Patricia Heaton, known for her role as Debra Barone on Everybody Loves Raymond, and her husband, actor/director David Hunt, are a Hollywood rarity—married 16 years in a culture where most change partners as frequently as they change roles. The co-founders of FourBoys Films, a production company named after their sons, they've produced several films together, including their latest project, The Bituminous Coal Queens of Pennsylvania. Here's what they had to say about their partnership—at work and at home.
HOW DID YOU MEET?
Patricia: I was moving to New York City and David had an apartment he wanted to sublet. So he became my landlord.
David: It was great, because I had an in. I'd call her to discuss the phone bill or some such nonsense, but I ended up reading her Yeats over the phone. When she didn't hang up, I figured there was a crack in the door.
WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO EACH OTHER?
David: She has a vibrant personality and, of course, she's cute as a button. All my alarm bells went off immediately.
Patricia: Initially, I was nervous because he was an actor. Actors don't commit to anything for long—you do a job and then move on. My plan was to find someone in a steady business. But David hooked me with that British accent, and then I was in too deep.
HOW ARE YOU DIFFERENT?
Patricia: If I'm dealing with a business matter or have a problem with David or the kids, I think it through so my thoughts are clear before talking to David. But he blurts everything out as it comes.David: I think out loud. I'm processing as I'm saying it.
HOW DO YOU COPE?
Patricia: It used to make me crazy. I'd think, Is that really what he's going to do? I've learned that's not necessarily the case, that he verbalizes things to see how they sound and gauge my reaction.
David: Now we wait, watch, and listen. We let each other have our say and then think about it instead of reacting blindly.
HOW DO YOU CARVE OUT COUPLE TIME?
David: That's one of our big failings. We had a short period when we tried to have a date night, and it was fun. But it lasted literally two weeks.
Patricia: But we enjoy being together with the kids. The oldest is 13 and the youngest is 7, so they're at an age where they're fun and interesting. And because we're working together, we see each other all day long. Sometimes I think we need more time apart!
WHAT'S THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING MARRIED?
Patricia: Having somebody who knows you at your worst and is still there for you.
David: We've been through a period where a lot of friends have either had spouses or close friends die, and it really shakes you up. I look at my wife and kids and think, This is what success really means. I could give up all the rest tomorrow as long as we're together.
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