Has there ever been a Hollywood romance more enduring than that of Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell? After overcoming several hurdles at the beginning, they went on to be a devoted and absolutely adorable couple. They never want to get married, and have often given their reasoning in interviews, but they’ve lasted longer at this point than many wedded couples. Their relationship has now pushed beyond the 30-year mark, and cameras have chronicled every step.
Hawn and Russell actually met for the very first time in 1968. They were on the set of a Disney musical named The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band. Both played only very small roles, but they ran into each other during filming. Hawn was 21 at the time, while Russell was only 16.
In 2012, Hawn spoke on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs about her and Russell’s first meeting. “I was 21 and he was 16 and I thought he was adorable but he was much too young,” she said. “And then years later we met up again and I liked him and I remembered that I liked him very much when I first met him.”
The second meeting to which Hawn is referring took place many years later, in 1983. Hawn and Russell, both established actors at that point, had been cast opposite one another in the drama film Swing Shift. But a lot of things had happened since then. Both had married, had children, and then divorced. Hawn had actually been divorced twice.
There was a spark between the actors almost immediately. “I just didn’t have in my mind what I was going to see,” Russell said of Hawn in a 2017 interview with TV talk show host Conan O’Brien. “She had a great body, and so the first that came out was ‘Man, you’ve got a great figure.’ It kind of came out quickly, and it could’ve been wrong.” Luckily, Hawn was flattered.
As filming was ongoing, Russell took Hawn out to the Los Angeles Playboy Club so that they could rehearse for a dance scene in the movie. But it turned into a date. “Two hours later, we were still talking — we hadn’t danced at all,” Russell reminisced on Live! With Kelly and Ryan in 2018.
The duo began a relationship, and shortly afterwards had a son. Wyatt Russell came along in 1986, and he had three half-siblings already in the world. These were Oliver and Kate Hudson on his mother’s side — both of whom would also become actors — and Boston Russell on his father’s side.
Not long after Wyatt was born, Russell and Hawn starred in another movie together. This was Overboard, a romantic comedy. Upon its release in 1987 it gained mostly lukewarm reviews, but critics did praise the performances of the two lead actors. Over the years it gained more fans, and the movie is generally thought of as a “cult classic” now.
Throughout the 1990s, Russell scored some notable professional successes. These included starring roles in the movies Backdraft, Tombstone and Stargate. He also wrote, produced and starred in Escape from L.A., the sequel to his iconic 1980s dystopian cult hit Escape from New York. Hawn on the other hand took a break from acting to care for her dying mother. But she did have some hits in the decade, including The First Wives Club.
In 2000 rumors started to spread that Hawn and Russell were about to split up. Extramarital affairs were possibly involved, the media suggested. Russell had been photographed leaving a massage parlor, and anonymous insiders told the Daily Mail newspaper that the couple had been having “a difficult emotional time.”
No matter what had actually taken place, the crisis seemed to be a big deal for the couple. Thus in March 2001 The Guardian newspaper reported, “It looks as if another long-term Hollywood relationship has hit the rocks, as reports this morning hint that Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn have separated after 17 years together.”
It took until 2017 for news to come out about the exact details of the split. Closer Weekly reported on it in October of that year. An “insider” told the magazine about what happened when the massage parlor photos came out. “Goldie’s ego was crushed. She was furious and devastated. It didn’t break them apart, but Goldie never forgot that incident,” they said.
So what did pull them apart? It might have been another man. According to the insider who spoke to Closer, Hawn and Russell were “having trouble communicating” in 2004. That year, Hawn went to India to spend some time with her famous friend and former cricket star Imran Khan. The sportsman-turned-politician has always denied that an affair took place, but Russell was reportedly furious.
According to Closer’s anonymous source, Russell went “on a jealousy kick” and the couple “called an adult time-out to get some space so tempers could cool.” Russell decided he wanted some time away from Hawn, and the two went their separate ways. But, as we all know, the breakup didn’t last.
The insider explained what went on between the couple. “It was rough, but ultimately they were in it for the long haul. And their children were a big part of that decision. They weren’t about to tear up their family,” the source told the magazine in 2017. And indeed, before long Hawn and Russell made up and “their bond became stronger.”
In the years that followed their near-split, Hawn and Russell did indeed seem to grow even closer. They appeared together frequently at premieres and always looked loved-up. But one big question kept being put to them in interviews. Why, considering that they clearly loved each other, did they refuse to tie the knot?
Mike Wallace of CBS News put that question to the couple in 2005. Why not marry? “It’s not as if we didn’t talk about it. We talked about it a lot,” Russell told the TV show. “And the bottom line of it was, neither one us really cared. In that regard, Goldie and I don’t have much truck with society. We live outside of society to a large degree.”
Both indicated that they would feel trapped in a traditional marriage. “I don’t like the idea of somebody closing a door and saying, ‘You can’t walk out the door.’ I don’t like that feeling,” Hawn explained to CBS. Russell then cut in with, “And if you have a girl who says that, then you don’t cheat.”
Russell also shared how he viewed the ups and downs in the relationship. “We have a lot of good days,” he said. “That’s why I figure it this way. If it’s 3 percent really bad, and 7 percent not too good, but 90 percent fabulous … I think I’ll take that. I would honestly say that ours has been 2 percent really bad, 2 percent so-so, and 96 percent fabulous.”
In 2012, the 66-year-old Hawn told the Daily Mail that she and Russell always put in the effort to keep their relationship fresh. “We’ve been together for 29 years now and I think if two people want to make it work, you make it work but if one doesn’t, then you’re sunk,” she said.
She went on, “I don’t know if it’s been hard work, but that’s all I wanted out of life – a good relationship, a healthy family of mind and body and I feel very honored that this happened. But you do have to put your time in.” And for the Russell-Hawn partnership, that work simply didn’t involve a wedding.
Hawn’s past two marriages had, it seemed, put her off the idea of nuptials. “I’ve been married twice,” she told TV talk show host Alan Carr on Chatty Man in 2015. “Basically, once you’ve done it once, once you’ve done it twice, you realize that marriage, or the act of marrying, has nothing to do with the success.”
And in 2016 Hawn told the panelists of TV show Loose Women that a marriage between her and Russell wouldn’t have lasted. “I would have been long divorced if I’d been married,” she said. “Marriage is an interesting, psychological thing. If you need to feel bound to someone then it’s important to be married.”
But Hawn went on, “If you have independence, if you have enough money and enough sense of independence and you like your independence there’s something psychological about not being married because it gives you the freedom to make decisions one way or the other. So, for me, I chose to stay, Kurt chose to stay.”
And Hawn also said that she had asked her children if she and Russell should marry, and had been told no. “They loved it, it was perfect the way it [was]. They didn’t want any more trouble,” she explained. Kate Hudson demonstrated her own thoughts when she posted a throwback picture of Hawn and Russell on her Instagram account. “Mama Goldie and Pa killing it ’80s style… Love you madly, deeply, profoundly,” she wrote.
In May 2017, Russell and Hawn received stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in a joint ceremony. It was a very happy occasion. Many famous people attended, including Quentin Tarantino and Reese Witherspoon. And Hudson, paying tribute to her parents, took to the stage to give a special speech.
Hudson’s speech made good-natured fun of the fact Russell and Hawn had never married. “I always thought I’d be talking about them at a wedding or something but since a wedding doesn’t seem to be in our near future — ever — this may be my only opportunity!” she said, and the audience chuckled appreciatively.
Hudson went on, “Their real legacy is what they have instilled in us kids… that they so vehemently protect and defend, the relationship they fiercely refuse to lose sight of together, and the deep feeling of love and nurturing they reserve for the most important thing we have in this life: family. So that’s what these stars represent to me.”
Russell too had something sweet to say at the Hollywood ceremony. His words were directed right at Hawn. “Goldie to you, I owe my wonderful life,” the actor announced when he got on the stage. “Simply put, Goldie, I cherish you. All of the stars in the sky or on the boulevard don’t hold a candle to that.”
Russell talked about what an honor it was to receive the star, and he concluded with, “There’s no one else I’d rather be next to for all of that than Goldie Hawn.” And when Hawn got the mic she joked once more about marriage. “Did we just get married? We’ve never had a celebration like this before!” she said.
At the same time Russell and Hawn got their Walk of Fame stars, both also happened to be promoting new movies. Russell was appearing in the Marvel film Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 while Hawn was starring opposite Amy Schumer in the comedy Snatched. It was, then, an exciting time for both of them.
Hawn told newspaper USA Today she was having a great time being on the promotional trail alongside her partner. “We both didn’t really know when [the movies] were going to be released,” she said. “We haven’t done that in a long time. And even though we’re [promoting the films] separately it just is a really fun time in our lives.”
In May 2017, Hawn talked about the ceremony and about her relationship in general with People magazine. She reminisced about when she met the adult Russell on the set of Swing Shift. “He was so good-looking, but he had no pretense about him. I could tell right away he wasn’t a womanizer,” she said.
One of the reasons Hawn initially liked him was because he was so good with her children. “What really got me was when I watched my kids when they’d come to the set and how he was with them. He was amazing with them. He was such a natural,” the actress told People. Now Hawn and Russell have five grandchildren.
Hawn shared with People what she believed were the secrets of a happy marriage. “Love, gratitude, compassion, because sometimes every man or every woman will drive their partner crazy. Family. Fun. Laughs. Sex,” she announced. “If you don’t nurture that, and remember, you’re done.”
And Hawn also talked about how she and Russell dealt with difficulties in their relationship. “Monogamy is a very tough order,” she told the magazine. “You’re in the prime of your life, you are attracted to other people, potentially, you have fantasies about that. It really runs the risk, if you will, if you’re not aware that you could maybe screw up a really good thing by doing that.”
But Hawn and Russell didn’t, of course, screw it up. “I’m sure I’ve been party to [attraction to others], and Kurt’s been — we’re all normal this way,” Hawn told People “It’s like, ‘You really liked that guy, didn’t you?’ Or the woman says, ‘You were looking at her.’ My answer would be, ‘Of course. Why not? She’s beautiful.’”
Hawn continued, “Would you want a man who doesn’t look? Who doesn’t feel inspired by the beauty or the curves of a woman’s body? Or the way she is? I mean, come on. We’re human beings. There is, I guess, an elasticity to [our] relationship. Otherwise it’s going to break, just like a rubber band.”
Hawn also revealed to People her appreciation for what Russell said at the Walk of Fame ceremony. “It turned out to be a lovefest,” she said. “The last thing he said was, ‘I’ll always cherish you.’ I didn’t expect him to say those things. I had no idea he was going to be so beautiful.”
What’s next for Hawn and Russell? Despite their long-stated opposition to a marriage, in 2018 they appeared together in Netflix’s The Christmas Chronicles as one of the most famous married couples ever — Mr and Mrs Claus. Hopefully, it’ll be far from the last time they appear on screen together.