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Sam Elliott Met Wife of 37 Years When He Was 'A Glorified Extra' & Did Not 'Dare' Talk to Her

Gracious Egedegbe
Apr 17, 2022
01:30 P.M.
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Sam Elliott and Katharine Ross have enjoyed marital bliss for 37 years. However, many know nothing of their love story and how they have managed to stay together. Here is how the couple met, married, and stayed in love for a long time.


Veteran Actors Sam Elliott and his wife, Katharine Ross, have an endearing love story that lasted more than three decades. 

One of Hollywood's favorite couples, the lovebirds union appears to be only growing stronger as they count the days to their 38th wedding anniversary. 

[Left] Picture of actor Sam Elliott ; [Right] Katharine Ross and Sam Elliott attend the "Wrap-Up Party for the First Season of 'The Colbys'" on April 13, 1986 at Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California | Source: Getty Images


Time and again, Elliott and Ross have been open concerning their marriage and what it feels like being married to a celebrity. Speaking about her husband, the actress once revealed during an interview:

"I totally appreciate that men and women find him attractive. He's quite the gent. He's pretty much always nice and gracious; it's lovely to see and to be around."

Seeing the couple, especially Ross, enjoying marital bliss is nothing short of joyful, as she had a long way before meeting her husband. 

Sam Elliott and Katharine Ross attend the Stacy Poitras' Art Gallery Exhibition for documentary premiere of "The Chainsaw Artist" held on September 14, 2019 in Hollywood, California | Source: Getty Images


The movie star was married and divorced four times before tying the knot with Elliott. Her first marriage, which lasted only two years, was to Joel Fabiani in 1960.

The actress tied the knot for the second time with John Marion in 1964. Ross's third marriage to Conrad Hall in 1969 ended in 1974, and that same year, she walked down the aisle for the fourth time with Gaetano Lisi.

Picture of American actress Katharine Ross, circa 1960 | Source: Getty Images


The union ended five years later. Here are more details about Katharine Ross's marriage to Sam Elliott.


Actress Katharine Ross and actor Sam Elliott attending 16th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards on April 30, 1981 at Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California | Source: Getty Images


Elliott and Ross first saw one another physically on the set of the 1969 Western drama "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid." However, the former told AARP The Magazine in 2015 that he did not even attempt to talk to his future wife at that point. In his words:

"I didn't dare try to talk to her then. She was the leading lady. I was a shadow on the wall, a glorified extra in a bar scene."

Irrespective of his thoughts, the actress intrigued Elliott, and he spent his time on set in a dark corner watching Ross and her co-stars perform. 

Actor Sam Elliott and actress Katharine Ross attend the 12th Annual People's Choice Awards on March 11, 1986 at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in Santa Monica, California | Source: Getty Images


The actor revealed that it was a great opportunity. Ten years later, Elliott and Ross finally had their first interaction when they worked together again on the horror film "The Legacy."

They played a couple who were among a group of guests terrorized at a creepy English estate. Ross and Elliot saw more of each other while filming. It was only a matter of time before the pair became romantically involved. 

Studio portrait of Sam Elliott for TV show, Mission: Impossible, dated July 29, 1970 | Source: Getty Images


During an interview, Ross confessed that what attracted her to Elliott was his baritone voice, mustache, and rugged good looks. She also added:

"Probably all that and more. We were working together, and one thing led to another. And here we are."

The lovebirds eventually tied the knot in 1984, and while it was Ross's fifth marriage, it was Elliott's first.


Actors Katharine Ross, Sam Elliott, and daughter Cleo Elliott attend the "Moscow Circus Opening" on March 14, 1990 at Great Western Forum in Inglewood, California | Source: Getty Images


The couple's only daughter, Cleo Rose, was born in the same year Ross and Elliott tied the knot. She was trained in classical music at a young age but said her passion was in heavy rock.

 In 2009, Cleo released an album entitled "No More Lies." The album features pop-rock sounds, and she wrote all but one of its songs.

Randy Christopher, Cleo Rose Elliott, Katharine Ross and Sam Elliott attend the premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures' "A Star Is Born" at The Shrine Auditorium on September 24, 2018 in Los Angeles, California | Source: Getty Images


Instead of pursuing acting in the shadow of her famous actor parents, Cleo decided to pursue fame by carving out a career in music, and her parents were all for it. She said:

"My parents are totally supportive of this. They're just happy I don't want to be an actor,"

Sadly, Cleo's support from her parents could not stop the terrible events that unfolded a few years later. In 2011, Ross and Cleo made the headlines when the former filed a restraining order against her daughter after they had a massive fallout. 

Actor Sam Elliott, wife Katharine Ross and daughter Cleo Rose Elliott arrive at the Los Angeles premiere of 'The Hero' at the Egyptian Theatre on June 5, 2017 in Hollywood, California | Source: Getty Images


According to the court documents, Cleo repeatedly attacked her mom with scissors and threatened to kill her. Ross also said Cleo "verbally and emotionally abused me even as a little girl but became increasingly violent at age 12 or 13."

The actress filed the protective order without an attorney, and Cleo was ordered to stay at least 100 yards away from her mother and not contact her until the hearing. 

However, the pair seemed to fix their relationship before the hearing as they didn't show up to the hearing, forcing the judge to dismiss the temporary restraining order.


Five years later, Cleo was seen with her parents in a photo sponsored by the "Women's Professional Rodeo Association." She stood gracefully in the middle in a nude-colored dress, with her parents by her side, as they smiled from ear to ear, posing in a water body.

Cleo has also attended a few of her father's red carpet premieres. In 2018, Bates posted an Instagram photo of Cleo posing with her parents at the "A Star is Born" premiere. She also attended "A Good Dinosaur" premiere with her parents in 2015.


Katharine Ross (L) and Sam Elliott attend the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 6, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California | Source: Getty Images


Elliott and Ross have been married for 37 years now and are one of Hollywood's most enduring couples. When asked what their secret to a long marriage is, Elliott said:

"We have a common sensibility, but we also work at being together. You work past the [expletive]; you don't walk away from it. That's how relationships last."

Randy Christopher, Cleo Rose Elliott, Katharine Ross and Sam Elliott attend the premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures' "A Star Is Born" at The Shrine Auditorium on September 24, 2018 in Los Angeles, California | Source: Getty Images


In 2017, the couple worked together again in the film "The Hero," directed by Brett Haley. "Katharine plays [my character's] ex-wife. Something else that was great about this was seeing Katharine work again," Elliott explained. He added that working with his wife was fun and a positive experience. In his words:

"I think we just like making movies, and having that creative experience together is the best. It's just fun. It's a whole different kind of energy to go home with someone you're working with rather than go home to somebody who isn't working. It's a totally positive experience."

Sam Elliott and Katharine Ross attend the 91st Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood and Highland on February 24, 2019 in Hollywood, California | Source: Getty Images


Elliott mentioned that he wanted nothing more than to be married, have a family, and have a movie career. He added that he has all those things in abundance and is grateful to have his daughter. Reflecting on their marriage, he confessed:

"We - I think really what it boils down to is we love each other, and we work at it. And I think more importantly than anything; it takes wanting to be married."

Hopefully, the love between the couple will continue to remain intact as they continue to be the best parents to their daughter.

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