On April 10, two weeks ahead of tonight’s Oscars, Promising Young Woman nominee Carey Mulligan hosted Saturday Night Live, and the usually private couple made an appearance together (sort of). During her monologue, Mulligan mentioned that her husband, Marcus Mumford, was at home with their kids, but then—wait a second—Mumford popped up in the back of the audience. “Very excited to be here because my husband was actually musical guest three times, Marcus Mumford, from the band Mumford & Sons,” Mulligan said. “Or, as I like to call it, ‘my husband and sons.’ But he couldn’t be here tonight, so he’s at home watching the children. ‘Hi, babe, love you,” she added, waving.
“Love you, too! Hi, Carey,” Mumford, who popped up in the back of the audience yelled to his wife. “It’s me, Marcus Mumford, from the band Mumford & Sons,” he said, adding that he left the kids “with the Sons.”
As part of the bit, he offered to jump in as musical guest, but when his wife informed him that there was already a musical guest (Kid Cudi), he still couldn’t help but pull out his guitar. He finally joined her onstage and played her out when she said the famous SNL-host line: “We’ve got a great show tonight!”
If you’ve been a fan of English folk rock band Mumford & Sons since their early days, you probably know of their lead singer, Mumford. But not everyone was singing “Little Lion Man” at the top of their lungs in 2010 or spent way too much money on tickets to their “Gentlemen of the Road” tour in 2013 (oops).
You might have, instead, been more of a fan of Mulligan, whose filmography goes back to 2005, when she appeared as Kitty Bennet alongside Kiera Knightley in Pride & Prejudice. Mulligan is nominated for a 2021 Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama for her role as Cassandra in rape-revenge film A Promising Young Woman.
Mulligan, who received an Oscar nomination in 2010 for her lead role in An Education (2009), has been one of the central stars of this year’s awards season after her performance in Emerald Fennell’s directorial debut.
This awards season, of course, has been very different than in years past. Mulligan, like several other actors, did press for her film from the comfort of her own home instead of at a big premiere with a red carpet. When she spoke to The New York Times, the 35-year-old was at the British country house in Devon that she and Mumford share with their daughters, Evelyn and Wilfred.
They’ve been together long before the COVID-19 pandemic, though. They got engaged in 2011 and were married on a Somerset farm in April 2012. Colin Firth, Sienna Miller, and Jake Gyllenhaal were among the guests at the wedding. Vogue UK reported that Firth gave a “touching speech” and Adele performed at the reception. Mulligan wore a Prada dress.
We know a few details about their wedding, which happened nearly nine years ago, but what do we know about Mumford himself (besides his music)?
Like Mulligan, Mumford is British, but he was born in the U.S.
Mumford, 34, was born Marcus Oliver Johnstone Mumford on January 31, 1987 to English parents, John and Eleanor, in Yorba Linda, California. They moved back to England when Mumford was a baby, and he grew up in Wimbledon Chase, southwest London and went to King’s College School in Wimbledon, where he met his fellow band member Ben Lovett.
His parents are religious leaders
John and Eleanor were leaders in the Vineyard Churches in the U.K. and Ireland for more than 20 years. This was an influence that traces back to Mumford’s grandparents.
“I grew up in a Christian home,” John told the Vineyard Church website. “My father had become a Christian when he was at Cambridge in the 1920s. Both my parents loved the lord and served in a local church. It’s where I grew up. I served with them as we went every Sunday as a family. We prayed together, read the Bible together, and that was entirely natural. It just never occurred to me to do anything else. It wasn’t a chore; it was a wonderful heritage.”
You can hear Christian references in Mumford’s early music, especially. But the band has never taken on the identity as “Christian music.” Mumford told Rolling Stone in March of last year: “It felt like early on, people wanted to put you in a box: ‘You’re a Christian band.’ It certainly isn’t as simple as that.”
He and Mulligan were reportedly pen pals as kids
As Bustle noted, Mulligan and Mumford reportedly went to the same church camp when they were pre-teens and were pen pals after that. Neither has been public about this story, but it’s been widely reported as the way they initially met. Cute! Bustle also writes that Mumford’s parents officiated his and Mulligan’s wedding in 2012.
He went to the University of Edinburgh
Mumford went to school in Edinburgh, but he dropped out at about age 20 and moved to London to pursue his music career. It was there where he got work as a drummer for British folk singer-songwriter Laura Marling, who wasn’t quite a name yet herself. Rolling Stone reported that while Mumford was a student in Scotland, he traveled to London on the weekends to “play with Marling, Noah and the Whale, Adele and more.”
During that time, he told Rolling Stone, he wanted to be more than a drummer. “You’re kind of nervous that you might get the guitar passed to you,” he said. “But you also kind of want it to happen. It was constantly that cross between adrenaline and fear. And I still live there.”
The Guardian reported in 2012, around the release of Mumford & Son’s Grammy Award-winning album, Babel, that when Marling was away doing interviews one day, Mumford wrote “White Blank Page,” one of the big tracks on the first Mumford & Sons studio album, Sigh No More (2009).
Mumford & Sons formed in 2007 and hit it big
After blowing up as a band (especially with the popularity of Sigh No More and Babel), they met some criticism from people in England.
“England’s just very cynical. Like I am. Like we all are,” banjo player Winston Marshall told The Guardian. “I think we’re all guilty of it as British citizens,” says Mumford, “if something gets big we go. . .ugh.”
He added: “We get accused of inauthenticity because we play the instruments we play.” Their success speaks for itself.
Before Mulligan, he was with musician Laura Marling
As The Guardian noted in the profile, Mumford is private about anything other than his professional relationship with Marling, but they did have a romantic relationship that the publication said ended from some point after [Marling’s 2008 album] Alas I Cannot Swim was finished until about 2010.
He made the Forbes 30 Under 30 list
In December 2012, when Mumford was 25 years old, he was listed on the 30 Under 30 Music list alongside Adele, One Direction, Taylor Swift, Mac Miller, Wiz Khalifa, Justin Bieber, Avicii, Frank Ocean, Bruno Mars, Katy Perry, and Rihanna.
“Folksy frontman and his indie rock act, Mumford & Sons, shocked the world by selling over 600,000 copies of their new album, Babel, in its opening week—the second-best debut of the year,” Forbes wrote.
He’s friends with Justin Timberlake
The Coen brothers film, Inside Llewyn Davis, starring Mulligan, Oscar Isaac, Justin Timberlake, Adam Driver, and more, features music from Mumford. He and Timberlake worked on the soundtrack together.
“I did work with Marcus Mumford on the soundtrack, so I became very good friends with them,” he said at the time. “Marcus and myself we all kind of worked on the music together and I don’t know any other world where we would have the opportunity to collaborate like that but it was so much fun. So not only will that be a great movie, but the music to it will be fantastic.”
He’s on Taylor Swift’s Evermore (2020) album
“There’s a really beautiful background vocal on ‘Cowboy Like Me’ sung by someone I’m a big fan of,” Swift hinted during her “Willow” live chat ahead of the album release.
Her fans, ever the detectives, figured it out pretty quickly:
Mumford framed a note from Swift that reads, “You’re a bandit like me. Eyes full of stars.”
He’s taking up surfing
Everyone has their quarantine hobby. Maybe this is his?
Mulligan’s name will surely come up more this awards season, but that doesn’t necessarily mean this usually off-the-Instagram-grid couple will step out into the spotlight any more than usual. Time will tell!
The couple share three children.
Mulligan welcomed her third child with Mumford in the summer of 2023. The couple already share seven-year-old Evelyn and five-year-old Wilfred. Though they didn’t make an announcement, Mulligan was seen out in Portofino on Labor Day Weekend after giving birth with her husband and film director Steven Spielberg and his wife Kate Capshaw.
Hilary Weaver is a freelance writer based in New York who writes about politics, queer issues, Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, and every woman the Queen has ever made a dame. I saw Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again three times in theaters, and that’s pretty much all you need to know.