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The Secretary star and the Garden State actor hit it off when they were first introduced to each other at a dinner in 2001. Soon thereafter, they collaborated on a film that was never released — but was ultimately the catalyst for their decades-long love story.
In 2006, they announced two major life updates simultaneously: The couple were engaged and expecting. Gyllenhaal welcomed their first child together, daughter Ramona, in 2006. The new parents said "I do" a few years later when they tied the knot in Italy in 2009.
The pair raved about working together on Gyllenhaal's directorial debut, 2021's The Lost Daughter, which saw her direct her husband in a sex scene — an experience he told NME in January 2022 was "gratifying."
"I've been recommending this to absolutely everyone," he said about the Gyllenhaal-directed sex sequence. "I don't think there's any relationship that wouldn't be helped by it! The nice thing about it is seeing someone else adore your spouse. The way that these two characters connect is not just about sex; it's about the mind."
From their destination wedding to what they've said about working together, here's everything to know about Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard's relationship.
2001: Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard first meet at a dinner
Sarsgaard, a friend of the actress' brother Jake, said the two felt sparks from their very first meeting.
"We just hit it off," Sarsgaard told The Cut in December 2021 about meeting his future wife for the first time at dinner. "Not just artistically, but in terms of our minds."
2002: Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard share the screen for the first time
Soon after meeting, Gyllenhaal and Sarsgaard were cast opposite each other in the Steven Soderbergh-produced film In God's Hands about a couple struggling to cope after the loss of their child.
However, the low-budget feature was never released due to irreparable damage to the film's negatives, as director Lodge Kerrigan told The Guardian. While the loss of the movie was devastating, there was a silver lining: The actors began officially dating.
July 17, 2002: Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard pack on the PDA at their first premiere together
The couple got glammed up for their public debut in the summer of 2002, where Gyllenhaal supported her then-boyfriend at the New York City premiere of his film K-19: The Widowmaker at the Ziegfeld Theatre in N.Y.C., which closed in 2016. The pair looked cozy during their big night out, grinning and wrapping their arms around each other in photos.
Jan. 19, 2003: Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard make their red carpet debut at the Golden Globes
To celebrate Gyllenhaal's first Golden Globe nomination — for best actress in a musical or comedy for her turn in 2002's Secretary — the couple dressed to the nines for their first major red carpet event. Inside the awards, they were photographed cuddling and laughing as Gyllenhaal sat on the actor's lap.
April 11, 2006: Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard are engaged — and expecting
A rep for Gyllenhaal and Sarsgaard confirmed to PEOPLE exclusively in April 2006 the pair were engaged and expecting their first child together. It would also be the actors' first marriage.
Later that August, the mom-to-be proudly showed off her baby bump at the N.Y.C. premiere of her movie Trust the Man (2005), where she confirmed that she planned to "take at least a few months off" after the birth of their baby.
2006: Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard buy a Brooklyn brownstone
While pregnant with her first child, Gyllenhaal and Sarsgaard bought their first home together, a brownstone in Brooklyn's Park Slope neighborhood.
"When we walked into this house, it really felt like a home to us," Gyllenhaal told Architectural Digest in February 2019. "The light is beautiful, and the rooms feel airy because the ceilings are unusually high."
Sarsgaard added, "I just wanted to have a space where there was room for expression. And I would say that's true for a lot of the house. I wanted it to feel like a place where it's easy to make something."
After living in the home for 12 years, they put it on the market for $4.6 million in 2019.
Oct. 3, 2006: Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard welcome their first child
Gyllenhaal gave birth to the couple's first child, a baby girl they named Ramona, on Oct. 3, 2006. The new addition was born at a N.Y.C. hospital. "Everyone is healthy and happy," Gyllenhaal's rep, Amanda Silverman, told PEOPLE.
The parents have worked to keep Ramona out of the spotlight since her birth, avoiding talking about her in interviews and rarely bringing her along for public appearances. However, Ramona has made rare appearances with her mom in later years, like sitting front row at Paris Fashion Week in 2022.
2007: Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard play husband and wife on-screen
While their first project together was scrapped, the pair finally shared the screen in 2007's High Falls, a short film directed by their friend Andrew Zuckerman. The movie, filmed in 2006, sees them playing a married couple expecting their first child together. Gyllenhaal was seven months pregnant with Ramona and said that filming was exhausting.
"I didn't have an artistic mind at that time," she told The New York Times in February 2009. "I hated the feeling of not having the energy to have a point of view."
Sarsgaard, however, revealed he "had a great time."
2009: Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard share the stage for the first time
After their first on-screen collaboration in 2007, the couple delved into another artistic experience together — this time, they shared the stage for an off-Broadway production of Anton Chekhov's Uncle Vanya. In their interview with The New York Times, the pair agreed they would work together more frequently if there were more opportunities to do so out of the spotlight.
"It is only about the experience of doing it and with your lover; why would we engage in anything any other way than that?" Sarsgaard asked. "Why would we join forces commercially?"
Gyllenhaal added that that would be "kind of disgusting."
May 2, 2009: Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard get married
The longtime couple tied the knot in front of 40 friends and family members in a romantic destination wedding held in the Puglia region of Italy. The ceremony took place in an intimate chapel in Brindisi, with the bride's brother Jake and his then-girlfriend, Reese Witherspoon, confirmed as guests.
"We are happy to confirm that Maggie and Peter were married on Saturday, May 2," the actress' rep said in a statement to PEOPLE.
Nov. 28, 2011: Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard are expecting their second child
In 2011, the acting duo announced over Thanksgiving weekend they were expecting a second child together in the spring.
Gyllenhaal and Sarsgaard revealed the sex of their unborn baby in March 2012, confirming they were having a girl. At the time, Gyllenhaal told USA Today she had managed to keep her bump under wraps for months but could no longer hide it.
"I find it difficult to pretend you're not pregnant, which I had to do. I didn't let anyone know until three and a half months this time," she said. "I went to film festivals. I'm throwing up in the bathroom and having to keep pretzels in my purse and having to fit into dresses."
April 19, 2012: Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard welcome their second child together
On April 19, 2012, the proud parents welcomed their second child, a daughter named Gloria Ray.
"There's no way to prepare for the challenges, the immense joys, the surprises, the disappointments and the shocks," Gyllenhaal told the Orange County Register in 2010 about the transition to motherhood. "Your heart just rips open. It's amazing."
Sept. 19, 2016: Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard attend The Magnificent Seven premiere
While the stars have kept their daughters out of the spotlight, they've continued to make frequent red carpet appearances together. In 2016, Gyllenhaal supported her husband at the N.Y.C. premiere of his movie The Magnificent Seven at the Museum of Modern Art.
June 30, 2020: Maggie Gyllenhaal directs a short film starring Peter Sarsgaard
During quarantine, Gyllenhaal participated in Netflix's anthology series Homemade. In a post she shared on Instagram on June 30, 2020, Gyllenhaal confirmed she wrote and directed the short film Penelope, starring Sarsgaard.
It was her first experience directing her husband, and the role called for him to make love to a tree.
Sept. 30, 2021: Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard discuss working together in her feature directorial debut
Following her short film, Gyllenhaal made her feature-length directorial debut with 2021's The Lost Daughter. The Oscar-nominated film — directed, written and produced by Gyllenhaal, with Sarsgaard in a starring role — was adapted from the Elena Ferrante novel. At the film's N.Y.C. premiere, Gyllenhaal spoke to PEOPLE about working with her husband, whom she called "incredible."
"My husband is just — he's incredible as an actor. He's also just an incredible man," she said. "He was great on set. I mean, I could totally rely on him. He was just beyond my wildest imagination. It really surprised me."
Sarsgaard shared his wife's sentiments, adding that as a director, she made him feel seen on set — an experience he finds rare.
"She didn't tell me what to do," Sarsgaard told PEOPLE. "She just appreciated what I did. There are a lot of directors that I've worked with that respect me but don't really understand me or see me. She does. And there's a big difference between those things."
"My wife demanded more of me," he added. "I just wanted to do my best for her."
Nov. 29, 2021: Maggie Gyllenhaal praises Peter Sarsgaard for "holding up the family side of things"
At the 2021 Gotham Awards, Gyllenhaal — who took home the award for best screenplay and the Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director Award — opened up to PEOPLE about how she relied on Sarsgaard to care for their two daughters, including "making a doctor's appointment" and ensuring "the girls had the right sized shoes." This allowed her to tap into her creativity while making The Lost Daughter.
"... He was holding up the family side of things, and that is invaluable," Gyllenhaal added. "I could not have made this film without that. There are so many examples of women gracefully, intelligently supporting their husbands, and there are so few examples of men doing that for their wives. He's a really incredible example of that."
Nov. 29, 2021: Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard have a rare night out with daughter Ramona
Marking one of her only red carpet appearances, the couple's daughter Ramona joined her parents for a rare public outing at the Gotham Awards in N.Y.C. She sat between them during the event, where her mom was honored and was photographed with each parent separately throughout the night.
In her first acceptance speech of the night, Gyllenhaal thanked both of her daughters, though Gloria Ray was not in attendance. Her younger daughter was reportedly at home with Gyllenhaal's mother, Naomi Foner and Uncle Jake, "making pasta and eating cake," the actress told PEOPLE.
"I have so many things to say and so many people to thank," Gyllenhaal said during her speech. "But for some reason, I really want to thank my mother, who is a screenwriter. And the truth is I think we get along better when we're talking about scripts than a lot of other things. And I also want to thank my daughter. Without whom — and my other daughter who's at home with my brother and my mom right now — I would never have known how to write this script."
Dec. 27, 2021: Maggie Gyllenhaal receives praise from Peter Sarsgaard on directing his sex scene
"She was really focused on the action of the scene — making it look a certain way," Sarsgaard said. "I felt less nervous than I normally would. I've joked, 'Everyone should do this with their wives.'"
He added, "You have your wife adoring you and filming you a certain way. If the person making it in the camera adores you, then the audience will adore you."
Dec. 27, 2021: Maggie Gyllenhaal is "helping" Peter Sarsgaard with his next project
The actor also revealed to The Cut that he's currently working on new projects for the two to collaborate on in the future.
"I'm writing something for Maggie to act in and another project for us to do together," Sarsgaard said. "She's helping me with it."
May 24, 2022: Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard coordinate outfits at Cannes Film Festival
All eyes were on Gyllenhaal and Sarsgaard at the 75th annual Cannes Film Festival in May, where the duo stole the show in edgy, elegant black-tie looks at Hotel Martinez after posing together with the cast of the French film The Innocent on the red carpet.
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