Actress Natalie Portman met dancer and choreographer Benjamin Millepied in 2009 while on set for her iconic role in Black Swan. He’d been hired to help her train as a convincing ballet dancer and to choreograph dance routines for the movie. They had chemistry pretty quickly into these training sessions, and started dating soon after shooting wrapped.
Nearly 15 years later, they have married and share two children, their son, Aleph, born in 2011, and a daughter, Amalia, welcomed in 2017. But in the summer of 2023, the news broke that Millepied had allegedly conducted an extra-marital affair. Portman has refused to comment on her private life but has been seen without her wedding ring. A source told People in June that they may still be working on repairing their relationship.
“He knows he made an enormous mistake, and he is doing all he can to get Natalie to forgive him and keep their family together,” they explained.
Here’s a complete timeline for Portman and Millepied’s relationship so far.
Portman said during a SiriusXM Town Hall interview that she started to fall in love with Millepied when he was teaching her to dance.
“I met my husband on it, so I think I was in, like, dreamland,” she said of Black Swan.
“We had a whole, like, he was teaching me to dance,” she continued. “You know, one of those romantic [stories]…It was definitely exciting and fun. It was beautiful. I don’t know about instant [love]. It was like I really got to know him and that was when it seemed like, ‘Oh, this is the person.’”
Rumors swirled early the next year before the movie premiered that Portman and Millepied were dating after they were spotted out going for meals in Venice and even walking Portman’s dog.
On October 7, 2010, Millepied performed as one of the principal dancers at the New York City Ballet Fall Gala. Portman was spotted at the event, but they didn’t walk the red carpet together.
They suddenly hard-launched their relationship at the end of the year, announcing that they were both engaged and expecting their first child. Jewelry designer Jamie Wolf described the conflict-free engagement ring to People, saying, “Ben was exceptionally thoughtful and dedicated and patient to make sure we had everything right. We wanted everything about the ring to speak to things that are important to Natalie.”
The engagement ring featured an antique diamond and recycled platinum.
In a rare statement, Portman said, “I have always kept my private life private, but I will say that I am indescribably happy and feel very grateful to have this experience.”
Millepied was Portman’s date at the 68th Annual Golden Globes on January 16, and they were very affectionate in public.
They went red carpet official after their engagement, walking together on Feb. 27, 2011, at the Academy Awards. Portman won Best Actress for her role in Black Swan that night and dedicated the win in part to her fiancé.
“To my love, Benjamin Millepied, who choreographed the film and has now given me my most important role of my life,” she said.
Their son Aleph was born on June 14, 2011.
The couple were married on Aug. 4, 2012, in Big Sur, California. They had a Jewish ceremony, exchanging vows under a chuppah. Portman wore a gown made by Rodarte. The event was star-studded, including guests like Macauley Culkin, Diane Sawyer, Ivanka Trump, and Jared Kushner.
The family moved to Paris for Millepied’s new job as the director of the Paris Opera Ballet. Portman told Marie Claire that she loves Los Angeles but was thrilled to get a chance to live in Paris.
“It’s one of the most exciting places to be in the world right now,” she said. “It’s really central in terms of the arts. It feels like things are happening in L.A., you know? New York is more where art is bought than where art is made. When Ben asked me if I wanted to go to Paris, I freaked. Everyone dreams of living in Paris.”
Two years later, Millepied left his position at the Paris Opera Ballet, and they returned. During an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Portman seemed happy to be back in Los Angeles.
“Everyone smiles a lot here,” she said. “It’s so nice. They’re very cool in France. I didn’t realize that I got used to it until I got here, and I was so surprised when I would get in an elevator, and someone would start a conversation. Or someone would smile at my child. I’d be like, ‘What a good person.’”
Portman appeared at the Venice Film Festival premiere for her movie Planetarium in a fitted white gown that revealed she was expecting a second child.
In October, Millepied shared details with Vanity Fair about how he and Portman balance their artistic careers in different fields.
“Ultimately I think as a couple, you automatically learn from one another, and hopefully feed each other in ways that are positive,” he said. “But I think, work … we keep very separate. I think that’s important.”
Their second child, a daughter named Amalia, was born on Feb. 22, 2017. Portman’s rep told People, “Mother and baby are happy and healthy.”
During the Vulture Festival in 2017, Us Weekly reported that Portman reflected on Black Swan and how it won her an Oscar and was where she found her husband.
“Yeah. The husband more,” she said, referring to which was more important. “It was really special, and making it was really wonderful and so fun. It was really incredible.”
Portman starred in Vox Lux, and Millepied came on board to choreograph the film’s dance routines. Her character is a pop star, so it was pretty important.
“My husband choreographed the performance that she has at the end … It was so fun. It was kind of like living out my childhood dreams of, like, being a pop star and having a microphone and then, you know, getting to work with my husband. which is always so fun,” she told ExtraTV.
Before Vox Lux premiered, Portman shared more about working with Millepied.
“It was really fun because I think he knows me so well, and what my strengths and weaknesses are in dancing, that he was really able to create choreography very seamlessly and quickly because we had very little time,” she said. “So it was very convenient that he knew me so well, and that he’s as talented as he is…Just to see the ease and the expertise that he has, and of course with different kinds of dance too, was really, really stunning.”
The family moved again in late 2020 to Australia so Portman could work on Thor: Love and Thunder.
The film premiered two years later, after they relocated back to Los Angeles. Millepied accompanied Portman to both the L.A. opening and the London premiere.
Millepied’s film Carmen premiered at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival, and Portman celebrated her husband on Instagram. She shared photos of them smiling at one another on the red carpet, writing in the caption, “So proud of @benjaminmillepied and the entire cast & crew behind #Carmen. I can’t wait for you all to see this beautiful film.”
Millepied shared in an interview with People that Portman helped him as he worked on the movie, which was his first feature-length directorial project.
“I think also being on set and hearing what ignites her creativity, [as] a director, was something that I had heard,” adding that she “informed a lot of things for me” and that they “tend to” like the same films.
A French outlet called Voici alleged that Milliepied had an affair with Camille Étienne, a 25-year-old climate activist. Portman supposedly knew the affair was over, but felt “humiliated,” a source told Us Weekly.
“Natalie believes Benjamin’s affair was a brief and stupid liaison that means nothing to him,” the insider said, adding that Portman was “willing to see if she’s capable of rebuilding her trust” so their children don’t “grow up in a broken home.”
A second source stated that Millepied “regrets” the affair, continuing, “Right now, they are talking and working on it together for the sake of their children.”
Later that summer, Millepied and Portman were seen at the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Sydney with their son, Aleph, in photos shared by the Daily Mail.
A source told Us Weekly, “After news of his affair came out, they’ve been trying to work on their marriage but are currently on the outs.”
In September, Portman and Millepied were in Paris with their children and not wearing their wedding rings.
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.