Most celebs would have gone with the sunglasses and pulled-down-baseball-cap disguise. But perhaps that was a tad too obvious for someone who made his living playing FBI alien hunter Fox Mulder. So the day before his hush-hush nuptials to The Naked Truth star Tea Leoni on May 6, 1997, David Duchovny slunk into New York’s City Hall to get a marriage license sporting…a fake mustache. And while the outing did end up in the gossip pages, their 20-minute ceremony in the garden of Greenwich Village’s Grace Church School was still a successful covert operation.
Only immediate family were present as the 31-year-old bride and the groom, 36, exchanged gold wedding bands and self-penned vows, and sealed their four-month courtship with a kiss.
The couple first met in 1992 at a Tonight Show pre-preinterview, the kind that determines if the guests are funny enough to be guests. Leoni (fresh from a small turn in A League of Their Own) chatted and charmed and got on the show; a quiet, sullen Duchovny didn’t (even though he’d turned heads as a cross-dressing investigator on ABC’s Twin Peaks). Five years later, when Duchovny called his then agent, ICM’s Risa Shapiro, Leoni happened to be in the room. ”I got off the phone and [thought], ‘This is a match made in heaven,”’ said Shapiro.
Perhaps the planets were headed for alignment long ago: Duchovny had gone to Manhattan’s exclusive Collegiate boys school and Leoni the equally exclusive Brearley for girls. Both started acting on a whim—he landed a Lowenbrau commercial to make pocket money while in grad school at Yale; she auditioned for a Charlie’s Angels update on a dare and got the part.
These days they’re totally in synch: raising their now-3-year-old daughter, Madelaine West, and trying to make it on the big screen. After roles in 1996’s Flirting With Disaster and 1998’s Deep Impact, Leoni took time off to care for West, as they call her (another child is due this spring), and is making a comeback of sorts in Woody Allen’s Hollywood Ending. Duchovny will reprise his role as Mulder in The X-Files‘ final episode May 19 and appears in Steven Soderbergh’s Full Frontal in August.
People close to Duchovny will tell you that marriage has brought the man who was Mulder down to earth. Duchovny’s X-Files costar, Gillian Anderson, may have put it best: ”It was like he was searching, and now he’s found that little puzzle piece that he was missing.”