Actor Paul Rudd, who celebrated his 50th birthday on April 6, and doesn’t look a day older than when we first met him as Josh in 1995’s cult classic Clueless, will be hosting the season finale episode of Saturday Night Live on May 18, which marks his fourth time emceeing NBC’s famous sketch series. While Rudd’s currently in theaters reprising his role as Ant-Man in Avengers: Endgame, which has already amassed over $1 billion in sales, the veteran actor hasn’t let his success as a superhero lose sight of what’s most important to him in life: his wife and kids.
Based in New York City, Rudd has been married to wife Julie Yaeger for 16 years, and together they have two children, son Jack, 13, and daughter Darby, 9. As the actor told Nylon, the couple met the first day he moved to Manhattan . Advised by Amy Heckerling, director of Clueless, to hire a publicist, he headed straight to the PR office from the airport. Running late to an audition, a girl working there offered to drop off his bags at his friend’s apartment. A few days later, he asked this girl, a publicist named Julie, out to lunch. Eight years later, the couple married on February 23, 2003.
Long committed relationships like Rudd’s are a rarity in Hollywood, especially when a husband and wife also choose to work together. Julie wrote the film Fun Mom Dinner featuring Molly Shannon and Toni Collette, for which Paul produced the movie and starred in it. The beloved actor also has a close relationship with his mom, Gloria, and sister, who’s also named Julie, both of whom were on hand to support him when Rudd received his star on the Walk of Fame in 2015.
Here’s what you need to know about Paul Rudd’s kids and family…
1. Julie Helped Write Some of Rudd’s Funniest Bits in ‘This is 40’
In order to keep the dialogue in This is 40 authentic, director Judd Apatow asked Rudd and his wife Julie to improvise and tape their real-life conversations. Speaking with the Jewish Journal Rudd revealed, “There were more specifics in Knocked Up, when Judd [Apatow] was writing that movie, my wife once said, ‘I’m so sick of looking at your back,’ because I was just on the computer all day, checking my fantasy football scores.”
In regards to the hemorrhoids scene, “Sometimes in a real marriage, it’s about asking your wife to look at this and what does that look like?” Rudd said. “While it’s not traditionally romantic, I would say it’s arguably romantic in its intimacy. The idea that a couple can do that for each other is very romantic. I also think that in a strange way, being able to fart in front of each other – that’s a very sweet gesture!”
2. Paul Keeps Kids Jack and Darby Away From the Spotlight
While good friend and frequent collaborator, director/writer Judd Apatow’s daughters are regularly cast in his movies, Rudd has thus far kept his kids out of the spotlight. It’s unknown whether or not his son Jack, 13, or daughter Darby, 9, have an interest in getting into the industry one day, but for now, it appears his highest priority is giving them the most normal childhood he can provide. While Jack loves attending New York Knicks games with his dad, Rudd said that when he brings his kids to visit their Dad on set, they’re more interested in the food. “Once they’re there they just want to know where the table with the free candy is!”
However, his kids do their dad is super awesome for being Scott Lane aka Ant-Man. Rudd told US Weekly, “My kids are very excited about that and they really have gotten into the Marvel universe. They watch all the movies and they think it’s really cool.”
3. Paul’s Father Passed Away The Same Year ‘Role Models’ Was Released
The Rudd family moved around a lot while he was growing up as his father, Michael Rudd, worked for Trans World Airlines. Since TWA was based in Kansas City, the family landed in Overland Park, Kansas when Paul was 10, and sister Julie, 7. Both his father and mother, Gloria Irene Granville, were born in London and after college, Rudd actually spent three years in Oxford, England studying Jacobean theatre at Oord.
In 2008, Michael Rudd passed away from cancer. That same year his film Role Models, which Rudd co-wrote and starred in, was released in theaters, and while doing a press interview with GQ, the actor tears up when talking about the way he turns tragedy into humor. “That’s how I would deal with my own insecurities and my own vulnerabilities. If something tragic happened in your life, you make the most off-color joke about it. I do that kind of stuff. Absolutely.”
When asked what his father would think of his jokes Paul said, “He would have loved that shit. And so I suppose it makes me feel close to him. But it also genuinely makes me laugh.” Michael Rudd, who was famous with family and friends for writing what Paul calls “brilliant” angry letters when society pissed him off, inspired a few scenes in Role Models. Like when Rudd’s character goes off on a fancy coffee chain’s ridiculous way of naming beverages, and in a cut scene featured on the DVD extras, when Rudd’s character is sitting around with a group of kids in a circle to talk about things they supposedly love, and his character says, “I love it when hunters shoot each other” — Rudd adds, “That’s me, and it’s definitely my father.”
4. On ‘Finding Your Roots,’ Paul Learned That He’s Distantly Related to Barbara Walters
Rudd appeared on PBS’ hit documentary series Finding Your Roots, he learned that his great-grandparents, Samuel and Esther Rudnitsky, are buried in London. By tracking Shmuel, Samuel’s Hebrew name, genealogists were able to find a draft certificate showing that Paul’s great-grandfather joined the Russian Army in 1895, when he was 20. Always keeping things humorous the Knocked Up star said while reading the certificate, “Jew, unmarried, illiterate. Wow, what a catch.”
And while this portion of the show didn’t make it to air, Rudd discovered that he’s a distant relative of iconic news journalist Barbara Walters. The Wet Hot American Summer star also learned his parents were actually second cousins for which Rudd jokingly said, “Which explains why I have six nipples!”
5. Rudd’s Entire Family is a Tight Knit Jewish Tribe
Paul’s last name would’ve been Rudnitsky if his grandfather didn’t change it to fit in at work. “My whole family is Jewish; my wife, Julie, is Jewish – there isn’t anyone in my family who isn’t Jewish. I was bar mitzvahed Reform; we were pretty laid back, but it’s like, oh yeah, I went to synagogue. I know what it’s like to look for matzoh. I know the culture and I know the food. I know what a Haggadah is!”
“I did a play many years ago [in 1997] called The Last Night at Ballyhoo, which was a new play at the time, about Eastern European Jews and the anti-Semitism they faced by German Jews in the South. Alfred Uhry, the playwright, became somewhat of a surrogate father to me in New York. And every seder at Alfred’s house he would say, ‘You know, if you are Jewish, it almost doesn’t even matter how religious you are. If you’re Jewish, it’s just in the marrow of your bones.’ We have a lineage that is so many thousands of years old, that you just relate. It is a tribe; it’s like, ‘Oh, yeah, that’s my team,’ and I feel that for sure.”