- Steven Spielberg has been married twice: to Amy Irving (1985-1989); and to Kate Capshaw (since 1991).
- Amy Irving is an actress and singer best known for her roles in Yentl, Carrie, and Traffic.
- Kate Capshaw is a former actress best known for her role in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
Steven Spielberg has sat in the director’s chair for such films as Jurassic Park, Saving Private Ryan, Jaws, The Color Purple, and The Fablemans. While many have helped Steven (b. Dec. 18, 1946) become one of the most celebrated filmmakers in Hollywood’s history, he’s only had two special “assistant directors” in his life: his wife, Kate Capshaw, and his ex, Amy Irving.
A notoriously guarded man when it comes to his private life, Steven opened up in his semi-biographical film, The Fablemans. “I’ve not been in therapy. I went to my father’s psychiatrist to try to get a letter that I was crazy, so I wouldn’t have to fight in Vietnam. That was the only time I ever went to an analyst,” Spielberg told The New York Times. “So movies, and my relationship with Kate and my kids and my closest friends and with the stories I choose to tell, that has probably been as therapeutic as anything I could have done in Freudian or Jungian therapy.” As Spielberg continues to tell his story, here’s what you need to know about his wife and ex.
Kate Capshaw (b. Kathleen Sue Nail) has been Steven Spielberg’s wife since 1991, following his divorce from Amy Irving in 1989. Hailing from Texas, she relocated to New York City following college to pursue acting. In the early 1980s, she picked up roles here and there, like in 1984’s Dreamscape.
When she auditioned for the second Indiana Jones movie, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Kate met her future husband. The film, a prequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark, put Kate as Willie Scott opposite Harrison Ford’s Indiana Jones. She became close to the director, and in 1991, the couple was married.
In 2001, Kate retired from acting. In the years leading up to that decision, she appeared in 1989s’ Black Rain, 1995’s Just Cause, 1995’s How To Make An American Quilt, and 1999’s The Love Letter. Her last role was in a TV movie, 2001’s Due East. However, she was ready to focus on her and Steven’s growing family by that time.
“Steven and I are partners, and our life together is our production, so to speak,” Kate told The Spokesman-Review in 1995. “If I want to do something that affects that production, I want to have his support. If he doesn’t understand the piece, then I have to help explain it. Sometimes, in explaining it, I realize I don’t understand it. Then everybody’s saved a lot of work.”
“He operates his jet — a camera and a story. My jet is the family,” she added. “I might not be comfortable pushing the limits in film the way he does, and he might not be as comfortable pushing the limits of our family. But I get to be the frontierswoman here, and he gets to be the frontiersman there.”
Before meeting Steven, Kate married marketing manager Robert Capshaw in 1976. They welcomed a child, a daughter named Jessica Capshaw (best known for portraying Arizona Robbins on Grey’s Anatomy) before they divorced in 1980. She adopted a son, Theo, before she married Steven, but after the couple tied the knot, Spielberg adopted the lad as his own. From there, Steven and Kate welcomed their first biological child, daughter Sasha Spielberg, in 1990. Sasha is known as musician/actress Buzzy Lee.
Kate and Steven welcomed Sawyer Spielberg in 1992 and Destry Spielberg in 1996. Both have pursued the family business, with Destry acting in movies like 2021’s Licorice Pizza. Sawyer is an actor and a director. Steven and Kate also adopted Mikaela Spielberg when she was an infant.
Amy Irving (born Sept. 10, 1953) is the daughter of actress Pricilla Pointer (Blue Velvet, A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors) and Jules Irving, the late actor, director, producer, and co-founder of the Actor’s Workshop. In the mid-1960s, Jules Irving worked as the Producing Director of the Vivian Beaumont Theater of New York City’s Lincoln Center. As one to follow in the family business, Amy attended the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco. When the family relocated to New York City, she graduated from the Professional Children’s school and made her Off-Broadway debut as a teenager.
“Instead of using babysitters, Mama would put us in the front row where she could watch us from the stage,” Amy told the Los Angeles Times in 1994. “My father was an amazing, artistic director, and the values of the Actor’s Workshop were special. It was about the work, not money or fame. Things were very disillusioning when I got out into the real world.”
Amy then studied at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and at the American Conservatory Theatre. She made her way out to Los Angeles and began her career in film and television. In 1976, she appeared in Brian De Palma’s Carrie, and then in his 1978 film, The Fury. Irving crossed paths with Spielberg through George Lucas when she auditioned for the role of Princess Lei in Star Wars.
They dated from 1976 to 1980, breaking up only to reunite afterward. They married in 1985 and welcomed a son, Max Spielberg, that year. In 1989, Spielberg and Irving divorced, and she received a reported $100 million in the split because their ad hoc prenup didn’t hold up in court (it was scribbled on a napkin, and Amy didn’t have any legal representation when she signed it, per the New York Daily News.)
Amy later married director Bruno Barreto and had a second child. They divorced in 2005; in 2007, she married filmmaker Kenneth Bowser Jr. Amy continued to act. She appeared in 2018’s Unsane and 2021’s A Mouthful of Air,
“You start out being Jules Irving’s daughter,” Irving said to the Los Angeles Times in ’94. “and you finally break away from that to become Amy Irving, and then you become Steven Spielberg’s girlfriend, and, well, I was having an identity crisis. I had to take positive action and get a new sense of myself.”