Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart are one of Hollywood’s golden couples — despite the controversy that surrounded them when they first got together. For the most part, though, the acting superstars have somehow managed to keep their relationship under lock and key. But now they’ve revealed what goes on behind closed doors in their relationship, including the unusual secret that helps keep their spark alive.
Harrison the great
Harrison Ford should need little introduction to readers, given that he’s one of the biggest stars in Hollywood history. You’ll most likely know him from his role as Han Solo in the Star Wars saga, or playing the equally iconic Indiana Jones in that eponymous franchise. Then there’s his performances as Richard Kimble in The Fugitive and as President James Marshall in Air Force One.
Calista the TV star
Calista Flockhart, meanwhile, doesn’t have quite the level of prominence of her husband. But she’s still pretty famous in her own right. Flockhart made her name on the ’90s sitcom Ally McBeal playing the titular lawyer, but she’s also starred in a bunch of other TV shows and movies, including Supergirl and The Birdcage.
Glitzy night in Hollywood
Ford and Flockhart’s romance began on a glitzy night in Hollywood, over two decades ago. Yes, the Indiana Jones star and Ally McBeal actress rocked up — separately of course — to the 59th Golden Globes Awards on 20 January 2002. More specifically, we’re talking about the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, California.
Golden Globes consolation
It was a big night for Flockhart, who had been nominated in the Best Performance in a Television Series — Musical or Comedy for her lead role in Ally McBeal. But even though she wouldn’t be successful in her quest for the Best Actress Golden Globe that year — damn you, Sarah Jessica Parker — the Illinois-born actress bagged herself an impressive consolation prize: Harrison Ford.
Ford was at the 59th Globes to receive the Cecil B. DeMille Award. That honorary gong is only handed out to the very best, specifically for “outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment.” Given his stellar and groundbreaking career — having starred in four of the ten highest-grossing movies ever at the time of writing — not many would argue against the fact that Ford was a deserving recipient.
Two big wins for Ford
Ford arguably had the most successful night of his entire career. He was effectively given a lifetime achievement gong by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association that would set him apart from many of his peers, and he would find love with his future wife. Not a bad night’s work, all things considered!
Flockhart and Ford would evidently catch each other’s eyes that late January night in Hollywood, and there were reportedly more sparks flying between them than in a welder’s garage. Ford was just sorting out his split from second wife Melissa Mathison at the time, so he maybe wasn’t looking for love that night. But boy, did he find it.
Talk of Tinseltown
Not surprisingly, the gossip websites and magazines would soon be having a field day with this new and exciting Hollywood romance. There was debate about the considerable age difference between Ford and Flockhart, which stands at 22 years. But as we mentioned, the two American actors largely kept shtum about their relationship, besides a few comments here and there to the press. Until recently, that is.
The wine conspiracy
There were even rumors that Flockhart had initially gotten the attention of Ford by deliberately spilling her glass of wine on him. The actress did clear up this story in a conversation with Hello! in June 2003. She revealed, “We were having a conversation for maybe 20 minutes before the wine spilled, and the truth is, Harrison spilled the wine!”
Ford drops his guard
The notoriously private Ford also spoke to Hello! in 2003, where he declared his infatuation with Flockhart. He said, “I’m in love. Romantic love is one of the most exciting and fulfilling kinds of love and I think there is a potential for it at any stage of your life. I was not surprised that I was able to fall in love, and I wasn’t surprised that I did.”
But the A-List couple have generally kept things on the down low. When they met in 2002, the twice-married Ford had most recently been in a relationship with British-American actress and Good Will Hunting star Minnie Driver. That dalliance — with a woman nearly 29 years his junior — reportedly ended some time in 2001.
Dating men, adopting a boy
Before she met Ford, Flockhart had stepped out publicly with British film director Sam Mendes in 1999 and actor Robert Downey Jr. a year later. Those relationships obviously didn’t last, but Flockhart became a mother in 2001 when she adopted a baby named Liam. She declared at the time, “I have always wanted to adopt a child and I am overjoyed that I have been blessed with a beautiful and healthy son. I’m completely enchanted and awe-struck.”
First major public outing
Then, a year later, the beaming new mom Flockhart would meet Ford at the Globes. After some private time spent together early in their romance, the loved-up pair were ready to step out in public. They did so at the 59th Venice Film Festival in September 2002. Ford was promoting his movie K-19: The Widowmaker.
Two decades together
The rest, as they say, is history. Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart have been together ever since. We’re talking over 20 years now, which is a long time by anyone’s standards, but particularly so in Hollywood. But it was only after seven years of dating that the veteran Star Wars actor would pop the question.
It was Valentine’s Day 2009 when Ford finally plucked up the courage to ask Flockhart to be his third wife. The two of them had gone away for a romantic weekend, along with the Ally McBeal star’s adopted son Liam. Then Ford popped the question with an engagement ring in hand. Plot spoiler: she said yes.
The date was set, and the loved-up pair tied the knot on June 15, 2010. The low-key wedding day took place at the Governor’s Mansion in New Mexico, and was conducted by then Governor Bill Richardson and his Chief Justice Charles W. Daniels. Why New Mexico? Well, Ford was shooting Cowboy and Aliens in the state at the time, and the couple are good pals with Richardson and his wife.
Ford and Flockhart’s wedding was typically hush-hush, and the fact they’d tied the knot only became common knowledge when their reps confirmed the news to People. As we keep saying, the golden couple generally like to keep their private life, well, private. But there have been several instances where they’ve let down their guard and allowed us a sneak peek into their marital life.
Age difference addressed
So let’s get to them. First, let’s revisit that Hello! interview from 2003, which was one of the earliest insights into Ford and Flockhart’s relationship. The topic of the pair’s considerable age difference came up, and Flockhart addressed it head on. She stated, “It doesn’t faze me. It doesn’t factor into our relationship at all.”
In that same interview, Flockhart seemed at pains to say that Ford wasn’t some over-the-hill old man. She pointedly noted his age-defying, boyish looks, gushing to Hello!, “I like the way he looks first thing in the morning. It’s not handsome, it’s more cute. He looks like a little boy.”
Ford, who had four kids of his own before he met Flockhart and her adopted son Liam, noted that he was well-seasoned as a father. He told Hello!, “I’m good at changing diapers. No sense letting that experience go to waste.” Evidently, the Indiana Jones star had taken in Flockhart’s boy as his own.
Shared passion for flying
Ford also spoke to People in June 2003, a year when the usually reticent actor seemed to open up a bit more. In a cover story with Flockhart, The Fugitive star beamed that his new love had inherited his passion for flying. Ford said, “Calista loves to fly, and I’m thrilled because it’s so important to me and it’s the kind of thing that’s so much more fun with somebody who really enjoys it.”
Loves seeing him happy
In that 2003 People interview, Ford and Flockhart also noted their young adopted son loved to get in the plane with daddy, too. Ford continued, “Liam loves to fly. Calista likes the process, she likes what she sees from the air, she likes seeing me happy. I think a lot of it has to do with that she loves to see me doing something that I love.” Aww!
Fear of flying overcome by trust
Also, Flockhart noted that talented pilot Ford had helped cure her aerophobia. She revealed to People, “I had always been a little nervous about flying, but when we went for the first time… I wasn’t nervous at all. I loved it.” The Supergirl star added, “I also think I love it because I really trust Harrison.”
Cure for loneliness
Elsewhere in the People feature, Ford noted he wasn’t on the lookout for love to cure his loneliness after his estrangement from his second wife. He said, “There have been times in my life when I have felt I was lonely, but I don’t think you want to live your life in order to mitigate against loneliness.” Even so, Ford would find what he wasn’t looking for with Flockhart. He declared to People, “I’m in love.”
Watching each other
Ford and Flockhart also spoke to People about their impressions of one another, from before they met at the 2002 Globes. Flockhart conceded that she remembered “loving him in Mosquito Coast,” but that she “didn’t really think about him” until they met. For his part, Ford noted, “I watched Ally McBeal from time to time before I met her, but now she won’t let me watch it. She doesn’t like to see herself.”
Fast forward a few years to 2008, and Ford would again speak in public about Flockhart. In an interview with Reader’s Digest, the veteran actor praised the Ally McBeal star’s mothering skills, labeling her “the best in the world.” He continued, “She’s a mother by choice, she adopted Liam before we met, as a single parent, which is an awesome responsibility to take. She’s devoted herself to Liam and has done a really wonderful job raising him.”
Joys of fatherhood
Ford also noted to Reader’s Digest in 2008 how glad he was to Flockhart for bringing a younger child like Liam into his life. He said, “She’s brought a child back into my home. My youngest, other than Liam, is 17. It’s a wonderful opportunity to be part of a child’s growing up, which is always an endless springtime. You see the blossoming and the growing and the nurturing and the payoff.”
Ford and Flockhart had been spotted out together a few times in between — including the 2013 Paranoia premiere — but the next time they were really in the news again was when Ford was in hospital in March 2015, following a plane crash. Flockhart was by his bedside as he recovered, and told People a few months later it was a “really hard, scary time” but made them realize that “life can turn on a dime” and “to appreciate every second we’re here.”
In the wars
After his recovery from the crash, Ford would appear on U.K. chat program The Jonathan Ross Show. On there, he talked about the emergency landing ordeal that landed him in hospital — and another serious injury he suffered a few months later on the set of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, too, that involved a heavy door. Ford told the host about his double leg break, revealing “the left leg was in the door and the right leg was in the airplane crash.”
It was a rough time for Ford, physically at least. But he counted his blessings that things ended up okay. He told Jonathan Ross, “It turned out well — I count myself as a lucky guy.” Tellingly, he praised his wife — for allowing him to return to the skies. Ford said “My wife, who is a wonderful lady, understands my passion for aviation, she understands what it means to me and flies with me to this day.”
Yes, Flockhart had told People in the post-crash interview that she wouldn’t stand in the way of her husband returning to flying. She said, seemingly without hesitation, “He loves it, so I love it, and I support him 100 percent.” That unconditional support for his personal passion must have been music to Ford’s ears, and it illustrates the bond they have
A few months later, Flockhart appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live and revealed some insights into their marriage, and most amusingly, Ford’s texting habits. She told the host, “We talk all the time. He’s learning to text.” When pressed on it, Flockhart admitted he was “getting better” at texting, but hadn’t yet mastered emojis — or figured out where they came from!
Fun times together
Ford and Flockhart would enjoy some more special times together — including attending the 2015 Star Wars: Force Awakens premiere and a glitzy night out at the Governors Awards in 2018 — before the former opened up again about their relationship to Parade. In that February 2020 interview, Ford was asked the secret to their then-decade long marriage. So, what exactly did he say?
Secret to wedded bliss
Well, Ford was clearly in a jokey mood. He claimed that the secret to his and Flockhart’s wedded bliss was that he generally kept his mouth shut. Yes, The Patriot Games star really suggested the best course of action for a long and successful marriage was, at least from his experience, “don’t talk” and “nod your head.”
Listening and agreeing
Despite his humorous tone, Ford was perhaps hinting in a roundabout way that he makes sure he listens to Flockhart and is as attentive as possible, whilst also avoiding disagreeing too much and getting in an argument. He then went on to tell Parade about another surprising secret to enjoying marital bliss. Doing your chores!
The chores of married life
Yes, being a bona fide Hollywood legend isn’t enough to excuse yourself from doing chores. Certainly not if Calista Flockhart is your other half, anyway. Thankfully, Ford isn’t complaining. He’s probably just nodding along. He noted to Parade that the Ally McBeal star would provide him with certain chores to do, labeling them “honey do’s.”
Ford revealed that he, his wife, and son Liam love to spend time at their Wyoming ranch. He told Parade what he liked to do once he’d completed his “honey do’s.” He said, “Well, if my chores are done and there’s nothing more pressing and the weather’s good, I’ll go flying — I love to fly up there — or walk in the woods, do some work, ride my road bike or mountain bike.”
Freedom loving Ford
From what they have revealed, it seems one of the secrets to Ford and Flockhart’s successful marriage is the way in which she just allows her husband to go off and do what he loves — whether it be flying, mountain biking or hiking. As long as he has done his chores first, of course. Or else there would be trouble!
Most recently Ford did a press junket with co-star Helen Mirren to promote his new TV series 1923. During a chat about their on-screen relationship, the Indiana Jones star concurred with the idea that behind every man is a strong woman. He said, “I don’t consider myself a great man, but I do have a great wife as well.” He certainly does, and with these rare insights into Ford and Flockhart’s relationship, it’s little wonder they are still going strong.