The decade-long marriage of Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Sam Taylor-Johnson is a hot topic of debate wherever the actor and director are mentioned. Whether it’s because of fans reminiscing about Aaron’s career and youth, the resurgence of discussions about Hollywood’s dating patterns or conversations about grooming and misogyny, the couple’s age difference has been the talk of the town for as long as they’ve been together.
While Mr. and Mrs. Taylor-Johnson have spoken out to emphasize that Aaron is an “old soul” and they were “on the same wavelength” when they met, many consider the 23-year age gap between the couple problematic, since Sam met the actor when he was around 18 and she was 42 (and his director for a film) — and he said he was going to marry her after meeting only once.
Exactly a year after that statement, he got down on one knee. This was followed by 10 years of marriage, discussed by the media and celebrated by the couple. Get to know the timeline of the Taylor-Johnson couple below.
2008: Aaron meets Sam at his Nowhere Boy audition.
The pair first met in 2008, when the English actor, known then just as Aaron Johnson, met Sam Taylor-Wood when he auditioned for the John Lennon biopic she was directing, Nowhere Boy.
At the time, the 18-year-old Aaron was already filming Kick-Ass and almost didn’t try out for the part because the schedules were conflicting.
Eventually, he did his audition at Sam’s home — and there wasn’t much doubt that he was, ultimately going to star in it: “I opened my door to John Lennon. I instantly knew he was the guy,” Sam recalled in an interview with the U.K. newspaper The Telegraph.
2009: After a year of dating, Sam proposes.
Despite working together in Nowhere Boy over the course of a year, the couple’s relationship didn’t start until the film wrapped.
“Everyone on set knew” about their connection, Sam told Harper’s Bazaar in 2019, but they say that there wasn’t any “funny business” during the project and they were professional throughout the whole production.
Aaron, though, took no time to make his intentions clear: “As soon as we finished [filming], he told me he was going to marry me. We had never been on a date, or even kissed,” she disclosed. And, exactly a year after this statement, Aaron proposed officially.
Jan. 7, 2010: The couple announces that Sam is pregnant.
In 2010, when Aaron was 19, the couple announced that Sam was pregnant with their first child, Wylda Rae, who would be born in July after they had been engaged for a year. “Both are very, very happy,” a spokesperson for the pair shared at the time to The Daily Mail.
Before the birth of Wylda, the British director already had two daughters from her previous marriage to Jay Jopling, which ended in September 2008 after 11 years of marriage.
“It’s not scary, I’m already a stepdad to [Sam’s kids Angelica and Jessie] anyway. So the nerves have sort of gone,” Aaron told People in 2009 on how he felt becoming a father. “I’ve got a wonderful woman. She’s lovely and she’s a fantastic mother.”
At the time, the Taylor-Johnsons were beginning to be criticized for their age gap, but Sam dismissed the backlash by saying that she doesn’t “really listen to other people’s opinions, just follow my heart and my instincts” in a 2010 interview with The Daily Mail.
January 2012: Aaron and Sam welcome their second daughter.
In January 2012, the couple celebrated the arrival of their second daughter, Romy Hero. The pregnancy was announced in late 2011, just one year after Wylda’s birth.
June 2012: Sam and Aaron get married after four years of dating.
Also in 2012 — this time in June — the couple tied the knot. Aaron, who was 22, and Sam, then 45, both changed their surnames to Taylor-Johnson shortly after their wedding.
“I wanted to be a part of her just as much as she wanted to be part of me,” Aaron told The Evening Standard. “I just don’t see why women need to take the man’s name.”
2015: Aaron addresses their age difference.
In 2015, AJT told Glamour U.K. that he purposely didn’t engage before with the talk about the age gap or their relationship’s power dynamic.
“At an early age when I saw [the] articles, it just fucked me up… What does it even fucking matter about our age? I never noticed it when we fell in love with each other,” he told the magazine.
Jan. 8, 2017: Aaron mentions Sam in his Golden Globes speech — and faces backlash.
After taking home the Golden Globes for his work in Nocturnal Animals, Aaron paid homage to his wife in his winning speech. “I want to thank my wife for being there with me, supporting me through this,” he said. “Thank you for putting up with me. Jesus, that was not very pleasant in this role, so you’re my soulmate and I love you very much.”
The actor revealed later on to Vulture that the attention brought to their relationship since the award, though, was “intrusive.”
“Having to deal with that early in my career probably got me to a place where I can more quickly just go, ‘Oh, fuck it’ instead of wanting to rip someone’s head off for asking questions I don’t like,” he states.
Despite the negative reactions, the pair proudly looked back on their marriage through a joint interview with The Telegraph in the same year.
“I knew instantly with Sam that I’d found my soulmate,” Aaron shared to The Telegraph after the Golden Globes. “I knew instantly that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with this person. I remember it very well, and a year to the day [after] I met her I proposed. I knew I wanted a family with her, I knew I wanted kids, and a month later she was pregnant with our first child.”
2019: The couple works together again on A Million Little Pieces.
Almost a decade after the debut of Nowhere Boy, the couple once again joined forces on the 2019 film A Million Little Pieces. Like in the production in which they met, Aaron was once again starring in a movie directed by Sam.
In a 2019 interview with Harper’s Bazaar, the director claimed “it was the best thing we’ve ever done.” “Even better, because we did it together,” added Aaron.
And, much like in 2017, the Taylor-Johnsons didn’t seem to mind the opinions on their relationship anymore. “We’ve been together for over a decade now, so I feel like it is less of a conversation for people,” Sam told The Daily Beast. “It doesn’t worry me, and it’s not something that is difficult to talk about because it’s such a positive story, that we’re a decade later together and working together and raising a strong family together.”
2022: Aaron and Sam renew their wedding vows.
The pair’s decade of marriage was celebrated by a vow renewal ceremony in June 2022. Sharing a photo kissing his wife, Aaron wrote on Instagram, “A decade of marriage. It was a magical unforgettable day and the sun did not stop shining on us both. We are blessed beyond belief. Sammy you are my love, my life, my soulmate, my wife, my world!”
On her page, Sam also posted about the renewal, captioning it, “10 glorious years […] love conquers all.”