Steve & Nancy Carell First Met While Doing Improv & Have Been Laughing Together Since

The comedic couple share two children, who are just obsessed with Minions as we are.

Actor Steve Carell and Nancy Carell attend the 87th Academy Awards, Oscars, at Dolby Theatre in Los ...
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Funny attracts funny. And in Hollywood, it’s the funny couples that have staying power. The Patient star Steve Carell and his wife Nancy Ellen Carell (née Walls) have been married for 27 years after first meeting at a comedy class in the early ’90s. You might recognize her from her stint as a featured player on Saturday Night Live in the 1995-1996 season, or her scene-stealing roles in some of Steve’s most iconic shows and films like The Office or The 40-Year-Old Virgin.

The couple have weathered auditions, big breaks, and parenthood together — and are still totally in in love more than 25 years later. Here’s a look at their Hollywood success story.

Early 1990s: Nancy Takes Steve’s Improv Class

Both budding comedians in the early ’90s, the pair initially met when Nancy took one of Steve’s Second City improv comedy classes in Chicago. Nancy also worked across the street at a bar, and Steve would often go in just to talk to her. Telling Ellen DeGeneres on her show in 2015, he said that they danced around making the first move for a long time before he mustered up the courage to ask her out. “The conversation would go something like, ‘Hey, you know, if I were ever to ask a woman out, it would be someone like you. Exactly like you,’” Steve told Ellen. “And she'd say, ‘If a guy like you were ever to ask a woman like me out, I would definitely do that.’”

They carried on like this for weeks before one of them actually did something about it. “Other people at the bar at the bar must have been like, ‘Just do it! Put us all out of our misery.’ And finally, we did. It was great,” he said.

Steve and Nancy Carell Second City headshots.

The Second City
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Initially, they were both nervous about their romance and their anxiety manifested in different ways. “I was immediately attracted to my wife. She's beautiful, intelligent and really funny. She kind of checked all the boxes in my head,” he told The Guardian in 2013, “but I thought she hated me because she was very quiet around me. I thought she for sure knew that I was full of it, and I later found out that she was just as nervous as I was and trying to act cool."

August 1995: Steve & Nancy Get Married

When asked about their wedding day in August 1995, Steve gushes about his future wife. “I knew early on that she was the right one,” he said in The Guardian interview. “I'll never forget standing at the altar and I saw her coming down the aisle – immediately a sense of calm came over me.” Describing their perfect nuptials he continued, “there was an ethereal sense of how right it all was and more than anything it was very empowering knowing that person was going to be my partner and have my back. It just made me feel strong, and I'll never forget it.”

Not quite their wedding, Steve and Nancy Carell attend a wedding in 1996.

1999-2002: Co-Workers on The Daily Show

For a three-year period, Steve and Nancy overlapped as correspondents on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Nancy had previously appeared in 20 episodes of Saturday Night Live, which Steve also lent his voice to occasionally as the character “Gary.”

For a comedic couple, they aren’t afraid to check their egos at the door — especially Steve, who thinks his wife is funnier than he is. “As much as I don't really feel I share a sense of humor with my family, I definitely share one with her – we find the same things funny,” he said.

Steve and Nancy Carell share the Daily Show desk as correspondents in 1999.Comedy Central

Early 2000s: The Carells Become Parents

Steve and Nancy enjoyed a few years of marital bliss together before expanding their family. In May 2001, they welcomed a beautiful baby girl named Elisabeth “Annie” who completely changed Carell’s outlook on his life and career. “I'll never forget the first audition after my daughter was born. I nailed it because I didn't care any more,” he said in 2013. “Before that I hadn't had great success auditioning for TV shows, it was spotty at best but for that audition, it wasn't a life or death thing. All I wanted to do was get home to my baby.”

Steve and Nancy Carell attend the premiere of Steve’s film Beautiful Boy in 2018.Frazer Harrison/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

A son named John followed three years later in June 2004. “It changed my perspective on my career and on the world, on who I was,” Carell said. “The world was so much bigger than me, or any of my concerns and so much richer too. Having children is by far the most important and best thing that we ever did.”

2006: The Office Co-Stars

When Steve got his big break on NBC’s The Office, he brought Nancy along for the ride as his character Michael Scott’s girlfriend (and soon, ex-girlfriend) Carol. In a standout scene between the two, Michael photoshops his face onto a picture from a ski trip that Carol took with her ex-husband and kids, and she promptly dumps him. The episode ends with the iconic image of Michael broken-heartedly listening to the free iTunes 15-second snippet of “Goodbye My Lover” in his office.

2015: Praising Steve’s Dramatic Turn

Steve has also tried his hand at drama, earning a Best Actor nomination for his role in the 2014 film Foxcatcher. At the Oscars that year, Nancy praised her husband saying he was “amazing” in the role. He also since starred in the Emmy nominated drama series The Morning Show.

2016: Angie Tribeca Showrunners

In 2016, Steve and Nancy also developed the TBS series Angie Tribeca together, which starred Rashida Jones for four seasons. “We didn't start thinking we're going to write a show,” Steve explained to Entertainment Tonight. “We just came up with this name that was really dumb and it just kept making us laugh … and the more we talked about it, the more it made us laugh. She makes me laugh more than anybody.”

Real life couple Steve and Nancy Carell created Angie Tribeca together.Alli Harvey/WireImage/Getty Images

June 2022: Red Carpet Appearances

Even decades into their relationship, Nancy and Steve still make red-carpet appearances together, and look giddy as ever. Nancy supported Steve in June 2022 for his animated film Minions: The Rise Of Gru, and were caught smiling super big at the Los Angeles premiere.

Apparently, the Minions movies are family affairs in the Carell household. Steve also gushed about how their now-adult children were so excited about the latest movie. "These [movies] started when they were 4 and 7, and now they're 18 and 21," Carell revealed to People at the time. "I put it out to them like, 'Well, the premiere is this week, do you want to go?' And they were all over it, like not even a hesitation," the actor added.

"I think it's nostalgic at this point. They love the characters and they love the franchise. It's been a big part of our family."

Amy Sussman/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Steve doesn’t necessarily believe in fate — instead, he thinks the success of their partnership is nothing more than luck. He simply told The Guardian in 2013: “People say what's the secret to a marriage? There's no secret – I think you get lucky.”