Life imitating art. Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys played a married couple on The Americans — and then they fell in love in real life.
The Felicity alum and the Welsh actor played undercover Russian spies Elizabeth and Philip Jennings on the FX drama, which aired from 2013 to 2018. When Russell landed the role, she was married to Shane Deary, a contractor whom she wed in February 2007. The former couple, who share son River (born in June 2007) and daughter Willa (born in December 2011), called it quits in early 2013.
After her split from Deary, the Antlers actress began quietly dating Rhys, but the duo initially tried to keep their budding romance under wraps. While the twosome managed to hide their relationship for a while, one of their Americans directors eventually caught on to their chemistry.
“We had to do a very explicit scene together that he had to direct, and he was talking to the script supervisor. And he was like, ‘Well, this might be kind of awkward,'” Russell said during a 2018 episode of Off Camera With Sam Jones. “We kind of did it and just did it right away. And [the director] told the script supervisor, ‘These two have definitely f–ked.’ He’s like, ‘They’re way too comfortable together.'”
In May 2016, the pair welcomed Sam, their first son together. “What’s frightening is sometimes they repeat exactly what you’ve just said or done. You go, ‘Ahh! Don’t copy me!’” Rhys exclusively told Us Weekly in May 2018, referring to the then-toddler’s habit of mimicking his dad. “I heard this kind of echoing parrot in the corner. I was like, ‘Ah! I said ‘duck,’ you little turd.’”
That same month, the Post star joked that he and his longtime partner were spending much of their time focused on the hours between 4:30 p.m. and bedtime. “You evaluate the success of the entire day on those hours,” he told Esquire in May 2018. “And if you get all three fed, vegetables eaten, someone’s asked me a question at dinner, bath, Harry Potter’s read, they’re in bed, and all three haven’t cried, it’s an enormous success.”
Russell and Rhys haven’t worked together much since The Americans‘ series finale aired in 2018, but the Perry Mason star said he “loved” working with his partner on the show. “For many, many different reasons,” he gushed to Us in May 2018. “So, that lot I’ll miss enormously.”
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Keep scrolling for a look back at Russell and Rhys’ complete relationship timeline: