90's goss

Sofia Coppola Calls Spike Jonze Her ‘Practice Marriage’

Can we just get a round of applause? Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Marc Jacobs

End-of-the-millennium Sofia Coppola, in the midst of adapting The Virgin Suicides, had more things on her mind than pesky marriage when she settled down with fellow director Spike Jonze in 1999. The Oscar winner and On the Rocks director recently told Bustle she was “distracted” when the Her director proposed the night before her first day of shooting. “That was not the moment to be making life decisions,” she explained. “But we’d been together a long time, we were living together, and I wanted to move on to the next [phase of our relationship].”

The two met on Jonze’s first music-video shoot — Sonic Youth’s “100%,” co-directed with Tamra Davis — but stayed friends for years before it turned into something more. Coppola planned the wedding while taking The Virgin Suicides, starring one of her muses, Kirsten Dunst, to Cannes Film Festival, and they got married shortly after. (Jonze’s own film, Being John Malkovich, went to Venice that year.) “It was just stressful making such a big decision, because I think part of me hadn’t totally thought about it, even though we’d been together a long time,” she said. “I think I had doubts, but because I was younger I wasn’t really paying attention to those [doubts].”

Since their divorce in 2003, Coppola has had a lot time to think about it, enough to write and direct a feature film starring Scarlett Johansson as a woman married to a distracted photographer. (And win an Oscar for it.) To Coppola, it was just another one of life’s funny little lessons. “I always tell my kids they can’t get married before they’re 30 because you have to really know who you are first,” she shared the wisdom. “I refer to it as my practice marriage — it was fun and served its purpose for that time.”

Sofia Coppola Calls Spike Jonze Her ‘Practice Marriage’