Will Ferrell and his wife, Viveca Paulin, have made a match that lasted through many changes in their careers and status. Despite the Barbie star’s success on Saturday Night Live and numerous wildly popular films, they have resisted the tumultuous ups-and-downs of most public Hollywood romances for almost thirty years.
The couple first in the ’90s in Los Angeles while in the same acting class, dating briefly at the time. When Ferrell moved to the East Coast, they stayed friends, but he always knew she was the “one who got away.”
“Viv and I would talk as friends for two hours, and it would feel like five minutes, and then my girlfriend would call and after 15 minutes I’d be like, ‘God, it’s really late here on the East Coast. I should get some sleep,’” Ferrell to ELLE in a 2012 interview. “For me, Viv was the one that got away.”
On a visit to LA, Paulin confessed she was also still in love with him.
“I was stunned,” Ferrell said. “I didn’t play it cool at all. I went, ‘I just told my uncle that I’m going to marry you one day!’…We started over—after a five-year friendship, we literally started courting each other.”
Here’s everything to know about Ferrell’s wife Viveca Paulin and their decades-long romance.
Who is Viveca Paulin?
Like her husband, Paulin has some experience as a performer, but moved on to work in the art world. She has continued to perform over the years, however, and was the Porsche Girl in Ferrell’s 1998 film A Night at the Roxbury and played Swedish author Anton Bjornberg’s wife in Younger.
The Swedish-born multi-talent was raised in Boston before earning her bachelor’s in art history at Pomona College. She went on to work in auctioneering at Butterfield & Butterfield, before moving on to Los Angeles Modern Auctions. She and Ferrell have a pretty extensive art collection, including work by Ed Ruscha, Richard Diebenkorns, Frederick Hammersely, Karl Benjamin, John McLaughlin, and John Baldessari.
“Being around the auction houses made the transition to collecting an easy one, particularly with prints,” Paulin told ArtNews in 2014.
While she grew up in the U.S., Paulin still has a deep connection to her homeland, and her visits there with Ferrell inspired his 2020 movie Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga.
“We were visiting her family in Sweden and her cousin had asked us for dinner,” Ferrell told the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. “It was in the month of May, and my wife asked, ‘Should we sit down and watch Eurovision?’ I said, ‘What is that?’ and she said, ‘You don’t know what Eurovision is?’ It was the night of the final, and I just sat there in front of the TV transfixed as to what was going on.”
They also named their three children Magnus, Mattias, and Axel, inspired by Paulin’s Scandinavian roots.
“My wife was born in Sweden, and we loved the idea of a Scandinavian name,” he told People. “I’ve gotten a lot of flack, ‘What kind of ego do you have to have to name your child the great one?’ That is not it at all.”
How long have Ferrell and Paulin been married?
The pair were officially wed in 2000. In a 2006 interview with People, the comedian shared the story of his proposal.
“It started serious but ended up comedic,” he explained. “I took her to this beach where we had had one of our first dates. She wanted none of it. She was, like, ‘The beach is creepy at night.’ I was, like, ‘Shut up, this is supposed to be really romantic.’”
He continued, “I was trying to think of what I was going to say and it just turned into, ‘So I, uh, really like you and, uh, anyway …’ Then I went down to a knee—at least I think I did—and proposed. So it was kind of funny, but not on purpose.”
They welcomed their sons in 2004, 2007, and 2010.
Aimée Lutkin is the weekend editor at ELLE.com. Her writing has appeared in Jezebel, Glamour, Marie Claire and more. Her first book, The Lonely Hunter, will be released by Dial Press in February 2022.