J.K. Simmons Squealed 'Like a 4-Year-Old' After Failing a 'Smooth' Move When He Met Wife Michelle (Exclusive)


Published Time: 25.05.2024 - 17:31:05 Modified Time: 25.05.2024 - 17:31:05

J.K. Simmons was smitten when he first met wife Michelle Schumacher — so smitten, in fact, that he injured himself because he wasn't paying attention to his surroundings.

It was 1991, and the future Whiplash Oscar winner was in a touring production of the musical Peter Pan. He was playing Captain Hook; Schumacher had joined the show as a dancer, and he spotted her outside of a Florida theater where they were performing.

“As was my wont back then, I rented a car. I don't know where I was going but I was just leaving the parking lot, and I saw our dance captain walking with this beautiful, petite blonde,” recalls the former star of HBO's Oz and TNT's The Closer.

“I just tried my best not to be the idiot who's craning his neck leering at this beautiful young woman.”

Not long after, Simmons went to her dressing room before a performance “to just be charming and wish her a good show,” he says.

“I knocked and she said ‘Come in,’ ” says Simmons. “She was, like most dancers, dressed in her dance underwear.”

“I tried to be Mr. Cool and wish her a good show,” he says. “And I turned around and made my smooth exit by hugely stubbing my big toe on the door of her dressing room, squealing like a 4-year-old.”

“Somehow,” he adds, “she still found me attractive.”

It turns out, Schumacher had her eye on Simmons too. “Much, much, much later, Michelle told me that she had said, ‘Oh, who' -

s that?’ ” when she saw him in the parking lot as well, according to Simmons. “The dance captain had said, ‘Oh, that's J.K. He's straight. He's our Captain Hook.’ ”

Simmons and Schumacher both continued on in the show when it transferred to Broadway, and they wed in 1996.

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Years later, the couple, who are parents to son Joe, 25, a musician and composer, and daughter Olivia, 22, an actress, are still working together. 

Schumacher co-wrote and directed the thriller You Can’t Run Forever, starring Simmons and Olivia and featuring music from Joe.

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Simmons stars as Wade, a mysterious man who snaps and goes on a killing spree, slaying almost everyone he encounters (one of his would-be victims is played by Olivia).

Despite the subject matter of the movie, the family found moments of joy while filming in Montana in 2021. Says Simmons, “We laughed a lot.”

You Can't Run Forever is in select theaters and available on VOD now.

For more on J.K. Simmons, Michelle Schumacher and their kids, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE.

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