The writer and star of the hit movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding, its sequel, and TV spinoff My Big Fat Greek Life has filed for divorce from actor Ian Gomez after almost 25 years of marriage, reports TMZ. “Vardalos filed divorce docs in an L.A. County court Tuesday… She lists the date of separation as June 29, 2017.” In those court documents, which say it was due to irreconcilable differences, Vardalos is seeking joint and physical custody of the couple’s adopted 11-year-old daughter, Ilaria Vardalos Gomez. “Although Vardalos and Gomez have stayed out of the spotlight, she opened up about their struggle to conceive in her 2014 book Instant Mom,” according to Us Weekly.
Vardalos hit it big when she wrote the script for My Big Fat Greek Wedding, which was a vehicle for herself after she was dropped by her agent, reports ABC News. She then performed it as a one-woman show, thinking maybe if it did really well she might get to play a bridesmaid in it. Well, lucky for her, Rita Wilson, who also happens to be Greek, entered the picture. She wanted tickets for the show and afterward told Vardalos that she loved it and it should be a film.
“The next thing I know, Tom Hanks [Wilson’s husband] and Gary Goetzman, who had just formed Playtone, came to the show. And Tom called me and said, ‘I’m gonna make your movie,'” she recalled to 20/20. The year it was released was 2002, and not only did she get to star as Toula in the film, but there was a small role for Gomez as well. After the success of the film, a TV series was made with many of the same actors but it only lasted one season. A sequel to the film wouldn’t be made for another 14 years but there was a reason for that.
But it was motherhood that turned out to be the greatest role of her life, and it was the reason it took so long for her to write the sequel. “I believe everything was supposed to happen to me and not work, so that I could meet my real daughter. I get it now,” she wrote of Illaria, the former couple’s adopted child, according to Us Weekly. “This is why I feel this was time for the [My Big Fat Greek Wedding] sequel. There was no way I could have written this story of wanting to stay close to my daughter if I didn’t experience motherhood.”