Michelle Pfeiffer and David E. Kelley's relationship had a unique start.
The Scarface actress and the TV writer met on a blind date in early 1993 and instantly connected. At the time, Pfeiffer was already in the process of adopting her daughter Claudia and she and Kelley had only been dating for about two months when she brought her home.
"So we had this child with us right away, and most people don't have that. But I really got to see [Kelley] in a situation that certainly would separate the boys from the men. Obviously, he really rose to the occasion," Pfeiffer told Good Housekeeping in 2007 of the pair's early days. "We both got to see each other as parents before we progressed in our relationship together, and in a strange way, it took the pressure off, as a couple."
She continued, "It was sort of perfectly timed. I mean, it's a real testament to the kind of person he is, but also to the fact that sometimes the traditional way of doing things isn't always the best way."
Pfeiffer and Kelley prefer to keep their relationship out of the spotlight, which perhaps has its benefits as the couple have been together for nearly three decades and just celebrated their 29th anniversary.
"Happy Anniversary to David, my heart of 29 years. ❤️," the award-winning actress wrote on Instagram.
So, who is the TV writer who won Pfeiffer's heart all those years ago? Keep reading for everything to know about Michelle Pfeiffer's husband, David E. Kelley.
His father is a famous hockey player and coach
Kelley's father, Jack Kelley, is a member of the United States Ice Hockey Hall of Fame.
He played hockey for Boston University, leading his team to the NCAA finals in 1950 and 1951. He also competed on an AHAUS (Amateur Hockey Association of the United States) team. The elder Kelley eventually returned to Boston University to coach the Terriers for 10 years.
He went to Princeton University
Kelley attended Princeton University, where he studied politics and played on the men's ice hockey team.
After graduating in 1979, he continued his education at Boston University School of Law, where he received a Juris Doctor. He went on to work for a Boston law firm in the litigation department.
He is a television writer
While working as a lawyer, Kelley began writing the screenplay for a legal thriller, which would eventually become the 1987 film From the Hip.
"I had an idea that I thought would make for a good movie but didn't know anybody in L.A., so I went about writing the film — which would become From the Hip — on my own," he told The Hollywood Reporter. "At some point I thought, 'OK, I'm going to have to show it to somebody.' It ended up getting optioned by a client of the law firm where I worked, but I was quickly educated that having a script optioned doesn't mean it will get made! I was encouraged not to give up the day job, and I didn't."
The script also caught the attention of L.A. Law writer Steven Bochco. Kelley was brought onto the show as a writer and eventually took over the reins as the head writer. "[Bochco] invited me out to do an episode in summer 1986. From the very first story meeting, I felt, 'This is where I'm meant to be,' " Kelley said.
In the years since, Kelley has become one of the most prolific television writers and producers. His list of credits includes Doogie Howser, M.D., Picket Fences, The Practice, Ally McBeal, The Undoing, Anatomy of a Scandal, Big Little Lies, Big Sky, and Nine Perfect Strangers — to name a few. In 2014, he was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame.
In his 36-year career, Kelley has earned 30 Emmy nominations and taken home 11 wins.
He met Pfeiffer on a blind date
Kelley met Pfeiffer in January 1993 after being set up on a blind date.
"I was kind of nervous ... and I'd had a couple of bad blind dates and I had sworn off of them, and my best friend said, 'Please, just this last time, meet this guy, David Kelley,' and I said okay," Pfeiffer shared during an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. "I thought it was a good idea to do like a bowling party."
At a group dinner before the party, Pfeiffer recalled that Kelley had been "chatting it up" with her sister.
The actress continued, "I say to my best friend 'I think I should set Dedee [Pfeiffer's sister] up with him they seem to be really hitting it off.' My friend said, 'Don't you dare I will kill you.' "
"It didn't start off great," she joked, adding that it all worked out in the end.
He and Pfeiffer have been married for nearly 30 years
Kelley and Pfeiffer were married on Nov. 13, 1993.
In 2012, Pfeiffer told Parade magazine that she "chose really well with David."
"I got really lucky," she said. "I never take him for granted. I've never met a person who has more integrity than my husband. I respect that. There's his humor and intelligence, too, and he's really cute, all those things — but if you don't respect your partner, you'll get sick of him."
Now, nearly three decades later, the couple are still going strong, and Pfeiffer has continually celebrated their many anniversaries on Instagram.
He shares two children with Pfeiffer
Before meeting Kelley, Pfeiffer had entered into private adoption proceedings. She officially adopted her daughter Claudia Rose in March 1993, just two months after meeting Kelley. That same year, the couple tied the knot and Kelley adopted Claudia.
Of watching their daughter grow up, Pfeiffer told Good Housekeeping in 2007, "Boy, there's nothing typical about my girl. She's a force to be reckoned with, and an amazing human being." The proud mom continued, "I wanted her to be a really independent, outspoken young woman, and I sure got that! She's also very creative and inquisitive. And what's exciting about this age is that she's really coming into her own. She's everything I'd hoped she would be."
In August 1994, Kelley and Pfeiffer welcomed a son, John Henry Kelley.
Pfeiffer shared a throwback photo on Instagram that showed off her baby bump from when she was pregnant with John Henry in April 2020.
"#TBT. 1994. Me preggers. Like so many, missing my kids and wishing they were here with me 💜," Pfeiffer captioned the post.
The couple prefer to keep their children out of the spotlight, however, the actress did share a rare picture of her now-adult daughter on Instagram in 2021.
He and Pfeiffer choose not to work together
While both Kelley and Pfeiffer have successful Hollywood careers, they do not work with each other on projects, which is a choice Pfeiffer has been candid about.
Of their decision to keep their home life separate from their work lives, Pfeiffer told The New Yorker, "I've seen a lot of couples where they seem to have a really great marriage, and then they work together and next year they're filing for divorce."
In early 2022, Pfeiffer appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, where she spoke again about her marriage and her decision not to get involved with her husband's projects.
"Nobody writes, honestly, better for women than he does," Pfeiffer said. "It's unbelievable. And yet, I value our relationship more than a good part, and I just think it's too risky."
She added, "We're both kind of fierce when we work, and so if I come home and I've had a bad day, and I'm upset about something, I want him to be on my side because he hasn't heard the other side … There's value in that."
His life with Pfeiffer has inspired some of his storylines
Although Kelley does not work with his movie star wife, his life with her and their kids does inspire his work. During an April 2022 appearance on Live with Kelly and Ryan, Pfeiffer shared that Kelley once drew inspiration from their kids' childhood experience with head lice for one of his shows.
"I watch certain characters and I think to myself, 'I bet he wrote that for Michelle,' " host Kelly Ripa said to Pfeiffer
"No ... He would never admit to it," the actress replied, before sharing that Kelley "once wrote a scene" inspired by their kids, Claudia and John Henry.
"One of them got hair lice in elementary school," Pfeiffer explained. "And it took three of us working on this kid's head to get rid of these nits."
She continued, "And I turned to [Kelley] and said, 'If I see this in one of these shows!' And of course, it was in one of his shows."