Sam Shepard & Jessica Lange: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

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Getty Actors Sam Shepard and Jessica Lange attend The Film Society of Lincoln Center honors Jessica Lange at Avery Fisher Hall April 17, 2006 in New York City.

Award-winning playwright, director, and actor Sam Shepard has died at age 73.

Shepard was battling ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease), according to the New York Times, and died peacefully in his home in Kentucky surrounded by his children and sisters.

Shepard was not married at the time of his death. His partner for 27 years was fellow actress Jessica Lange.

Read on to learn more about Sam Shepard and Jessica Lange.

1. They Have Two Kids Together

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Actor Sam Shepard and actress Jessica Lange (C) pose with family members Shura Baryshnikov (2nd L), her husband Bruce Bryan (L), Hanna Shepard and Walker Shepard (R) at The Film Society of Lincoln Center honors Jessica Lange at Avery Fisher Hall April 17, 2006 in New York City.

The couple has two children together: Hannah Jane Shepard (31) and Samuel Walker Shepard (30). Both also have one child from previous relationships.

Hannah graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in 2008, and has worked as an administrative assistant for Hawthorne Valley Association in Upstate New York according to The outlet also reports that Hannah is involved with African Solutions to African Problems (ASAP), which supports organizations of drop-in centers for orphans made “vulnerable” by AIDS in South Africa.

Sam and Jessica’s son, Samuel Walker Shepard, goes by Walker, and was born on June 14, 1987, in Scottsville, Virginia. According to, he joined a band called The Dust Busters after graduating from college. The band has since been renamed to the Down Hill Strugglers. Check out the band’s website here.


2. They Never Married but Were Together for 27 Years

Although Shepard and Lange never officially married, they were together for 27 years, and shared a home together in upstate New York. They first got together in 1982, and split in 2009. At the time, an inside source told that they’d chosen to “pursue independent lives.”

In a 1991 interview with Vanity Fair, Lange opened up about her relationship to Shepard, saying, “He’s a great man, a natural man, which is rare. I’ve been with a lot of men and I’ve known a lot of men. And you know I’ve had romances with what you’d call famous men, and none compare to Sam in terms of maleness.”

Both Lange and Shepard led extremely illustrious careers. Lange has won two Oscars, one Tony, three Emmy Awards, five Golden Globe Awards, one SAG Award, and three Dorian Awards for her work as an actress. In 1998, she was also named one of Entertainment Weekly’s “25 Greatest Actresses of the 1990s.”

Shepard’s acting and playwright skills also won him many awards. In 1979, he won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his play Buried Child. In 1983, he was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Chuck Yeager in The Right Stuff. Shepard also received the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award as a dramatist in 2009.

3. Both Were Previously Married

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Jessica Lange attends the “Feud: Bette And Joan” NYC Event at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center on April 18, 2017 in New York City.

Lange and Shepard were both previously married.

Lange was married to photographer Francisco “Paco” Grande from 1970 to 1981. Most reports claim that they separated in the mid-1970s, though the divorce was not made official until the early 1980s. From 1976 to 1983, Lange dated Russian ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov. Together, Baryshnikov and Lange had one child, a daughter named Aleksandra Baryshnikov.

Shepard was married to actress O-Lan Jones from 1969 to 1984. Together, the two had one son, Jesse Mojo Shepard.

4. Both Were Reportedly Unfaithful in Their Relationships

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GettyMusician Patti Smith performs at the Tibet House US 30th Anniversary Benefit Concert & Gala Celebrating Philip Glass’s 80th Birthday on March 16, 2017 in New York City.

Both Lange and Shepard are reported to have been unfaithful in their relationships.

According to The Hair Pin, Shepard had an affair with Patti Smith in 1970-1971, while he was still married to Jones. When he met Lange, he was still with O-Lan.

Lange, meanwhile, was dating Mikhail Baryshnikov when she met Shepard. Asked by Vanity Fair if Baryshnikov knew about her romance with Shepard, Lange says, “It was like, I didn’t know he was seeing Lisa, you know?”. Baryshnikov had a long-standing affair with a ballerina named Lisa Rinehard, and together, the two had a child. “I’m sure we both knew, but it was never discussed,” Lange says. “Then this thing with Sam just snowballed. It was meant to be, that’s all.”

5. They Met in 1982 on the Set of the Film ‘Frances’

Shepard and Lange met in 1982, on the set of the film Frances.

Speaking to Vanity Fair in 1991 about the encounter, Lange explained that the two were having “one of those horrible meetings” in a director’s office. She continues:

The director introduced us and then he just up and left. We’re both terribly shy and we’re just sitting there. I had Shura [her six-month-old daughter by Mikhail Baryshnikov] in my stroller and Sam looked like he was ready to run out. We were both doing this… We’re both very judgmental, so we were judging each other. Then we went away on location [in Seattle]. Movie sets are the most seductive places in the world–there’s nothing like them for creating an ambience of romance and passion. I had a feeling Sam and I were going to fall in love.

Not long after shooting on the film wrapped, Lange and Shepard were seen together at the Chateau Marmont. “Sam and I were so much in love, so wild about each other and being together,” she tells Variety. “We were absolutely inseperable. We couldn’t even go to the grocery store without each other.”