With no fewer than eight Oscar nominations to her name, Cate Blanchett is one of the most celebrated actresses of her generation. And she’s been supported pretty much throughout her career by one man: Andrew Upton. So what is it that makes the pair tick? Well, Blanchett hasn’t been afraid to get candid about the rather unusual secrets of their marriage.
A man of many talents
So who exactly is Andrew Upton? Well, like Blanchett, he’s also a pretty big name in the entertainment world: only his role is behind the scenes, rather than center stage. As a director and playwright, Upton has adapted several notable works for London’s National Theatre. Proving he’s a man of many talents, he’s also penned an opera libretto!
A lower profile
Upton has occasionally ventured in front of the camera, though. His acting credits include The Last Time I Saw Michael Gregg, Manifesto, and Journey’s End. He’s also directed a handful of films, including Stories of Lost Souls and Bangers. But Upton’s profile remains a lot lower than his famous wife.
Seeing the scissors
Luckily, Upton isn’t remotely bothered about this. Referring to the times when the press crop him out of snaps that he’s posed for alongside Blanchett, the polymath joked to The Belfast Telegraph newspaper, “They just look and think, ‘He’s not interesting, cut him out.’ You can almost see the scissors.”
In fact, Upton appears to appreciate the fact he can walk the streets unnoticed, unlike his more famous wife. He added, “I’m never followed, but Cate is. Her public identity is very associated with her work, which I think is good, right, and proper, because she’s bloody good at it.”
Upton continued, “When her work is coming into focus, people want to see a photo of her carrying shopping bags. I can understand it — people are interested, and I’m glad they’re interested, otherwise they wouldn’t come to see it.” But Upton didn’t always believe that his wife’s success would last.
A short window
In a chat with OK! magazine, Blanchett recalled how Upton had once tried to keep her expectations low. She said, “You know, in the dawn of time when I entered the film industry, which is a very long time ago, I remember my husband saying to me in an incredibly supportive way, ‘Enjoy it babe: you’ve got five years, if you’re lucky.’ And that was true for women.”
Sparks didn’t fly
Funnily enough, sparks didn’t exactly fly the first time that Upton and Blanchett set eyes on each other way back in 1996. In fact, they appeared to clash. Appearing on late-night TV institution The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Blanchett recalled, “He thought I was aloof, and I thought he was arrogant.”
Blanchett went on to add, “We just didn’t really connect, and we were going out with other people, who we’re still friends with. And it was always an issue when the four of us went out that Andrew and I had something going on.” But the frostiness between the pair thankfully thawed. And a poker game, of all things, proved the catalyst.
Full steam ahead
Yes, it was while playing the card game that Blanchett and Upton first shared a kiss. And from then on it was full steam ahead. In fact, the couple ended up getting engaged within a month! But as Blanchett later told Ellen DeGeneres on her daytime talk show, the proposal wasn’t staged under the most ideal of circumstances.
The worst meal
Blanchett recalled, “I cooked him the worst meal. I somehow decided that to stuff a trout with walnuts and goat’s cheese would be a good idea. He ate it, and then he asked me to marry him so clearly he was, I don’t know, hallucinating. He realized I couldn’t cook.”
A playful Blanchett quipped, “You give them food poisoning. They’re delirious, and then you’ve got them.” But if you thought that was quick, then the Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull star once told website E! Online that she thought Upton was going to ask for her hand in marriage even sooner!
Hand in marriage
Blanchett said, “After three days he turned to me, we were in bed, as you are after three days. He said ‘Cate,’ and I thought, ‘[Oh no], he’s gonna ask me to marry him’ and I’m gonna have to say ‘Yes,’ and then he said, ‘I’m hungry. Do you want to go get something to eat?’ But then he asked me after about 21 days, and I said yes.”
A grounded man
Upton and Blanchett said “I do” just before Christmas in 1997. And married life appeared to treat them well. Just two years later, the actress told magazine Vanity Fair that her husband was “one of the few grounded people I know whose head is in the stars.” She continued, “He’s able to stretch between the sky and the Earth. Those people are very rare.”
In 2001 Blanchett and Upton became parents for the first time with the birth of son Dashiell. The couple have since added to their family unit with the arrivals of Roman in 2004 and Ignatius in 2008. Then in 2015 they decided to adopt a daughter, Edith. Blanchett later told People magazine, “We’re besotted. Fourth time around, it’s extraordinary.”
Mixing business with pleasure
Blanchett and Upton have never been afraid to mix business with pleasure, either. They both had senior positions at the Sydney Theatre Company, serving as CEOs and directors. And the couple also founded Dirty Films, a production company responsible for the likes of Apple TV+ original Disclaimer and The New Boy.
A daily thrill
In 2014 Blanchett picked up a Helpmann Award for her performance in The Maids, a production staged by that very same company. And husband Upton couldn’t have been more delighted, describing her work as “beautiful and amazing” in an interview with The Daily Telegraph newspaper. He also described his marriage to Blanchett as a “daily thrill.”
Speaking to newspaper Metro, Blanchett revealed that she and Upton hadn’t gone in all guns blazing. She said, “When my husband and I ran the de facto National Theatre, we knew that when we were creating something we couldn’t enter the room as the CEOs of the company. We had to enter as a member of an ensemble. So you have to know when and where to use that power.”
Hard yakka to get ahead
Blanchett later told magazine Radio Times that she and Upton remain incredibly proud of their five-year stint within the company. She said, “We really enjoyed producing other people’s work. It can sometimes be ‘hard yakka’ as they say in Australia, to forge a career in the arts. It can be a bit brutal. So if you have a chance to scaffold and support people’s career development, I find that really rewarding.”
An acclaimed success
Of course, Upton and Blanchett’s most successful professional venture was undoubtedly the Todd Haynes-directed Carol. The former worked as an executive producer on the period romance. And the latter, who played the titular character who falls in love with a younger wannabe photographer, bagged an Academy Award nod for her performance.
Luckily, Upton appears to find the experience of collaborating with Blanchett a fulfilling one. He told People, “It’s great. We’ve always worked together, in a way. You have your odd, ‘No, no, no, we have to do this,’ but in the end you can say, ‘Oh, all right, I’ll fight for that next year, then.’ That collaborative approach is a really important part of theatre — it’s compromise that adds, not detracts.”
A great partnership
And Blanchett seems to relish getting to share her talents with Upton, too. In an interview with E! Online Blanchett enthused, “It’s been a great creative partnership with my husband and also a great love affair. Working together, running a creative company in Australia. It’s been fantastic.” Not that the pair don’t have to put in any effort to make things run so smoothly.
Making life interesting
Speaking to Radio Times, Blanchett admitted that she and Upton never took their happy lives for granted. She said, “My husband and I have been together for a long time. It’s wonderful, but it takes work. We’re always biting off more than we can chew — but that’s what makes life interesting.”
Attraction to chaos
And Blanchett also believes that she and Upton share a “perverse attraction to chaos.” She revealed, “Both my husband and I freelance, I have four children… I think the way I deal with chaos is to surf it until it’s been going on for six months, and then you burst into tears.”
The small things
A typically candid Blanchett continued, “But it’s always the small things in life that make you burst into tears. It’s never over the major things, because you can somehow deal with those issues.” The Notes on a Scandal star then cited the car not working as an example of something much harder to overcome.
A no-nonsense attitude
Blanchett’s no-nonsense attitude to love perhaps explains why you very rarely see her appearing in a traditional rom-com. In fact, the Blue Jasmine star doesn’t believe in concepts such as soul mates. And when it comes to marriage, well, that’s pretty much a case of pure luck, according to the Oscar favorite.
All about timing
In a chat with women’s magazine Marie Claire Blanchett said, “I think marriage is all about timing. Getting married is insanity; I mean, it’s a risk — who knows if you’re going to be together forever? But you both say, ‘We’re going to take this chance, in the same spirit.’”
Back to luck
Blanchett doesn’t believe that being a Hollywood star has a bearing on the state of her relationship with Upton, either. She told Hello! magazine, “I don’t think it’s more difficult for actors to have a good marriage than anyone. I think in the end a really important component of any relationship is honesty — and it also comes back to luck.”
Upton and Blanchett may appear to have the kind of marriage of which most Hollywood stars can only dream. But when it comes to celebrating it, then that’s a different story. In fact, Upton is so bad at anniversary gifts that the Elizabeth star has rechristened what should be the most romantic day on their calendar as their “microwave anniversary.”
White goods galore
That’s right: Upton believes that nothing says “I love you” more than white goods, as Blanchett explained to British newspaper the Daily Mirror. She said, “My first wedding anniversary, my husband gave me a vacuum cleaner, and then he gave me a mixer.” And unfortunately for the Lord of the Rings star, his gifts haven’t got any more romantic since.
Silver and gold are history
Yes, it’s fair to say that Upton hasn’t upped his game. Blanchett went on to add, “It used to be silver and gold, but now that list includes coffee makers and irons, and gone is the sense of getting to the gold and diamond anniversary. Now it’s the microwave anniversary. It’s so less romantic now and timeless.”
Intelligent and generous
Luckily, Blanchett doesn’t appear to hold Upton’s terrible taste in anniversary gifts against him. In her chat with Hello! the star of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button said, “I’m incredibly fortunate to have met the intelligent, generous, risk-taking, stimulating man to whom I am married. He’s really amazing.”
A shared email address
But the most surprising thing about Upton and Blanchett’s marriage isn’t related to home appliances. Speaking to newspaper Mail on Sunday, the Where’d You Go Bernadette? star revealed that she and her husband share one thing that sets them apart from most married couples. They both use the same email address!
Well, “use” might be overstretching it a little. Upton hates using email so much that he’s more than happy for his famous wife to take care of all their online correspondence. Blanchett added, “We work together, and it’s a way of synchronizing our lives. I can see what he’s up to — it’s not that I don’t trust him.”
Three of everything
And Blanchett seems to be just as organized when it comes to their home life in general. She said, ‘‘I’ve got a whole system going. I know what has to be done by the end of the evening and what has to be done by the end of the morning. Three lunch boxes, three school bags, three sets of school uniform.”
Of course, Blanchett no doubt spent lots of time preparing speeches as well as school lunches in early 2023. The actress was recognized at numerous awards ceremonies for her leading performance as Lydia Tar, a movie about a fictional music conductor. And as you would expect, Upton was right by her side at every ceremony.
Blanchett made sure to thank Upton and her kids when she picked up Best Actress at the BAFTAs. Referring to her role in Tar, she said, “And it took me away from you an enormous a lot. An enormous a lot? I don’t know what that means but that was the state I was in! Thank you Andrew darling, thank you to my mum, and thank you my four extraordinary children.”
A very painful period
And Blanchett also gave a shout-out to her husband during a backstage press conference. The actress revealed that daughter Edith had been by her side during the Tar shoot in Berlin. But her three sons and spouse Upton had stayed behind in their American home, a period that Blanchett described as “very painful.”
Don’t be surprised to see Blanchett and Upton gracing the awards season in 2024, too. The pair have been busy working as producers on Fingernails, the first English-language film by Christos Nikou. Starring Jessie Buckley and Riz Ahmed, the sci-fi romance is based on a subject that the Aussies know all about.
A love test
Yes, Fingernails is about a new test which is capable of determining just how much in love a married couple is. Buckley plays Anna, a woman who doesn’t quite believe the positive outcome she’s received for her long-term relationship. Ahmed stars as Trevor, an enigmatic instructor she meets at a love institute. No doubt that Blanchett and Upton would be far more accepting of a similar result.