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'Little House on the Prairie's' Jason Bateman Fought to Save His Marriage to Paul Anka's Daughter

Bettina Dizon
Jan 13, 2022
12:42 P.M.

Jason Bateman was a child star who lost his way, falling into the Hollywood party scene during his twenties and thirties. Thanks to his wife, Amanda Anka, he changed his ways and continued his career in the entertainment industry.

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Jason Bateman is among the few child stars who continued their Hollywood careers until adulthood. The path to keeping his career, however, wasn't always straight. Bateman spent his twenties in Hollywood's party scene after starring on the television series "Little House on the Prairie."

Only years later did he alter his image and become a coveted actor. He appeared in "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," "The Kingdom," "Juno," and "Hancock," but it was his role in "Arrested Development" that he credits for making a comeback.

Jason Bateman and Amanda Anka during a red carpet event. | Source: Getty Images

Jason Bateman and Amanda Anka during a red carpet event. | Source: Getty Images

LIFE IN HOLLYWOOD

Although he undoubtedly loves his job, Bateman discourages children from joining the entertainment industry. He said in a previous interview:

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"There was a lot of stuff I missed out on during my childhood, which is why I spent my twenties [...] kinda catching up on that [...]. I spent all my fun chips, and now I've parked my drinking boots in the closet."

Bateman also credits his wife, Paul Anka's daughter Amanda, for helping him turn his career around and stay grounded through fame and success. According to the actor, he made a wise choice marrying Anka. "I didn't marry a 'girlfriend,'" he said. "I married a 'wife.'"

Jason Bateman at Milk Studios on September 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. | Photo: Getty Images

Jason Bateman at Milk Studios on September 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. | Photo: Getty Images

MEETING AMANDA ANKA

Bateman and Anka met at an LA Kings game but did not form a romantic relationship until ten years later. Back then, the pop idol's daughter had different interests from Bateman, who admittedly had short-term relationships with others. He said:

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"I didn't really have the balls to be with someone who was my equal, and, as a result, a lot of those relationships were short-term."

Even after their marriage, Bateman still found himself in the party scene, enjoying the night with alcohol and drugs. Little by little, his behavior was causing the downfall of his marriage, until one late night, Anka gave him an ultimatum – stop partying.

Amanda Anka and Jason Bateman at Sunset Tower Hotel on January 27, 2019 in West Hollywood, California. | Photo: Getty Images

Amanda Anka and Jason Bateman at Sunset Tower Hotel on January 27, 2019 in West Hollywood, California. | Photo: Getty Images

SAVING HIS MARRIAGE

Although he loved his wife, Bateman could not give up his late nights altogether. Eventually, Anka got fed up and planned a Mexican holiday without him. When Bateman found himself home alone during that rainy Christmas morning, he decided to attend an AA meeting and turn his life around.

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Since getting together with Anka, Bateman has transformed into a new person. In an interview with GQ, his wife revealed that she couldn't even get Bateman to attend a party anymore. He became a person who enjoys the small things in life and finds happiness in spending time with family.

"Our marriage has defied the odds and works really well," Bateman said about his successful marriage, "We are really aware of our boundaries." Apart from being a loving husband, Bateman is also a doting father to two beautiful daughters, Francesca Nora, 14, and Maple Sylvie, 8.

Jason Bateman, daughter Francesca, and wife Amanda Anka at Barker Hangar on November 11, 2012 in Santa Monica, California. | Photo: Getty Images

Jason Bateman, daughter Francesca, and wife Amanda Anka at Barker Hangar on November 11, 2012 in Santa Monica, California. | Photo: Getty Images

LIFE AS A FATHER

While he prioritizes his children, Bateman also has to work hard to support them. This means spending less time at home and more time in shooting locations. Previously, Bateman lived in Georgia for months to film "Ozark" and made up for lost time with family by bringing them to the south.

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He publicly thanked his family for their unconditional support in 2019, when he accepted his award for Best Male Actor in a Drama Series at the Screen Actors Guild Award ceremony.

During the trip, Bateman had a hilarious conversation with Francesca about the Easter egg Bunny that prompted him to tell a white lie when she asked if it was real.

Jason Bateman and Amanda Anka at Microsoft Theater on September 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. | Photo: Getty Images

Jason Bateman and Amanda Anka at Microsoft Theater on September 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. | Photo: Getty Images

He narrated what she said: "She goes, 'I don't think it's real, and I don't want you to lie to me right now because [there are] a few kids in my class who say that it's not real, and I don't want to be an idiot. Pinky promise with me right now that the Easter-egg Bunny is real.'"

Bateman again credits his wife for being an amazing mother and handling his hectic work schedule. Like him, Anka has a full-time career but still takes care of their children as a mom and dad. He said:

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"That keeps me grounded. That reminds me that I've got a real strong example to kind of like up to what she's showing."

He publicly thanked his family for their unconditional support in 2019, when he accepted his award for Best Male Actor in a Drama Series at the Screen Actors Guild Award ceremony.

"Without you, none of it would be enjoyable and probably wouldn't be possible. So I love you more than I even tell you I do. I'll be home for kisses, so don't go to bed," he said.

ANKA'S CAREER

Anka shares the same career path as her husband, working as an actress. She appears in television series such as "Lost Highway," "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," and more. She became a voice-over actress on "The Greatest Event in Television History between 2012 and 2014," as well.

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Beyond the screen, Anka worked as a producer on "The Morning Show." Although not as active as her husband, Anka also achieved success in the entertainment industry.

For over two decades, Bateman and Anka have been working together to make their relationship and careers fruitful as well as raise their kids normally.

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