How Ethan Hawke’s Life Fell Apart After His Divorce With Uma Thurman

Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman were a celebrity couple for five years before their marriage ended. After their divorce, Hawke admitted to being deeply affected by the split. So much so it began to impact several areas of his life for the worse.

Why Ethan Hawke felt he had no business getting married to Uma Thurman

Uma Thurman smiling while holding Ethan Hawke's hand.
Ethan Hawke & Uma Thurman | Barry King/WireImage

Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke met on the set of 1997’s Gattaca, according to InStyle. They got married the following year and eventually gave birth to two children in Maya and Levon Hawke. Hawke was only 27 years old when he married his first wife, but it was a decision he later second-guessed. In an interview with Elle, he briefly touched on his thought process behind marrying so young.

“Success when you’re young is really overwhelming. The world felt out of control. And I wanted to stop it from spinning so fast,” Hawke shared. “I thought marriage would decrease my variables or something. I was absolutely wrong.”

Hawke realized at the time that he wasn’t fully developed enough to engage in a committed relationship.

“There was this discovery that the male brain isn’t done until 28. I definitely think my frontal lobe was not finished. I had no business taking vows that would last more than two weeks,” Hawke explained.

In the same interview, Hawke recalled some advice he should’ve heeded from other more mature actors in his youth. In his older years, Hawke believed the advice he ignored might have kept him from making some errors later in life.

“Around the time of Reality Bites, I met Debbie Reynolds at a dinner party. And she offered me all of this fantastic advice about, you know, her divorce from Eddie Fisher, and Liz Taylor, and how to separate acting from public life,” Hawke said. “I remember thinking, ‘What does this lady know right now?’ The funny thing is, everything she said to me that night was true. If I could have heard her, I would have avoided so many mistakes.”

How Ethan Hawke’s life fell apart after the divorce

When Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman separated, it had a profound affect on the actor. Hawke had been nominated for an Oscar for his role in Training Day, an accolade he felt meant good things for his career. But his problems with his marriage diluted his excitement.

“It was the best moment of my career,” Hawke told GQ. “Like, maybe, maybe, you could be commercially viable. But I got divorced and my personal life fell apart.”

Because of his emotional state, Hawke admitted to seeing everything about his life from a different perspective.

“I don’t know if you feel this way, but when you’re depressed, it’s really easy to see everything that is fake about other people and life, and I just started seeing all that,” Hawke added. “How phony celebrity was, how phony everything is. You channel your inner Holden Caulfield, you know?”

Fortunately, Hawke’s passion and children kept him from staying in that emotional place.

“That’s the wonderful thing about children is they just need you every day. It gives your life balance. Meaning your whole life isn’t just about yourself,” Hawke explained.

Why did Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman split?

There has been much speculation behind the break-up between one of Hollywood’s premiere couples. Rumors swirled that their break-up was due to infidelities on Hawke’s part. But the Predestination star insisted that wasn’t the case.

“Uma and I did not split up over anybody’s infidelity,” Hawke claimed according to InStyle.

He later cited their lifestyles as actors as a major reason for their split.

“You know you’d come up with these rules: ‘One person works, the other person doesn’t. Well, then somebody’s always out of town,’” Hawke said. “Then I’m living in a hotel room taking care of my kids while you’re off on a film set six hours a day doing what you love. Do that for nine months and see what a good mood you’re in.”

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