April 29, 2019

David McCallum and Jill Ireland: Why a Marriage That Should Have Worked Failed

Share this pen


Sadly, not all marriages make it to the end, and this was the case of NCIS actor, David McCallum's first marriage to late actress Jill Ireland. Apparently, his close friend and colleague stole his wife!

Years after his avoidable divorce from ex-wife, McCallum recalled how he lost his first wife and how he had to find peace with it and move on. 

Jill Ireland (1936-1990) and David McCallum together at an event in 1958 | Photo: Getty Images



Theirs was a perfect marriage, or so it was believed by many. Therefore it was a huge surprise to learn after about ten years together that they were getting a divorce in 1967. 

What was even more alarming about the case was that Ireland left David for his close friend Charles Bronson and the duo got married in 1968. 

Charles and Jill had met on the set of "The Great Escape" which Bronson was filming with her then-husband, David. According to a rumor, Charles allegedly told the NCIS actor after meeting Jill that, "I'm going to marry your wife" which he eventually did. 


David McCallum and Jill Ireland, meeting at London Airport, April 3rd 1957 | Photo: Getty Images

David refuted the rumor as untrue while speaking to "Daily Record" saying, “I have absolutely no recognition of that.” 


Ireland was married to Bronson till she died of cancer in 1990.


As expected, the divorce wasn't easy on McCallum who rose to fame after starring in the movie "The Great Escape" and series, "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." It was also harder because the couple had three children together, (biological ones Paul and Valentine, and one adopted son  Jason, who died from an accidental drug overdose at the young age of 27.) 

Charles Bronson & Jill Ireland at the 1st Annual Talent Awards Luncheon | Photo: Getty Images


But unlike many, David found a way to move past the bitterness, forgive all the parties involved and let it all go. 

“I never hated him; Charlie was always a good friend. I find that when problems come along, worrying about them and getting anxious and negative is quite unnecessary. You can solve them, usually amicably. That’s what happened.” - David McCallum.


The 85-year-old later remarried to model Katherine Carpenter in 1967, and the couple is still much happily together. After being together for 48 years, they have two beautiful children: Sophie and Peter McCallum. 


David McCallum and his wife Katherine Carpenter | Photo: Getty Images

After what's happened to him, David found a silver lining, and he is now grateful for all the mistakes that led to significant accomplishments such as starring in one of the biggest shows: "NCIS."There have been speculations that McCallum who plays Ducky on the crime investigation show might not be returning after being on the show for 13 years.

Although this is not certain yet, David is definitely at this point in his life happier than he thought possible.