From hiding their relationship to making a marriage span more than two decades, Eric McCormack and Janet Holden are doing something right.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on December 6, 2019. It has since been updated.
For years, Eric McCormack has stunned us with his acting abilities, especially as the character of Will Truman from the wildly popular American sitcom, Will and Grace. But as much as his charm, good looks and talent take us by storm, for him, there is one thing more important to him - his wife of 22 years, Janet Holden.
The year was 1994. McCormack had landed the serious role of Colonel Francis Clay Mosby, the sinister town baron on Lonesome Dove: The Series in Canada. By this time, the actor had already been making a name for himself on stage by performing Shakespearan plays with the Stratford Festival, for four years. However, when he got to the sets of Lonesome Dove, things were about to change for him, according to People.
It was on that very set that he and Janet Holden, the show's assistant director, met each other and soon fell in love. Speaking to The Guardian, he said, "I met my wife, Janet, in 1994 on the set of a TV series. She was the assistant director. I was just coming out of a relationship, and not to be trusted. I'd been dating actresses but Janet was different. She wore jeans, drove a pick-up truck..."
However, it had to be kept a secret. "At first she wasn't too keen. She knew actors are a lot of work: it would be like taking your work home with you. But I managed to convince her. We had a secret affair the first season. I mean, dating crew! Actually, it was much worse for her, because she wasn't supposed to give any of the actors preferential treatment," he explained.
However, for Holden, as she told People, “There was a little bit of mystery and danger, which was fun.”
After just one season of Lonesome Doves, the assistant director had moved on from the show and the two soon had no reason to hide their relationship anymore. However, while the now 33-year-old Holden stayed back in Canada, the Canadian actor had already moved to Los Angeles in 1993, and had made that his permanent home. Once he moved back to L.A., their long-distance relationship began. However, at the 1995 wrap party of the series, the couple proudly arrived arm-in-arm. Soon after, McCormack began shotting for the TV movie, 1997’s Borrowed Hearts: A Holiday Romance, all while still committing himself to Holden.
While a lot of long-distance relationships can be tough to maintain, they managed to pull through and remain loyal to each other. And just five months after McCormack was cast in Will and Grace, the two tied the knot on August 3, 1997. And the actor credits his wife for keeping him down-to-earth when the show catapulted him into immense fame. "At the time we actually got married it was a really slow summer," he reminisced to New Idea. "I thought I was going to get this job and all this money, but I didn’t, so she actually married an out-of-work actor!" Adding to that, he told his interviewer Ben Simons, "My marriage saved me."
Then on July 1, 2002, the couple brought their new baby boy home, little Finnigan Holden McCormack, who is now a handsome 17-year-old. The 56-year-old actor shared that his son has no intention of following in his father's footsteps. "He’s shown an inclination to run in the other direction of my footsteps I think!" Eric joked. "The fame part of it has never been something that interested him. He’s very independent and very much his own guy. I think there’s a musician in him; I’m not sure if there’s an actor. I said to him once: 'Why don’t you go to an acting class? They’re so much fun,' and he replied: 'That’s your schtick dad!'"
Well, it certainly sounds like a happy family and the couple, with 22 years of marriage, don't look like they're going to stop.
Cover Image Source: Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for EJAF