Timothy Olyphant Reveals the Secret to His 32-Year Marriage
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Timothy Olyphant, 54, star of FX's Justified, and its upcoming reboot Justified: City Primeval, is one of the biggest names in Hollywood. But what you might not know about the actor is the sweet love story he shares with his wife of more than 30 years, Alexis Knief.
The pair met while students at the University of Southern California, back when Olyphant was an “artsy jock” on the swim team and far from famous.
Married in 1991, the couple has raised three children together: Grace (23), Henry (22), and Vivian (20). Their secret to a lasting relationship? “You have to be with the right person, and you both have to be willing to do the work, day in and day out, to make it happen,” Olyphant told Women’s Health in 2011.
Aside from accompanying her husband on the red carpet, Knief tends to stay out of the limelight. But Olyphant often mentions her in interviews, and we've gotten to know her a bit through his anecdotes. One thing’s for sure: She has a razor-sharp wit.
When Olyphant was nominated for an Emmy for his role in Justified in 2011, she hatched a prank for his acceptance speech. “My opening line—this was my wife’s idea actually—I was going to look at the trophy… and then look out at my wife of 20 years and say, ‘Well, Honey, this is it. I’m finally leaving you,’” Olyphant shared on Conan in 2012 (he didn’t win, so the joke didn't happen).
Knief apparently doesn’t let her husband take himself too seriously, either. When he planned a silly stunt for his entrance on Late Night with Seth Meyers in 2022, she reportedly quipped, “Tim, you’re trying too hard.”
For his part, Olyphant has an epically dry (and self-deprecating) sense of humor to match his wife’s. In interviews, he often praises her parenting while hilariously portraying himself as the reluctant father of “one too many” children.
On The Ellen Show in 2012, he shared, “I remember when she said we were having a third. I said, ‘I remember talking about it, but I didn’t know we had committed.’ But they’re good kids, and I think I’ve gotten used to them. I mean it’s pretty clear to me at this point we are keeping them.”
Eleven years later on the podcast Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend, the (now) emptynester kidded, “Throughout their childhood, I thought they’d be average. … Now that they’re a little older, I’m impressed, and I say to my wife, ‘You did a good job. Thanks for raising those kids.’”
(Joking aside, we don’t believe Olyphant is anything other than a doting dad.)
Now that all three children are grown, the couple has the freedom to travel together when a role takes the actor away from home, including a recent stint in Wales for the filming of the upcoming Netflix thriller Havoc. “Now, you know, I just turn to my wife and say, ‘You wanna go to Wales?’ and then I say, ‘I’ll take the job,’” Olyphant told O’Brien.
Though their children have flown the nest, at least one has followed in her dad’s footsteps: The youngest, Vivian, will appear as Raylan Given’s (Olyphant’s character) daughter on FX’s Justified: City Primeval, which is set to premiere in summer 2023. If the pranks she pulled on dear ole Dad on set are any indication, she has inherited her funny genes from both her parents.
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