Tom Selleck and wife Jillie Mack's marriage has been going strong for over 30 years. They are one of the longest running couples in Hollywood and prefer to stay out of the limelight, which makes them incredibly appealing to longtime fans. What exactly is their secret to long-term success? Who can say. But they are a great example of how love can find you when you least expect it. 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. What was it about this musical that was so special?
"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 and that they had really found something special. When you know, you know, so 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.
Pretty soon, Jillie Mack was showing up with Selleck to red carpet events as well as his Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony and it was clear she would be sticking around for awhile. The couple was 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 their Lake Tahoe, Nevada ceremony. The pastor didn't even realize who they were until moments before the ceremony. Can you imagine showing up and discovering you're going to marry Tom? 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.
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. Unfortunate for fans, but the best choice for Selleck and his family which, ultimately, is way more important.
So the Selleck clan relocated to a 65-acre ranch in Ventura County, California to enjoy a cozy life away from the spotlight. The property includes a 20-acre working avocado farm as well as a horse corral. Just about as far away from the craziness of Los Angeles as you can get. 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 managed to keep a low key personal life out of the spotlight. She probably wouldn't have been able to pull that off if her dad hadn't decided to raise her away from all of the cameras.
"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. He's also appeared in multiple Jesse Stone TV movies and word on the street is, he's got another one in the mix coming soon.
This article was originally published in April of 2020.
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