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Timothy Olyphant Reveals the Secret to His 32-Year Marriage

Timothy Olyphant Reveals the Secret to His 32-Year Marriage


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Timothy Olyphant, 55, star of the FX classic Justified and the new reboot, Justified: City Primeval premiering July 18, 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.

olyphant in a stylish all black suit and and knief in a plum colored long sleeved sequin mini dress
Timothy Olyphant and wife Alexis Knief at the 2023 Vanity Fair Oscar PartyJon Kopaloff - Getty Images

Married in 1991, the couple has raised three children together: Grace (24), 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.

olyphant in navy suit and white button up, knief in red silk dress, pose on the red carpet at nbc's 74th golden globe awards
At the Golden Globes in 2017Kevork Djansezian/NBC - Getty Images

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.

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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.”

the couple, both wearing all black, smile at a dinner table at the
At the MOCA Gala in 2013Rachel Murray - Getty Images

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.)

a visibly younger olyphant and knief, dressed casually for a movie premiere, cozy up for a photo
At the premiere of "The Broken Hearts Club" in 2000Getty Images

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, set to be released later this year. “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, the whole crew appears to be extremely close-knit. The oldest child, Grace Olyphant, who is pursuing a career in sustainable fashion, often posts about styling her dad and sister on Instagram. Though we don't know much about Henry Olyphant, we do know he created the cover art for his younger sister's debut single.

And that brings us to the youngest, Vivian Olyphant, who has followed in her dad’s footsteps to pursue a career as an actor, as well as a singer-songwriter. In her debut role, she appears as Raylan Given’s (Timothy’s character) daughter on FX’s Justified: City Primeval, which premieres July 18, 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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