Inside Margot Robbie and Tom Ackerley's Dreamy Love Story

Patriarchy hasn't been an issue for Margot Robbie and husband Tom Ackerley, her longtime partner and co-producer of Barbie.

By Natalie Finn Feb 14, 2024 3:00 PMTags
Watch: Margot Robbie Reveals Why Having a ‘Normie’ Husband is Best in Hollywood

Barbie and Ken's power dynamic remains a work in progress. As for Margot Robbie and Tom Ackerley's partnership...

Well, that's the stuff dreams are made of.

"I am so lucky," Robbie told E! News at the 2024 Critics Choice Awards in January, where Barbie would go on to be named Best Comedy. "He likes being behind the camera. He's not fazed by any of this stuff."

Which likely was key to eventually winning the heart of the self-described "ultimate single gal."

"The idea of relationships made me want to vomit," Robbie told Vogue in 2016 about her bygone bachelorette days. "And then this crept up on me. We were friends for so long. I was always in love with him, but I thought, 'Oh, he would never love me back. Don't make it weird, Margot. Don't be stupid and tell him that you like him.'"

Nor did she push Ackerley around or take him for granted.

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Margot Robbie's Barbie-Inspired Fashion

"And then it happened," Robbie continued, "and I was like, 'Of course we're together. This makes so much sense, the way nothing has ever made sense before.'"

Not enough can be said about the importance of being on the same page—sometimes literally, in their case.

Having decided in 2018 that Hollywood's long-gestating Barbie movie was the perfect project for LuckyChap Entertainment, the production company Robbie and Ackerley co-founded with friends Josey McNamara and Sophia Kerr, Robbie enlisted Greta Gerwig to write the script.

Presley Ann/Getty Images for SeeHer

The 33-year-old Australian and her English husband of six years read the screenplay by Gerwig and partner Noah Baumbach at the same time and were similarly gobsmacked by page one.

"We just looked at each other, pure panic on our faces," Robbie told Vogue ahead of Barbie's July 21, 2023, release. "We were like, Holy fucking s--t. I think the first thing I said to Tom was, This is so genius. It is such a shame that we're never going to be able to make this movie."

Long story short and $1.4 billion at the global box office later, there is much to celebrate in the Robbie-Ackerley household (including a Best Picture nomination for both of them as producers, if not the expected Best Actress nod for Robbie or Best Director for Gerwig).

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Stars at Oscars Nominees Luncheon 2024

They first met in 2013 when Ackerley served as third assistant director on the WWII-era romance Suite Française and Robbie had a supporting role. She bonded with him and several other ADs, and when she rolled back through London to do press for Wolf of Wall Street early the next year, they all decided to get a place together.

It was while sharing a three-bedroom house in Clapham with five roommates, including future business partners Kerr (Robbie's mate since childhood) and McNamara (second AD on Suite Française), that Ackerley and Robbie's friendship quickly blossomed into more.

But they kept it a secret at first, Robbie later told The Guardian, "because we weren't really taking it seriously."

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Celebrity Couples Who Found Love on Set

Yet just like Monica and Chandler, they were meant to be, and eventually had to come clean to their housemates.

"Everyone was, like, 'No! This is going to ruin our group!'" Robbie recalled. "And then it didn't. It was fine."

Not only that, but LuckyChap—the actress said they were "just drunk" when they came up with the name—thrived, hastening the founders' move to L.A. in November 2016.

A month later, Robbie and Ackerley quietly headed to Australia to tie the knot on the beach, having never publicly shared that they were engaged. Word got out, but it was a photo of the bride—who still doesn't do social media— flashing her sparkling ring finger in the direction of a camera while she kissed her groom that ultimately served as confirmation.

James Devaney/GC Images

And then, the newlyweds were kicked out of the fold.

"It was our roommates who told us, 'You guys had a wedding. You have to live on your own now,'" Robbie told The Guardian. "It honestly hadn't occurred to us. We were, like, 'Hmm? What? Just the two of us? That's gonna be weird.' And the first time we were in a house, the two of us, it was weird. Nice. But we missed having heaps of people around."

Sure enough, when she spoke to Vogue in the summer of 2019, the Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood star divulged that her older brother, a cousin and the cousin's husband were living with them. 

Amy Sussman / Staff / GETTY IMAGES

"It's a common theme, isn't it?" Robbie noted. "I hate—hate—being alone."

Close quarters don't bother her, either. After Barbie wrapped last summer, she and Ackerley took the British Pullman from London and then overnighted on the Orient Express from Paris to Venice. Then, on a trip to Japan, they rode the seven-car Seven Stars across the island of Kyushu.

"All I want to do," Robbie explained to Vogue, "is live on a train."

Eating also factors heavily into their travels (they waited in line for three and a half hours to sample udon carbonara in Tokyo), but she steers clear of the kitchen at home. Or at least of the appliances that make the food.

"In our friendship group in L.A. and London, all the guys cook, and love cooking, and are really good at it," Robbie said. "And none of the girls cook, and we love drinking, and we're really good at it."

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Robbie also takes pride in being great at spending time with Ackerley, seamlessly mixing business with pleasure.

"I'm a great advocate of doing business with your partner," she told Porter in 2018. "Being married is actually the most fun ever, life got way more fun somehow. I have a responsibility being someone's wife, I want to be better." 

At the same time, Robbie told Vogue Australia, they were "still best friends and roommates, so nothing's really changed at all."

Other than that pear-shaped diamond ring, which she wore on weekends. "I can't obviously wear it during the week when I'm working," she said. "I don't want to lose it on set."

If she and Ackerley have to be apart, they abide by a three-weeks-at-most rule. "Even if we both have to fly to a country in-between where we both are for one night," Robbie told Porter, "we'll do it and then fly back to work the next day. And we speak all day, every day on the phone."

Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Besides, communication is key when you're making blockbusters like Barbie together.

Robbie has shared that she and Ackerley had long conversations with Mattel execs as the protectors of the doll's complicated image combed through Gerwig's script line by line.

"We spent time at Mattel headquarters," she told the New York Times, "we went into their factories, we watched them make a doll and we talked to people who make them. They knew we were coming from a place of respecting the brand."

But while Ackerley is a hands-on producer, he's been happy for Robbie to be the public face of Barbie (for obvious reasons in this case, but still).

"I think this'll be the [marketing campaign] they do dissertations on," Ackerley told The Upcoming at the film's London premiere, hanging out with fellow producer David Heyman while Robbie was belle of the ball. And he allowed that his wife and Ryan Gosling made for a "great combination" as Barbie and Ken.

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Secret Star Weddings and Elopements

"He's usually a very loud and friendly person," Robbie told Vogue of her press-averse husband, "but he's definitely behind the cam."

Their set-up is win-win for her, though, because, she said, "We can talk about work all the time. And then work feels like fun. And fun stuff can involve work."

And they two can do anything. Right, Robbie?

"We just get along," she said. "I think it's crazy that not all couples get along."

As if you weren't already inspired enough to go out and marry your bestie, let these 14 iconic celebrity outings inform your Valentine's Day plans:

Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber Enjoy An Extra Extravagant Dinner And A Show

While this celeb couple is firmly a thing of the past—with Justin Bieber nearing his sixth wedding anniversary with wife Hailey Bieber, and Selena Gomez happily committed to boyfriend Benny Blanco—fans of the iconic duo swooned when news broke that the “Baby” singer had rented out the entire Staples Center (now Crypto.com arena) for dinner and a movie back in 2011.

The extravagant moment was reportedly inspired by a scene in Adam Sandler’s Mr. Deeds, TMZ reported at the time, in which Adam’s character wows Winona Ryder’s Babe Bennett by similarly renting out Madison Square Garden for a date.

After leaving a Demi Lovato concert at Nokia Theater on Sept. 23, Justin, then 17, reportedly led a 19-year-old Selena to the arena, surprising her with a candlelit meal and a screening of Titanic

Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce Take a Drive in a Literal Getaway Car

Any Taylor Swift fan can probably remember where they were when it was first reported that the “Karma” singer had been spotted in a suite at Arrowhead Stadium on Sept. 24, 2023, cheering on Travis Kelce as the Kansas City Chiefs took on the Chicago Bears last September. 

And while the entire evening was a lavender craze of excitement and a football game makes a worthy first (public) date, fans were particularly kicking their feet at Travis whisking Taylor off to an after party in a 1970 Chevelle 408 Stroker convertible, per People, or rather, the couple’s first getaway car. 

Tom Holland and Zendaya Spend A Day Giving Back 

Starting with their on-screen meet cute in the Spider-Man franchise, Tom Holland and Zendaya have earned their reputation as one of Hollywood’s most adorable pairs with outings to a Beyoncé concert, Los Angeles Lakers games, and, of course, tons of red carpets—but one of their sweetest moments is a bit more lowkey. 

In Aug. 2023, Tom and Zendaya participated in a local volunteering event in Oakland, Calif. put on by Hoopbus, Project Blackboard and Oaklandish for a day of cleaning up West Oakland Middle School’s playground and some basketball (although the Euphoria star herself didn’t play). 

And since the Challengers actress has been known to give back to her community regularly—including visiting Fruitvale Elementary School where her mother Claire Stoermer once taught—the day date proves just how much the couple have integrated interests in their almost three years together. 

 

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez Celebrate Her 52nd Birthday on a Yacht 

Just as rumors emerged that Bennifer was indeed back, the Gigli stars added fuel to the rekindling flames with a romantic trip to Italy in July 2021. In addition to a stroll around the city, the pair were seen engaging in some hardcore PDA while aboard a yacht. 

This romantic trip—timed to J.Lo’s 52nd birthday—all but confirmed the duo were totally in love again. As for how Jennifer felt rebounding so quickly after her broken engagement with former MLB star Alex Rodriguez? “She’s totally in love with Ben and only has eyes for him,” a source told E! News at the time. “She has moved on and is not looking back.” And time has proven it so. 

A$AP Rocky and Rihanna Take A Pandemic Cross-Country Road Trip 

The friends to lovers arc between A$AP Rocky and Rihanna was finally completed during summer 2020. Amid the pandemic, the couple—who now share children RZA, 21 months, and Riot, 6 months—took a cross country road trip that definitely caused them to have love on the brain. 

“I love the simple things but also the grand adventures,” she told Vogue in 2022. “There’s no pretentious my-brand-your-brand bullshit, it’s just us living—I just feel like I can do any part of life by his side.” 

A$AP reportedly picked up and tie-dyed gas station T-shirts, while Rihanna took care of their meals. “I cooked our food on this little janky grill I bought from Walmart,” she added. “I still have it, too. It works like nobody’s business.” 

Kristen Stewart and Dylan Meyer’s Trip To The Happiest Place On Earth 

It may as well be a couple’s rite of passage to survive a trip to Disney together. Duos spotted at the parks include Ariana Grande and Ethan Slater, Rebel Wilson and Ramona Arguma, Travis Barker and Kourtney Kardashian

Kristen Stewart and fianceé Dylan Meyer passed this milestone back in Jan. 2022, along with pals such as Ashley Benson (who has also made a romantic excursion out of the theme park with ex Cara Delevingne), CJ Romero and Suzie Riemer. The squad deemed themselves a “family,” and even snagged some matching sweatshirts to prove it. 

Timothée Chalamet and Kylie Jenner’s Hard Launch 

A surprisingly private pair, Timothée Chalamet and Kylie Jenner have only had a handful of public moments since confirming their relationship. As for how they made things official though? Their most iconic date thus far was a very public display of affection at Beyoncé’s birthday concert in Los Angeles Sept. 4, 2023—which was also attended by Kylie’s sisters Kim Kardashian and Khloe Kardashian, as well as her mom Kris Jenner.

The duo were spotted in videos enjoying the show—and each other— in the VIP section of SoFi Stadium. 

“That was great,” the Dune star said of the iconic evening in a Dec. 18 MTV interview. “Hard to be present.” 

Harry Styles and Emily Ratajkowski Have a Late Night Makeout Sesh

All the single ladies can learn a thing or two about the art of the rebound from Emily Ratajkowski—and Harry Styles. On the heels of breakups from long term partners—Emily officially divorced Sebastian Bear-McClard in September 2022 and Harry split with girlfriend of two years Olivia Wilde in November of the same year—this duo was spotted Mar. 2023 having a heated smooch session on a street in Tokyo. 

The pair’s liplock was one that temporarily rocked the internet, but—despite the “As It Was” singer admitting years earlier that the model was his celebrity crush—nothing serious ever came from this golden moment. As the Grammy winner himself once said, if you like having a secret little rendezvous, then he’s perfect for you. 

Channing Tatum and Zoe Kravitz Take a Ride Around New York 

They’ve now been happily hard launched for about two years—and engaged since November 2023, but when Channing Tatum and Zoe Kravitz were spotted on a romantic bike ride in New York City back in August 2021, their relationship status was still up in the air. 

So the pair really got speculation rolling when Zoe hopped onto the pegs of Channing’s bicycle for a ride around the East Village. The High Fidelity alum was photographed with her arms around the Magic Mike star’s neck, and less than a month later, they confirmed their relationship to the press

Nick Jonas Knew...That When You Know You Know 

The first day Nick Jonas met Priyanka Chopra at the 2017 Vanity Fair Oscars party , the “Sucker” singer reportedly got down on his knees and asked, “Where have you been all my life?” 

And by their third date, which took place a year later in 2018, they’d already reached a turning point in their relationship. After a Memorial Day weekend trip that included drinks at Chateau Marmont, a live performance of Beauty and the Beast, and a Los Angeles Dodgers game, Nick was certain he’d never get hit with a lovebug like Priyanka again. 

In fact, he called his mom shortly afterward, and told her he was going to marry the Indian actress, recounting to Vogue in a 2018 interview: “She walks into the Chateau, and I feel an overwhelming sense of peace and understanding about this next chapter of my life.”

How Colman Domingo’s Missed Connection Turned Into a Nearly Double Decade Relationship

Rustin star Colman Domingo described his first date with his husband of 10 years, Raúl Domingo, as a “Barbara Walters-style” session of questions and answers at a bar in San Francisco. And while the date itself is fairly standard, the Euphoria actor already knew he’d found the love of his life by the time he’d walked in. 

The star first stumbled upon his husband in a Walgreens parking lot in 2005, but other than locking eyes, the pair didn’t interact. A few days later, the Color Purple actor was perusing Craigslist for a used iPod touch, and happened to click over to the Missed Connections page—where people share the information about someone they spotted and wanted to get to know better. There, he read a missive from his future spouse: “I saw you outside of Walgreens in Berkeley.” 

While sharing the story to GQ in 2021, Colman added: “I literally jumped out of my chair when I saw the post.”

On a 2024 episode of The Graham Norton Show, Colman recounted the details of their first date again, adding that the pair spent the night together. “We cuddled. I thought he was asleep—4:00 in the morning,” he recalled. “I couldn't sleep and I said, 'I think I love you and you're about to change my life.' And we've been together for almost 19 years.”

Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens Play Into A Romantic Cliché

This High School Musical couple was much more lowkey during the height of their relationship than fans may recall. In fact, while they walked several red carpets together, the pair’s favorite pastimes were going to the gym and grabbing Pinkberry frozen yogurt in Los Angeles, according to a 2007 People profile. 

However, the iconic Disney duo did channel their inner romantic spark during a 2008 trip to Hawaii. The week after High School Musical: Senior Year hit the big screen, Zac and Vanessa attended the wedding of Zac’s manager, Jason Barrett, on Oct. 25—and took some solo time during a romantic beach date the next day. 

The couple—who officially cut ties in 2010—were photographed displaying some major PDA during their Sunday beach stroll. And though this romance is a thing of the past—Vanessa wed baseball player love of three years Cole Tucker in 2023—this date, and couple, was one to remember. 

LeBron James & Savannah Brinson James Had A True High School Romance

Before LeBron James played his first NBA game, he found his forever teammate in now-wife Savannah James. The pair—who now share children LeBron “Bronny,” Jr., 19, Bryce, 16, and Zhuri, 9—met around 2002 when they were 16 and 17 years old, and attending rival high schools. At first, Savannah—who knew nothing of LeBron’s basketball skills at the time—wasn’t into the athlete, but eventually gave him a shot, telling Cleveland Magazine in 2018, “He seemed interested, so let’s see.’”

Their first date was technically among a group, as LeBron invited Savannah to one of his high school basketball games. Afterward, they went to Applebee’s with friends. Their second date? Outback Steakhouse. And that’s all Savannah needed to know her future husband was end game. 

“I knew he loved me when I left my leftovers from dinner in his car. I'd totally forgotten about them, and he brought them to me,” she told Harper’s Bazaar in 2010. “I think he just wanted another excuse to come and see me.”

Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds Took Things To The Next Level With A Solo Dance Session

Before they were one of the most beloved celebrity couples, Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively were no more than Green Lantern costars. However, the Deadpool actor was able to recall the date that changed everything: A late night bite turned dance session in New York City. 

“We were hanging out at this little restaurant in Tribeca that's open really late, and this song came on and I was just like, "Want to dance?" No one was in there, so it was just totally empty,” he explained in a 2016 GQ profile. “And it was just one of those moments where halfway through the dance, it was like, ‘Oh, I think I just crossed a line.’ And then I walked her home. And, uh, you know, I don't really need to go into what happened after that.”

And Ryan—who now shares four children with Blake including daughters James, 9, Inez, 7, Betty, 4, and their 2023 arrival—remembers the exact song, too. However, he wouldn’t say, adding: “You're shut out.”

(Originally published Aug. 1, 2023, at 5 a.m. PT)

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