'Unqualified,' releasing Oct. 24, offers moving insight into the separating couple's happier days
In the wake of Sunday's announcement that Hollywood supercouple Anna Faris and Chris Pratt had separated, the fate of the former's unpublished memoir, Unqualified, remains unknown. The book, which has been available to book sellers and press in an early, unfinished "galley" form includes details of their spur-of-the-moment marriage in Bali, the birth of their son, and how the pair emerged unscathed from the ruthless clutches of Hollywood gossip.
Reading this version of Unqualified as news of the couple's separation occupies headlines provides insight into Faris and Pratt's relationship, even as the ties that once bound its author to her husband of eight years begin to loosen.
As the foreword, written by Pratt, indicates, much of the couple's time together was defined by their unfiltered commitment to each other, an unabashed display of affection that often played out on social media and in interviews.
"She is fierce and very loyal, she rarely punishes people. But when she does, it’s powerful and terrifying, and when it’s over, it’s really over. (Power and terror are acceptable in a partner but absolutely necessary in a mother, as far as I’m concerned)," Pratt writes in the opening pages. "And she does mother very well, both our son, Jack, and me, when needed.”
While exact plans for the release of the book are unclear at press time (Dutton slated it to hit shelves Oct. 24, and did not immediately respond to EW's request for comment), the memoir as it stands is a moving reflection on the evolution of marriage. The book was presumably written at a point when Faris and Pratt's coupling brimmed with passion. Aside from a few gripes about Pratt being late to a date or two, Faris writes purely about her husband's selfless qualities and how his presence grounded her and her insecurities.
Faris' words are uplifting and unpretentious, anchored by a genuine appreciation for the couple's dedication to each other that, as of now, take on new poignancy within the context of their breakup. Here are key highlights from happier times that endure — no matter the circumstances surrounding the Unqualified release.
Faris and Pratt's marriage had a spontaneous spark
Though Faris was married to actor Ben Indra during the 2007 production of the comedy Take Me Home Tonight, she says she fell for Pratt as they worked together on the set. She became her future spouse's wingman, helping him secure hookups with "hottie" background actresses — an act that ultimately fueled her jealousy. His random acts of kindness (he once spent an entire day calling Kmart customer reps after Faris had lost her credit card in one of the chain's stores) and their late-night conversations after a long day of shooting (he also walked Faris to her apartment in the evening) weighed on her mind long after the moments passed. She soon divorced her previous spouse, announced the news to the cast, and began her relationship with Pratt shortly thereafter.
She likens Pratt during this period to a "cattle prod," whose presence prompted her to leave a relationship she knew wasn't right for her. He didn't, however, realize he was serving such a profound purpose in her life at the time. Faris also tested his interest in different ways, eating a fly that Pratt had swatted out of the air on one of their first dates, admittedly gambling for a big payoff — and it worked.
While on a cross-continental backpacking trip through Europe, Pratt called Faris (who was upset about the trip in the first place, even though they'd only been dating for a short period and hadn't yet decided they were in a committed relationship) to tell her he loved her and wanted to marry her. They moved in together after nine months of dating.
In keeping with their relationship's spontaneous and fast-paced tone, while traveling with friends for a wedding in Bali in 2009, they realized the hotel they were staying in offered a wedding option when booking a room. They took the hotel up on the offer and eloped that weekend after their friends had left.
“When I met Chris, the most striking thing about him was that he knew how to be happy,” she writes. “When I looked back at my marriage, and many of my relationships before it, I realized I had always equated cynicism, discontent, and anger with intelligence, and getting together with Chris made me reexamine that. It made me realize that being with someone who was well-liked and popular actually made me happy.”
Faris goes on to explain that she learned to control the secrecy of the inner-workings of her relationship by sharing details — images, social media posts — directly from her channels online, noting that the best defense is an offensive approach to exposing her life to the public. The feedback from fans had been largely positive and satisfying that it was on her own terms.
Public scrutiny, jealousy, and tabloid gossip are obstacles they helped each other overcome
On that note, Faris admits that the trappings of being a working Hollywood couple are many — including tabloids pitting her against other actresses who worked with Pratt over the years, including Jennifer Lawrence, his costar in the 2016 blockbuster romance Passengers. Faris reveals that she feels a sense of jealousy at times when Pratt shares an on-screen kiss with his colleagues, though she has learned to befriend and compliment them instead of stirring a dramatic situation (in a genuine way, not in a "frenemy" way). She later writes about her budding friendship with Lawrence, whom she says was apologetic about the media's coverage of her friendship with Pratt during production. (One magazine, she says, even posted side-by-side photos of Pratt in public with Lawrence with a shot of Faris on the beach at a family vacation. It was an attempt to paint the latter as a jealous, aging nag.) Pratt was a steadfast support system when publications like that hit a nerve.
Jealousy is a two-way street, however. Faris explains Pratt was jealous of scenes she filmed with Chris Evans for What's Your Number?, though they later hung out together and became close friends (and Marvel superheroes), eliminating any bitterness. Pratt and Faris ultimately found a way to trust each other, a formula that, by her account, worked for the duration of their union.
The birth of their son brought Pratt and Faris closer together
As the joint statement announcing their separation stresses, the couple's priority is — and always has been — their son, Jack. His birth was also a test of their endurance as a couple, which they emerged from with a new, gracious appreciation for life and their future.
They had been trying to have children for around a year when Jack was conceived and approached the situation with an emphasis on romance. Pratt carried his support through Faris' stay in the hospital, decorating her room with posters and pictures, bringing her desserts nightly while falling asleep by her side.
But complications arose when Jack was born prematurely. Doctors had wanted to keep Faris on bed rest for weeks to allow Jack more time to grow, but when the baby was born, he had severe brain bleeding that could have resulted in developmental disability. Faris says Pratt's patriarchal attitude in these moments comforted her, and they didn't let each other break down in the face of a terrifying prospect. The actress says she felt incredibly close to Pratt during that time, and it shaped their outlook on raising Jack, who wound up progressing "completely on par for his age."
In raising Jack, Faris writes that she remains grounded even though she's aware of her surroundings, overpopulated with narcissism in a cutthroat city like Los Angeles. She explains her desire to raise a conscientious, kind child who understands that his parents moved to L.A. with essentially no contacts and made something out of nothing.
Keeping an eye on the future is key
In Unqualified, Faris also discusses her desire to, perhaps, have more kids with Pratt and continuously muses on their future together — including visions of them at an old age, retreating to Washington State, her baking pies and him catching crabs while they live on a farm. She says dreaming of those days is a sweet pleasure and makes the struggles — including working away from each other for long periods of time while shooting — worthwhile.
Generosity and self-love go hand-in-hand
Faris' mother often told her to be "selfish in love." To her, that meant relationships require us to see our own interests before we can appropriately gauge ourselves in the context of a relationship and that self-love will lead to happiness faster. So, Faris says, she learned to make herself happy with Pratt even while their busy schedules often kept them apart for months at a time. She says their sights are always set on the dreams they're working to build for their life together, and that's what makes getting through momentary difficulties worthwhile. She says time apart also makes time together all the more precious — a key element in maintaining passion.
The little things matter
An entire chapter of the book is dedicated to listing and appreciating things Pratt does for her, including braiding her hair, writing poems and letters by hand from international locations, sending flowers to the set of Mom every Friday before the show tapes, and giving her thoughtful, and unexpected gifts.