The former couple began dating in 1996 after meeting as costars in the Broadway play Bus Stop. The Red Sparrow actress was seven months pregnant with their son, William, when Crudup ended their relationship in 2003 to pursue a romance with Danes.
The Stage Beauty costars — who proceeded to date until 2006 — made an effort to keep their romance private amid the public backlash. When the New York Times did a profile on Crudup in 2004, he sent an email to interviewer Jesse Green making “an argument for not including anything about the Mary-Louise Parker situation,” noting that the matter was “personal, painful and involves an infant,” according to the outlet.
Parker, for her part, has also refrained from directly speaking out about the split. However, the West Wing alum did allude to the situation in her 2015 memoir, Dear Mr. You, in a chapter dedicated to a taxi driver she once yelled at for getting lost.
After the driver told her to get out of his car, saying, “I don’t want you anymore,” Parker broke down, telling him, “No one does. … My life is worse than yours in this moment. … I am alone. Look, see? I am pregnant and alone. It hurts to even breathe.”
While promoting the book on Today in November 2015, the California native described the exchange as a “very low moment” in her life but didn’t go into details.
“I think it’s less about whatever was going on in my life, which is private to me, and will always remain so,” she told Savannah Guthrie at the time. “But I was so attached to my own unhappiness that I was unable to sort of rise above feeling persecuted, and it just created this dynamic with this perfect stranger … and he held up a mirror at my face, he sort of haunted me because I didn’t consider him or his life.”
“That was really hard. I didn’t know how to not do that,” the Temple Grandin star said at the time. “I was just in love with him. And needed to explore that and I was 24. … I didn’t quite know what those consequences would be.”
Although Parker and Crudup’s love story didn’t last, they continued to coparent their son. (The Maker actress also adopted daughter Caroline in 2007). When the Big Fish actor wed Naomi Watts in June 2023, Parker voiced her support for the newlyweds.
“I wish them well,” she told The Guardian at the time. “I honestly of course wish them every happiness because that’s my son’s father. So, I’m happy for them. I’m happy they found each other.”
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Keep scrolling for a look at Parker and Crudup’s relationship over the years: