Inside the Love Lives of the Stars of Succession

None of the Roys are exactly thriving in the love department, but the stars of Succession—which has 28 nominations heading into the 2023 Emmys on Jan. 15—seem to be faring much better.

By Natalie Finn Jan 13, 2024 4:00 AMTags
Watch: Emmys 2023 Nominations: Biggest Surprises & Snubs!

Dysfunction was always the name of the wicked little game when it came to the Roy family. And the toxicity that started at the top with dear old dad Logan couldn't help but spread throughout the family tree and ooze into the boardroom.

HBO's Succession ended its four-season run last May and has a rather monopolistic-sounding 28 nominations heading into the 2023 Emmys, which will be handed out Jan. 15, 2024, in the usual glamorous fashion after the ceremony was delayed four months due to the since-resolved WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes.

And the reason stars Brian Cox, Jeremy Strong, Kieran Culkin, Sarah Snook, Matthew Macfadyen, Alan Ruck, Nicholas Braun and J. Smith-Cameron are all nominated for their acting is that they've turned in jaw-dropping performances as parents, children, siblings, cousins, spouses and colleagues who never met a scathing, perfectly crafted burn they wouldn't gladly set fire to the whole house with.

And right up through the series finale's closing gut punch, any time the humanity would star to crack through, an opportunity to take a stab at someone's back usually proved the more tempting option.

2022 Emmys: Succession Star Sightings

Of course, the sheer enjoyment we received from this family's misdeeds is a testament to series creator Jesse Armstrong's writing (also Emmy-nominated) and the pitch-perfect cast.

Because while there was no character in this drama who didn't deserve to be swiped left upon immediately (you too, Cousin Greg), the actors' personal lives off-screen appear far less cutthroat.

Courtesy of HBO

At least, if anyone ever broached the topic of an open marriage on her wedding night or coerced an aspiring-playwright escort to marry him or accidentally sent a d--k pic to his dad during a meeting, they've kept it under wraps. (Though that would be quite a coincidence, wouldn't it?)

So before the Emmys are handed out (so far this awards season, Logan's not-quite-eldest boy, his only daughter, her cuckolded, contriving husband and the series itself won Golden Globes), scroll on to see what sort of mergers have been taking place for the series' delectable stars in real life:

Brian Cox

Logan Roy, media mogul and father of four adult kids who are each unhappy in their own way, is on his third marriage, with the occasional other woman popping in and out of his bedroom.

Cox, 77, is also a father of four: Son Alan, 53 (also an actor), and daughter Margaret, 46, with Caroline Burt, whom he was married to from 1968 to 1986, and sons Orson, 22, and Torin, 19, with his second wife, Nicole Ansari-Cox.

"I was just in my twenties when I got married to Caroline," the Scottish actor wrote in his 2021 memoir Putting the Rabbit in the Hat. "Far too young. But I wanted the stability of marriage and kids. I wasn't one of those middle-class actor-types, taking drugs and letting it all hang out."

He called Ansari-Cox, an actress and theater director, his "soulmate." She also, incidentally, made a winning cameo at Logan Roy's funeral as Sally-Ann, his mistress from his second marriage to Caroline (Harriet Walters), who drolly introduces the newcomer as "my Kerry" to Logan's third wife Marcia (Hiam Abbass) and his most recent girlfriend, Kerry (Zoe Winters).

Alan Ruck

As the poor little rich boy no one seems to expect anything of, Logan's eldest son Connor, from his first marriage, wavers between being the least nasty and most delusional of the siblings. The aspiring presidential candidate finally got to marry former escort Willa (Justine Lupe), who sorta likes him—but accepting his largesse and promising not to leave today is kinda like love, right?

In real life, Ruck and first wife Claudia Stefany share daughter Emma, 36, and son Sam, 29. The 67-year-old is also dad to daughter Vesper, 13, and son Larkin, 9, with The Killing star Mireille Enos, his wife since 2008. 

Enos and a newly divorced Ruck met while doing a play together in New York. The first time she saw her future husband, Enos told People, "Alan walked in the door and my brain said, 'Oh, there he is.' It was a moment of recognition of some other person who was going to change my life."

Jeremy Strong

It was easy to forget Kendall Roy was a separated father of two young kids because he was so wholly consumed with taking his dad down.

In real life, Emmy winner Strong is still a bit of a jet-setter, but navigating friendlier skies: The 45-year-old and his wife since 2016, Emma Wall, split their time between homes in New York and her native Denmark. They're also parents of three young daughters.

"He does a really good job of maintaining what he's doing," Wall told the New Yorker about her famously intense-on-the-job husband in 2021, "but also creating a space for the family and a normal life."

Sarah Snook

Siobhan "Shiv" Roy isn't entirely sure why she got married, either, other than it seemed like a respectable move and she felt some sort of love-like emotion for Tom Wambsgans. And now those chickens are coming home to roost, with Tom ending season three on Team Logan and shanking his wife with the proverbial shiv, just as the Roy siblings seemed poised to get the better of their father.

Snook's domestic situation feels more hopeful. "I'm in bliss," the Australian actress told Australian Vogue in 2021 after quietly marrying comedian Dave Lawson, her longtime "best mate" whom she fell in love with during pandemic lockdown.

"It's been a ride," she acknowledged. "There's so much heartache and sadness in the world, but on a micro personal level, I've been very fortunate."

The 36-year-old, whose real-life pregnancy became Shiv's conundrum, and Lawson welcomed their first child together in May 2023.

Matthew Macfadyen

Tom Wambsgans thought he was hitting the jackpot, marrying the woman of his dreams in Shiv and securing himself an executive post in the family business, Waystar RoyCo.

Well, his wife may have broached the topic of non-monogamy hours after they said "I do," but Tom did end up on the Succession equivalent of the Iron Throne, no prison toilet wine in sight.

In reality the 49-year-old English actor—who won a Best Supporting Actor Emmy for his efforts in 2022—is doing quite well.

He's been married to actress Keeley Hawes since 2004, and is stepdad to her son Miles, 23, and father to their daughter Maggie, 19, and son Ralph, 17.

"It was a bit bumpy at the time," Macfadyen told the New York Times in 2023 about the beginning of his and Hawes' relationship (a headline-making extramarital affair on her end), "but it's fine now."

Kieran Culkin

To say Roman Roy has intimacy issues would be a bit of an understatement.

But Culkin, 41, celebrated 10 years of marriage to wife Jazz Charton on June 8, 2023, and they're parents of a 4-year-old daughter and a 2-year-old son together.

That being said, the actor does have a bit of a mouth on him, not unlike his quick-witted character.

When Culkin met his future wife at a bar in New York, he recalled to The Hollywood Reporter, "I said, 'I'm Kieran. You have an English accent. What's your name?' She said, 'Jazz.' I said, 'J-A-Z-Z, like the music?' And she said, 'Yeah.' And I said, 'Well, that's f--king stupid.'"

We're guessing he said that with a certain Romanesque charm because, reader, she laughed. And married him.

J. Smith-Cameron

Let's just say, Gerri Kellman didn't exactly help Roman with his intimacy issues, but the release he got from being chastised by a successful older woman certainly fit the profile.

Cameron has been married to filmmaker Kenneth Lonergan since 2000 and they're parents to daughter Nellie, 22.

Nicholas Braun

Cousin Greg just wanted to get his foot in the door at his great-uncle Logan's company. But before long he was shredding documents and serving as Tom's verbal punching bag/only friend, and that left very little time for awkwardly hitting on models.

Braun, 35, told the New York Times in October 2021 that he was hoping to be in his first long-term relationship one day.

"I do believe it'll happen at the right time with the right person," said the actor, who was also writing what he described as a "relationship traumedy" when not busy filming. "Until then, it's fun to meet people and see what works."

Jesse Armstrong

The British writer-producer's crafty mind may have created Succession, but at home he's just a fellow who's lived, as the New Yorker reported in 2021, "in the same unflashy part of South London for almost three decades" with his wife and their two kids.

Armstrong, 52, met his missus when they were both students at University of Manchester and she works for the National Health Service.

"We might do a new kitchen," the five-time Emmy winner told the magazine. "So that will be corrupting."

(Originally published March 26, 2023, at 5 a.m. PT)

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