Dia Dipasupil/GA/The Hollywood Reporter
Will Ferrell has been with his wife, Viveca Paulin, almost as long as he's been in the spotlight.
The Anchorman star first met Paulin in an acting class and after taking a short break, the pair eventually tied the knot in 2000. Since then, they have welcomed three children and built a blissful life together.
As Ferrell once told ELLE, Paulin was the perfect match for him because of their similar sense of humor. "What I love most about Viv is very simple," the actor said. "She totally got my sense of humor. I sent her flowers every day for a week with a card, like, 'You're the fifth-prettiest woman in the office.' She loved it. We had a shorthand with each other."
So, who is the woman who captured the comedian's heart? Here's everything to know about Will Ferrell's wife, Viveca Paulin.
She is from Sweden and introduced Ferrell to Eurovision
Paulin was born in Sweden but was raised in Boston. Ferrell explained during an interview with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association that Paulin first brought him to her home country in 1998. During that trip, Paulin and her cousin introduced Ferrell to Eurovision.
"We were visiting her family in Sweden and her cousin had asked us for dinner," Ferrell recalled. "It was in the month of May, and my wife asked, 'Should we sit down and watch Eurovision?' I said: 'What is that?' and she said, 'You don't know what Eurovision is?' It was the night of the final, and I just sat there in front of the TV transfixed as to what was going on."
Ultimately, the experience gave Ferrell the idea for his 2020 movie Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga.
She is an art collector and an auctioneer
Paulin works in the art world as an auctioneer. After earning a B.A. in art history from Pomona College, she learned about auctioneering at Butterfield & Butterfield, a now-defunct auction house, before becoming a regular auctioneer at Los Angeles Modern Auctions.
She is also an avid art collector. "Being around the auction houses made the transition to collecting an easy one, particularly with prints," Paulin told ArtNews in 2014. She and Ferrell own art by Ed Ruscha, Richard Diebenkorns, Frederick Hammersely, Karl Benjamin and John McLaughlin, to name a few.
The couple even have a series of alphabet prints by John Baldessari, which they say have helped teach their children to read.
She has some acting experience
In addition to working in the fine art industry, Paulin is also a professional actress.
She appeared in Ferrell's 1998 film A Night at the Roxbury as Porsche Girl and portrayed Swedish author Anton Bjornberg's wife in TV Land's Younger.
She met Ferrell in an acting class
Paulin and Ferrell first met while attending the same acting class in Los Angeles. As Ferrell revealed to ELLE, they dated briefly in their early days before becoming friends.
When Ferrell left California after he was cast on Saturday Night Live in New York City, the pair remained friends, even though Ferrell was in another relationship at the time.
"Viv and I would talk as friends for two hours, and it would feel like five minutes, and then my girlfriend would call and after 15 minutes I'd be like, 'God, it's really late here on the East Coast. I should get some sleep,' " Ferrell recalled. "For me, Viv was the one that got away."
Luckily, when Ferrell came back to L.A. on a visit, Paulin confessed that she felt the same way. "I was stunned," Ferrell said. "I didn't play it cool at all. I went, 'I just told my uncle that I'm going to marry you one day!' "
He added, "We started over — after a five-year friendship, we literally started courting each other."
She and Ferrell tied the knot in 2000 after an awkward proposal
Ferrell and Paulin got married in 2000 — but only after Ferrell's slightly awkward proposal.
"It started serious but ended up comedic," the Spirited actor told PEOPLE in 2006. "I took her to this beach where we had had one of our first dates. She wanted none of it. She was, like, 'The beach is creepy at night.' I was, like, 'Shut up, this is supposed to be really romantic.' "
Unfortunately, Paulin's comment threw off the actor's concentration. "I was trying to think of what I was going to say and it just turned into, 'So I, uh, really like you and, uh, anyway …' Then I went down to a knee — at least I think I did — and proposed," Ferrell said. "So it was kind of funny, but not on purpose."
She and Ferrell have three children together
The couple share three sons — Magnus, Mattias and Axel, whom they welcomed in 2004, 2007 and 2010, respectively.
As Ferrell explained to PEOPLE, his first son's name caused some controversy, but the moniker was intended to be a tribute to Paulin's Swedish roots. "My wife was born in Sweden, and we loved the idea of a Scandinavian name. I've gotten a lot of flack: 'What kind of ego do you have to have to name your child the great one?' That is not it at all."
They support multiple causes and even started a scholarship fund
Both Ferrell and Paulin enjoy giving back. They've donated to Cancer for College, which provides scholarships and educational opportunities to cancer survivors, and the University of Southern California's Swim with Mike Foundation scholarship campaign, which supports student-athletes who have experienced catastrophic injury or illness.
In 2018, the couple even gave a full scholarship through the Viveca Paulin and Will Ferrell Scholarship Fund, which supports female soccer players at USC. The cause was especially close to Paulin's heart, as she previously played soccer at Pomona College. The couple's three sons also play soccer.