, followed by daughter Darby in 2009.

Paul Rudd and Julie Yaeger are exceptionally ‘normal’ 

Speaking with Elle in 2011, Paul Rudd explained how he’s managed to stay out of gossip columns over the years by revealing just how ‘normal’ he and his wife really are. “I don’t think I’m going to sell a lot of tabloids,” he told the magazine. “My wife and I have been together for 16 years. My parents were married my whole life until my father passed away a few years ago,” he added. 

As for their two kids, they’re not blown away by the whole Hollywood thing either. When Rudd’s then-10-year-old son found out his dad would be playing a superhero in Ant Man, his response was priceless: “Well, I can’t wait to see how stupid that’ll be.” Ouch!  

Despite the fame, accolades, and impressive $70 million net worth, Paul Rudd prides himself most on being a family man. As he told Marie Claire UK, “I don’t come from a family of actors, I didn’t grow up around it and so when I go to Los Angeles for work, or to a premiere, I like it because it feels like I’m just popping in.”

I identify myself as a parent and a husband way more than somebody who rides around on the back of an ant.

Paul Rudd

And if there’s one thing he likes more than being a dad, it’s being a dorky dad. “My favorite thing is when they roll their eyes because it’s such a dad joke, but I know they find it funny,” he told Mr Porter in 2018. “They kind of try to fight a smile.”

You can glimpse their life on the big screen

Paul Rudd and Julie Yaeger may have mastered the art of being the most un-Hollywood couple in Hollywood, but if you want to know more about what makes them tick, just turn to their films. As it turns out, their home life has inspired both Paul and Julie as artists and if you watch one of their movies, you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of what their union is really like. 

Speaking with the Jewish Journal in 2012, Rudd confirmed that he and his wife recorded their unfiltered, everyday conversations to help with the writing of Judd Apatow’s This Is 40 (a film about a married couple struggling with the idea of turning 40). 

In one of the more memorable scenes of the flick, Paul is shown getting a hemorrhoid check and, as he told the magazine, that’s about as real as it gets. “Sometimes in a real marriage, it’s about asking your wife to look at this and what does that look like?” he reasoned.

While it’s not traditionally romantic, I would say it’s arguably romantic in its intimacy. The idea that a couple can do that for each other is very romantic.

Paul Rudd

“I also think that in a strange way, being able to fart in front of each other — that’s a very sweet gesture!” he added.

The lovebirds have also inspired some of Apatow’s other projects. “Actually, there were more specifics in Knocked Up,” Paul said of his art imitating life. “When Judd was writing that movie, my wife once said, ‘I’m so sick of looking at your back,’ because I was just on the computer all day, checking my fantasy football scores.” 

And when Julie moved away from publicity to pursue screenwriting full-time, it was only natural that she’d use their life as inspiration. While writing 2017’s Fun Mom Dinner (which Rudd executive produced and co-starred in), she wanted to show what a real marriage looks like, so she based some of the scenes on her own family.

Speaking with the New York Post about the movie in which a group of mothers have a surprise-filled night out while the dads have a surprisingly good time watching the kids, Julie said, “The cliché would be that the dads are idiots and are going to mess everything up [but] I wanted them to be great.” Just like Paul was great with their two kiddos while she was off shooting the film. 

Another truth-filled scene occurs when one of the fathers reveals that the key to a happy marriage is giving your partner two compliments per day. “It’s meant to say, ‘It’s not that hard to keep women happy,’” Julie explained. “It greases the wheels of a marriage.”

Paul Rudd isn’t who you think he is 

Paul Rudd is known for his laugh-out-loud roles, but there’s a lot more hiding underneath the surface. Like the fact that fatherhood showed him there’s nothing wrong with crying. Opening up to Mr Porter, Paul revealed, “I’ve experienced more profound moments in my life: my dad dying, being a parent. All of a sudden your sensitivity is heightened. I see things on TV like Undercover Boss and they knock me to the ground,” he said. “My kids make fun of me. ‘Oh, Dad’s crying again.’” 

In fact, there’s a whole other side to his personality, which he saves for his wife and family. As he told The Independent, “In my private life, I’m dealing with all the scars and traumas and real stuff from living my real life. When I’m in public, I’m giving a very filtered, smooth version of it,” he explained.

“I’ve never done an interview where my guard is down. It’s just unavoidable,” he elaborated. “I’m never totally relaxed.” There is one thing that remains the same between his two personas, however, and that’s humor. It’s another key to marital bliss — and a happy life overall.

I have always felt like jokes can help a situation. It’s important that we all just remember to laugh. Because life’s hard.

Paul Rudd

By always keeping the focus on what’s important — each other — and not allowing the promises of fame to impact their No. 1 priority — their family — Paul Rudd and Julie Yaeger have done what many Hollywood couples only dream of.

Over 25 years they’ve built a supportive, loving environment that’s incredibly ‘normal’ and yet, it allows them to thrive in the entertainment world as well. Add to that the fact that they recognize the importance of laughter and not taking themselves too seriously and you’ve got the reason why Paul Rudd and Julie Yaeger will surely be together for decades to come. 

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