Familiarity breeds contempt. It’s an old proverb that acting duo Téa Leoni and Tim Daly have been proving wrong since 2014. In the reel world of Madam Secretary, the pair played happily marrieds Elizabeth and Henry McCord and in the real world, they are a bonafide couple, every bit as a happy and content in each other’s presence as the fictional lovers they embody on-screen.
Téa Leoni and Tim Daly: Making It Official
A little black dress, form-fitting but certainly not tight enough to attract attention to any problem areas. A sheer black cape, connected to the neckline of the gown, that cascades to the perfect spot at the center of the back.
And to top off the ensemble, a silver broach – not large enough to be classified as gaudy mind you, but still big enough to be visible to the multitude of cameras that would inevitably capture its glittering countenance.
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Téa Leoni knew that one must dress their very best when attending so eminent a function as the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. But the actress was also painfully aware that her presence at the event was momentous in a secondary way.
This congregation of some of the Capitol’s best and brightest would serve as the official debut of herself and Tim Daly — the man with whom she had been engaged in a romantic liaison for over eight months — as a ratified coupling.
The outing had been arranged by journalist Bob Schieffer who recalled that “I called Téa and said, ‘How would you like to come?’ And I said, ‘you know, we’d love to have you bring Tim along.'”
Long and Winding Road
Though PEOPLE magazine had released a news item confirming that the actors had been dating since the summer of 2014, the April 25, 2015 gala was the first time the actors had deigned to issue any sort of response.
In all probability, the decision to remain silent rather than validate was seen as justified by both parties, considering the recent blows they had endured because of amour. Daly, a father of two, was still nursing the pain following his 2010 divorce from Amy Van Nostrand and Leoni’s ties with husband David Duchovny had only been legally severed in August of 2014.
Despite the heartache the two had endured, there was no one on the set of Madam Secretary who could deny the sparks generated every time they worked opposite one another. A source close to the production reportedly told US Weekly in December 2014 that, “Their chemistry…is electrifying. They have an amazing time filming.”
Though never broaching the subject of an offscreen romance, Daly had nothing but praise for the woman who played his wife on the CBS drama. From an interview with Collider, “She’s not a whiner. She wants to work hard and she wants to have fun. We get along really, really well.”
He went on to add, “I’ve gotten along with plenty of people, but the chemistry sucked. And I’ve hated people where the chemistry is great. It’s much better if you get along and the chemistry is good. That’s perfect.”
Following that ever-so-important White House function, Leoni and Daly are now upfront and honest about their personal relationship. However, they don’t exactly flaunt its existence. In fact, they do their utmost to steer any attempt to converse about it further into another direction.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Though the duo is still very much in love — and apparently inseparable, if you give credence to glossy, gossip magazines — the roles that initially brought them together have been retired.
The final episode of Madam Secretary aired in December of 2019 and ended with Elizabeth — now the U.S.’s first female President — on a whistle-stop tour of the country with ever-faithful Henry right by her side. And the final, fitting scene? A thrilled crowd cheering a smooch between husband and wife.
When asked whether or not she felt particularly proud of having brought Leoni and Daly together, series creator Barbara Hall demurely answered, “They are the most perfect couple, and it really is a wonderful thing to have been a part of. I don’t know if I can take credit for it, though!”