Tom Selleck and Jillie Mack’s 34-Year Marriage Began with Whirlwind Romance

Tom Selleck was a 38-year-old divorcé filming on location in London when his coworkers noticed he’d developed an obsession with the musical Cats. He spent night after night in the West End, constantly telling fellow Lassiter star Jane Seymour how great the show was. “I thought it was good, but I couldn’t see going back a dozen times,” Seymour told People.

What he really thought was great, it turns out, was 25-year-old Jillie Joan Mack, the high-energy dancer who played Rumpleteazer. A dinner date turned into romance and once Mack’s contract was up, she moved to Hawaii where Selleck was filming Magnum, P.I. Soon after, she began appearing on Selleck’s arm everywhere from the Emmys red carpet to his Hollywood Walk of Fame induction in 1986.

Then, in 1987, they shocked fans and entertainment reporters alike by getting hitched in secret. Selleck’s brother, Bob, arranged all of the details with the 24-hour wedding chapel in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, under the aliases “Tom Jenkins” and “Suzie Mark.” On Aug. 7 that year, Selleck, 42, and Mack, 29, said “I do” in a late-evening ceremony. The minister didn’t know the couple’s true identity until minutes before the service, and Selleck had only Polaroid snapshots taken of the wedding so photos from negatives couldn’t be leaked to the press, according to People.

“They were both nervous, like any other couple about to get married,” their wedding officiant Rev. David Immel told the magazine. “He was very concerned that the service be heartfelt, very concerned for her that the service be meaningful. He is a very warm, caring man.”

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They welcomed their first and only child together, daughter Hannah, the following year. Selleck also has an adopted son, Kevin, from his first marriage to model Jacqueline Ray, which lasted 10 years. The family bought a 65-acre ranch in Ventura County, California, and Selleck scaled back on work to spend more time with his new wife and baby. “I quit Magnum to have a family,” he told People in 2012. “It took a long time to get off the train, but I try very hard to have balance, and this ranch has helped me do that.”

“We both thought it was the best environment for [Hannah] to grow up,” Mack added.

The couple made good parenting partners, Selleck told the New York Daily News in 1999, when Hannah was 10. “We don’t do anything or make any decisions without consulting each other,” he said. “And if one of us makes a decision involving Hannah, the other parent completely supports that position, even if you disagree.”

Over the years, Selleck has been frank about his unwillingness to sacrifice privacy just because his job places him in the spotlight. “I’ve found it very difficult to expose my private life and live with it,” he said in 1984. That, coupled with his number-one priority (“time with my family”), are no doubt factors that have contributed to one of modern Hollywood’s longest marriages.

“It’s important to nurture your marriage,” he said. “I think wanting time away from work has been good for that.”

He opened up about his decision to quit Magnum P.I. in 1988 during a 2020 interview with People. It sure sounds like he and Jillie have figured out how to live the “good life” together!

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