In nontypical Hollywood fashion, Meryl Streep has had a longterm marriage and four children with the same man. Although she doesn’t keep him from the spotlight, she also manages to maintain a somewhat private personal life.
Learn more about the artist who stole the actress’ heart close to four decades ago.
1. He Lent Meryl His Apartment When Her Ex Died
It was through Streep’s brother that the two first met.
In an interview with Town Vibe, Gummer dished on their beginnings. “It was in 1978, through her brother—who was a good friend of mine—I got this little job of soundproofing the loft Meryl had. If you’ll recall, I led two lives at that time. Anyway, we met when I was on the gig—and the rest is history.
Streep’s boyfriend of two years, actor John Cazale, best known for playing Fredo Corleone in The Godfather, died of lung cancer in 1978. Stricken with grief, she stayed briefly with a friend in Canada, but when she returned to New York City, she discovered she’d been kicked out of the loft she had shared with Cazale.
That’s when her brother came to her help her, and brought along his friend, Gummer, and the rest is history. Streep, who was 29 at the time, stayed in Gummer’s apartment during the filming of Kramer vs. Kramer, for which she won her first Oscar. In 1978, just six months after Cazale’s death, the couple was married.
2. He’s a Sculptor Who Studied at Yale
Here is his professional website, replete with examples of his work.
According to his resume, he earned his bachelor’s and master’s in fine arts.
In the clip above, he speaks of his work The South Tower, which is inspired by the World Trade Center. “I was on the corner in New York on my way to the studio when I saw the South Tower fall.”
In an interview with Town Vibe, the Indianapolis native summed us his education as such:
I went to the Herron Art Institute there, then to the Boston Museum School, where I majored in sculpture and got my BFA. Next came a fellowship that allowed me to travel through Europe and Africa and finish up with graduate work at Yale. I emerged with an MFA and the urge to start doing my own thing in New York.
3. He Has 4 Children With Meryl & They All Work in the Arts
Being the children of an artist and actress, it is not a surprise that all four of the Gummer offspring have chosen to pursue the arts.
Their oldest child and only son, Henry Wolfe, is a singer-songwriter, who released an album in 2015.
In an interview with the Daily News, he spoke candidly about the downside to having a famous mother. “It’s not what I would necessarily choose but it is something I have to accept,” he says. “There are a certain amount of assumptions that go along with that, which tend to not be fair, like the recognition somehow helps me. But it also hurts because people start to think that I don’t work hard and they don’t take me seriously.”
The pair has three daughters, Mamie, 34, Grace, 31, and Louisa, 26.
Their two middle daughters, Mamie and Grace, are both actresses. In an interview with the Talks, Streep expressed her trepidations about her daughter following in her footsteps. “I am proud that my daughters want to do this. But I am also frightened for them, too. Because when criticism comes your way as an actor they are not criticizing your writing or your painting or your piece, they are criticizing you!” she said.
In the clip below, Mamie, who was just cast in season three of True Detective, is interviewed by Jimmy Fallon. The host shows us clip of her on-screen debut with her mom in the 1986 film Heartburn.
Their youngest daughter, Louisa, is a model, and according to News, she is signed at IMG models and shot a spread for Dior, which appeared in Vanity Fair Italia and Glamour.
4. Meryl Said He’s Given Her ‘Everything,’ But There Have Been Claims of Infidelity
When Streep won the Academy Award in 2012 for The Iron Lady, she gushed about her man on stage. “First I’m going to thank Don, because when you thank your husband at the end of the speech they play him out with the music,” she said. “And I want him to know that everything I value most in our lives you’ve given me,” she said in the clip above.
However, it seems things weren’t always rosy for the pair. Cheating allegations were brought to light when a biography of Jack Nicholson was released that claimed he had an affair with Streep during the filming Ironweed in 1987. According to biographer Marc Elliot, “As soon as it began, rumors exploded like wild mushrooms that something was going on between Jack and his co-star, I’ll-never-work-with-him-again Meryl Streep.”
5. He Puts Family First
Although he and Streep have obviously amassed wealth-according to Variety, the couple recently purchased a home in Pasadena for $3.6 million- Gummer values the simple things in life, like family and his artistic talents.
When Town Vibe asked him how he wanted to be remembered, he replied:
As a good father and husband. As having set the kids on the track of their own careers. That matters most. Maybe I’ll be known for daring to tell truth as I see it through art and sculpture.