In the world of Hollywood, very few couples can say that they have been together for half a century. But Grace and Frankie star Lily Tomlin and her longtime love Jane Wagner are one of the success stories. The couple and longtime creative collaborators have been together since the early 70s, officially tying the knot in 2013. They were, and still are, the true definition of a power couple.
Wagner won a Peabody Award for her 1969 CBS television special, J.T., which is actually what earned the attention of Lily Tomlin. Quite the debut into the world of writing for television. Tomlin had been trying to find a writer to help her with her character Edith Ann on Laugh-In and it ended up being love at first sight for the comedian when she met Wagner. As soon as she met the Tennessee native she knew it was something special.
"A friend brought her to my hotel room," Tomlin explained to Variety, "and I tell you, in two minutes, I fell in love with her. She had on hot pants, stretchy boots that went up to her knee, and a little backpack. I don't know what it was, but I was in love."
After leaving the following day for a show in Chicago, she promptly flew back to New York to find Wagner, desperate to see her again.
"I called Jane immediately, and I said, 'Look, I don't have much time, but I have to see you.' She agreed to see me, and we had our first date," said Tomlin.
"It was an ecstatic time when we found each other," added Wagner, "aesthetically -- and in every other way."
From her one-woman show to hosting Saturday Night Live, Tomlin has long been one of the funniest women in the business. But she really couldn't have done it without Wagner by her side. Wagner wrote The Search For Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, Tomlin's hit Broadway play that earned her a Tony Award in addition to numerous other projects written specifically for her partner -- The Incredible Shrinking Woman, Moment by Moment, The Lily Tomlin Special, The Lily Tomlin Show, and her comedy album And That's the Truth.
Tomlin explained that her wife, an Award-winning author has always been able to perfectly capture her in her writing. Over the years, Wagner has earned multiple Emmy Awards, a Drama Desk Award, and even earned Grammy Award nominations. The woman is incredibly impressive.
"She expresses how I feel, which I have no ability to do," Tomlin said. "She can express in words what I feel about the world, about humans, about the struggle that we're in -- and, presumably, not the inevitability of it all, something that I know speaks to other people."
In addition to being an early trailblazer for the LGBTQ movement, Tomlin has always been vocal about the disparity between how men and women are treated in Hollywood. In fact, in 2015, she found out that she and her Grace and Frankie co-star Jane Fonda were being paid the same as their male co-stars who were in supporting roles, Sam Waterston and Martin Sheen. So she decided to do something about it.
After decades of successful careers, the Guardian asked Tomlin if she and Wagner ever regretting not having any children together. Ultimately, it just wasn't something they decided to do.
"I mean, sometimes I think it would be nice to have somebody who looks like a replica of you in some fashion, but I don't think it ever was an aspiration of mine...When I think of the world now, I don't want to even deal with having to raise a child."