They met on the set of the TV hit series Dexter, fell in love and eloped together. They braved Michael C. Hall’s cancer diagnosis, but after only two years divorced.
Divorce was finalized December 2011
It’s not unusual for colleagues to fall in love. Especially when the colleagues in question work very closely together as was the case with Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter, who played brother and sister on Dexter.
They were not the first actor couple to fall in love on set and they won’t be the last. But their relationship was and is certainly more unique than that of most similar couples. They began dating in 2007 and very quietly eloped on New Year’s Eve 2008, appearing at the Golden Globes in January 2009 for the first time as a married couple.
Only a year later Michael C. Hall announced that he had been diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma and was undergoing treatment. He looked gaunt at the Golden Globes ceremony when he accepted his award for his role as Dexter.
Jennifer stood by him throughout the ordeal and happily announced in April 2010 that her husband was in full remission.
She said that the experience had brought them closer together as a couple, and for a while they seemed a happy and healthy couple. As late as November 2010 they were seen together looking like a happy couple, but only a month later they announced that they had filed for divorce and had been separated for some time. It is very well possible that the outing they had been photographed at was merely a get-together of friends; because they did drive off in separate cars after meeting. Whilst they seemed happy and at ease with one another, they were affectionate but not overly intimate with each other.
Their divorce was finalized in December 2011 and the exes continued to work together on Dexter. And that is precisely what makes them so unique as an ex-couple. Meeting and getting married whilst being co-stars is not overly unusual. It does happen, but perhaps a little less on TV shows than on movie sets. But splitting up and getting a divorce all the while continuing to work together is pretty much unheard of. Yet somehow they pulled it off. There was no negativity between Michael and Jennifer. Nobody slandering the other, no hostility, but for all appearances simply a transition back into friendship.
The inevitable question is what happened. Why did they divorce?
Some unreliable rumors purported that Michael had a brief affair with Julia Stiles, who was on the show for one season.
Julia has denied those allegations and there doesn’t seem to be any solid evidence for this. It would, of course, be a sound reason for a break-up, but it would generate a lot more resentment and hurt between the exes than there has evidently been. Few women would continue to work and have a friendship with their ex-husband, if the reason for the divorce was cheating.
It is also said that Jennifer had wanted to start a family with Michael, who had been all for it up until he was diagnosed with cancer. He allegedly changed his mind and no longer wanted children. But if Jennifer still wanted to be a mother one day, then her marriage was essentially over, even if the love was not. It would be very hard to continue a relationship with someone, who doesn’t share the same dreams for the future, especially when only one wants children.
Michael lost his own father to cancer when he was only 11 years old, his father had just been 39, a year older than Michael was upon his own diagnosis. He had opened up about the fact that cancer had happened repeatedly in his family. Perhaps he decided that no child of his would lose their father to cancer.
Unless either of the two feels compelled to share their thoughts, we will never know for sure. It is as good or as bad a reason as any. Officially they only cited irreconcilable differences. One partner wanting children and one not certainly qualifies as an irreconcilable difference.
Michael has since started dating author Morgan MacGregor and still seems to be going strong with her. He had been married once before to actress Amy Spanger, whom he also co-starred with. That marriage had lasted four years.
Jennifer has been linked to folk singer Seth Avett for a little while now. It appears both have moved on from their marriage and have found happiness once more. Now that Dexter has finished its eight season run, the exes don’t have to work together any longer, but hopefully they continue to remain friends.