Ask Anne Hathaway about the moment she met her now-husband and she’ll be quick to tell you that the timing was terrible. She had just gone through a very public breakup that shook her at her core and jeopardized her ability to trust.

She was looking forward to being single and taking time to heal, then Adam Shulman walked into her life. The producer and jewelry designer sparked such strong feelings in Anne that she was willing to put her broken heart on the line. Their connection was so strong, in fact, that it gave the Oscar-winning actress the courage to do something seriously bold…

Here’s what we can learn from Anne Hathaway and Adam Shulman’s unexpected romance: 

Right as Anne Hathaway’s career was taking off, she met Italian businessman Raffaello Follieri. Revealing that “it was totally love at first sight,” Hathaway was smitten with her new boyfriend, calling him “sooo good-looking” and gushing about him. Unfortunately, she would later learn that he wasn’t really the person she had fallen in love with. 

It was June 2008 when Follieri came under investigation for carrying out potentially shady dealings via his charity, The Follieri Foundation. Just a few days later, the Daily Mail confirmed that Anne had ended things after four years of dating and a few days after that, he was arrested on “wire-fraud-conspiracy and money-laundering charges.”

It was a trying time. Hathaway’s trust had been betrayed, her heart was broken, and all the while she had to put on a brave face as the police seized thousands of dollars-worth of jewelry from her (presents from Follieri) and took her private journals as part of the investigation.

She — and the public — soon learned that many of the gifts Follieri had showered Hathaway with (like a trip to the Dominican Republic) had been paid for with misappropriated funds the fraudster had raised for the charity. What’s more, it turns out that Hathaway had once served on the charity’s board of directors (she was never charged with any crimes) and, when all was said and done, she watched the man she thought she knew be sentenced to four and a half years behind bars.  

Anne Hathaway found strength in humor 

Anne Hathaway could have easily taken a step back from the spotlight and hunkered down to nurse her broken heart, but instead she kept all of her press commitments and showed off a healthy approach to heartbreak. 

“The worst thing that happens to you can be the best thing for you, if you don’t let it get the best of you,” she told The Independent just six weeks after her split from Follieri. She also revealed that she hadn’t completely sworn off love. On the contrary, she was honing in on what she really wanted out of a relationship.

“The goal is to find someone you can be yourself around, who makes you laugh, who challenges you in a good way, and where you just spark off each other,” she told the outlet, explaining, “My parents have been married more than 25 years, with all the glory and all the pain you can imagine, but they’ve stayed together.”

I want a strong marriage like that. I’ve always wanted a family. I’m not one of those people who says, ‘What’s the point of marriage?’

Anne Hathaway

That October, the actress told Good Morning America that she was “trying to move on and have a sense of humor,” which she exhibited while hosting SNL that month. “I broke up with my boyfriend, and two weeks later he was sent to prison for fraud. I mean, we’ve all been there, right, ladies?” she quipped. Getting more serious, she admitted that the “experience made me feel pretty gullible, and I was ready to swear off dating,” but then the unthinkable happened: “I found an amazing new guy.”

Sometimes you just need to take a leap of faith

Fans later learned that the mystery man Anne Hathaway was talking about was Adam Shulman. As she told David Letterman, they met through friends in 2008 and their connection “was pretty instant.” Despite the fact that she was fresh off her split from Follieri, she was interested in getting to know Shulman, but “someone told me he had a girlfriend, so I backed off.” 

Six weeks later, she realized that wasn’t the case, “so then I asked him if he wanted to go to New Orleans with me.” As she told Letterman, she had a spare ticket to a screening of Rachel Getting Married and her best girlfriends were both busy, so she took a leap of faith and asked Shulman along. Luckily, the bold move paid off and he agreed.

Speaking coily with People in October 2008, the actress noted that she was still technically single, but said, “This guy I know in L.A. is kind of doing it for me right now.”

You know when sometimes you don’t know someone very well […] but you just meet them and you’re like ‘WOW, you really have it going on’?

Anne Hathaway “fell in love like a fool!”

Love (or a strong connection) can make you do crazy things. As Anne joked in 2011, “Adam totally ruined my plan. I was really actually looking forward to a little alone time, and then I fell in love like a fool!”

Despite lingering apprehensions — “I took my trust out for a ridiculous joyride with him,” she told Harper’s BazaarHathaway felt it was right. “I knew from the second I met him that he was the love of my life,” she said in 2013. “I also knew that I couldn’t have met him at a worse time.” And yet, she felt so strongly about him, she recalled telling their mutual friend:

I’m going to marry that man.’ I think he thought I was a little nuts, which I am a bit, but I’m also nice.

Anne Hathaway

How did they work through Hathaway’s fears? By being completely truthful with one another and embracing the fact that nothing is ever certain. “I was just very honest with him,” she told the mag. “[I told him,] ‘I believe, because I need to believe, that what just happened to me was the exception and not the rule, and that people are good and you are a good person, because I feel it. And so I am not in a good place right now, but I’m going with this.’ And he has never hurt me.”

Admitting that “it was scary,” she added, “But as the days wore on it kept on getting better and better. I found that the love I found for him made me more trusting of everyone, and the more I started to see who I had become. I had lost track of myself during those years and I actually started to see who I had become […] that’s when things got tricky and ugly,” she proclaimed. “Having to forgive myself.”

They find the most pleasure in each other’s company

She may be an Oscar-winning actress, but Anne Hathaway finds the greatest joy in normalcy. After all, it’s safe to say she’s had enough adventure in her pursuit of love to last her a lifetime. 

From tying the knot in an intimate (and very private) wedding in September 2012 to hosting a totally low-key baby shower, Anne Hathaway and Adam Shulman are happiest doing ‘normal’ things, as long as they’re doing them together. As the Devil Wears Prada star told USA Today, “We have house parties and dinner parties and just hang out […] He’s all the things you want a partner to be,” she gushed, adding, “I so find joy in his presence.”

In April 2016, the couple had their first child, son Jonathan, and in January 2020, they welcomed his baby brother, Jack. During her second pregnancy, Hathaway revealed that their journey to parenthood wasn’t easy. “For everyone going through infertility and conception hell, please know it was not a straight line to either of my pregnancies,” she wrote on Instagram.

The road to true love can be imperfect

The biggest lesson we can all learn from Anne Hathaway is the way she overcame her disastrous breakup with Raffaello Follieri in such a healthy way. Rather than allowing the experience to taint her outlook on love, she chose not to generalize (although that’s often easier said than done) and listened to her heart (and her gut) instead.

When she met Adam Shulman, the timing wasn’t perfect and she could have quickly written him off as being a potential foe to her already broken heart, but she chose to trust that what she felt was special and worth pursuing — no matter how hard that might have been. And it’s so lucky she did. By listening to her instinct, taking a leap of faith, and being honest (both with herself and with Shulman), she was able to find the love she deserved all along.

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