21 then and now photos of Sam Elliott and Katharine Ross that portray true Hollywood love story

Sam Elliott certainly has countless female fans around the world. But the Hollywood heartthrob has eyes for only one woman: his wife of three decades, Katharine Ross.

Indeed, Sam and Katharine’s loving relationship could be taken straight out of a Hollywood romance movie.

The two met when Katharine Ross landed the leading role in the 1969 film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Elliott, meanwhile, played a role he described as just a “shadow on the wall.”

Elliott was too shy to approach her at the time, telling : “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.”

Elliott was immediately taken by Ross, but it wasn’t until they met again on the set of The Legacy in 1978 that he finally dared interact with her.

The two hit it off immediately — and six years later, they were married.

In 1979, Ross divorced her then spouse and married Elliott in 1984.

Ross, who is five years older than Elliott, was married to her fourth husband at the time, while Elliott had never been married before.

Sam Elliott
Universal Pictures

The same year they married, Elliott and Ross welcomed their daughter, Cleo Rose, to the world.

After such a history of failed marriages, chances are that Ross couldn’t have felt so certain about how well her fifth (!) would go — but three decades later she can be sure she made the right decision.

“We have a common sensibility, but we also work at being together. You work past the s–t; you don’t walk away from it. That’s how relationships last,” Elliott says.

Elliott and Ross even got to fulfill a dream they’d had during their relationship: to actually share the screen as husband and wife. The managed to do that twice: in The Hero as well as Love Letters, the latter which Elliott calls a highlight of his career.

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So how does Elliott explain the couple’s success?

“Through mutual love and a mutual respect,” he says, adding that Ross is “a pretty stable girl who has been around the block.”

At the end of the day, determination is key: “There are peaks and valleys like everything else, but you have to push on,” Elliott told the 

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Here are Elliott and Ross recently, looking as glamorous as ever, at the 91st Acadamy Awards. Elliott was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for A Star Is Born.

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What an amazing couple that seems so genuinely happy and in love! Share to wish Sam Elliott and Katharine Ross another 30 years of love and success.

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