David Arquette reflects on troubled marriage to Courteney Cox: 'Maybe this is too personal, but...'

Suzy Byrne
Editor, Yahoo Entertainment

It’s been seven years since David Arquette separated from Courteney Cox, and nearly five since their divorce was finalized, so the actor — who has since remarried — has had time to reflect on how things fell apart.

The topic came up Friday during a Facebook Live interview with Yahoo Entertainment. The 46-year-old actor and producer has a new documentary, Survivors Guide to Prison, but he also talked about his other famous movie roles, including, of course, 1996’s Scream, which introduced him to the Friends actress, whom he married in 1999, when he was 28 to her 35. He said that in the course of the film franchise, they met, married, and then split up — and he noted that as they uncoupled, he had one of several midlife crises. “I just went bananas,” he notes.

After talking about his close relationship with the late Wes Craven, Arquette says, “The other thing about Scream 1 was meeting Courteney. I met my first wife and we had a kid together during that whole experience,” referring to Coco, now 13. “In the final [film], we got separated. It really came full circle, that whole Scream franchise,” he says with a laugh. “It was harsh.”

By the premiere of Scream 4 in April 2011, David Arquette’s marriage to Courteney Cox was over. The pair still posed for photographs, though, like here, with co-star Neve Campbell. (Photo: John Shearer/WireImage)

He continues, “Maybe this is too personal — but that’s what the internet is for – we had a relationship where I was kind of the fun crazy one, although she’s really fun and somewhat crazy as well [laughs]. But she was going through a renaissance too.”

One of their big issues, Arquette has said before, was Cox feeling like she had to be his mother. So there was a brow-raising moment toward the end of their romance with a gift Cox gave him.

“First, she gave me a motorcycle,” he recalls. “She never wanted me riding a motorcycle before. I was like: OK, this is kind of a gift that says: Why don’t you go kill yourself,” he chuckles, noting that she didn’t really want that, of course, and adding that he took it to mean, “‘I don’t want to be your mother anymore.’” He went on, “‘Wooo — OK. Well, then you’re not my mother.’ Then I just sort of started off where I left off in Scream 2 and I was like: ‘I’m my own man.’ Then I just went bananas. There were little people involved. Circuses. I started nightclubs and just blew up, so it got crazy for a while.”

When the term “midlife crisis” came up, Arquette replies, “I’ve had several midlife crises — that’s what I tell people. I had my midlife crisis early,” during the split with Cox, “and then just every few years have another.”

Cox — who has been with Snow Patrol musician Johnny McDaid on and off since 2014 — also came up later in the interview, when he was singing the praises of actress Scarlett Johansson, whom he worked with in 2002’s Eight Legged Freaks and described as confident, poised, sweet, and real.

“That’s what my ex-wife has,” he says of those traits. “You can’t really pull anything. You can’t lie to her, for one. She will just like nail you down [laughs]. ‘What do you mean by that?’” he imagined her asking him. “But a lot of successful celebrities or entertainers, music people too, they have a quiet calm about them, a real bigger picture view. They’re real. They’re real at their core.” Then he looked at the camera and adds with a laugh, “Some of them are d**ks.”

As for that motorcycle Cox gifted him, Arquette — who went on to marry former TV reporter Christina McLarty, a producer on his new doc, in 2015 and have two more children — admits that it was never his thing and it’s long gone.

Arquette is now married to Christina McLarty, pictured here with him in 2016. The former Entertainment Tonight reporter is a producer on his new documentary. (Photo:  Mike Windle/Getty Images)

“I had to get rid of the motorcycle,” he says. “We lived on a hill and I’d always try to pull up and wait for the gate to open and it was really heavy and I’d be falling over [laughs]. I couldn’t hold it up, so I was like, ‘I don’t think I’m a motorcycle guy.’ Some people zip through [traffic riding them]. I’d be like, ‘You can go by [laughs].’”

Arquette and Cox continued to work together after the split — and they do even more work together in the more important roles of parenting their daughter.

Here’s David and his kids: Charlie, Augustus, and Coco.

“She’s amazing,” Arquette says about Coco. “She’s so incredible. I just saw her in a new play she did after school. She sang and she’s just so confident. … She’s 13, so she’s going through a lot emotionally in general just in life, but she’s handling it really well. It’s tough growing up, there are a lot of feelings. I still have a lot of feelings.” And she’s a “great babysitter” to her younger brothers, Augustus, who will be 1 in March, and Charlie, 3. “She loves her brothers,” he adds.

As for whether Coco will pursue a career in showbiz, it seems like a matter of time, really. Last year, she made her debut in a music video, looking so grown-up. “Our philosophy — with her mother — is keep it sort of just learning and honing your skills and unprofessional until later.” He adds that there’s enough for her to deal with in life before being “thrust into the spotlight.”

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