David Schwimmer will forever be associated with his role as Ross on Friends. But what do we know about his private life? While fellow castmates have had personal struggles aired in public, Schwimmer has managed to keep the details of his life off-screen under lock and key. This includes dirt on his former marriage. Here’s what we do know about David Schwimmer’s ex-wife, Zoe Buckman, and the family they created.
Who Is David Schwimmer?
Actor David Schwimmer has always been quite serious about his profession. As a child raised in Hollywood, he was exposed to the industry at an early age. He had his first role at age 10 when he played the fairy godmother in a Jewish version of Cinderella. Three years later, he participated in a Shakespeare workshop led by legendary British actor Ian McKellan. In high school and college, he spent time at Northwestern University to study drama. It was there that he joined an improv group with Stephen Colbert.
Schwimmer returned to LA and founded his own theatre company immediately after earning his degree in theater and speech. He spent much of the 1980s as a struggling actor, but it wasn’t until the 90s that he scored regular bit parts on popular TV shows (L.A. Law, The Wonder Years, NYPD Blue).
1994 changed everything. That was the year Schwimmer was cast as Ross Geller on the sitcom Friends. The NBC series became a global phenomenon, and the actor earned a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for his role.
When Friends ended in 2004, Schwimmer went on to have a successful career. He starred in indie films, voiced the role of Melman in the Madagascar animated film series, and made his Broadway debut in Herman Wouk’s The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial. He also made his directorial debuts for the big screen (Run Fatboy Run) and stage (Fault Lines).
But his most acclaimed post-Friends achievement was his role as Robert Kardashian in the 2016 FX anthology series American Crime Story: The People v. O. J. Simpson. Schwimmer received a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for the performance. Most recently, the 54-year-old was cast in Intelligence, a new British sitcom.
Who Is Zoe Buckman?
Zoe Buckman is a multidisciplinary artist who was born on September 13, 1985 in Hackney, East London. Creativity runs in her blood: her father, Jennie Buckman, is an accomplished TV writer and the former head of acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts; her uncle, Peter Buckman, is a writer and literary agent.
In 2009, she graduated from the International Center of Photography. Her work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions around the globe. Buckman is currently a resident of Brooklyn, where her loft doubles as a studio and gallery for her work.
Buckman’s art is heavily inspired by feminism and hip-hop. Take her series “Heavy Rag”, which includes boxing gloves made of used wedding dresses, and punching bags made of quilting squares. “There’s that conversation between the hard and the soft and stereotypically feminine and stereotypically masculine,” she explained in an interview with 21c Museum Hotels. “My intention with those pieces is to convey this sense of tightness and being hemmed in or held back or repressed.”
For more on what inspires her, check out the whole interview:
David Schwimmer And Zoe Buckman’s Marriage
Schwimmer is rumored to have met Buckman in 2006 or early 2007 when he was in London to shoot Run Fatboy Run. At the time, Buckman was a waitress at a members-only hotspot The Cuckoo Club. She promptly packed her things and moved across the pond to continue her relationship with Schwimmer.
In October 2012, People revealed that the couple had secretly married four months earlier. Schwimmer was 42 at the time; Buckman was 24. The actor was committed to keeping the nuptials—and his personal life in general—under wraps. In a 2016 episode of the Awards Chatter podcast, he said, “The effect of celebrity … made me want to hide under a baseball cap and not be seen. And I realized after a while that I was no longer watching people. I was trying to hide.”
On May 11, 2011, Buckman gave birth to the couple’s first and only child, daughter Cleo Buckman Schwimmer. The family lived together in downtown Manhattan, but in April 2017, the husband and wife announced their separation. In a joint statement, they told Us:
“It is with great love, respect and friendship that we have decided to take some time apart while we determine the future of our relationship. Our priority is, of course, our daughter’s happiness and well-being during this challenging time, and so we ask for your support and respect for our privacy as we continue to raise her together and navigate this new chapter for our family.”
Given Schwimmer’s private nature, the public has no insight into the reason behind their split.
Zoe Buckman And David Schwimmer’s Relationship Now
Schwimmer and Buckman may no longer be a romantic pair, but they seem to remain excellent friends with shared priorities and interests. In 2020, they were spotted together at a Black Lives Matter march in New York City. Buckman described him in an Instagram post as “my comrade and co-parent.” Schwimmer re-posted the same pic from the event and added, “We’re no longer a couple, but @zoebuckman and I are parents of a nine year old, and fellow advocates for social justice and reform. We marched in honor of the countless black lives lost to racial violence.”
In an industry where splits can be messy, we’re glad to see that their conscious uncoupling comes with a happy ending.