Chris Hemsworth has started making the press rounds in preparation for the release of his latest movie, Thor: Ragnarok, and he’s in a sharing mood.
While he’s doing the usual spillage of on-set insights and giving a glimpse into his personal world, Hemsworth is also talking about something Hollywood men don’t tend to discuss at length: the sacrifices their wives have made for their careers.
“My wife and I fell in love, had kids, didn’t really see each other for a few years, then fell back in love,” Hemsworth told GQ Australia of his wife of six years, Elsa Pataky. “In terms of work, she’s certainly given up more than I have. She’d like me to step back and be at home with the kids more, and of course, I want that, too. But I feel like I’m at this crucial point in my career — I’ve just got to set up for longevity or I’ll slip off.”
Hollywood’s leading men have often sung the praises of their wives, and how they’ve supported them throughout their career. For example, Robert Downey Jr. has said wonderful things about his wife, Susan Levin, whom he credits with helping him stick with his sobriety and become the mega-star he is today. “I could be bussing tables at the Daily Grill right now if not for her,” he has said.
Living legend and Oscar winner Jeff Bridges has also similarly said lovely things about his wife, Susan Geston, whom he met in 1974 and married soon after. How does his marriage work? According to Bridges, “My wife holds the kite strings that let me go ‘weeeeeee,’ then she reels me back in.”
And certainly they’ve given well-deserved high praise when those wives become mothers. Just take what actor Channing Tatum told Vanity Fair about his wife, Jenna Dewan Tatum, as an example. Talking about his experience surrounding the birth of their first child, Everly, Channing told the magazine, “It was crazy. You feel helpless. We like to think of ourselves as big, strong men, and we could handle whatever situation. And reality is [that women] are so much stronger than we could ever be. There’s a reason why we weren’t given that job, evolutionary or whatever.”
He continued: “My wife, she’s a warrior. She did it as natural as you can. [As a man], you’re basically a cheerleader. ‘Come on, baby. You can do it.’ I would’ve tapped out in the first.”
But rarely do Hollywood men discuss what their wives give up, the compromises they make, and how it affects their marriage to be the support system for a super star – and in some cases, it’s led to the couple’s demise. It’s long been rumored that this is part of what led to the split between Chris Pratt and Anna Faris, as Faris often remained home to work and care for their son, Jack, while Pratt took off to far-flung locales and worked elsewhere for months at a time while on his meteoric rise to becoming a top name in the biz.
That’s not to say Pratt wasn’t effusive in his praise of his now ex. It wasn’t that long ago, during the ceremony for his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, that he told Faris what she means to him and how her support has affected his life. “Anna, I love you,” he said at the time. “You’ve given me so much, you gave me the greatest star in the galaxy, my little boy. Without it, none of this means anything to me. With every challenge, we become more bonded. You’re very caring and thank you for your trust and sacrifice, and I will do my best to protect it. You have my heart, my dedication, my trust. Without you, none of this means anything.”
But it’s rare for a leading actor to be so forthright in discussing those marital sacrifices so intimately. Hemsworth also discussed the changes they made as a family in support of his career, like moving to Malibu for a time before returning to Australia to create a sense of normalcy amid the chaos of his creative life. Hemsworth was candid about his reasons for making the move, saying of Hollywood life, “You stop becoming a person. You have nothing to draw from because you’re living in this world of pretend on and off the screen.”
He was also candid about how he now works to balance his personal and professional lives. “Once you have children, every instinct and every moment of your time is consumed by that,” Hemsworth told the magazine. “You’ve got nothing for each other, so make sure you have date night even if it’s once in a blue moon, because most of the time you’re just too tired and you’d actually prefer to sleep.” Hemsworth also discussed how he wants to be a more thoughtful husband.
In a world that often expects women to make sacrifices for their husband’s careers, it’s refreshing that a star of Hemsworth’s magnitude is willing to talk about his marriage dynamic in such an honest and real way. Not only does this kind of vulnerability show the hard work that goes into this kind of partnership, but it also gives unique insight into what it really takes to make it to the top — and puts it into words that we don’t normally hear or read.
Keep sharing, Hollywood husbands. We like this kind of transparency — and not just because it celebrates the wives who support you. It’s refreshingly real in a world that’s predicated on being fake. We need more of this.
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