Lily Tomlin and Jane Wagner are probably the most low-key couple in the biz, but their love story is truly one for the ages. What many thought was merely a professional partnership or at most BFFs was really a romance that blossomed quickly and quietly and has bloomed into a 42-year relationship — and, in the last several years, a marriage. Here are some things you probably didn’t know about this wildly funny couple.
An after-school special brought them together
Wagner caught Tomlin’s funny bone before she caught her eye. After seeing the after-school special Wagner wrote, she invited her to collaborate on Tomlin’s comedy album And That’s the Truth in March 1971. They’ve been inseparable ever since.
Time magazine tried to bribe them to come out in the ’70s
While their relationship was an open secret they never made an effort to hide, it also wasn’t really public knowledge for many years. Tomlin says back in 1975, Time magazine tried to bribe her into making a huge public coming-out statement.
“In ’75 I was making the Modern Scream album and Jane and I were in the studio,” she explained to Metro Weekly in 2006. “My publicist called me and said, ‘Time will give you the cover if you’ll come out.’ I was more offended than anything that they thought we’d make a deal. But that was ’75 — it would have been a hard thing to do at that time.”
They’ve written some incredible material together
The whole collaborator thing wasn’t a cover — the pair have written celebrated works together, including Tomlin’s Tony Award-winning show The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, The Incredible Shrinking Woman, and Moment By Moment, as well as Grammy-nominated albums Modern Scream and On Stage.
The have a joint star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars
The couple’s work is so closely tied together that they were honored with a joint star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars in 2012. “I knew we were going to get something great because these days, you go any place and you don’t know if you’re going to get a vaginal probe,” Wagner said during their acceptance speech. “We felt safe here. I rarely get included in these honors.”
They finally got hitched — 42 years later
In 2013, on New Year’s Eve just as it turned 2014, Tomlin and Wagner finally made it official and legally married after 42 years together. “It was sweet,” Tomlin told People. “We didn’t have any rings, so I went into our jewelry and was digging out rings. I said, ‘We have to have some kind of rings!'”
Tomlin can currently be seen in the absolutely hilarious show Grace and Frankie, co-starring Jane Fonda.