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Who is Steven Spielberg's wife, Kate Capshaw?

“Steven and I are partners, and our life together is our production," the actor once said.
Steven Spielberg and wife Kate Capshaw.Angela Weiss / AFP via Getty Images

As director Steven Spielberg made cinematic history, he’s had one woman by his side: Kate Capshaw, whom he married in 1991.

Since their relationship began in the late 1980s, the couple has remained strong supporters of one another and the seven children they raise together.

Capshaw explained their dynamic in the The Spokesman-Review in 1995, saying, “We’re always pushing our own envelopes.”

“He operates his jet — a camera and a story. My jet is the family. I might not be comfortable pushing the limits in film the way he does, and he might not be as comfortable pushing the limits of our family. But I get to be the frontierswoman here, and he gets to be the frontiersman there,” she said.

Here’s what to know about the 69-year-old, born Kathleen Nail.

Both Capshaw and Spielberg were previously married

Kate Capshaw and Steven Spielberg
Kate Capshaw calls Steven Spielberg her partner in life.Axelle / Bauer-Griffin / FilmMagic

Before her more than 30-year relationship with Spielberg, Capshaw was previously married to Bob Capshaw, who was a high school principal at the time and is now a vice president at a trademark services firm, per his LinkedIn. In 1976, the couple welcomed Jessica Capshaw, who has achieved an acting career of her own. A year after moving to New York in 1978, the two divorced, per The Spokesman-Review.

Spielberg was married to actor Amy Irving from 1985 to 1989. They share a son, Max Spielberg.

Before she was an actor, she was a teacher

Before starting her acting career, Capshaw was first a special education teacher in Missouri.

“I think my interest in special education was prompted by some instinctual knowledge that we were all very different, that we all had special needs,” she told The Spokesman-Review

In a 1984 interview with Entertainment Tonight, she said that though she liked working with kids, she didn’t enjoy the actual teaching.

“The truth was that it wasn’t stimulating and I feel very guilty saying that, but it wasn’t for me,” she said in the interview. 

At first, she was told she wouldn’t make it in acting

In 1978, Capshaw moved to New York City with her family for a “change of scenery and opportunities,” she said in the Spokesman-Review interview.

Upon arriving in the city, Capshaw sought out her friend who was an agent, asking that he’d represent her, but the conversation didn’t go as planned.

“He said, ‘Oh Kate. You’re a little too old and parts are just not out there for your age group and you really should just go back to school,’” she told Entertainment Tonight of the conversation.

However, she eventually signed with Ford Model Agency before starting voice lessons and commercial gigs. The Spokesman-Review also noted that she spent six weeks on a soap opera. In February 1981, she scored the leading role in “A Little Sex,” a movie co-starring Tim Matheson that led to more film projects.

Capshaw met Spielberg through ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom’

Harrison Ford, Jonathan Ke Quan and Kate Capshaw in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, 1984.
Harrison Ford, Jonathan Ke Quan and Kate Capshaw in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, 1984.Alamy

Capshaw was cast in Spielberg’s 1984 movie “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” as Willie Scott. She also starred alongside 2023 Oscar nominee Ke Huy Quan.

It was her breakout role. She went on to appear in more movies in the '80s and '90s, like "Love Affair" (Katharine Hepburn's last movie), with her final acting credit being 1999.

Spielberg and Capshaw got married in 1991

According to The Spokesman-Review, Capshaw and Spielberg began living together in 1989, the same year he and Irving divorced. Capshaw converted to Judaism and the two married in 1991.

“Steven and I are partners, and our life together is our production, so to speak,” she said in The Spokesman-Review interview.

They raise 7 kids together

Steven Spielberg and family
Steven Spielberg and family attend the "Young Ones" Dinner And Party hosted by The Snow Lodge x Eveleigh on January 18, 2014 in Park City, Utah.Craig Barritt / Getty Images

When Spielberg and Capshaw got married, they each were already parents. Capshaw had her daughter Jessica and adopted son Theo; Spielberg had son Max.

Their family grew. Sasha Spielberg, who was born in 1990, was the couple’s first biological child. Two years later, they welcomed their second child, Sawyer Spielberg. Mikaela Spielberg was their second adopted child. They had Destry Allyn Spielberg in 1996.

Sawyer Spielberg, the couple's son, told Drew Barrymore his mom is the the reason he went into acting, and raved about her parenting.

“She’s been such an incredible mother and grandmother to my daughter, and they built such a strong bond during the pandemic and she’s got that incredible sensitivity and wisdom that she’s been passing down,” he said. “I’m very lucky and grateful that my daughter gets to have a grandmother and a grandfather like my parents.”