Willem Dafoe and his wife, Giada Colagrande, have been married since 2005
Willem Dafoe and his wife, Giada Colagrande, were the perfect pairing even before they married in 2005.
The two first met by chance in Italy, and Dafoe was already familiar with her work as a filmmaker.
“I met my wife on the street in Rome in 2004,” he told The Guardian in 2009. “I knew of her because I'd seen her films and we had some mutual friends.”
Dafoe co-wrote Colagrande's second feature film, Before It Had a Name, released in 2005. Working together closely throughout their marriage, they have collaborated on several projects since, including 2010’s A Woman and the Italian drama Padre.
“I work with my wife sometimes,” he told hosts Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest during an interview on Live with Kelly and Ryan. “It’s nice. You have special information, you have complicity, you have a shorthand, you have a language, you know?”
He also said working alongside a spouse can make things “more difficult at times," explaining, "When you have problems [at work], it bleeds into your personal life."
In 2010, Colagrande also opened up about working with her famous husband.
“He doesn’t act like a star; if anything, an artist,” she told Vogue Italia of the Oscar-nominee’s work.
She added that their shared love for film plays a part in their successful marriage.
“The collaboration I’ve got with Willem is ideal … Intense, pure, without interference,” she explained.
But just who is The Lighthouse actor’s wife? Here is everything to know about Willem Dafoe’s wife, Giada Colagrande.
She is an actor and a filmmaker
In addition to her extensive work as a filmmaker and producer, Colagrande has acting credits to her name.
Her first role was in Aprimi il Cuore, which translates to Open My Heart. The romance-drama film premiered at the 2002 Venice Film Festival and follows two sisters, who have a dark and intense relationship.
The film, which saw success in the European film festival circuit, was made on a small budget of around $5,000 — a gift to Colagrande from her grandmother.
"She has three grandchildren and she gave each of us $US5000. My cousin bought a car: I made a movie," she told Australian outlet The Age in a 2004 interview.
She grew up in a family of all women
Speaking to The Age about her movie Aprimi il Cuore, Colagrande explained that she was always drawn to “morbid, visceral, intense, strong relationships, extreme relationships,” and she — like the characters in her debut film — grew up without a father figure.
"I have grown up with a family that was all women. I have a very close relationship to my mother and grandmother,” she said. “I didn't grow up with my father, so men have always been very fascinating, but also an object you look for [that] you fall in love with outside of yourself.”
Colagrande added: "Still, the film has nothing to do with my personal story. I don't have sisters, and I have never had an incestuous relationship."
She and Dafoe made their red carpet debut at the Cannes Film Festival
In 2005, the two stepped out as newlyweds at the Cannes Film Festival. Walking the red carpet for the Broken Flowers premiere, the couple grinned and embraced while wearing black formal outfits.
Dafoe and Colagrande have since walked the red carpet together on a number of occasions. In February 2020, they were photographed at the Siberia premiere at the 70th Berlin International Film Festival.
Her and Dafoe’s wedding was “very impulsive”
The couple’s marriage has been low-key since the start; they preferred a more intimate affair over an elaborate occasion for their wedding.
“Getting married was very impulsive and romantic. We were having lunch and I said: ‘Do you want to get married tomorrow?’ " Dafoe told The Guardian in 2009. “I called up City Hall and they said: ‘If you get here in the next couple of hours, you can register and then you can get married tomorrow.’ “
“So we ran down there,” he continued. “We married the next day with just two witnesses, our best friends: my manager and her editor.”
She is a stepmom to Dafoe’s son
Dafoe is a father to an adult son, Jack Dafoe, from his previous marriage to director Elizabeth LeCompte.
Colagrande is 21 years Dafoe’s junior. While the couple don’t have any children together, it’s something that’s not off the table for Dafoe.
"Well, my wife is still young enough and I have no qualms about being an older dad,” he told The Daily Telegraph in 2009.
She and Dafoe live in Rome
The couple split their time between New York City and Colagrande’s native Italy, residing in Rome. Dafoe is now an Italian citizen and speaks the language.
“I’ve lived in New York for over 40 years and I married an Italian. She didn’t want to give up Rome and I said, ‘I’m okay with that,’ ” he said during a 2019 Live with Kelly and Ryan interview.
Due to his acting career, Dafoe only spends a few months a year in Italy but is always happy to be back.
“I’m one day back [in Rome] and I’m in heaven,” the actor told AnOther magazine in 2022. "There’s a sense of beauty and impermanence and history that I love. I like the people so much."
Dafoe continued: "I don’t want to sound like a rube — it’s a broad statement — but they’re empathetic. Americans like a winner. Italians consider people that have lost in a different way. In more puritanical societies, which probably includes where you’re from and where I’m from, it’s, ‘If they fall, keep ’em down, because it’s their fault.’ ”
She’s in a band
Colagrande has taken her creative talents to the music scene, forming a band named The Magic Door.
“In October 2016 Arthuan [Rebis, Colagrande’s bandmate] and Giada decide to make an album inspired to Rome’s Magic Door (also called Alchemical Portal),” the website reads. “They [wrote] and compose seven songs, each about one of the seven epigraphs engraved on the door, an intro and an epilogue.”
What began as a two-piece band now has four members. They have performed at a range of concerts across Italy.
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