Michelle Pfeiffer Reportedly Nursed Fisher Stevens’s Sick Lizard Back to Health
Who: Three-time Oscar-nominated actress Michelle Pfeiffer, 62, and Oscar-winning producer, actor, and director Fisher Stevens, 57.
How They Met: Pfeiffer and Stevens met in 1989, when they both starred in the New York Shakespeare Festival's production of Twelfth Night.
According to People, the early days of the pair's relationship were marked by a less-than-romantic trip to Paris. Stevens's Short Circuit 2 director Kenneth Johnson said that the actor fell "violently ill" as soon as they arrived. However, the setback only brought them closer. "I remember him saying that she was terrific; about the illness," Johnson added.
The couple remained "bi-coastal" throughout the relationship — as Stevens was a "die-hard New Yorker" and Pfeiffer was based in L.A. "I should buy something here," she remarked during a trip to N.Y.C. in 1992. "I mean, it's only fair at this point."
Why We Loved Them: There are few things we love more than an early '90s couple with a matching haircut.
We'll take a coordinating John Lennon sunglasses moment, too.
Pfeiffer acknowledged that Stevens wasn't "your standard leading-man type," but who cares. "I adore him," she reportedly said.
Stevens pushed Pfeiffer out of her comfort zone, encouraging her to travel with him despite her objections.
"He's exhausting," she joked to Rolling Stone. "He lives out of a suitcase, he loves to travel. He's comfortable wherever he is, and I'm SO the opposite. I'd never leave my house in Los Angeles if it weren't for my work and for him. I'm a creature of habit, really; I don't like change much. And that's why I chose him."
"I kick and scream the whole way, and once I'm there I'm always grateful," she said of their trips.
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When They Peaked: One word: lizards.
During a Rolling Stone interview in 1992, Pfeiffer pointed to a lizard sketched on the wall of the restaurant she was dining in and said "he's with me even now," referring to Stevens, who at the time was shooting the Super Mario Bros. movie in which he played a lizard-like character named Iggy.
But the lizard thing gets weirder.
Decades later, the (widely panned) Super Mario Bros. movie retained something of a cult following. One of the film's stars, Richard Edson, shared an anecdote about when Pfeiffer came to visit Stevens on set and developed a fixation with a *certain* reptile.
"I do remember Fisher was going out with Michelle Pfeiffer at the time and she would come down to visit, but she was a very kind of shy, introverted person," Edson recalled. "One of Fisher's lizards was sick, so that became her 'project.' She took care of the lizard and took him to town to veterinarians and spent all day finding a veterinarian in the area who specialized in lizards. She took him all over and I was like 'Woah, a little obsessive,' but she was a sweet girl, but I guess she always had to have something to do and that was her thing, to take care of the lizard. To heal it."
The Michelle Pfeiffer Lizard Hospital has a nice ring to it, no?
Before the end of 1992, Pfeiffer and Stevens went their separate ways.
"I'm hurting. I'm a raw wound," Stevens reportedly told People following the split. "There were tensions," he said in regard to the "why."
The following year, Pfeiffer adopted her daughter, Claudia, and shortly afterward she met her second husband, primetime heavyweight David E. Kelley.
Pfeiffer told Parade that her decision to adopt was her saying "To hell with figuring out the man thing before I start a family."
"I really, really wanted to have kids, and I think my desperation to do that was messing up my relationships," she continued. "It was skewing my perceptions, causing me to judge things too harshly or maybe deciding they were better than they were. Finally I thought, 'Wait a minute! I don't have to have a man to become a mother.' It was like a lightbulb went on."
The pressures of their respective careers may have played a part as well. Stevens called the distance necessitated by their lifestyles "difficult" and said the media attention Pfeiffer received was "completely overwhelming."
"You do all of this acting stuff and then you get in the press for being somebody's boyfriend," Stevens told The L.A. Times in 1991. "And for some reason the press like to call me 'geeky' and all of that stuff."
Where They Are Now:
Pfeiffer and Kelley, who remain together to this day, share both daughter Claudia, 27, and son John, 26.
Next up for the acclaimed actress is comedy-drama French Exit, out Feb. 12.
Stevens is married to fellow producer-director Alexis Bloom. The couple reportedly welcomed a child in 2017.
Stevens's latest directorial effort, Palmer (starring Justin Timberlake), will be available to stream on AppleTV+ Jan. 29.
#TBT: Check in every Thursday as we throw it back to some of our favorite celebrity couples of all time.