Italian Vogue No. 718 Fall Issue
"As an actor, I think I'd never kind of reached the heights of fame that Naomi had and so when she came into my life it was a real test on our relationship because I didn't like that she was bringing all that attention with her and I think I probably blamed her for it in the beginning."
2005. They started dating just before starting to film the movie The Painted Veil by John Curran, where Liev Schreiber played the role of the protagonist's (Naomi Watts) lover. "We were about three months into dating when filming commenced. At that stage you're desperate to impress that person and wondering what they think of you rather than honouring your character. It gave me more reason to really focus." [Harper's Bazaar Australia, May 2008]
Where they met
"Friends had been trying to hook us up for years, but the timing was never right," Naomi explains. "Then I ran into him at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute Gala [in 2005], and we spent the whole night talking and flirting. At some point I thought, 'This night's going to end and I might never see him again.' So I said, in a cheeky way, 'Don't you want my digits?' I can't tell you why; in the past, I would never have done that. Literally, within seconds after [Liev] left, he texted me his number. I think he liked that I was a bit aggressive." [Glamour, March 2008]
What's their secret
Privacy: they don't like attending social events ("My ideal night in is a good meal and a glass of wine with Liev. That's heaven for me"), but at the same time they don't want paparazzi to intrude much into their lives.
Irony: they often joke about the morbid attention of the media, pretending to have gotten married in a secret ceremony. The rumour started circulating in 2007, when Liev referred to Naomi as his wife in an interview, and in 2009: in a video shot in Israel, where they were planting trees for the Jewish National Fund, Liev said Naomi was his wife.
Things to know
They lived similar childhoods, in unconventional families.
Naomi was born in Kent, Great Britain: her father, Peter, was chief sound engineer and road manager of the band Pink Floyd, and her mother, Myfanwy, was a costume and set designer, and antique art dealer. At fourteen she moved to Australia with her mother and brother. "I dreamed of having a boring family for a long time," she explains, "someone who could pick up me at school wearing tweed and not leather pants and boots. But in the end, I think this has been useful to me in opening the doors to a creative life."[Vanity Fair Italia, May 19th, 2010]
Liev, born in San Francisco to a family of European descent, lived in a commune in Canada and in an ashram in Connecticut, following his mother, "this far-out Socialist Labor Party hippie bohemian freak who hung out with Burroughs." The most important father figure in his life was his grandfather: "He's someone I really looked up to, and somebody who defied all the clichés of what I thought old people were and Jewish people were."
Besides being an esteemed movie actor, Liev is considered one of the best contemporary theater actors; he also directed a movie, Everything is Illuminated, based on a novel by Jonathan Safran Foer, which has several connections with the story of his own family.
The Painted Veil is the only movie where they acted together, but Naomi would like to do it again: "Liev and I have talked of doing plays together, but I've never done professional theater and he's so brilliant. I'd be terrified to tread the boards with him. We'd love to do Streetcar [named Desire] together, and maybe another film."[Harper's Bazaar Australia, May 2008]
Their first public outing as a couple was in 2005, at the New York premiere of King Kong by Peter Jackson.
Alexander Pete, born on July 25th, 2007, and Samuel Kai, born on December 13th, 2008. "I'd love to have a daughter," Naomi explains, "but I'm too old: I already find it difficult to pick them up..."
Their off-duty style is extremely casual and comfy: they wear similar clothes in similar colors. On the red carpet, Liev opts for the classic tuxedo, for suits or unmatched jackets and pants; Naomi chooses dresses, often draped.
He said (about her)
"Naomi is my life, there is no doubt about that."
She said (about him)
"He's a complicated man, which I've always been drawn toward in men. He's fiercely intelligent."
Where they go…
Taverna Tony, Civic Center Way, Malibu, California.
Haveli, 100 2nd Avenue, New York.
Waverly Inn, 16 Bank Street, New York.
Barbados, Sydney, Paris.
...for a romantic weekend