Most fans of Laura Dern know her from many memorable roles, including Jurassic Park, Wild at Heart, Big Little Lies, and many more. What fans may not be too familiar with is the super star’s love life.
In addition to dating numerous famous men, Laura was once married to musician Ben Harper. Below we break down all you need to know about the rocker and his eight-year marriage to Laura, including how they met, the details of their family life, and where they stand today.
He’s A Musician
Born in Pomona, California on Oct. 28, 1969, Benjamin Charles Harper began playing guitar and regularly hung out at his maternal grandparents’ music store, called the Folk Music Center and Museum. Moreover, in 1978, he attended a Bob Marley concert and noted it to be a pivotal moment for him to be inspired to take on music.
The multi-talented singer and guitar player released his first album, Welcome to the Cruel World, in 1994 under Virgin Records. He subsequently dropped 14 more successful albums in the following years, also having his music featured on numerous television shows like Vampire Diaries, One Tree Hill and House. He still plays music today and continues to release albums.
In addition to his music career, Ben co-owns the skateboarding brand Roller Horror. He’s been interviewed about his experience trying out new tricks and learning the sport at an older age.
He & Laura Were Married For Eight Years
Ben and Laura met back in fall 2000 when Laura attended one of his concerts, according to PEOPLE. They hit it off immediately and eventually began dating, officially tying the knot in 2005 in an intimate ceremony at their home.
Their relationship didn’t last, however, as Ben filed for divorce in 2010 citing “irreconcilable differences” and they were reported to have separated by January of that year, per TMZ.
The pair actually ended up reconciling in 2012 before Laura could file a response to the divorce filing, even showing up to the 2012 Golden Globes together. The divorce was finalized in 2013, however, and they both went their separate ways.
Ben and Laura were notoriously private about their relationship, making some red carpet appearances together here and there, but ultimately keeping out the public eye. Laura did, however, make a rare mention of her divorce back in 2020, speaking with Variety about how the experience impacted her award-winning performance in Netflix’s Marriage Story.
“As [director Noah Baumbach] first said about the story when we first talked about it, he said, ‘I want to tell a love story where endings are not failures.’ And that really moved me and struck me deeply,” she said, noting her own amicable separation from Ben, as well as her own parents’ separation.
“So to my amazing divorced parents, and my amazing step parents, and my amazing children—who came from love despite an ending in a marriage—we’re so privileged to redefine what family looks like.”
Do They Have Any Children Together?
During their partnership, the couple welcomed two children together, a son Ellery, born in 2001, and a daughter Jaya, born in 2004.
Ellery began a modeling career as a teen, walking in a Calvin Klein show in 2018.One of the highlights of the then-teen model’s outfit was a graduation cap, but Ellery wouldn’t celebrate his real graduation until May 2020, when his mom posted a photo of him in a cap and gown.
Jaya is following in her mother’s footsteps as an actress, making her debut in the 2021 film Teenage Emotions. In addition to acting, Laura has also spoken about how she shares politics with her kids. “I focus on what I’ve decided is this country and the country that I describe to my children. And there are very few things that seem clear, but there is zero tolerance for a few things, because we’re Americans, and we’re clear about a few things: Nazis, racists, people who denounce people based on their cultural or religious or sexual preference — like that doesn’t fly in this country,” she told WWD in August 2017.
Since her split from Ben, the Wild star has shared insight about what it’s like being a single mom in Hollywood.
“The more I learn about my mistakes as a mother, the deeper I enjoy how fully I love my children,” Laura said during a May 2019 interview with InStyle. “Because I can let them know I really screw up sometimes. I hide from blame in a lot of areas in my life, but I’m trying not to do that as a mom. This is the first time in my life that I am being ambitious because I am a single parent.”
She’s also opened up about having hard conversations with her two teens. She recalled hearing her kids talking about their peers vaping and asking her questions about its safety in an August 2021 interview with Romper. “As a parent we don’t always understand that that’s what happening until we have an almost-20 year old who tells us years later ‘I was asking because I was curious and I needed to have some guidance,’” she said, before speaking about her parenting style. “Giving them room to be treated in a very adult way has helped me stay open to how much they teach me each day.”