In the November issue of Mr. Porter, Before Midnight star Ethan Hawke opened up about his views on marriage and relationship values.
Hawke, who separated from first wife Uma Thurman in 2003 amid allegations that he cheated with their nanny, told the magazine, “Sexual fidelity can’t be the whole thing you hang your relationship on.”
Thurman and Hawke finalized their divorce in 2005. The couple had two children together, daughter Maya and son Levon. Hawke married Ryan Shawhughes, the couple’s former nanny, in 2008. They have two daughters, Clementine Jane and Indiana.
“My relationship with my present wife is thrilling to me and I’m committed to it,” the 43-year-old said. “But neither she nor I know what shape the future will come in. Sexual fidelity can’t be the whole thing you hang your relationship on.”
Ethan Hawke has dismissed allegations that he cheated on Uma Thurman with Ryan Shawhughes in the past. In a 2009 interview with The Guardian, he said his marriage to the Kill Bill star “disintegrated due to many pressures, none of which were remotely connected to Ryan.”
Hawke said he doesn’t necessarily believe that infidelity should mean the end of a relationship, and that people try to impose restrictions on how the other party grows as a person.
“If you really love somebody you want them to grow, but you don’t get to define how that happens. They do,” Hawke said. “People have such a childish view of monogamy and fidelity. ‘He’s cheated so he’s bad, she’s cheated so she’s bad,’ as opposed to a recognition that our species is not monogamous.”
Hawke added, “To act all indignant, that your world has been rocked because your lover wasn’t faithful to you, is a little bit like acting rocked that your hair went grey. Human beings are sexual beings.”
In an interview with Elle in August, Ethan Hawke said he and Uma Thurman got married too young. He was 27 when they married in 1998, she had just turned 28.
“There was a discovery that the male brain isn’t done until 28,” Hawke said. “I definitely think my frontal lobe was not finished. I had no business taking vows that would last more than two weeks.”
But, Hawke said, the failure of his first marriage helped him learn about himself.
“Until you know yourself, you don’t know how to share your life with another person,” he said.