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Meryl Streep and Don Gummer Secretly Stepped Away From 45-Year Marriage  But Their Bond Remains Tight
Meryl Streep Don Gummer

Meryl Streep and Don Gummer Secretly Stepped Away From 45-Year Marriage But Their Bond Remains Tight

Meryl Streep and Don Gummer, known for one of Hollywood's longest marriages, surprised many with news of their separation after 45 years.

There's a lot to appreciate about Meryl Streep – from her 45-year marriage to her 21 Oscar nominations and three Oscar wins to her unwavering advocacy for women's rights and impeccable taste in eyeglasses.

One particularly notable aspect is how she has openly shared the warmth and richness of her personal life over the past few decades. Streep isn't a tortured artist isolated in the deserts of her own genius; quite the opposite. She has frequently turned her numerous premieres and award show appearances into enjoyable family gatherings.

However, the last public appearance of Meryl and her husband, Don Gummer, was at the 2018 Oscars. Since then, their relationship has transitioned from romantic to a supportive partnership. Shockingly enough, "Don Gummer and Meryl Streep have been separated for more than six years, And while they will always care for each other, they have chosen lives apart," Streep’s representative says in a statement.

Despite the revelation of their separation, the 74-year-old Oscar winner and the 76-year-old sculptor marked their 45th wedding anniversary on September 30. 

Although the status of their romantic involvement has changed, Streep remains dedicated to her family life. The couple, blessed with four children – Henry Wolfe (43), Mamie Gummer (40), Grace Gummer (37), and Louisa Jacobson (30) – continues to navigate their familial journey together. Moreover, they still provide each other with personal and professional support.

Regarding the marriage of Streep and Gummer, there have been no whispers of infidelity or scandal, common factors that often lead to the dissolution of Hollywood couples. Throughout the years, the couple has opted to keep most details about their enduring relationship private. With that in mind, let's delve into their relationship and explore the reasons that might have played a role in the separation of this enduring couple.

A Young and Talented Actress Crossed Paths With a Gifted Sculptor

Meryl Streep and Don Gummer's love story began in the late 1970s. Following the untimely death of Meryl's partner, John Cazale, she found solace in sculptor Don Gummer. Meryl's brother introduced them, and their connection quickly blossomed into a deep and meaningful relationship.

According to People magazine, she moved to his apartment during the filming of Kramer vs. Kramer, and they exchanged vows six months into their relationship. The couple tied the knot on September 30, 1978, in a private ceremony. Their wedding marked the beginning of a union that has endured for decades, becoming one of Hollywood's longest marriages.

Over the years, Meryl and Don have welcomed four children into their family. The Streep-Gummer family has often been seen as a tight-knit and supportive unit. Throughout their marriage, Meryl and Don have attended various red carpet events together, showcasing their strong bond. Despite the challenges of maintaining a relationship in the public eye, they have managed to keep their private life relatively... private.

In her 2012 acceptance speech, Meryl dedicated her Best Actress Oscar for her performance in The Iron Lady, to her husband. She then shared with Indie Wire, "First, I'm going to thank Don because when you thank your husband at the end of the speech, they play him out with the music, and I want him to know that everything I value most in our lives, you've given me."

So what made this #relationshipgoals couple separate after such a scandal-free and long-lasting marriage?

Streep Was Still Grieving the Death of Her Late Boyfriend When She Met Gummer

From the outset, a few warning signs may have added complexity to their dynamic. Despite the apparent security and affection in their marriage, there seems to have been a lingering doubt that ultimately played a role in their decision to separate.

Meryl Streep's connection with Don Gummer commenced amidst a challenging period, marked by her mourning the loss of her former boyfriend, John Cazale. The actor succumbed to cancer in 1978. He shared a romantic relationship with Streep for two years. Throughout his illness, Streep provided steadfast support, though the toll of witnessing his declining health weighed heavily on her. In a note to her former drama teacher, she wrote, "He has very wonderful care, and I try not to stand around wringing my hands, but I am worried all the time and pretending to be cheery all the time, which is more exhausting mentally, physically, emotionally than any work I've ever done."

After Cazale's passing, Streep's brother enlisted the help of his friend, Gummer, to assist in packing up items from the apartment she once shared with her late boyfriend. A romantic relationship quickly blossomed between Streep and Gummer, leading to their marriage six months later. Despite finding new love, Streep continued to grapple with the profound impact of Cazale's tragic death. A year after his passing, she confided in People, stating, "The death is still very much with me. It has forced me to confront my own mortality, and once you do that, you look at things differently."

Meryl Streep’s Work Life Might Have Affected Her Marriage With Don Gummer

As a thriving and busy actor, Meryl Streep frequently embarked on film projects that required her to travel, creating periods of distance in her marriage to Don Gummer. According to The Sydney Morning Herald, their relationship experienced long-distance phases when Streep was away from home for several months.

During these times, Gummer assumed the responsibility of caring for their children. Streep felt very lucky, noting that he was "always happy to look after the children," alleviating some of the guilt she felt for her occasional absences. Nevertheless, it was evident that sacrifices were made.

While Streep didn't delve extensively into the challenges of balancing work, marriage, and family, she hinted at the necessary compromises in a romantic relationship. In a 2002 interview with Vogue, she shared the key to her enduring marriage. She described it as a combination of "goodwill and willingness to bend -- and to shut up every once in a while." She further explained, "There's no road map on how to raise a family; it's always an enormous negotiation. But I have a holistic need to work and to have huge ties of love in my life. I can't imagine eschewing one for the other."

Even in Separation, Meryl and Don Maintain Caring Bonds

Meryl Streep and husband Don Gummer smiling and hugging.
Ron Galella/Getty | Bruce Glikas/Getty

In every relationship, there are highs and lows, and parting ways after 45 years of marriage is undeniably challenging. Yet, if there's a concept like "breakup goals," Meryl and Don epitomize it in the world of celebrities. Moreover, as a form of respect for the years spent together, Meryl still wears her wedding band.

Meryl Streep and Don Gummer serve as exceptional inspiration by gracefully managing their personal lives, and offering unwavering support to each other and their children. Caring for each other after a breakup reflects a mature and compassionate approach to moving forward. It recognizes the shared humanity and the impact that individuals can have on each other's lives, even beyond the confines of a romantic relationship.

As Streep said back in 2015, "The great gift of human beings is that we have the power of empathy."

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