What Meg Ryan Learned From Her Affair With Russell Crowe

Meg Ryan and Dennis Quaid’s were married for nearly a decade before they split. One of Hollywood’s most popular A-list couples, Ryan and Quaid’s divorce played out alongside the When Harry Met Sally’s affair with Oscar winner Russell Crowe

Meg Ryan and Russell Crowe’s affair began during ‘Proof of Life’

Meg Ryan and Russell Crowe in a scene from 'Proof of Life'
Meg Ryan and Russell Crowe in a scene from Proof of Life | Frank Connor/Newsmakers

After playing the lead in multiple romantic comedies such as You’ve Got Mail (1998) and Sleepless in Seattle (1993), Ryan went in a new direction. She co-starred with Crowe in the 2000 thriller, Proof of Life. With violence and action sequences, the film stood out in contrast to Ryan’s previous roles. 

At the same time, her life went in a new direction. As her marriage to Quaid came to an end, she struck up an affair with Crowe. As Ryan told Today in 2008, the brief romance wasn’t the reason for her and Quaid’s separation and subsequent divorce.

“Russell didn’t break up the marriage,” she said. “He was definitely there at the end, but it wasn’t his fault. I was a mess – I hurt him, too, at the end. I couldn’t be in another long relationship, it wasn’t the time for that. So I got out.”

In the same interview, Ryan said The Parent Trap actor hadn’t been faithful during their marriage, which she only found out about after their split. 

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Meg Ryan stopped ‘caring’ about her image

Ryan recalled a particular moment after her affair had gone public with The Guardian in 2003. The now-59-year-old remembered walking through a hotel while people gawked at her only to laugh about it in the elevator. 

“It was in One Aldwych Hotel,” she said. “This thing happened [her affair with Crowe] and I was all over the tabloids and I walked through the lobby and the place stopped. People stopped talking and stared at me. And then I got to the elevator and instead of falling apart and going, ‘Ooh,’ I just started laughing.”

“This thing that people are so afraid of all the time — public censure or disapproval — has no power if you know yourself,” she said. 

Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan
Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan | The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images

In a 2019 interview with The New York Times Magazine, she highlighted the importance of that particular moment and what it taught her. 

“It’s a real gift when you know you can’t ever really manage an image or a story and you stop caring,” she said. “I felt the effect, like I was the bad guy or whatever the story was. But I remember letting go of needing to correct anybody.”

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Dennis Quaid says he still loves Meg Ryan

Just because their marriage ended years ago doesn’t mean the love Quaid once had for Ryan is gone. 

“Sure, I still love her,” he told Independent in 2019. “I’m very fond of her, and we have a lot of fun. We spent 13 good years together. We had a kid together, and we shared so much: she made my life.”

Quaid and Ryan share a son, Jack Quaid, who currently stars on The Boys

Quaid has since remarried. He and Ph.D. student, Laura Savoie, eloped in 2020. As for Ryan, her most recent romantic partner has been musician, John Mellencamp. The two dated on and off before calling off their engagement and ending their relationship in 2019.