Tom Selleck & Jillie Mack: Inside the Couple's 30+ Year Love Story Outside the Hollywood Spotlight

Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP

Tom Selleck and wife Jillie Mack's marriage has been going strong for over 30 years, but strangely enough, their love story wouldn't have been possible without the musical Cats.

The then 38-year-old Selleck was divorced from first wife Jacqueline Ray and recently split from actress Mimi Rogers. While filming Lassiter in London, he started making regular appearances at the West End production of Cats. His cast and crew couldn't figure out what the deal was.

"He kept telling me how great 'Cats' was," his co-star Jane Seymour told People. "I thought it was good, but I couldn't see going back a dozen times."

Well, Seymour didn't realize that Selleck had become particularly taken with the young woman playing Rumpleteazer, 25-year-old Jillie Joan Mack. After having dinner one night, it was clear that this was the real deal. As soon as Jillie's contract with the show ended, she packed her bags for the United States and moved to Hawaii, the home base of Selleck's TV show Magnum P.I. 

Tom Selleck, middle, and wife Jillie Mack, right, with Sarah Brightman, left, backstage on Saturday, Feb. 22, 1988 at New York's Majestic Theatre. The Sellecks joined Ms. Brightman after her performance in the "the Phantom of the Opera," written by her husband Andrew Lloyd Webber (not pictured). Both Ms. Brightman and Ms. Mack appeared in the London production of "Cats." (AP Photo/Mario Suriani)

Pretty soon, Jillie Mack was showing up with Selleck to red carpet events as well as his Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony. They were inseparable. In 1987, Selleck's brother Bob helped them plan an incredibly secret wedding ceremony. So secret that they used the names "Tom Jenkins" and "Suzie Mark" while making plans for the Lake Tahoe, Nevada ceremony. The pastor didn't even realize who they were until moments before the ceremony. Selleck was so keen on keeping their special day private that the wedding photos were taken with a polaroid camera so they couldn't get leaked to the press.

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The following year the couple welcomed a daughter, Hannah Margaret Selleck. Selleck also has adopted son Kevin Shepard from his relationship with Jacqueline Ray. When his daughter was born, Selleck realized he needed to take a break from show biz to focus on his family. In a 2012 interview with People, he explained that when he was working on "Magnum P.I." he was working 90 hour weeks and shooting films whenever he had time off. Not really a schedule that's conducive to family time, so it was time to close the Thomas Magnum chapter of his life.

Actor Tom Selleck arrives at the 59th Primetime Emmy Awards Sunday, Sept. 16, 2007, at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles with his wife Jillie Mack, right, and daughter, Hannah Selleck. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

So the Selleck clan relocated to a 65-acre ranch in Ventura County, California. The property includes a 20-acre working avocado farm as well as a horse corral. The couple decided that raising their daughter outside of the glitz of Hollywood would be the best thing for her. 

"I quit Magnum to have a family," he says. "It took a long time to get off the train, but I try very hard to have balance, and this ranch has helped me do that."

Hannah has pursued an equestrian career and kept a low key personal life out of the spotlight.

"We both thought," Jillie told People, "it was the best environment for her to grow up."

Despite Selleck needing time away in the late '80s, he certainly didn't completely abandon Hollywood. In addition to numerous film roles including Quigley Down Under, Selleck has played NYPD Commissioner Frank Reagan in the CBS TV series Blue Bloods since 2010.

This article was originally published in April of 2020.

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Tom Selleck & Jillie Mack: Inside the Couple's 30+ Year Love Story Outside the Hollywood Spotlight