Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons: The story of Hollywood’s most discreet power couple

After falling in love while filming ‘Fargo’ and earning two Oscar nominations for ‘The Power of the Dog’, the actors now co-star in the thriller ‘Civil War.’ Together since 2016 and parents of two children, they have been able to reconcile a low profile with professional success

Kirsten Dunst y Jesse Plemons
Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemmons at the Oscars, on March 10, 2024, in Hollywood (California).Jeff Kravitz (FilmMagic/ Getty Images)

They may not awaken the passions of a generation like Zendaya and Tom Holland, make as many headlines as Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck or dazzle on the red carpet in the style of Amal and George Clooney, but very few can boast of their success and prestige. In less than a decade, actors Kirsten Dunst, 41, and Jesse Plemons, 36, have achieved a privileged position on the list of Hollywood power couples, showing that it’s possible to maintain a low profile and have a professional career as strong as their relationship. Their latest move together is testament to this: the controversial film Civil War debuted at No. 1 at the U.S. box office. In this dystopian drama, Dunst plays a photojournalist who tours a United States mired in a bloody civil war, while Plemons plays a violent soldier. A small role, but so disturbing that the actor didn’t want to join the project until his wife asked him to.

Civil War is the third project that the couple have starred in together. Both Dunst and Plemons were both nominated for their role in the second season of the acclaimed television adaptation of Fargo, and they both received Oscar nominations for the also acclaimed western The Power of the Dog. While Dunst became a Hollywood icon at a very young age, her husband gradually rose to fame as a key supporting actor, becoming a stamp of quality. In the last decade, Plemons has worked seven films nominated for the Oscar for best picture, a fact that places him among the company of cinema legends such as Marlon Brando and Katharine Hepburn. The controversy surrounding Civil War may make it difficult for them to secure more nominations, but the critics are unanimous: their performances are the best of the film.

Dunst and Plemon’s love story was born in the hallways of an airport in 2015, while they were waiting for the plane that would take them to the Canadian city of Calgary to begin filming Fargo. Plemons, who rose to global fame thanks to his work in the series Breaking Bad, remembers that he heard his future wife shout his name while he was trying to ease his nervousness about the project by looking at magazines at a store in the terminal. “Without too many words being exchanged, I looked into her eyes and saw the beautiful, sweet, unguarded and welcoming human being that she is. It was truly in an instant. Immediately my nerves and anxiety dissolved and I knew that everything was going to be alright,” he recalled in 2019, when Dunst was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Jesse Plemons and Kirsten Dunst during the Hollywood Walk of Fame Ceremony, in 2019.
Jesse Plemons and Kirsten Dunst during the Hollywood Walk of Fame Ceremony, in 2019.Gregg DeGuire (FilmMagic/Getty Images)

The Spider-Man actress and muse of Sofia Coppola confirmed that there was an instant connection: “We fell in love creatively first,” she told the LA Times in 2021. “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.’”

After filming for Fargo ended in the fall of that year, they were apart for a few months and at the beginning of spring, they began dating. In 2018, they welcomed their first child, Ennis, and three years later, a second child called James. Both pregnancies were confirmed to the press in unique style: the first as part of a campaign by the fashion brand Rodarte, of which the actress is an ambassador; and the second, in a report for W magazine photographed by Coppola herself also featuring Rodarte.

Parenthood and then the Covid-19 pandemic delayed their wedding plans, but in July 2022, they finally said “I do” in Jamaica. When they don’t need to be in Los Angeles for work, the couple spends most of their time in a small Texas town, on the family ranch where Plemons grew up, surrounded by horses. Although the website Celebrity Net Worth estimates that they have a joint fortune of more than $40 million, they have distanced themselves from Hollywood’s clichés of glamour and ostentation. They are rarely seen at public events, have no close friends in the industry, and boast an analog lifestyle that they have instilled in their children. “We’ve got record players,” Dunst told Variety magazine in April. “We’re just not a ‘Siri, play whatever’ household. Our kids don’t have iPads either. If they want to use an iPad on the plane, it’s Dad’s iPad. And we’re not phone-at-restaurant kind of people.” When asked about the hottest movies in theaters, she says that she only has time to see one, Paw Patrol.

Although success came earlier to Dunst, who was catapulted to fame by kissing Brad Pitt at just 11 years old in Interview with the Vampire (1994), the couple’s lives have followed parallel paths. Both Dunst and Plemons come from small towns, began working at a very early age, and have tried to mix roles in blockbuster movies with independent projects. They are atypical stars, lacking Hollywood’s usual artifices and mannerisms, who have no qualms about turning a promotional interview into a scathing criticism of the movie mecca.

The couple maintains a low profile. In the image, the two are seen shopping in Los Angeles in 2018.
The couple maintains a low profile. In the image, the two are seen shopping in Los Angeles in 2018.BG015/Bauer-Griffin (GC Images/ Getty Images)

Dunst, for example, has spoken about how she was pressured to lose weight and fix her teeth to get “a perfect Barbie smile.” The actress also talked about her battle with depression at age 27, and complained of the ageism that continues to plague the movie industry. In the two years between filming Civil War and The Power of the Dog, Dunst did not set foot on a set because she was only offered roles playing “sad mothers.”

Plemons, for his part, rejects what any star is supposed to love: attention. The American edition of GQ magazine described him as “the worst schmoozer” in Hollywood, despite the fact that Martin Scorsese has said his “future is limitless.” The Texan, however, prefers to spend his days on the farm with Dunst and only goes to Los Angeles when it’s strictly necessary. As he told GQ: “I don’t have aspirations to, like, conquer Hollywood. Or the world. Or anything.”

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