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- June 15, 1998
- Vol. 49
- No. 23
David Duchovny and Téa Leoni's Marriage Is Anything but Alienating
Yes, it's tough to stay focused on inner beauty when you're half of one of Hollywood's best-looking couples. But to hear this pair tell it—they celebrated their first anniversary on May 6—the honeymoon is still going strong. While the likes of Bruce and Demi tread the Hollywood party circuit, David, 37, and Téa, 32, are notoriously private. Happy to stay home (in this case, a newly purchased $3 million, antique-filled four-bedroom north of Malibu), they hike with the dog, play Scrabble by the pool and snuggle on the sofa to watch Newly wed Game reruns. "We can't really agree on some of the questions, though," says Duchovny. "When they asked, 'If you were a superhero in the relationship, who would you be?' I answered, 'Fox Mulder.' But that wasn't good enough for her."
Just kidding, Dave. "I didn't meet my ideal man," Leoni, formerly wed to a director of TV commercials, told Vanity Fair. "I met better." For Duchovny, who as one of Hollywood's most eligible bachelors once dated Winona Ryder, the feeling is mutual. "What's it like?" he says, musing on domestic life. "Very sexy."
Not that their careers have suffered from all the amore. Though Leoni's Naked Truth series was canceled in May, she's now starring in the hit cataclysm flick Deep Impact. Duchovny, who makes $110,000 per X-Files episode, lands in theaters on June 19 in the $60 million feature-film spinoff. But it wasn't until Leoni that everything fell into place, says his close friend actor Jason Beghe: "He's worked his butt off to get to this place in his life. He's rooted, with a new family, his own home." Simply put, says X-Files costar Mitch Pileggi, "he found something that he'd been looking for for a long time."
Even if he didn't first recognize it. The two met in '92 at a Tonight Show guest audition where, Téa told London's Times, she was so busy chatting up the producer, Duchovny didn't register: "It could have been Nicole Kidman sitting there." Five years later their mutual agent, Risa Shapiro, suggested a date. Duchovny had split with girlfriend Perrey Reeves; Leoni and her beau, Naked Truth creator Chris Thompson, had long since cooled. But after meeting No. 2 at Giorgio's, a cozy Malibu restaurant, the relationship hit high gear. "After a month," says Duchovny, "I knew she was the one."
The two had lots in common: New York City backgrounds (her father is a corporate lawyer, her mother, a nutritionist; his father is a writer, his mother, a school administrator); humor ("they love to howl together," says Beghe); sports (golf and yoga); and academics (Téa, a Sarah Lawrence dropout, planned to study anthropology; Duchovny, a Princeton grad, has a master's from Yale). "I think their intelligence is a bond as much as anything else," says Deep Impact executive producer Joan Bradshaw. Says Naked Truth costar Holland Taylor: "They've both been on a number of hysterical whirlwinds. But this was right as rain."
Two months into the relationship, as Téa was putting shoes away at her L.A. house one afternoon, "David suddenly said, 'Will you marry me?' " she told Vanity Fair, "and I said 'yes' without even taking time to come out of the closet." The couple, who never flaunted their affair ("They didn't make a show of it, the way some TV couples do," says Naked Truth director Rob Schiller), were equally secretive about the wedding, attended only by family, in which they exchanged gold bands in New York's Grace Church School courtyard. "They were staying at Duchovny's townhouse in Vancouver [where The X-Files was taped], and Téa seemed really distracted," says Naked Truth executive producer Michael Saltzman of the days preceding the event. "Within a couple of days, they were married."
Still, matrimony didn't ease the long-distance commute caused by Duchovny's Vancouver workdays—or the flak he took while asking for the show's relocation to L.A. next season. "It was hard on him," says actor Nick Lea. "He was handed the key to the city and ended with eggs being thrown at his house. People just didn't see that he wanted to be with his wife."
Clearly, the hassle was worth it. "We just walk around the house saying, 'I can't believe it's finally happened,' " says Duchovny. "It's great to be here." Now they're fielding relentless questions about the prospect of their own little alien (not just yet) and hashing out a few remaining differences. "She's a smoker and a red-meat eater, and I'm not," says the mostly vegetarian Duchovny. But there is one sign they've found common ground: These days, there's always a salt shaker on Téa's night table, says their friend Beghe, "because they like to eat in bed."
Craig Tomashoff and Deanna Kizis in Los Angeles
- Craig Tomashoff,
- Deanna Kizis.
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