Will Ferrell is returning to Saturday Night Live. The former cast member and comedy legend will be taking on hosting duties for the first time since 2018. Given his SNL return, there are many who are curious about Ferrell’s personal life, and the nature of his marital status.
Ferrell is married to Viveca Paulin, a Swedish actress and auctioneer. They have three children together, and they have also acted opposite one another on the big screen. Read on to learn more about the couple, including how they met and how they have navigated their celebrity lifestyle.
1. Ferrell & Paulin Met At a Los Angeles Acting Class In 1995
Ferrell and Paulin met at a Los Angeles acting class in 1995 and began dating, but their romance was cut short when Ferrell was called to New York to become a member of Saturday Night Live. The comedian told Elle Magazine that he was dating someone else by the time he made his SNL debut, but he continued to talk with Paulin on the phone.
“I was in another relationship,” he admitted. “Viv and I would talk as friends for two hours, and it would feel like five minutes, and then my girlfriend would call and after 15 minutes I’d be like, ‘God, it’s really late here on the East Coast. I should get some sleep.’ For me, Viv was the one that got away.” Ferrell decided to meet up with Paulin during an SNL hiatus.
“She drank her beer in two sips— just pounded it. She was like, ‘Do you want another one?’ I was like, [incredulous] Yeah, okay.” he recalled. “She quickly drank that one, too. And she said, ‘I think I still like you.’ I was stunned. I didn’t play it cool at all. I went, ‘I just told my uncle that I’m going to marry you one day!’” He laughs. “Then we didn’t know what to do with ourselves. So she drove me home, and I went in for the kiss, and she gave me the cheek. I was like, What does this all mean?… We started over—after a five-year friendship, we literally started courting each other.”
2. Ferrell Married Paulin In 2000 & Says That His Proposal Was Unintentionally Comedic
Ferrell proposed to Paulin several years into their relationship. He told People Magazine that he took her to a beach where they had one of their first dates, but that things did not go as planned. “It started serious but ended up comedic. I took her to this beach where we had had one of our first dates. She wanted none of it,” he recalled. “She was like, ‘The beach is creepy at night.’ I was like, ‘Shut up, this is supposed to be really romantic.'”
“I was trying to think of what I was going to say and it just turned into, ‘So I, uh, really like you and, uh, anyway….’ Then I went down to a knee—at least I think I did—and proposed,” Ferrell added. “So it was kind of funny, but not on purpose.” The couple were married in August 2000.
Ferrell has said that he values Paulin’s sense of humor, and that in many ways, he finds her more comedic than himself. “What I love most about Viv is very simple. She totally got my sense of humor,” he told Elle. “I sent her flowers every day for a week with a card like, ‘You’re the fifth-prettiest woman in the office.’ She loved it. We had a shorthand with each other.” Ferrell has also described Paulin as being “funny in her own way.”
3. Paulin Is an Art Auctioneer Who Has Also Acted Opposite Ferrell
Paulin was born in Sweden, but she moved to California to earn a B.A. in art history from Pomona College. She graduated in 1991, and then went on to get a job at the auction house Butterfield & Butterfield. Paulin has since gone on to develop an interest in collection pieces, and in 2013 she founded the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s Contemporary Friends, which helped LACMA acquire over 30 works.
“Being around the auction houses made the transition to collecting an easy one, particularly with prints,” she told Art News. “I am drawn to artists that think differently than I do.” In addition to her auctioneer career, Paulin has made several appearances on film and television. She made her screen debut (as an auctioneer) in the 1997 comedy Money Talks, and went on to land bit parts in the sitcom Martial Law and Ferrell’s breakout film A Night at the Roxbury.
Paulin has also appeared as herself on several talk shows. She was a guest on two episodes of the Oprah Winfrey Show, and she acted opposite Ferrell during a 2010 episode of the Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien. She was pregnant during the latter, and gave birth to her son Axel a few hours after the appearance.
4. Ferrell & Paulin Have 3 Children Together
Ferrell and Paulin have three sons. Their oldest, Magnus Paulin Ferrell, was born on March 7, 2004; their middle child, Mattias Paulin Ferrell, was born December 30, 2006; and their youngest, Axel Paulin Ferrell, was born January 23, 2010. Ferrell talked to Parade about his children, and how they respond to his comedy career.
“You realize the act of being a comedian is getting over any kind of shame. And it is an unnatural thing for us to do as human beings,” he explained. “They kind of marvel at that. They’re funny in their own ways. I have a freshman in high school and he’s very subtly funny. Last year for his yearbook photo, he borrowed another kid’s glasses. He doesn’t wear glasses. There he is with this very serious look with glasses on. Like ‘Magnus, that is so subversive and funny. Totally my sense of humor.’ He’s like, ‘Am I in trouble?’ Like, ‘No, you’ve got to do it every year! Fantastic!’”
“They kind of have their own senses of humor. It’s fun to see them make their friends laugh. Very similar to me, they’re good kids at school and yet they like to try to be funny,” Ferrell continued. “But if teacher is like ‘We’re good,’ they’re like ‘We got it. OK.’ That’s kind of naturally the way I was. I was a really good student. If I found an opening, I’d try to be funny just to amuse myself. I was far from the class clown standing up on my desk trying to get attention. My interest in being humorous never came from that place.”
5. Ferrell & Paulin Prefer a ‘Stable’ Home Life Despite Their Celebrity Status
During a Guardian interview, Ferrell dished on his family life and the ways in which his success have allowed him to have a stable home life. “Thank God with the success I’ve had I’ve been able to have stability, too,” he revealed. “When I’m at home with the family now it is a blissfully boring existence.”
When asked if he ever gets restless at home, Ferrell said that it’s quite the opposite. “Not at all. In fact, I am often saying to my wife if she ever wants to go back and study I will be happy to stay home and pack up work and drive the boys to all their sports practices,” he said. “I would love that.”
Ferrell and Paulin currently reside in Manhattan. They own a loft that the latter helped renovate.