The Controversial Start to Matthew Macfadyen’s Relationship With Keeley Hawes — Now a Marriage of Nearly 20 Years

You probably recognize Matthew Macfadyen from his riveting role as Tom Wambsgans in the TV series Succession. His wife, Keeley Hawes, is better known for her extensive acting career in the couple’s home country of England. How did this talented couple meet? It seems that the start of their relationship is almost as dramatic as the roles they play — but with a much happier result. 

Matthew Macfadyen and Keeley Hawes’ complicated beginning

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Macfadyen and Hawes were up-and-coming stars when they met in 2002 on the set of Spooks, a BBC spy drama. According to the Daily Mail, Hawes was a newlywed. Just a few months earlier, she had married cartoon designer Spencer McCallum, the father of her 20-month-old son. 

Macfadyen was also in a relationship around that time, with actor Surita Chowdry. It’s unclear when that relationship ended. 

Hawes was a former model who was quickly building a career as an actor. She’d starred in several hit dramas on the BBC. Macfadyen was also on his way, with multiple TV appearances, including a starring role in a TV adaptation of The Way We Live Now

Macfadyen made a declaration of love to Hawes in the rain

When the two actors met on Spooks, people around them reported that they were drawn to each other immediately. Some even went so far as to say that a relationship between them seemed inevitable.

“There was an obvious attraction between them,” one source said. “It’s been a difficult situation for them.”

Vanity Fair reports that Hawes later described the moment that everything changed between them. “Matthew just came straight out with it and said ‘I love you’ in the rain one day. I thought, Oh dear, here we go,” she said.

Just three months after her wedding to McCallum, Hawes moved out of the home they shared and into her own apartment. The two of them worked together to raise their son, but the relationship was not salvageable. They finalized their divorce in 2004, and she and Macfadyen were married the same year. 

Matthew Macfadyen and Keeley Hawes’ life since then

Keeley Hawes and Matthew MacFadyen walk the red carpet during the Virgin Media British Academy Television Awards
Married couple Keeley Hawes and Matthew MacFadyen | Gary Mitchell/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Today, the two are still married and still acting. They’ve even worked together on a few projects since the one that started it all. They have two children, Maggie, who is 17, and Ralph, who is 15. Hawes’ son from her first marriage, Myles, is now 22. By all reports, they are a close family. The parents have a rule that they’ll never let work keep them away from the kids for more than three weeks at a time. 

According to the Daily Record, Macfadyen and Hayes acknowledge that being in the acting business can be hard on a marriage, in part because of the intimate roles they sometimes have to play with other actors. 

“You can get quite close to the actors you’re working with and all that stuff. It’s odd,” Macfadyen said. 

He and Hayes know this fact better than most people, but it’s clear that what started on the set has endured far longer than the show that brought them together. They have been married for 18 years now, and they appear to be as committed to each other as ever. 

The beginning of the couple’s relationship, complete with Macfadyen speaking his heart in the rain, may seem as romantic as the roles they sometimes play. But since then they have lived out a very real marriage, and they’ve made it work. 

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