Inside Lily Tomlin’s forbidden love story: She had to hide who she was from the person she loved most

The famed actress has had a place in people’s hearts for decades, after first skyrocketing to stardom during the late 1960s for her appearances on various variety series and comedy sketch shows.

In recent years, she had a starring role alongside her longtime collaborator, Jane Fonda, on the hit Netflix series ‘Grace and Frankie’ – which centers on the lives of two women whose husbands have fallen for each other and wish the get married.

Over the years, her other acting credits have included ‘Nashville’, ‘The Late Show’, ‘Shadows and Fog’, ‘All Of Me’, ‘Flirting With Disaster,’ and ‘Big Business.’

Not only this, but Tomlin has also lent her voice to animated shows and movies like ‘has experience as a voice-over artist on animated films like ‘The Ant Bully,’ ‘The Simpsons,’ and ‘The Last Of The Red Hat Mamas.’

29th March 1971: Studio portrait of American comedian and actor Lily Tomlin in costume as a switchboard operator from the television series, ‘Laugh-In’. (Photo by Jack Robinson/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Though, aside from her seemingly never-ending acting credits, Tomlin has proven to be a very private person – having kept one massive part of her life relatively under wraps for over 50 years.

That part of her personal life is her 55-year partnership with writer Jane Wagner.

Meeting Jane Wagner
Tomlin has known Wagner for a long time, starting from when she was acting on the comedy-sketch show ‘Laugh-In’ in 1969. In this gig, Tomlin became well-known for creating some pretty hilarious personalities – though, she expressed an interest in hiring a writer to help her perfect one of them; a precocious five-year-old named Edith Ann.

Wagner was hired to work on the characters in 1971, and she instantly bonded with Tomlin. Before long, the pair became and official item.

Reminiscing on their romance in a 2020 interview with Variety, Tomlin said that, for her, it was love at first sight “in two minutes”.

LOS ANGELES, CA – JANUARY 29: Actress Lily Tomlin (L) and writer Jane Wagner attend People And EIF’s Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards Gala at The Shrine Auditorium on January 29, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for People Magazine)

As the pair’s romance progressed over the years, their personal and professional lives blossomed, with Wagner telling the outlet: “When I got confidence, it was because of Lily, who believed in my work. We loved similar things, and it was just kind of remarkable that we were on the same page, aesthetically.”

She continued: “Her appreciation of my work meant all the difference to me. I saw her motivation. I saw her drive, and her strength taught me something.”

Clearly, Wagner has enjoyed watching Tomlin appreciate her work, and vice versa. During the interview, she also added that it was Tomlin’s admiration for Wagner that gave her the drive she needed.

When did Tomlin and Wagner marry?
Interestingly enough, marriage wasn’t always on the cards for this dynamic duo. In fact, Tomlin appeared on ‘The Late Late Show with James Corden’ where she discussed her marriage with Wagner and why they eventually decided to take their relationship to the next stop.

Corden then asked why the pair waited 45 years before tying the knot with Wagner, with Tomlin responding: “Truthfully, there was a guy on the red carpet that constantly asked me when we were going to get married. And after it was possible to get married, I had no recourse but to get married.”

The couple wed 10 years ago in December 2013, but received their marriage certificate a few days beforehand – collecting it incognito.

Tomlin since revealed that she did not wish publications to write about them, with the newlyweds saying “I do” in a private ceremony at a friend’s house.

I don’t know about you, but Lily Tomlin and Jane Wagner’s love story is one of the sweetest in Hollywood!



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