Alec Baldwin Called Then-Wife Kim Basinger "Absolutely Maddeningly Peculiar"
He fell in love with her because "she's so odd."
Who: Emmy-winning actor Alec Baldwin, 62, and Oscar-winning actress Kim Basinger, 67.
How They Met: The actors' paths first crossed when they were both cast in The Marrying Man in 1990.
The movie's director, Jerry Rees, told Entertainment Weekly that before the co-stars had even met, Basinger had commented on the placement of her and Baldwin's photos alongside one another in Rees's office, remarking, "We are going to make a terrific couple…"
According to People, the pair met for dinner to discuss the film and things quickly turned romantic (for Baldwin, at least). "He kissed me and then asked me if I wanted kids," Basinger remembered. She called him "psychotic" and attempted to steer their conversation back to the movie. Baldwin then called his friend and told him that Basinger was "driving me insane," and, "we're getting married."
For Basinger, love sprung when the co-stars were on their way to set and saw a dog get hit by a car and scamper off. The actress asked Baldwin to go after the dog so they could bring it to the vet. He complied.
"She wants you to get out of the car and get the dog on the Hollywood Freeway, so you jump out of the car and get the dog," Baldwin told Vanity Fair in 2000. "You carry 16 bags to the airport because she wants chopped almonds on the plane. She doesn't want diamonds and furs and penthouses; she wants chopped almonds. It's 20 degrees below zero, but if Kim wants vegetable soup from the blah-blah diner, I put on my boots and go get it, because I love Kim. Kim's tastes are very simple, but she doesn't want any of the things anybody else wants."
Baldwin and Basinger wed in 1993, just six weeks after the 30 Rock star's proposal. Baldwin reportedly did all the planning for the affair, which was held at the actor's Long Island beach house.
They welcomed their daughter, Ireland, in 1995.
Why We Loved Them: First of all, they had 12 dogs (including the aforementioned pup Baldwin rescued). We like that.
Baldwin told Vanity Fair that he loved Basinger because "she's so odd." He compared her to a Tennessee Williams character, calling her "an absolutely maddeningly peculiar, exotic, lovely person." If those aren't words worthy of a gravestone inscription …
And, hey, we can't overlook a matching tuxedo moment (or two).
When They Peaked: In 1994, the showbiz couple headlined Saturday Night Live. Their monologue was a drawn-out bit where each actor would drop a deal-breaker about their relationship and the other would explain why the reveal just made them love their spouse more.
"I have no respect for you as an actor," Basinger began.
"The fact that you can be so honest and forthright with me on national television makes me love you more than ever," Baldwin responded.
It was undeniably charming.
The Breakup: The passion that had once fortified their relationship now defined its aftermath.
In January 2001, less than a year after Baldwin had gone on record to call his wife "lovely," Basinger filed for divorce.
"I've known for a year and a half that she was thinking about this," Basinger's father, Don Basinger, told People at the time. "I love Alec," he continued. "He's the most kind and generous man I've ever known in my life, and he's overcome some very difficult things … All but one: his anger. Alec has this kind of anger where he reaches down for something that hurts, something that may have happened a year or two ago, and then abuses Kim with it. This has happened publicly. But it's when it started happening in front of Ireland that Kim finally said, 'Well, I'm not going to put up with that.'"
The relationship's propensity toward the volatile didn't exactly come as a surprise. Basinger had told Vanity Fair (with a smile) that Baldwin would tell her, "I hate you, you know," and she'd respond,"I hate you back." Healthy.
Another point of contention was their living situation. Basinger lamented that while her husband had always dreamed of settling down on Long Island (they owned a home in Amagansett for years, but they never bothered to unpack — instead staying at an inn or rental house when they visited the Hamptons), she was less sold on the commute to work.
"I'm a gypsy at heart. I'd take off in a minute and go live in France for a year. I'd go live in Africa. But Alec is obstinate," she said. "It's a two-and-a-half-hour drive to New York City to have a meeting, and that's the reality."
The divorce and subsequent custody battle soon turned acrimonious. Baldwin regretted not getting a prenup.
''My ex-wife was someone I could never imagine getting divorced from,'' he told The New York Times in 2003. ''My advisers all told me to get a prenup,'' he said, but he rejected their advice. ''I thought it was forever. We were very naïve.''
In 2006, Elle asked the actor to affix a movie title to his romantic life. He chose Psycho.
A year later, Baldwin was embroiled in scandal when a verbally abusive voicemail he'd left for his then-11-year-old daughter was leaked to TMZ. As the custody battle waged on, Baldwin's team accused Basinger's camp of leaking the voicemail, a claim that was vehemently denied by the latter.
The following year, Baldwin released a book about his divorce. In A Promise to Ourselves, he described his ex-wife as having "the legal equivalent of Munchausen syndrome" and compared the way she told him she was pregnant with their daughter to "someone telling you that they had wrecked your car."
Basinger did not appear to appreciate the media spectacle Baldwin had contributed to. In 2009 she told The Guardian "my private life was made into this public display of God knows what. I chose to keep it as private as I could, especially so my daughter could have some privacy. Unfortunately that was not the case from the other half."
Years later, Baldwin, too, reflected on his divorce in an interview with The Guardian. "That was very painful in so far as someone who I thought wasn't capable of a certain kind of behaviour wound up being the Marquis de Sade," he explained (a tad dramatically).
"From 2000–2006, during the Dien Bien Phu of my divorce litigation … I can barely tell you what I did for those six years," he said, comparing his divorce to the First Indochina War … "It was a period that was so painful, I was staring off a cliff for six years."
Despite years of friction, Baldwin and Basigner did eventually reach detente (sort of).
Baldwin called his ex "one of the most beautiful women that (has) ever lived," in 2013, noting, "even divorce doesn't muddy my view of that."
In a 2016 interview with Net-a-Porter's The Edit, Basinger allowed that she and Baldwin were "cool now" and that "life goes on."
Still, she didn't pass up the opportunity to make a joke at her ex-husband's expense.
"I did this film, The Marrying Man, where I met my eventual [ex] husband, Alec Baldwin, but I was teeter-tottering because I had also been offered Sleeping with the Enemy," she said. "Isn't it funny that I turned down Sleeping with the Enemy and then I went on to sleep with the enemy!" L-O-L, Kim.
Where They Are Now:
Baldwin married yoga instructor Hilaria Baldwin (née Thomas) in 2012. He and his esposa share five children together: Carmen, 7, Rafael, 5, Leonardo, 4, Romeo, 2, and Eduardo, 4 months.
The prolific actor has several projects on the horizon, including the release of The Boss Baby: Family Business.
Basinger was last rumored to be dating hairstylist Mitch Stone. Her current relationship status is unknown.
The L.A. Confidential star has taken a step back from the Hollywood scene in recent years. Her last on-screen appearance was in a video for Miu Miu's Icons campaign.
#TBT: Check in every Thursday as we throw it back to some of our favorite celebrity couples of all time.