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NBC Insider Apples Never Fall

All About Annette Bening and Warren Beatty’s Iconic Hollywood Love Story

Annette Bening — starring in the upcoming Peacock series Apples Never Fall — shares four adult children with the legendary actor she married in 1992. 

By Jax Miller

It was a match made in Hollywood for Apples Never Fall star Annette Bening and her husband, a coupling as iconic as Bening’s dazzling career.

Bening married legendary actor Warren Beatty in 1992 and they have since graced many a red carpet over the decades, putting their Hollywood love story on full display. Much like the Oscar-nominated actress’ role as  Joy Delaney in Apples Never Fall — a new Peacock series premiering March 14, 2024 — the pair share four adult children today.

Here's how they became one of Hollywood’s most successful couples and their secret to a long-lasting marriage.

How did Annette Bening and Warren Beatty meet?

In 1990, the stars didn’t align for the Bening and her Oscar-winning beau. Beatty was directing (and starring) in the popular film Dick Tracy and Bening reportedly had to back out of a casting decision last minute, according to Entertainment Weekly. Bening must have made quite the impression because just one year later, Beatty suggested Bening to director Barry Levinson when casting for Bugsy, a biopic based on the real-life 1940s mobster Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel with Beatty as the titular character.

“When I met Annette over lunch for Bugsy, I felt immediately that this was going to change my life,” said Beatty. “I remember losing interest in the garlic chicken I was eating within 20 seconds. And the garlic chicken had been very good!”

Bening would go on to play Bugsy’s leading lady, Virginia Hill, which earned the actress her first of many Golden Globe nominations.

Annette Bening and Warren Beatty on the red carpet for AARP The Magazine's 19th Annual Movies For Grownups Awards

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While it was love at first sight for Beatty, that wasn’t the case for Bening, as she recalled on The Drew Barrymore Show in January 2024. Bening planned to meet Beatty in a strictly professional capacity, saying she didn’t think it would turn into “a thing."

“They hired me to play the woman in the movie, and we fell in love,” Bening told Barrymore. “For me, I have to be honest, I was going to meet him, and he was incredibly intelligent. That was honestly the most — [that was] the biggest aphrodisiac.”

Bening added that Beatty’s good looks certainly didn’t hinder his pursuit.

Before meeting for lunch, Beatty promised himself he wouldn’t make moves on Bening. He cited lessons learned from his reputation as a Hollywood playboy and having off-screen romances with several of his female costars, including Diane Keaton, Julie Christie, and Madonna.

“Towards the end of [filming Bugsy], I said, ‘Should we have dinner together?’” Beatty told EW. “I think there was a moment of hesitation on her part. The rule was broken.”

Bening landed the role as Beatty’s main squeeze, and they ultimately married in 1992.

“I think marriage is like the greatest thing and greatest challenge, to make it all work and stay together, and that is the thing that I am so, so proud of with us,” the American Beauty actress told Barrymore.

Weeks after marrying, Bening and Beatty held hands at the 64th Academy Awards, where Bugsy was nominated for 10 Oscars, and Bening presented the award for Best Art Direction.

Who are Annete Bening and Warren Beatty's kids?

Warren Beaty and Annette Bening have four children, Stephan Ira Beatty, Benjamin Beatty, Isabel Beatty, and Ella Beatty.

Bening was skyrocketing to success in the early ’90s when, shortly after Bugsy’s release, Bening became pregnant with her and Beatty’s first child. At the time, she’d won the role as the black latex-ed, whip-wielding villain Catwoman in Batman Returns (famously played by Michelle Pfeiffer) but eventually dropped out.

“It’s a great part. I’m very flattered that Michelle Pfeiffer is doing it, and I’m sure she will be terrific,” Bening said in a 1991 interview with Entertainment Tonight. “I loved the role. I loved the script, but it was really no contest in terms of what was more important to me.”

Funny enough, Pfeiffer said she and Bening were “tag-teaming” in that she was expected to play Virginia Hill in Bugsy. Had there not been “this weird synchronicity” between the women, Bening and Beatty meeting “wouldn’t have happened,” Pfeiffer told Interview Magazine in 2017.

In January 1992, a few months before Batman Returns’ release, Bening and Beatty welcomed a son, Stephen Ira Beatty. 

Bening gave birth to their second child, Benjamin Beatty, in August 1994, shortly before the release of the film Love Affair, starring the married couple.

Annette Bening and her husband, Warren Beatty, attend the 44th Annual Directors Guild of America Awards after party

At the time, famed film critic Roger Ebert, in a 1994 interview with Bening and Beatty, touched on the “inescapable autobiographical parallels” between Love Affair’s main character of a womanizer meeting the love of his life.

“She just fascinates me; she brings so much to the party,” Beatty said of Bening. “She has a kind of fearlessness about her that makes her not be afraid to jump into something as shamelessly romantic as this movie.”

They welcomed their third child, Isabel Beatty, in January 1997 and their fourth, Ella Beatty, in April 2000.

Like Bening, Beatty agreed that family came over fame, as he told PEOPLE in 2017.

“That’s the biggest thing that ever happened to me — and their mother,” Beatty said. “That’s bigger than fame, and it came not a moment too soon.”

Beatty also discussed their much-needed privacy when bringing children into the mix.

“It is a burden, I think, to have two parents that are well-known, so I completely respect their privacy,” Beatty continued. “I could go on and on and on and on talking about them because they’re brilliant and fun. But no, I think you have to give them a break, and they have their privacy.”

Beatty — known for his starring roles in Bonnie and Clyde, Heaven Can Wait, and Reds — famously stepped out of the spotlight to focus on his family, according to Variety. He had no regrets about not taking on any new film projects between 2001 and 2016.

“Something happened called ‘living,’” said the actor. “That’s what happened.

Once the kids were mostly grown, Beatty made a Hollywood comeback, playing the eccentric Howard Hughes in 2016’s Rules Don’t Apply.

“I have four children, and any one of them is more interesting than any 12 movies I’ve done,” Beatty told PEOPLE. “I had my life before them and my life since them.”

When accepting the Kirk Douglas Award at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival in 2016, he gushed about life as a husband and father, per Variety.

“Twenty-five years ago, I brilliantly convinced the world’s best actress to marry me,” said Beatty. “I became a devoted husband and father, and I have to say that it has given me the most enthralling years of my life with our four fantastic kids.”

Annette Bening and Warren Beatty's Marriage Secrets

In 2019, Us Weekly asked the power couple about their secret to a long and healthy marriage in Hollywood.

“There is no secret, as anyone who’s been married knows,” said Bening. “We have an incredible family; we have beautiful children. We’ve been through a lot. It’s the center of our life. It’s the most important thing. It’s everything.”

“I don’t think it’s a secret,” Beatty echoed before raving about his wife’s performance in Arthur Miller’s Broadway play, All My Sons, adding, “I don’t think there’s a finer actress.”

It’s been more than 30 years since Bening and Beatty tied the knot, proving they know a thing or two about relationship goals.

Bening continues to be the apple of Warren Beatty’s eye, and soon she’ll be starring as Joy Delaney in Peacock’s Apples Never Fall, based on the Liane Moriarty novel of the same name.

Bening plays Joy Delaney, who, with her husband, Stan (Sam Neill), has just sold their successful Florida tennis academy in the hope of enjoying the quiet years of retirement. But things get shaken up when an injured woman shows up on their doorstep, and soon, dark family secrets involving the pair’s adult children will be revealed.

Watch all seven episodes of Apples Never Fall, premiering March 14, 2024, exclusively on Peacock.