The secret to Kevin Kline and Phoebe Cates’ decades-long marriage

Kevin Kline and Phoebe Cates
AP Photo/Matt Sayles

You probably know Phoebe Cates and Kevin Kline best for their status as 1980s Hollywood darlings. Cates turned heads with an iconic pool scene in 1982’s “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” and had roles in other notable films from the decade, including “Gremlins” and “Shag.” Klein starred in “Sophie’s Choice” and “The Big Chill,” and his role in “A Fish Called Wanda” earned him an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

Cates and and Kline met while auditioning for “The Big Chill,” and though she didn’t snag a part in the film, she did meet the man she would one day marry.

The pair have been married since 1989, which makes for an impressively long union in Tinsel Town. Especially considering that they didn’t make a ton of sense on paper: Cates was a model and dancer turned actress, while Kline was a Juilliard-trained stage actor. Not only that, but Kline was also 16 years older than Cates. But though the cards were stacked against them, the two hit it off and now have two grown children together: musician Greta Kline, whose has gone by the stage name Frankie Cosmos, and actor Owen Kline.

When asked about the endurance of their relationship, Kline says the couple’s age gap was actually an advantage when it came to starting a family.

“I was 40-ish, when I finally stopped obsessing about acting and thought it would be nice to have a life and actually got married,” he told The Guardian. “If I had married someone my own age, the possibility of progeny would have been very slim. I didn’t consciously say: ‘Hey, we could make babies; want to get married?’ It just happened that way.”

Cates has largely retreated from show business in order to focus on their family. In 2005, she opened the boutique Blue Tree in New York, which she continues to operate today. Kline has continued to act on screen and stage and even voices a character on “Bob’s Burgers.” In 2017, he scored his third Tony for his role in “Present Laughter.” In his acceptance speech, he thanked Cates for her ongoing support, saying, “I would like to thank my wife and children and my family of actors.”


Cates made a brief return to the spotlight to appear in the movie “Anniversary Party” in 2001 alongside Kline and their children, who also portrayed their children in the film.

Although their kids are adults with lives and careers of their own, the family remains close.

“We have dinner all together once a week at least,” Kline told Parade in 2015. “The kids haven’t banished us from their lives.”

Congratulations to this happy couple on their long-lasting marriage, and here’s to many more great years to come!

[H/t: Country Living]

Celebrities, Entertainment

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About the Author
Kate Streit
Kate Streit lives in Chicago. She enjoys stand-up comedy, mystery novels, memoirs, summer and pumpkin spice anything. Visit Scripps News to see more of Kate's work.

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