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Paul Thomas Anderson and Maya Rudolph: 10 things you didn’t know about the star couple

 Paul Thomas Anderson and Maya Rudolph
Paul Thomas Anderson and Maya Rudolph at an awards ceremony. Pic credit: @ImageCollect/Landmark-Media

Paul Thomas Anderson is one of the best filmmakers working today.

While he avoids the mainstream blockbuster, he instead focuses on indie quality movies that show him at the top of his game in creating nuanced dramas, comedies, and even a touch of stoner flicks.

What many people might not know is that for the last 19 years, PT Anderson has been in a relationship with Maya Rudolph, a comedienne who made her name originally on Saturday Night Live before becoming a successful movie star in her own right.

Here is everything you need to know about Paul Thomas Anderson and Maya Rudolph.

PT Anderson was initially with Fionna Apple

For five years, PT Anderson was dating singer-songwriter Fiona Apple. However, the Oscar-nominated director and the eight-time Grammy-nominated singer didn’t last.

In a New Yorker article about Apple’s life, we learned that the two lived together for several years around the time that Anderson released his masterpiece Magnolia and Apple released her second album, When the Pawn…

The two broke up in 2001-02, which Apple attributed to his temper and the fact that it got worse when they did drugs together, which was a normal thing at the time for both of them.

Anderson was at SNL in 2000

Because there is almost no information given out by the couple to the press or fans, it is hard to pinpoint when the two met.

However, there is one big clue.

In 2000, Fiona Apple went onto Saturday Night Live to perform on the series. At the same time, Anderson chipped in and wrote and directed a sketch for the show called FANatic with Ben Affleck as the star.

This was when Anderson met Adam Sandler, and that led to him casting Sandler in Punch Drunk Love.

However, there was one new castmember in 2000 that Anderson could have met as well — Maya Rudolph.

It was still a year before Anderson broke up with Apple, but the seeds for the future could have been planted at that SNL experience.

Their first public connection came in 2003

Paul Thomas Anderson and Adam Sandler
Paul Thomas Anderson and Adam Sandler. Pic credit: @ImageCollect/henrymcgee

While Paul Thomas Anderson and Maya Rudolph reportedly started dating in 2002, their first sighting by the press came in 2003.

The Brooklyn Paper noted that Rudolph was part of the group with Anderson at a Brooklyn screening of Punch Drunk Love.

At the time, it could have been simply that Rudolph was there to support Sandler for his movie role, as they worked together on Saturday Night Live.

However, now it is obvious that the two were a couple at the time, although they kept it on the down-low and remained out of the public eye because, even at that time, Fiona Apple was listed as his girlfriend.

They seem like polar opposites

Paul Thomas Anderson makes quirky movies in an almost art-house style. His most recent film was Phantom Thread, a movie starring Daniel Day-Lewis about a dressmaker in 1950s London.

Maya Rudolph is a comedienne actress who mostly appears in absurd comedies with friends like Kristin Wiig. Just this year, she appeared in Adam Sandler’s ridiculous Netflix Halloween movie, Hubie Halloween.

However, look deeper.

Anderson also made the movie Punch Drunk Love, with Adam Sandler, and his movies always have an absurdist touch to them. In 2019, Rudolph was in Booksmart, one of the smartest female-centric comedies of the year.

They are more than the sum of their parts.

Maya makes PT laugh every day

Paul Thomas Anderson did a Reddit AMA where fans could ask him questions about anything they wanted.

One of them asked about Maya Rudolph and how often she makes him fall over laughing.

His answer was a simple “Every day.”

Anderson might make serious movies with an absurdist touch, but he also has a sense of humor. In that same AMA, he was asked which actress he would love to work with that he hasn’t and answered with Tiffany Haddish.

Anderson and Rudolph are very private

There is a reason people don’t see too much behind-the-curtain from PT Anderson and Maya Rudolph.

They want to keep things quiet and personal.

Neither Anderson nor Rudolph have social media accounts and neither care to use it. It is rare that Anderson actually does anything on Twitter, and it is usually through an account for a movie he made.

This might be a big reason their relationship is closing in on 20 years, as they keep away from the spotlight, away from the controversy of saying things online they regret, and keeping their personal lives personal.

They even seem to avoid the paparazzi most of the time.

Anderson got his idea for Phantom Thread from Rudolph

Phantom Thread is a Paul Thomas Anderson movie about fashion designer Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis), a man who is brilliant at what he does but is aloof and finds it difficult to remain in a happy relationship.

However, the woman he falls in love with, Alma (Vicky Krieps) sees his dominating personality surfacing after their marriage, and she makes a decision. When she learns he is considering divorce, she poisons him so that he grows sickly and she has to be there to take care of him for the rest of his life.

Anderson told Rolling Stone that he was sick and Rudolph was caring for him. He began to see how much care and tenderness she gave him and wondered what it would be like if he remained in this state.

The couple lives in the San Fernando Valley

Paul Thomas Anderson has always been a California kid.

Anderson grew up in Studio City, a suburb of the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles. He knew, from the time he was a child, that he wanted to be a film director.

As a matter of fact, he made a satire that took place in the world of porn as a teenager and then moved on to become one of the top directors in the world a few years later.

He and Maya Rudolph remained in his hometown and the two still live in the San Fernando Valley. Rudolph, herself, was born in Gainsville, Florida.

The couple has four children

Paul Thomas Anderson and Fiona Apple were together for five years, but they never had children, which is probably for the best considering how their relationship ended.

However, with Maya Rudolph, the happy couple has welcomed four children over their 19 years together.

Daughter Pearl was born in October 2005. Lucille, their second daughter, was born in November 2009. In July 2011, the couple had their only son, Jack. Their last child was born in 2013 with daughter Minnie Ida.

“I remember last summer she said, ‘I can’t believe I’m having three children. I’m never doing this again.'” Rudolph said. “It’s amazing how we forget. It’s like that light pen thing they do in Men in Black. Somebody [pointed it in my face] and I was like, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about.'”

Maya Rudolph worked for Anderson for the first time in 2014

Despite Maya Rudolph being an in-demand actor for a few years, with a major role in the 2011 comedy Bridesmaids.

However, despite their relationship, it wasn’t until 2014 that Anderson cast Rudolph in one of his movies.

That movie was the 2014 film, Inherent Vice.

Based on the cult favorite novel by Thomas Pynchon, Inherent Vice was a ’70s-era neo-noir crime film with Joaquin Pheonix starring as a pothead private detective who took on a case involving an ex-girlfriend.

The movie was shot in 2013, and Rudolph was pregnant with their fourth child, Minnie Ida, at the time. She appeared as a nurse, Petunia Leeway.

Petunia Leeway is the all-seeing, seldom-speaking receptionist at the dental practice where Doc rents a makeshift office.

Shawn S. Lealos has been a freelance writer for 25 years, starting with magazines and newspapers before moving to the internet. He has been published... read more
Shawn S. Lealos

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