At a time when celebrity marriages are crumbling at a speed that makes us question our core assumptions that star love is the greatest kind of love, we can always make ourselves feel better by looking at the union of Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally. They’ve been very together for the last thirteen years, working and spending time together, sharing one e-mail address, and exuding a palpable sense that they really enjoy each other’s company and silliness. So with the couple co-starring in the comedy Somebody Up There Likes Me, which opens in theaters today and is available on VOD, we thought it the perfect opportunity to look at the history of Earth’s greatest love.
Megan Mullally moves to Los Angeles after years in the Chicago theater scene.
Nick Offerman moves to Los Angeles after years in the Chicago theater scene.
Nick’s reason for moving:
“I had a girlfriend at the time who was from Mexico, and she said, ‘No, motherfucker. I’ve been in Chicago for five years. We’re moving to where it’s warm … ’ Then she flaked out and disappeared. She turned up back in Mexico — I think she is a really successful Mexican actress now — but I already had everything in motion, so I came here by myself.” (The Believer)
At the time, Megan was dating, as she described, “Androgynous, gayish type men … Rock n’ roll-type guys … Drummers with B.O. that smoked a lot of cigarettes.” (Kevin Pollak Chat Show)
Megan is cast as Karen Walker on Will & Grace.
Nick: “It was sort of the end of the rocky period … I was drinking a lot of bourbon. I was miserable. I was starting to get work, but it wasn’t remotely satisfying. It was garbage compared to the theater I was doing. I realized what I needed to do was find a piece of theater that I could sort of reestablish my manhood upon. I needed to do a play. [Casting directors] Nicole Arbusto and Joy Dickson hooked me up with a play at this company called the Evidence Room.
Megan and I, neither of us knew anyone else in the whole production. We had both come to it in the same way, where we were like, ‘I really want to do something good in theater right now.’ It was right after season two of Will & Grace.” (The Believer)
They meet at the first readthrough for The Berlin Circle.
(FYI: The band referred to in the above clip was Cowboy Nation.)
Nick: “After rehearsal one night we went and drove around. I put my hand on hers on the gearshift in the middle and that was very electric. She gave me a stern talking to about how yes, there might be ‘some interest’ in me but she wasn’t about to ‘get involved’ with somebody she was doing a play with. So it would have to wait until the play closed. And I said, ‘OK, I can handle those terms … And then we went and parked somewhere and made out for two hours to a Beck record that had just come out. I can’t think of the title of the song. A really pretty song that says, ‘Such a beautiful way to break your heart.’ Megan and I kept hitting repeat on this Beck song for two and a half hours and making out in front of somebody’s apartment building.” (Parade)
Megan: “Opening night, somebody saw us making out and then the cat was out of the bag. And then we were dating. Then I wouldn’t let him come to my apartment. Then I would let him come in, but he had to sleep on the couch. And then he could sleep on the bed but we still hadn’t had sex yet. By the time we did, it was long anticipated and well worth the wait. There was a Glen Campbell concert at the Hollywood Bowl that put us in a very lustful mood apparently. We’re both big Glen Campbell fans — it’s one of the things that united us in eternal love.” (New York Magazine)
Nick: “I mean, we’re Americans so, like oxygen and food, we love Glen Campbell. When we started dating in 2000, we went to the Hollywood Bowl for the Fourth of July to see him. The second to last song was ‘Rhinestone Cowboy,’ and there were fireworks, both literal and figurative. That was the first time Megan invited me to be her boyfriend. I mean, I had been asking [giggles]. I’d been at the door for a while, and she opened up and let me in to Glen Campbell. So he holds a special place in our hearts.” (GQ)
While dating, Megan took Nick to see her perform with the Seattle Gay Men’s Choir:
Nick gets cast to play a plumber on an episode of Will & Grace, after being considered for the part of Grace’s boyfriend Nathan that Woody Harrelson eventually played. Nick’s character gets to kiss Megan’s.
Eighteen months into their relationship, Nick proposes, but not before having some fun with Megan:
September 20, 2003
The day before the Emmys, Megan and Nick throw a small get-together. Only upon arriving did the twenty guests learn it was actually Nick and Megan’s wedding.
“We fell in love, and before long, we could just tell that we wanted to stay together and make a life together. We wanted to declare to each other and our friends and family that we were in it to win it. It’s important to note that it was not the result of any planning on either of our parts. In fact, we were both looking rather in the other direction when we ran smack into it.” (AV Club)
The two move into a 3,803-square-foot house in the Hollywood Hills. Megan decorates and Nick contributes furniture of his own construction. (You can see pictures of it here. Also, they just put it up for sale, if you want to live in their former love nest.)
For a few years, Nick was getting work, but was nowhere near Megan’s level. He spent that time happily supporting her and standing in the background of photographs.
“Interviewer: Have you since seen every episode of Will & Grace, Nick?
Mullally: He went to every taping!
Offerman: I was a fast convert.
Mullally: From the third season to the end, I think there was one to two tapings you had to miss.” (Indiewire)
Megan gets asked to host Saturday Night Live. Nick is there, of course.
Will & Grace ends. Mullally wins her second Emmy for her performance on the show. Nick was there.
The Megan Mullally Show premieres. Nick regularly makes unbilled appearances. [The good stuff starts around 3:50.]
Megan gets cast to play Chief on Childrens Hospital. Nick has a recurring role as Detective Briggs.
Megan gets cast in the Broadway musical Young Frankenstein, so they both move to New York.
Nick: “I came [to New York] when Megan was doing Young Frankenstein. I found a shop space in Red Hook and built a canoe. We were living on the Upper West Side, and I was riding my bicycle to Red Hook every day. It was the only time in my adult life I’ve been trim, because it was like eleven miles one way and I could eat and drink like a New Yorker and still be in shape.” (New York Magazine)
Megan turns 50. Nick writes her this song:
After months and months of casting tests, Nick gets cast as Ron Swanson on Parks and Recreation. (When Megan finds out, she shows Nick a post-it that she wrote a half a year earlier that says, “Nick will getting this job on The Office spin-off.” [Kevin Pollak Chat Show]
Nick: Our particular dichotomy is really great because Megan is 10, 11 years older, and she has hit all these high water marks that I’ve watched as she handles these things and gracefully surmounts all these hurdles. Now, unbelievably, I’ve come to some of the same places. There’s a real open student-teacher relationship where Megan is years ahead of me as far as the work she’s done and was on top of the game long before I was. It’s like having a master teacher at home.
Megan: I started Will & Grace when I was 39, and Nick started Parks and Rec when he was 39. And he’s really on the same trajectory; it’s all happening with the same timing. It’s so funny to see it all happening again. And he went through it with me. We met when I was 41, right before I got nominated for my first Emmy. Sometimes there are things, I tease him now, because at that time he would tell me I was being wimpy about stuff, and now he’s like, ‘Oh, my God, I totally get it!’ Like we would have a hiatus week, and I would just want to lay on a bed and stare out the window for a week. He’d be, ‘Come on!’ Now he’s like, ‘Can we go somewhere and lay on a bed and stare out the window for a week?’” (Backstage)
Megan is cast to play Tammy II on Parks and Recreation.
Megan: “Our goal is to gross out the other actors in the scene.” (Kevin Pollak Chat Show)
Nick: “Well, I said ‘I don’t know if you guys know this, but I happen to be married to a comedy legend,’ and they said, ‘Why, yes we were aware of that, so we definitely need to get her on the show.’ So I remember early on, Mike coming to me and saying, ‘Okay, we’re writing this story of your bitch ex-wife Tammy and she’s really horrible and you hate her guts, do you think it would be cool if we asked Megan to play it?’ And he was asking me if it would be okay because he thought someone might take offense like, ‘What? You want me to play a horrible bitch?’ So I called Megan and I said, ‘Honey, check it out, Mike is asking if it would be cool if you played this part,’ and I described the part to her and she said, with relish, ‘Yes, please, and I would like to have lots of cleavage.’” (Blackbook Magazine)
As Parks and Rec grew more popular, Nick, for the first time in their relationship, was as in demand as Megan. That was not a problem, however.
Nick: “We put our relationship above everything else, including acting jobs, and that’s what — I think what can erode a relationship is allowing other things to take precedence over it. We have a rule that we will never do a job that will keep us apart for more than two weeks.” (GQ)
Also, with Nick’s fame, America got to really see and learn about Megan and Nick as a couple.
Nick: “My ultimate soundtrack for lovemaking is Peter Gabriel’s Passion: Music for The Last Temptation of Christ.” (GQ)
Megan: “We don’t always prefer the current facial configuration of whiskers — or shaved head, or beaded vaginal cornrows — but we made a deal to stay together forever.” (AV Club)
Nick: “In this day and age, especially in America, we are so besotted with riches that Megan and I put very little emphasis upon gift-giving. Instead of feeling the pressure to do something significant for each holiday, we instead have a standing deal that we often skip Christmas gifts, and instead just get each other presents at any time, if we should see something that seems like our spouse would love it. We also really appreciate a personal touch more than anything. A small handmade trinket or card is much more meaningful than anything you can purchase.” (AV Club)
From that first play to Will & Grace, other plays (Here’s a 2003 story about Nick and Megan loving each other and acting in the play Mayhem), and up through today, Megan and Nick have constantly sought opportunities to collaborate.
“Megan: I always hear some couples can’t work together, and I don’t get that. We have the most fun when we’re working together.
Nick: I think one of the things we find most attractive about each other is the lengths to which we’ll make an ass of ourselves in the name of comedy.”(Backstage)
In the last couple years, they’ve worked together on Childrens Hospital, Parks and Rec, Smashed, Somebody Up There Likes Me, The Kings of Summer, and Bob’s Burgers. Where earlier in their relationship, Megan helped Nick get parts, Nick is now lobbying for Megan.
Nick: “Well they often … the conversation will come up where, if I say, ‘It would be really fun to have Megan play this part.’ And they go, ‘Do you think we could get her?!’ And I’m like, ‘She also thinks that this is a great script.’” (Indie Wire)
In turn, they help promote each other’s projects in, well, amazing ways.
They’ve been together for thirteen years, and they still act like two teenagers in love.