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The couple celebrated 16 years together in June 2021.

America Ferrera and Ryan Piers Williams’ love stretches back 16 years to when a shared passion first brought the two together. Ferrera was an undergrad at the University of Southern California when Williams was searching for actors for his short, Muertas, which he wrote, directed, and starred in. It was his first post-grad school film, per Vogue, and it would totally change his life as he cast Ferrera in the flick. 

The couple began dating around 2005, per Bustle, and in 2010, they announced their engagement. Speaking with People, Ferrera revealed just how important their shared love of cinema 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. 

They’ve since continued to work together, including on 2010’s The Dry Land, which Williams wrote and directed and Ferrera starred in, and 2014’s X/Y, which he wrote and directed and they both starred in. “We love storytelling,” she said following the latter’s release, 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 came close to breaking them apart

However, while work brought them together, it could have also easily pushed them apart. Just one year after they became a couple, Ferrera landed her starring role in 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 that “the hoopla and the whirlwind that happened around it was challenging and exhausting and my whole life changed.”

She continued, “It wasn’t really being famous, it was what it did for my personal relationships, what it did to my familial relationships.” Particularly her newest relationship: the one with Ryan Piers 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

Building a life together

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

America Ferrera and Ryan Piers Williams’ union didn’t just survive — it thrived. Despite the whirlwind that came with Ferrera’s newfound fame, the couple’s shared love of their chosen profession and their support of one another kept their bond strong. Jump to June 2011 and 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 and in May 2020, daughter Lucia Marisol followed.

The second pregnancy, which happened during the pandemic, was a test for the couple and, 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” and in May, she got candid about the stress she felt, explaining, “There’s the anxiety about the [coronavirus] itself which is like, you don’t want to get sick, you don’t want your children to get sick, you don’t want your newborn baby to get sick.” 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 hubby who surprised her with something special for her pandemic birthday. Taking to Instagram in April 2020, Ferrera, who was eight months pregnant at the time, shared how her “sneaky and dear husband surprised me with a zoom birthday party yesterday!” Writing that she was “completely overwhelmed with joy and love,” she gushed about the sweet gesture, writing, “@ryanpierswilliams you turned my quarantine birthday into one of the most joyous and memorable! You filled me with love and cake and ended it with a virtual dance party!! You are the best.”

“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.”  

As Ferrera told Vogue in 2019, giving back is something she holds incredibly 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

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.”

She also had some sweet words to share in 2020 when she took to Instagram to write, “15 years ago today, these baby faces fell hard and fast in love. They grew up together. They built a life together,” she reminisced, continuing, “And now they have 2 babies of their own. You have always felt like home to me @ryanpierswilliams since our first 9-hour-meeting over enchiladas and refried beans. I love our crazy adventure in this life together. Thank you for choosing me everyday. I choose you too. Here’s to the next 15,” she concluded. Williams also celebrated the milestone, calling his wife the “love of my life.”

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.