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The couple celebrated 17 years together in June 2022.

The love between American actor America Ferrera and producer Ryan Piers Williams’ stretches back 17 years, to when a shared passion first brought the two together. Ferrera was an undergraduate at the University of Southern California when Williams was searching for actors for his first post-grad film, Muertas. The casting of Ferrera would change his life. 

The couple began dating around 2005, and in 2010 announced their engagement. Ferrera revealed just how important their shared love of the cinematic arts was to their union. “We kind of connected from the get-go on that professional level and that was something that really drew us to each other: a shared passion for what we do and our work,” she explained. 

The Dry Land Was Nominated for a Sundance Grand Jury Prize

The Dry Land

Williams and Ferrera continued to work together, most prominently on the 2010 drama The Dry Land, which was nominated for a Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize.

They followed that with the 2014 drama X/Y, written and directed by Williams, who also co-starred, alongside Ferrera.

“We love storytelling,” Ferrera said, sharing how special it was “to get to jump into it and know that the person who knows you the best and who has your best interest in mind has your back the whole time. We were able to do that for each other.”

Ugly Betty Nearly Broke Ferrera and Williams Apart

However, while work brought them together, it also could have easily pushed them apart. Just one year after they became a couple, Ferrera landed her starring role in the ABC comedy-drama Ugly Betty.

Reminiscing about that career milestone, she told Dax Shepard’s Armchair Expert podcast in 2020 that she “loved every minute of being Betty,” but admitted “the hoopla and the whirlwind that happened around it was challenging and exhausting and my whole life changed.”

“It wasn’t really being famous,” she continued, “it was what it did for my personal relationships, what it did to my familial relationships.” Particularly her newest relationship, with Williams. “At the time we’d been together one year and then, boom, everything changed, so that was crazy,” she recalled.

It’s like, this guy that I really like, but I don’t see him for three days on end, and he’s working. Is this gonna survive this?

America Ferrera

How America Ferrera & Ryan Williams Built a Life Together

America Ferrera and Ryan Piers Williams (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

America Ferrera and Ryan Piers Williams’ union didn’t merely survive — it thrived. Despite the whirlwind that came with Ferrera’s newfound fame, the couple’s shared love of their professions, and their support of one another, kept their bond strong. Jump to June 2011, when they tied the knot in “an intimate setting amongst close friends and family.” In May 2018, their family grew with the arrival of son Sebastian, followed in May 2020 by daughter Lucia Marisol.

The second pregnancy, which occurred during the pandemic, was a test for the couple. Once again, they passed with flying colors. In April 2020, Ferrera shared how she was “attempt[ing] to breathe through the fears and unknowns of this time.”

Never-ending media coverage, and the spread of misinformation, only aggravated the problem. “I try to stay away from the news cycle because I think you can drive yourself absolutely insane,” she confessed, sharing, “I could feel my heart rate, my anxiety, my blood pressure go up.”

I had to be very disciplined about what I let in because it just doesn’t serve you. Especially in a time where you just don’t need that added stress when you’re pregnant.

America Ferrera

Luckily, she had plenty of support from her family, her fans and, of course, her husband, who surprised her with something special for her pandemic birthday. Taking to Instagram in April 2020, Ferrera, who was eight months pregnant, shared how her “sneaky and dear husband surprised me with a Zoom birthday party.” Writing that she was “completely overwhelmed with joy and love.”

“You Have Always Felt Like Home”

America Ferrera and Ryan Piers (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP) (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

In addition to their work and their growing family, America Ferrera and Ryan Piers Williams share another passion: advocacy. In 2016, they teamed up with Wilmer Valderrama to found Harness, a nonprofit that supports “leaders from historically disinvested communities” and “educates, inspires, and activates an interdependent community of Cultural Organizers to use the power of storytelling to imagine and create a more equitable world.”  

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As Ferrera told Vogue in 2019, giving back is something she holds close to her heart. “As an actor, influencer, celebrity, whatever you want to call it, you’re often asked to engage in very shallow, transactional ways,” she noted, highlighting the importance of learning about an issue, rather than simply tweeting about it, to truly help “magnify the work that’s being done.”

Build Relationships That Last

America Ferrera and Ryan Piers Williams
Photo: Instagram

With so much in common forming such a strong foundation, it’s no surprise that America Ferrera and Ryan Piers Williams celebrated 16 years together in June 2021. Celebrating their anniversary on Instagram, she wrote, “10 years married, 16 years of adventuring, growing and building a life together. You’re an amazing husband and the most remarkable father,” she enthused. “How’d I get so lucky? I love you.”

America Ferrera and Ryan Piers Williams show us that when you connect on the big things that are most important to you, your union’s foundation will be strong enough to withstand anything that comes its way, whether it’s unexpected fame, the highs and lows of growing up together, or even a global pandemic. 

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