Will Ferrell Says His Wife Viveca Paulin Was Almost "The One That Got Away"

·3 min read
Photo credit: Getty
Photo credit: Getty

From Good Housekeeping

Buddy might've had hearts in his eyes for Jovie (Zooey Deschanel) at the end of the classic Christmas movie Elf, but comedian Will Ferrell's actual true love is his wife of 20 years, actress Viveca Paulin.

The pair first started seeing each other after meeting in an acting class in 1995, according to PopSugar.com. Though they briefly dated, the two decided initially that they were better off as friends. Friendship-wise, Viv was a great help to Will — when he needed money to pay his rent and support his acting dreams, she was able to get him a typing gig, per Elle.

Eventually, Will's talent landed him a job on Saturday Night Live and he moved to New York City. Despite the distance though, Will and Viv made the effort to stay connected.

Photo credit: Jeff Kravitz
Photo credit: Jeff Kravitz

"I was in another relationship," Will told Elle. "And 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.' For me, Viv was the one that got away."

Luckily, Viv still had strong feelings for Will and invited him over for a beer while SNL was on hiatus. Will told Elle that Viv proceeded to pound her beer and then admit that she still liked him even though they agreed on being friends.

"I didn't play it cool at all. I went, 'I just told my uncle that I'm going to marry you one day!'" Will recalled.

The Zoolander star ended up being absolutely right. After years of dating, the two revisited a beach where they had gone on one of their first dates — it was then that Will got down on one knee. That said, the proposal didn't go totally according to plan.

Photo credit: Dan MacMedan
Photo credit: Dan MacMedan

"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,'" Will revealed to People. "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 ...' ... So it was kind of funny, but not on purpose."

In 2000, Will and Viv officially tied the knot. Four years later, they had their first son, Magnus. Then, in 2006, they had another boy, Mattias, followed by another son, Axel, four years later. Typically, Will, Viv, and their children try to stay out of the spotlight. But in 2017 for the premiere of Daddy's Home 2, the entire family did make an appearance on the red carpet (pictured below):

Photo credit: Jason LaVeris
Photo credit: Jason LaVeris

This year, Will has been staying in Sweden, Viv's home country, with his family. Normally though, the Ferrells would split their time between their homes in Sweden, L.A., and New York City.

Prior to the pandemic, both Will and Viv had plenty of acting gigs on their plates. Most recently, Viv voiced an auctioneer in the 2018 animated movie Ralph Breaks the Internet and appeared as Annika Bjornberg in the TV series Younger. Will, of course, has most recently starred alongside Rachel McAdams in Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga and will play Martin Markowitz in the upcoming 2021 TV series The Shrink Next Door.

Photo credit: Cindy Ord
Photo credit: Cindy Ord

So, what's the secret to Will and Viv's successful marriage? If we had to guess, we'd say humor plays a big role in their household. "Before you marry a person you should first make them use a computer with slow Internet to see who they really are," Will once joked.

Clearly, Viv passed the computer test.

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