Remember When Michael Sheen Punched Kate Beckinsale's Co-Star?
#TBT: Check in every Thursday as we throw it back to some of our favorite celebrity couples of all time.
Who: English actress Kate Beckinsale, 45, and Welsh Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated actor Michael Sheen, 50.
How They Met: The couple reportedly met when they were both in a 1995 touring production of The Seagull. A few years into their relationship Beckinsale got pregnant with daughter Lily (now 20), the first and only child for both actors.
Why We Love(d) Them: Kate and Michael truly loved each other — and, though their relationship is no longer romantic, they still do. Beckinsale told Cinema.com that once she met Sheen her “life changed dramatically.”
Despite splitting in a somewhat sensationalized manner (Beckinsale married her and Sheen’s Underworld director Len Wiseman shortly after they split), more than a decade later she told ES Magazine, “I really love him and like him and we make each other roar with laughter.”
When They Peaked: Though Michael Sheen doesn’t exactly strike us as the violent type, common courtesy went out the door when it came to Beckinsale. He once actually punched Kate’s The Golden Bowl co-star Jeremy Northam after the latter began yelling at the new mom on set (reportedly over a flubbed line).
“Jeremy and I had a disagreement about something. So I'm also taking care of Lily, who was just six months old at the time, and I was still breast-feeding and then Michael came down to the set to pick her up and suddenly sees this man yelling at me,” Beckinsale recounted in 2001. “So naturally he got very upset and that was that.”
The altercation didn’t do too much social damage though. “The truth is, he's never hit anyone before in his life and it was kind of shocking, but in a weird way it really broke the ice and it was all OK after that. I actually had a good time making the film,” she explained.
Nearly 10 years later, Sheen discussed the incident with The Guardian, defending his actions by explaining, “It was because I thought he was being disrespectful to someone I loved.” Word to the wise: don’t mess with Michael’s crew.
The Breakup: Beckinsale and Sheen split over Christmas in 2002, and not months later Kate was engaged to Underworld director Len Wiseman. Though the tabloids were quick to report that Kate had left Michael for Len, she maintains that there was nothing salacious about the split.
“The popular notion of how Michael and I broke up — that we were on [the first Underworld] and I ran off with the director [Wiseman] — is just not true,” Beckinsale told Entertainment Weekly in 2012. “If that were the case, I think it would be very difficult and peculiar to have an OK situation.”
Rather, Kate’s co-parent ex and her then-husband got along — er, famously. “I love Michael. Michael’s fantastic. It shouldn’t necessarily have gone on and on forever with us, but he is one of my absolutely favorite people ever. I think we both felt that it was really important for Lily, our daughter, to have everybody coming from the same place,” Beckinsale told The Wave Magazine in 2008. “[Michael] loves her and I love her and Len loves her. Everyone’s nice. The guys both get along. I do feel like that’s my major achievement of the last decade, that my daughter is totally unscathed and great. I am proud of that.”
The same could be said for Kate and her relationships with Michael’s girlfriends — on-and-off-again girlfriend Sarah Silverman, in particular. “I really love his girlfriend as well, and we are really lucky that we both get on, and Lily gets on great with her,” she told ES in 2016. “Having as many strong females in your teenage daughter’s life as possible is a good thing.”
Where They Are Now: After decades spent working in film (which includes five Underworld movies), Beckinsale branched out into television with Amazon Prime drama The Widow.
Though she and Wiseman outlived 99 percent of celebrity marriages, their union came to a legal end in 2016 after 12 years together. Since her divorce, Beckinsale’s been linked to several younger men, including comedian Matt Rife, comedian Jack Whitehall, and (in an extremely meme-able turn of events) Saturday Night Live comedian Pete Davidson.
Perhaps best known for his multiple turns as British Prime Minister Tony Blair (in The Queen, The Special Relationship, The Deal), Sheen broke free from the typecasting in 2013 when he landed a starring role in Showtime’s risqué drama Masters of Sex.
The actor’s dated a lot of impressive women through the years, including VH1 host Carrie Keagan, Rachel McAdams, and Silverman. He was recently linked to comedian Aisling Bea, though reports that Bea's now seeing Andrew Garfield seem to suggest that the two have gone their separate ways.