Emily Cooper may be exploring Paris’ dating pool, but Lily Collins, the actress who plays her, is happily married.
Collins wed Charlie McDowell on September 4, 2021, revealing on her Instagram that she tied the knot with her fiancé in Colorado. The two got engaged a year earlier in September of 2020, after dating for more than a year.
The two are pretty publicly affectionate on social media: After their engagement, Collins posted several photos and videos to show off her square diamond ring, which was custom-made by jeweler Irene Neuwirth.
“I think we’re just, you know, totally soaking in being engaged and still celebrating with people that we can, in a way that is safe…” Collins told Extra of her COVID-era engagement. “Eight months of being together in quarantine has definitely felt like the most incredible way of getting to know someone.”
They’ve been married for just over a year, and are still going strong. Who is this man who’s inspired all the glowing Instagram posts and declarations of love from the Emily in Paris and Mank (2020) star? Here’s what we know about Charlie McDowell.
McDowell and Collins got married in September 2021.
A year after getting engaged, McDowell and Collins had their wedding secretly. Collins wore a Ralph Lauren column gown and got married to McDowell in Colorado’s Dunton Hot Springs. “I’ve never wanted to be someone’s someone more than I do yours, and now I get to be your wife,” Collins wrote alongside their wedding photo, posted on September 7. “On September 4th, 2021 we officially became each other’s forever. I love you beyond.”
Of the event, Collins said she was on set for Emily In Paris during the planning so McDoweel handled a lot.
“I was in the midst of planning it while shooting the show, nine hours ahead. Finishing filming and then Zooming with people and answering emails,” she said. “[It] was very exciting and great; it was just all happening at once.”
They celebrated their one-year anniversary in September 2022.
As of summer 2023, Collins is regularly sharing photos with McDowell on her Instagram.
Collins has been very open about her relationship for a Hollywood starlet. She often posts photos from her life and travels with McDowell. The couple bought property in Copenhagen and recently described their home team as being the city’s football club.
In July 2023, she posted a gushing tribute to McDowell for his 40th birthday.
Collins fêted her husband’s milestone 40th birthday with a heartfelt Instagram tribute. “Happy HUGE birthday to my one!” she started. “You may now be 40 but let’s be honest, you’ll actually, truly, always be forever young. Here’s to the last 4 decades of light you’ve cast into this world, laughs you’ve brought to everyone around you, passion you’ve shared with audiences everywhere, love you’ve given those closest to you, beauty and art you’ve created, and memories you’ve cherished alongside the ones you’ve built your life with. I’m the luckiest lady there is to journey beside you in our next decades to come. I couldn’t love you more or be more in awe of your heart, talent, and infinite sense of humor. Thank you for being the man you are and inspiring me to be the woman I am. You’re my partner in crime, my best friend, and my constant adventure. Happy 40th my love. I can’t wait to grow even older with you and keep frolicking into the future together. Wherever that may lead us…”
McDowell is a child of Hollywood legends.
Like Collins, whose father is British musician Phil Collins, McDowell comes from an entertainment family. Upon first guess, you might think he’s related to actress Andie MacDowell (it’s a different spelling, but they do have a pretty funny connection. More on that later). His mom is actually a different legendary actress, Mary Steenburgen (aka the iconic mom in basically every rom-com).
His dad is British actor Malcolm McDowell, with whom Steenburgen shares McDowell (37) and his sister Lilly McDowell Walton (40).
Steenburgen divorced Malcolm in 1991 and married The Good Place and Cheers actor Ted Danson in 1995. Danson has two daughters, Kate and Alexis Danson, from his marriage to his first wife, Cassandra “Casey” Coates.
“When I was a teenager I didn’t understand why @msteenburgen made us do this,” Collins’ fiancé wrote alongside a photo of his blended family in 2017. “But I get it now. You wanted us to be able to pose harder than any other bitch ass in the room. Thank you. And happy Mother’s Day.”
Malcolm McDowell has three sons with his wife, Kelley Kuhr: Beckett, Finnias, and Seamus.
He’s a filmmaker.
McDowell is a writer/director. His major directing projects have been The One I Love (2014) starring Elisabeth Moss, Mark Duplass, and Ted Danson; Silicon Valley (2016); and The Discovery (2017). He has also directed two episodes of On Becoming a God in Central Florida (2019), Dear White People (2017-2018), and is behind several more projects. He made a comedy short, Bye Bye Benjamin, in 2006, when he was 22 years old. Here he is with his dad and sister Lilly at the screening in June of that year:
He made a website about his neighbors and then wrote a book about it—to some controversy.
Starting in 2009, McDowell started tweeting open letters to the women who lived in the apartment about him. “Two annoying girls moved into the apartment above me, he writes on the site where the open letters are archived. “I’m forced to hear every dumb thing they say. These are my letters to them.”
In 2013, he published a book called Dear Girls Above Me: Inspired by a True Story, based on his Twitter feed Dear Girls Above Me. Amazon calls it, “a roman à clef about how thinking like a couple of girls turned one single guy into a better man.”
Some of McDowell’s jokes did (rightfully) generate some controversy though, particularly those about rape and eating disorders, which were flagged on social media and attracted attention. In December 2019, Collins responded to social media comments:
“This week I saw some messages and comments that were really hurtful to me and someone I love,” she wrote, in part. “It’s never okay to verbally abuse, bully, or threaten people even if you don’t agree with their opinion or sense of humor.”
He has one long-running joke on his Instagram.
In 2014, McDowell started a joke on his Instagram grid that still lives on today. He posted a photo of Andie MacDowell (not his mom) with the message, “31 years ago this woman gave birth to me.”
His sister Lilly even joined in the joke: “I love when mom wears her hair like this.”
Seriously, he had me fooled for a while there:
On Mother’s Day last year, Steenburgen posted a video of her son calling Andie for Mother’s Day. She revealed in the post that her 37-year-old son calls the actress every Mother’s Day, but she takes it in stride: “Love to you, Andie from me and love to you my son, who never fails to make me laugh,” she wrote. “😘😂🌺.”
MacDowell is the mother of actress Margaret Qualley and her siblings Rainey and Justin. But she seems to accept Charlie as her honorary son, too.
Besides the now seven-year-old Andie MacDowell joke, McDowell likes to take a silly photo:
And he really loves to troll his mom:
He’s an uncle.
He posts a lot of adorable photos with the kiddos in his life:
He’s a dog dad.
There are a lot of sweet moments on his Instagram of the dogs in his life, too:
In 2019, he introduced his friends and followers to his dog, Redford. He wrote a message to his late dog Marvin (pictured above): “Marvin, if you can hear me, I miss you every waking moment. You will never be replaced. And as I write this and tears stream down my face, Redford is licking them away, which I think you would approve of. ❤️”
And a surfer.
At the end of 2020 he made this joke alongside a wipeout surfing photo: “Goodbye 2020. You didn’t feel good.”
“But damn, you made it look good regardless,” Collins responded. “Can’t wait to party wave with you in 2021 💙.”
He’s dated Kristin Chenoweth, Rooney Mara, and Emilia Clarke
McDowell has a lot of famous exes. In 2008, McDowell dated his mom’s Four Christmases (2008) co-star. “We met on set,” he told People then. After that, he dated Rooney Mara for what was reportedly six years (2010-2016). Most recently, he was romantically linked to Game of Thrones actress Emilia Clarke. They got together in 2018 and quietly split in 2019, per Cosmopolitan.
McDowell and Collins appear to have started dating around the summer of 2019; Collins posted her first grid photo of him in August of that year. One year and month later, they were engaged.
Collins said being married to McDowell makes her feel “old.”
In an interview with Nylon in 2021, Collins said of their transition to marriage, “It’s so nice to be able to finally say that I’m a wife, [but] sometimes it makes me feel very old.”
But in October of 2022, she told E! News that being with McDowell made her feel like she could “conquer anything.”
“We’ve been through so many changes globally, personally, and to be able to have a partner next to you that makes you laugh in times when you need it the most and helps you emotionally get through things, like moving to a foreign country for four months,” she said. “I just feel so grateful that I have someone next to me to be able to accomplish that and your best friend with you all the time.”
McDowell has directed Collins in two films.
When a director marries an actor, a collaboration is born. The couple worked together on Windfall first, and the director told Entertainment Tonight in March 2022 that they mostly had no issues.
“The only time it was a little distracting, is when Jesse Plemons, who’s a very good friend of mine, is picking her up and kissing her,” he joked. “I’m like, ‘Wait a minute. There’s something off about this. My good friend is kissing my then-fiancée.’”
Collins’ take was different.
“There were moments that I was so in the world of the film, in terms of it being a set and this is my director, that I was able to completely forget the fact that it was my [then-fiancé] directing me,” she said. “He’s such a great actor’s director that the way he communicates to all of us and what he wants and how collaborative he is.”
Their second film together, Gilded Rage, is due out in 2023. It’s based on the true story investment banker Thomas Gilbert Sr., who was murdered in 2015.
He’s often by her side on the red carpet.
McDowell accompanied Collins in early December to the premiere of the third season of her hit Netflix show Emily In Paris. The pair were color-coordinated in shades of brown. McDowell in a loosely tailored suit and Collins in a long sleeved cut out gown with a skirt that trailed on the floor.
In October of 2022, they were photographed at the Time 100 Next in New York City.
And just before that, they were pictured at the 2nd Annual Academy Museum Gala at Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles.
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.
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.
Senior News and Strategy Editor
Alyssa Bailey is the senior news and strategy editor at ELLE.com, where she oversees coverage of celebrities and royals (particularly Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton). She previously held positions at InStyle and Cosmopolitan. When she’s not working, she loves running around Central Park, making people take #ootd pics of her, and exploring New York City.