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Who Is Hugh Dancy's Wife, Claire Danes? Her Roles from Romeo + Juliet to Homeland

The Emmy-award winning actress's first television role was on Law & Order, on which her husband now stars.

By Jessica White

Behind every successful man, stands an amazing woman — and, in the case of Law & Order star Hugh Dancy, it's his wife of over a decade, Claire Danes.  

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Watch Law & Order Thursdays at 8/7c on NBC and next day on Peacock

Many have come to love Dancy for his roles as Assistant District Attorney Nolan Price, but Danes is an accomplished film and television star who has been playing memorable characters since she was a teenager. In a fun coincidence, she made her acting debut in a 1992 episode of Law & Order

RELATED: Hugh Dancy Can't Believe His Wife Claire Danes' Dramatic 1992 Law & Order Episode

But, from there, Danes appeared on some pivotal movies and television shows, from My So-Called Life and Romeo + Juliet to Homeland and Little Women.

 Claire Danes on Law & Order in 1992

Claire Danes appears in Season 3 Episode 1 of Law & Order.

At the dawn of her acting career, Danes appeared as a teenage murderer named Tracy Brandt in Law & Order Season 3 premiere ("Skin Deep"). She was 13 years old at the time.

RELATED: Celebrities Who Appeared on Law & Order Before They Were Famous

Dancy was treated to a snippet of his wife's 1992 performance during a 2022 interview with TODAY, where the sociopath teenager is seen in jail, playing innocent. Dancy was delighted by the nostalgic throwback, but couldn't deny his ADA instincts. 

"She's guilty as sin, clearly," Dancy teased. 

Claire Danes in My So-Called Life

Claire Danes appears as Angela Chase in My So-Called Life.

The project that skyrocketed Danes to fame was her role as Angela Chase in the 1994 teen drama series My So-Called Life.

She starred in each episode of the one-season series as the 15-year-old high schooler tasked with navigating the many challenges of growing up.

Danes' performance in My So-Called Life scored her a 1995 Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Television Series and also gifted the actress with her first-ever Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. 

Claire Danes' Early Movie Roles: From Little Women to Romeo + Juliet

Claire Danes is surprised as Leonardo DiCaprio takes her hand to kiss in scene from the film 'Romeo + Juliet', 1996.

Danes' next big break came when she was cast as the tragic Beth March in the 1994 adaptation of Little Women, starring alongside Winona Ryder, Trini Alvarado, Kirsten Dunst, and Christian Bale. 

After Little Women, she was cast as the young version of Anne Bancroft's Glady Joe in the 1995's How to Make an American Quilt (which also starred Winona Ryder) and the seasonal classic Home for the Holidays, joining an ensemble cast including Holly Hunter, Robert Downey Jr., Anne Bancroft, Charles Durning, and Law & Order: Organized Crime baddie Dylan McDermott.

RELATED: The Scariest Villains on Law & Order: Organized Crime

After starring in the 1996 films I Love You, I Love You Not and To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday, Danes proceeded to take on one of the most classic characters in British literature.

In 1996, Danes starred as Juliet opposite Leonardo DiCaprio's Romeo in Baz Luhrmann's epic reimagining of Shakespeare's beloved Romeo + Juliet

She then appeared 1997 film U Turn with Billy Bob Thornton, Jennifer Lopez, Joaquin Phoenix, and Jon Voight. The same year, Danes teamed up with Voight  in the legal drama The Rainmaker alongside Matt Damon and provided the voice of the wolf-riding hero San in the English dub of Hayao Miyazaki's Princess Mononoke

After 1998 brought Danes a standout role as Cosette in Les Misérables, she appeared in the 1999 action thriller The Mod Squad as Julie Barnes and then starred alongside Kate Beckinsale in the drama Brokedown Palace.

RELATED: Everything to Know About Law & Order Season 23

She took a two-year hiatus in 1998 to study psychology at Yale University before she chose to continue her acting career (via IMDb).

 Claire Danes' Later Films Roles: From Terminator 3 to Stardust

Claire Danes plays the titular role of Temple Grandin in Temple Grandin.

Danes hit the ground with her return to the camera, starring in 2002's Igby Goes Down with Kieran Culkin, Jeff Goldblum, and Susan Sarandon and then joining The Hours with Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, and Nicole Kidman.

2003 brought fans of Danes two must-watch films: It's All About Love, appearing alongside her U Turn co-star Joaquin Phoenix; and Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines as Kate Brewster opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger. The following year, Danes starred in the romantic period drama Stage Beauty as Margaret Hughes, the famous English actress who revolutionized female representation on 17th-century stages.

Danes continued to garner critical acclaim with her 2005 roles in Shopgirl and The Family Stone. Then, she and Dancy met after appearing in the historical drama Evening, after which she starred in the thriller The Flock in 2007. The same year, Danes took on the epic role of the shooting star-turned-human Yvaine in the fantasy adventure film Stardust, appearing alongside Charlie Cox, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Robert De Niro. 

Danes' other notable film credits include 2008's Me and Orson Welles, the 2013 dramedy As Cool as I Am, and the 2017 comedy-drama Brigsby Bear (with Star Wars legend Mark Hamill and Saturday Night Live alums Kyle Mooney and Andy Samberg). She also appeared in the 2018 drama A Kid Like Jake with Jim Parsons, Priyanka Chopra, and Octavia Spencer.

Claire Danes' Later TV Roles, From Temple Grandin to Homeland

Claire Danes appears in an episode of Homeland.

One of Danes' most iconic roles was in the 2010 made-for-TV biographical drama Temple Grandin. Danes played the titular Grandin, an acclaimed academic and animal behaviorist with autism who made massive innovations in the humane treatment of livestock for slaughter. Following her captivating performance, Danes won the 2010 Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie. 

Danes then starred in 96 episodes of Homeland as Carrie Mathison, a CIA officer with bipolar disorder who was dead-set on locating an American prisoner of war she believed was turned by al-Qaeda, played by Damian Lewis. She appeared on the show from 2011 through 2020 opposite Mandy Patinkin, who played Saul Berenson. Danes won two consecutive Emmy Awards for her performance. 

RELATED: Where You Can Watch Law & Order on NBC

Following her celebrated performance in Homeland, Danes made several television guest appearances, including a 2015 episode of Master of None and a 2017 episode of Portlandia. In recent years, Danes has starred in several must-watch miniseries, including 2022's The Essex Serpent with Tom Hiddleston, Fleishman Is in Trouble alongside Jesse Eisenberg and Adam Brody, and 2023's Full Circle, directed by Steven Soderbergh.

Her role in Fleishman Is in Trouble earned Danes yet another Emmy nomination. 

When did Claire Danes and Hugh Dancy get married?

Danes and Dancy meeting while filming the 2007 romantic drama Evening and began dating soon after. The couple got engaged in February 2009, tying the knot in September 2000 in a private ceremony in France, according to People.

"I like marriage. I feel very secure," Danes told The Sun in 2012. "It helps when you are in love with the person you are married to. I do sometimes look at him and think: 'You are really handsome.' He keeps me sane and happy."

The couple have three children — two sons and a young girl born in 2023, as reported by TODAY).

Claire Danes and Hugh Dancy attend the "Full Circle" premiere during the 2023 Tribeca Festival at BMCC Theater on June 11, 2023 in New York City.

Claire Danes' Broadway Roles and Other Projects

Boyd Gaines, Claire Daines, Jefferson Mays, and the cast of "Pygmalion" take a bow at the curtain call for the Broadway Play "Pygmalion"

Danes embraced a love for the stage as a young performer, having been cast in the off-Broadway production of The Vagina Monologues in 2000,  alongside Jennifer Lewis and Mary McDonnell. In 2007, Danes made her Broadway debut as Eliza Doolittle in the revival of Pygmalion (not to be confused with the musical adaptation of the play, My Fair Lady).

Aside from her impressive theatrical tenure, Danes also lent her angelic voice to the audiobook recording of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, earning her the 2013 Audie Award for fiction.

Claire Danes' Awards, including Her Hollywood Walk of Fame Star

Claire Danes accepts her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on September 24, 2015 in Hollywood, California.

Danes has won over 40 award and earned 65 nominations, through she won her first Emmy in 2010 for her titular role in Temple Grandin. Her role as Homeland's Carrie Mathison earned her five nominations for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, with her taking home the honor in 2012 and 2013. 

She's also won four Golden Globes, four Satellite Awards, two Screen Actor Guild Awards, a Critics Choice Award, and several other prestigious nods. In September 2015, Danes was honored with the 2,559th star on the prestigious Hollywood Walk of Fame