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Peter Dinklage Felt 'Unworthy' & Was a ‘Self-Saboteur’ in Relationships before Meeting ‘Brilliant’ Wife

Oyin Balogun
Mar 07, 2022
08:20 P.M.
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Famous actor Peter Dinklage grew up in an environment that helped him accept his looks. However, he still felt unworthy of love and kept sabotaging his relationships until he met his artistic wife, who steadied him as he became more famous.


Peter Dinklage is an unusual star because, unlike many who have learned to hide their insecurities, he stands out no matter where he goes. 

His insecurities have affected him as a person, and the impact has been monumental. But he says he: "Was fortunate enough to have an upbringing that made me more accepting of who I am."

[Left] Peter Dinklage at Paramount Studios on October 4, 2018; [Right] Actor Peter Dinklage and his wife Erica Schmidt attending the Emmy Awards afterparty in Los Angeles in 2018. | Source: Getty Images


The actor, who claims he is always thinking about movies, was born in Morristown, New Jersey. His Mom, Diane, was an elementary school teacher, and his dad, John Carl Dinklage, earned his living as an insurance salesman. 

Dinklage started his career in 1991 after graduating from Bennington College with a degree in drama. However, it was not an easy journey, as he started out as a struggling actor who sometimes could only afford a bag of crisps for dinner.

He was also very talented and gifted with a unique range of acting qualities, including charisma, profoundness, intelligence, and sensation. 

Actor Peter Dinklage attends the Prince Caspian Panel Preview at The New York ComicCon at the IGN Theater at the Jacob Javitz Center on April 19, 2008 | Source: Getty Images


His talent eventually got him noticed careerwise, but it did nothing for his love life. Dinklage once confessed that he always had self-sabotaged relationships in the past because he felt "unworthy" of love. In his words:

"I was raised Irish Catholic, so I totally feel unworthy of everything." 

This was his general outlook until he met a woman who proved too good to pass up, and now they've been married for more than a decade. Who was she? There's more below.


Actor Peter Dinklage attends the "X-MEN: Days of Future Past" Southeast Asia Premiere on May 14, 2014 | Source: Getty Images


As a young man, Peter Dinklage kept repeating his process of self-sabotaging his relationships for years, but one day, before fame found him, he happened upon a woman that stopped him in his tracks and got under his defenses. 

Dinklage has not revealed if his second child is male or female, nor has he told their names.

Before her, he stumbled through tormented relationships because he always fell for people he knew wouldn't return his affection. 

Peter Dinklage and Erica Schmidt attend "Medea" Opening Night at BAM Harvey Theater on January 30, 2020 | Source: Getty Images


Fortunately, all that changed when he met Erica Schmidt, and according to the besotted actor, she is a "brilliant" artist who believes theatre is sacred.

The two met more than 18 years ago before he became famous; they had all been lounging at a friend's house when someone announced some folks were walking elephants through the Queens-Midtown Tunnel.

Apparently, the circus had been in town, and even though it was snowing, they had kept the elephants walking through Manhattan in a long procession. 

Actor Peter Dinklage and Erica Schmidt arrive at the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on September 23, 2012 | Source: Getty Images


According to Dinklage, it looked like a scene straight out of a beautiful, fantastical, end-of-the-world, crazy, romantic movie, and it was the night they met. 

Dinklage is also totally in awe of his wife, Erica Schmidt, a talented playwright/theater director with many credits under her belt, including writing and directing the 2019 adaptation of the famous literary piece "MacBeth." Dinklage once said this about her in an interview he had a decade into their marriage:

"She's very inspiring. She's definitely the artist of the family. I am just the TV actor who pays the bills."

Erica Schmidt poses at the Opening Night of The New Group Production of "Black No More" at The Pershing Square Signature Center on February 15, 2022 | Source: Getty Images


What makes their love story so unique is that they're two people who accept each other for who they are. Erica, who has no social media account just like her hubby, has been quite vocal about how people need to stop focusing on the disparity in their heights. 

She thinks it's time for the world to move on because her "handsome" and "charming" husband is much more than his height. 

In 2019, she lent her expertise to the writing and directing of a musical stage adaptation of the 1897 French play "Cyrano de Bergerac." The same play has now become kindling for Dinklage's latest blaze.

Peter Dinklage and his daughter are seen in the Meat Packing District on January 15, 2014 i | Source: Getty Images


The play is about Cyrano, who sported a massive nose in the original, helping a relatively more attractive man woo Roxanne, a lady, they both had feelings for, by writing her love letters on his behalf. 

Unsurprisingly, she falls desperately in love. Erica got commissioned to write an adaptation of the play, and she decided to strip it down to the foundation before building it back up with upgrades. 

Peter Dinklage and wife director Erica Schmidt pose at the opening night party for "Taking Care of Baby" at Faces & Names Lounge on November 19, 2013 | Source: Getty Images]


Dinklage featured in the play after he begged his wife, partly because he wanted to sing on stage. The concept had scared him, which just challenged him to master it. 

Erica was initially reluctant because she didn't want the project to be about her famous husband. However, he convinced her to let him read the script, and she soon realized he was perfect for the role. 

Despite how famous they are, the pair usually fly under the radar. They own a home in New York, and he allegedly has a small house in the woods where he tends a garden. 

Actor Peter Dinklage and his wife Erica Schmidt attending the Emmy Awards afterparty in Los Angeles in 2018. I Source: Getty Images.


Before they moved to New York, they lived in Manhattan, but they had a big dog that needed to be walked often. This was a grueling task for Dinklage, who can't hide his short height even if he obscures his profile with the customary shades and hat. Erica once said:

"He can't put on his sunglasses and a hat and disappear."

The lovebirds now have two children, whose identities they keep very private. The only thing the public knows for sure is that the first is a daughter they welcomed in 2011, while the second was born in 2017. 

Peter Dinklage and Erica Schmidt attending the opening night of the play "All The Fine Boys" (by Schmidt) in New York City in 2017. I Source: Getty Images.


Dinklage has not revealed if his second child is male or female, nor has he told their names, leading to misunderstandings.

One time, he debunked the rumor that his daughter's name was Zelig saying it was hilarious it appeared as a fact on Wikipedia. The source has been updated, and as far as other platforms getting it wrong, Dinklage has revealed he doesn't care. 

Peter Dinklage during 31st Annual Toronto International Film Festival - "Penelope" Press Conference at Sutton Place | Source: Getty Images


The actor has had his fair share of struggles in the past as he had to get roles that did not directly ridicule his height as a dwarf. Eventually, Hollywood finally began to work with a more realistic portrayal of people, and Dinklage did not let the opportunity slip away. He once said:

"Hollywood is finally opening the door wider to more realistic portrayals of who people are. It's not just about beautiful Hollywood stars."

Dinklage surmounted his challenges and is now enjoying the fruits of his hard work while enjoying time with his family. When he's not acting, he and his wife have been spotted severally out shopping or running other chores as parents. 


US actor Peter Dinklage and his wife Erica Schmidt arrive for the "Game of Thrones" eighth and final season premiere at Radio City Music Hall on April 3, 2019 | Source: Getty Images

At almost two decades of marriage, their love doesn't appear to be fading, so fans can expect this to go on for a long, long time. Congratulations Dinklage!