Warren Beatty and Annette Bening — Hollywood’s former reigning Casanova and the woman who inspired his settling down — comprise a couple whose marriage has survived decades in an industry and a town where romances are generally concluded within months, weeks, or even days.
How Did Warren Beatty and Annette Bening Meet?
Though their first face-to-face meeting didn’t take place until November of 1990, Beatty and Bening were certainly aware of one another — and both were apparently quite enamored.
Years before that auspicious winter appointment, Bening had asked fellow actress Glenne Headly her personal opinion on Beatty — for what purpose we do not know — and was told that the man was “the best director I ever worked with.”
For his part, Beatty did his utmost to cast Bening in his adaption of Dick Tracy. An appointment was set but the actress was a no show. “I asked why,” Beatty remembered, “and I was told that her ex-husband [J. Stephen White] had a problem in New York and she went to see if she was needed at all… I was impressed with whoever that was.”
Fast forward a bit, and the two are finally seated across from one another at a restaurant table. “When I met Annette over lunch for Bugsy [the 1991 biographical film about Bugsy Siegel], I felt immediately that this was going to change my life. I remember losing interest in the garlic chicken I was eating within 20 seconds. And the garlic chicken had been very good!”
At the meal’s conclusion, Beatty told his future co-star, “I want you to know that I will not be hitting on you during the movie. And she said, ‘I didn’t ask…'” Despite the leading man’s promise, and Bening’s seeming indifference, romance was in the air.
“Towards the end of the movie, I said, ‘Should we have dinner together?’ I think there was a moment of hesitation on her part. The rule was broken.”
According to Bening, not only did she agree to the date, but she also said yes to an offer of having desert back at Beatty’s home.
“So we’re in his kitchen, and he’s like, ‘Do you want to have a baby with me?’” The response was another, simple, “yes.”
“Now some people, they do things differently,” Bening humorously explained. “They get to know each other, they date, they have a fight, they get back together. Then they get engaged, they get married, or maybe they live together. Then they have children.
“We didn’t do that. We just did it another way, which is: Do you want to have a baby, yes I do. Then he looked at me, and I got pregnant. Not really … something else happened.” That “something else” led to the January 8, 1992 birth of son Stephen Ira.
Subsequently, the duo — who exchanged wedding vows in a private ceremony on March 3, 1992 — welcomed a further three children: Benjamin (August 23, 1994), Isabel (January 11, 1997), and Ella (April 8, 2000).
Age Is Just A Number
Detractors were sure that a divorce was inevitable and had it indeed occurred, they were doubtless that the reason would have been the vast difference in age — Beatty is 21 years his wife’s senior after all.
But, to hear Bening tell it, the generation gap has never been an issue. “I’m sure everybody that has an age difference in their marriage… My husband and I have very similar backgrounds even though we’re years apart. So there are a lot of things that we basically share.”
Warren Beatty and Annette Bening Reflect
Twenty-eight years and counting, that’s how long the Beatty/Bening marriage has lasted. Add another if you want to include the period of time in which the couple courted and a further one if you wish to mark the occasion when Beatty knew he had met his destiny.
“It took about 10 minutes [to fall in love with her]. Maybe five.” In November of 2016, Beatty revealed to Matt Lauer, “I had no doubt when I met Annette that it was time to get married,” and claimed that the most important thing and the best thing, that had ever happened to him was, “Annette and having four kids.”
As for Bening, she insists that there isn’t a secret formula for the success that she and Beatty have achieved as Mr. and Mrs. “We have an incredible family, we have beautiful children. We’ve been through a lot. It’s the center of life. It’s the most important thing. It’s everything.”