Before they got married, Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons dated for years and welcomed two sons. The couple knew they were the ones for each other whether or not there was a ring on it—though Dunst did wear an engagement ring for years before the ceremony.
The two actors first met while working on the FX series Fargo in 2015 and started dating a year later. They still work together at times, most recently in the 2021 film The Power of the Dog, for which they both received their first Oscar nominations.
Here’s their complete relationship timeline from meeting to marriage.
When the two met on set, Dunst was still dating Garrett Hedlund. However, she and Plemons had immediate creative chemistry.
In 2021, she told the LA Times, “We fell in love creatively first. He was like a creative soul mate to me and the way we both work. On Fargo, I knew after two weeks. I didn’t remember saying this, but one of my best friends told me that I said to her that ‘I will know this man for the rest of my life. I just know it.’ Just because I felt such an immediate connection.”
In a profile of Plemons by the New York Times in 2020, they wrote of the couple’s early time together, “They often stayed up late running lines with each other, a level of dedication that had been drummed into them from a lifetime spent in the entertainment industry.”
During PaleyFest New York, Plemons praised his co-star and said of working with her, “It was a gift… I loved Kirsten’s work for a long time, and I was really excited once I’d met her, and she’s a great person, and we’re both actors that just have fun with the material.”
With the rest of the Fargo cast, Dunst and Plemons attended the 21st Annual Critics’ Choice Awards in Santa Monica, California.
The couple got together around this time, according to Dunst when speaking to the New York Times.
“It was one of those connections where you just know,” she said. “But we’re also very respectful people and were mindful of the fact that we were working together intensely. After we were done with the show, we’d FaceTime now and then, and I just missed him. I missed being around him. And he did, too. We didn’t get together until the following March, when we’d had the time to realize how much we missed each other and how much we wanted to be in each others’ lives.”
The couple was spotted kissing behind a fence in Los Angeles about a month after Dunst’s split with Hedlund was confirmed.
They did not confirm their relationship, but Dunst shouted out Plemons’ new film at the time, Other People, on Instagram, writing, “I LOVED this movie #otherpeople opens Sept 9th.”
Later that month, they arrived separately at the Emmys, each nominated for Fargo. A source told E! News at the time that they got a bit handsy, adding Dunst “leaned into Jesse and very passionately kissed him on the lips after she caressed his cheek very affectionately.”
They seemed “to be very much a couple” and remained “stuck to each other’s sides all night.”
Dunst was spotted in January wearing a piece of jewelry that sure looked like an engagement ring, with Page Six confirming they became engaged over Golden Globes weekend. They were each seen separately at Paris Fashion Week soon after, with Dunst wearing the ring to the Ralph & Russo show. Then, Dunst was seen at the 28th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival Film Awards Gala with her ring again.
Their first official appearance as a couple was at the 2017 Film Independent Spirit Awards.
On the red carpet at the 2017 Oscars that month, E! asked Dunst about a possible wedding and she replied, “We have a time frame, but that’s private!”
Dunst’s movie The Beguiled premiered at the 70th annual Cannes Film Festival and Plemons was by her side.
A few days later, they headed to Florence, Italy, for the Gucci Cruise 2018 fashion show.
That month, Dunst was interviewed by Jimmy Fallon, and when asked about her relationship, she replied, “You’re making me nervous!”
“I’ve got to keep things private a little bit. We got together a year afterwards. We became really good friends first,” she continued. “You’re like, ‘Oh, I really love this person. I love hanging out with him.’”
Talking to Marie Claire UK for their July cover story, Dunst said she was ready to “have babies and chill.”
“I wasn’t one of those ‘I need a baby!’ people until my goddaughter was born,” she admitted. “I love her so much. That love is just like… you can’t experience that unless you have a kid. I put her to bed last night, and she woke up this morning and said to her mom, ‘Where’s Kiki?’ I just love that love. That’s what I want.”
There were pregnancy rumors when Dunst’s low-key baby bump was revealed at the 2017 Guggenheim International Gala.
In January, they went official with a pregnancy announcement in a photoshoot with Rodarte.
She later told Net-a-Porter, “I thought I would have a hard time getting pregnant, but it was a surprise. If I hadn’t met Jesse, I would have frozen my eggs. [But] it feels like I lucked out.”
On May 3, 2018, the couple welcomed their first son, Ennis Howard Plemons.
Dunst and Plemons attended the 70th Emmy Awards together, and Dunst posted a rare image of both her and her fiancé, wandering around in the background of the telecast.
“couldn’t find our seats,” she joked in the caption.
Dunst was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and Plemons said at the ceremony, “Aside from the brilliant actor you are, I have also had the even greater pleasure of getting to know you as a person outside of work—KiKi or Keeks. Seeing the kind of mother and wife, daughter, sister, friend and cohort you are is why I and all of your friends and everyone else are here today and why we all love you.”
Though he called her “wife,” they were not yet married.
In an interview with Net-a-Porter, Dunst joked about their delay in planning a ceremony.
“We’re about as married as you can get,” she said. “We have a kid together. My mom was like, ‘But when are you guys getting married?’ And I said, ‘Mom, I’m not going to get married when I’m pregnant. I want to have fun and have a drink. I mean, we’re paying for this wedding. I’m paying for the bar! I want to enjoy it.’ [My mom is] kind of old-school in that way.”
The couple started filming their Academy Award-nominated movie The Power of the Dog in 2020, which was shut down by the COVID-19 outbreak. The couple ended up living in new Zealand to finish the movie after quarantining.
Of their time in the country, Dunst said, “We wanted to get out of the city, out of Auckland, so we rented a house for our son to have some grass to run around on. There’s horses around here. And we have two old cats living with us, one of whom, Sid, brings us a mouse every night. Last night, Jesse and I were sitting outside, and he brings a full rabbit.”
Dunst told The Hollywood Reporter, “Thank God I had Jesse on set, to be honest. I thought about that, like, at least we had lunch together in the trailer, and there was a reprieve and we’d ride home together. I could say whatever. I had him.”
They announced their second pregnancy with another Rodarte shoot.
“Getting pregnant during lockdown was good for me mentally because I had to take care of myself, and I had something to look forward to. But, it was also scary and really isolating. Your kids are affected by it too. It hurts you as a parent to see your kid in a mask going to school. But also, he had both of us every day and we got to hang out together. It’s so wild what we all went through in different ways and what we’re still going through,” she told Vogue.
In May, they welcomed their second son, James Robert.
Dunst shared a rare glimpse into their early friendship with a clip from filming Fargo.
Press began in November 2021 for their movie directed by Jane Campion. The Power of the Dog. also stars Benedict Cumberbatch.
“Jesse and I were lucky we were doing a movie together,” Dunst said. “We had each other through this whole thing, to laugh with, to bitch with.”
She also told the Hollywood Reporter that she hoped to work with him again.
“We actually talked to [producer] Tanya Seghatchian about what Jesse and I should do next,” she said. “We have some ideas, and Jesse and I definitely want to do another project. He’s my favorite actor to work with.”
Plemons agreed, saying to People, “I don’t wanna do another project without [Kirsten]. It’s just the best. We fell in love creatively first on Fargo, just immediately trusted each other. I’m constantly amazed by what she brings. She just operates from such a deep place in her soul.”
While doing press, she appeared again on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and talked a bit about her seven-month-old son, James.
“We call him Big Kahuna,” she said. “He’s like 22 pounds for a 7 month old?! My wrist is killing me! All he wants to do is bounce, walk, be like his brother and walk around. He just wants to walk and run, he doesn’t even know what crawling is.”
She also said the wedding hadn’t yet happened, adding, “I just kept getting pregnant and I kind of want to enjoy my wedding. I just want to be able to drink and have fun.”
Plemons and Dunst found out they’re each nominated in categories for The Power of the Dog, in Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress.
“So Eric Kranzler, my manager, calls me,” Dunst told Variety about the moment they were told. “I’m watching the feed on my phone because my kids are watching cartoons and Jesse is at work. He had to go to work super early today. [Eric] called me, and he said I was nominated, so I’m crying with my kids. They’re like, ‘Why the hell is mom crying?’ [Eric] calls me back, and meanwhile I’m in the throes, talking to my mom or whatever. He was like, ‘Jesse just …’ And I started screaming and I hung up the phone. Then Megan, one of my publicists, called me because she’s trying to tell me and I just screamed at her. Then I called Jesse, and I was the first person to tell him, and he was a little shell shocked. I mean, it’s just so crazy to be a couple and have our first nominations together. It’s like a storybook. You know what I mean? It’s so weird. It’s amazing.”
That same month, Dunst said her life at home as a mom might be her hardest gig.
“Being at home with your children is, to me, the hardest job in the world. Jesse says I’m a great mother, so that’s all I care about,” she said. “But it’s so exhausting. It feels like Groundhog Day: You’re in a robe all day, and you never have time to do anything for yourself.”
Director Jane Campion mentioned the couple during her acceptance speech at the Oscars, saying, “Kirsten Dunst, you’re a doll. Jesse Plemons is the cat that’s still licking his lips for being with you.”
The big wedding finally happened on July 8, 2022, at the GoldenEye resort in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. A rep confirmed the marriage to Page Six, saying, “I can just confirmed they got married. No other details will be given.”
That’s the big news, folks.
The couple attended Paris Fashion Week as a married couple for the first time.
Dunst joined Plemons for the premiere of his new HBO Max show, Love & Death.
“As soon as there’s a script or a potential project that we’re deciding whether or not to do, we’re usually just pestering the other one to read the script so they can give their input,” Plemons said of picking the show and discussing it with his wife. “I respect her opinion so much, and so I’m always curious to know what she thinks. She’s very, very smart and just has such great instincts and taste. I would say almost everything, we’re talking it out with each other.”
The couple went to Cannes, where Plemons’ film Killers of the Flower Moon premiered to wide acclaim.
They enjoyed the sights in Cannes afterwards.
Aimée Lutkin is the weekend editor at ELLE.com. Her writing has appeared in Jezebel, Glamour, Marie Claire and more. Her first book, The Lonely Hunter, will be released by Dial Press in February 2022.