In 2003, actor Claire Danes found herself involved in a controversial relationship. The then-24-year-old Romeo + Juliet star had started dating Tony nominee Billy Crudup, who had just called it quits from his girlfriend of eight years, Mary Louise Parker.
While celebrity breakups are common in Hollywood, Crudup and Parker’s split took the industry by storm because the Weeds actor was pregnant with their son, William, at the time. Though both actors remained mum on the drama surrounding their breakup in the following years, Parker got candid about the split in 2015, sharing how deeply Crudup’s actions affected her in her memoir, Dear Mr. You.
Billy Crudup dumped a then-pregnant Mary Louise Parker for Claire Danes
In 1996, Crudup and Parker began dating and made it seem like they would be together forever.
However, in 2003, the Without Limits star left Parker while she was seven months pregnant to pursue a romance with actor Claire Danes, whom he met on the set of their film, Stage Beauty.
In their years following their split, neither actor addressed the controversial breakup. But in 2015, Danes opened up about what it was like to be the other woman while appearing on Howard Stern’s SiriusXM radio show.
“I was just in love with him and needed to explore that and I was 24,” she said. “I didn’t quite know what those consequences would be.”
While receiving judgment from the public was a terrifying experience for the Homeland actor, she eventually made peace with the situation.
“It’s okay,” she added. “I went through it.”
The split caused Mary Louise Parker to have an emotional breakdown
Though Parker kept quiet about the affair at first, she candidly addressed the aftermath of her split from Crudup in her 2015 memoir, Dear Mr. You.
Per Us Weekly, Parker’s book incorporates 34 separate letters to various men she’s encountered in her life, including “Dear Risk Teacher,” “Dear NASA,” and “Dear Mr. You.”
Although she didn’t directly mention Crudup in the dozens of letters she penned, The West Wing star addressed her devastating breakup from the father of her child in the poetic essay entitled “Dear Mr. Cabdriver.”
In the piece, Parker recalls an incident in which she was pregnant and driving around Manhattan with a cab driver who had gotten lost en route to her doctor’s appointment.
Stressed out, she began to swear at the driver, who stopped and asked her to refrain from shouting. When she continued, the driver asked her to get out, telling her, “I don’t want you anymore.”
The exchange then took an emotional turn when Parker replied with, “No one does,” before assuring him, “My life is worse than yours in this moment.
“I am alone. Look, see? I am pregnant and alone. It hurts to even breathe,” she continued. “I’m trying to get through it but I’m by myself every night and every morning and no one, nothing helps. I’m sorry I yelled. I can’t get my shoes on anymore. Please, I know I am awful, it’s been made clear but look at me please. Look at me.”
Despite her misfortune at the time, Parker still felt terrible about her actions and apologized to the driver in her memoir.
“I don’t know what you thought, if you had a daughter or a wife or if my little drama was a hangnail compared to your life,” she writes. “What I wish I could tell you is that I know it may have been. I don’t know what happened to you that morning, or that year, or when you were six. I didn’t know your tragedy or hardship and it was grossly unfair of me to compare my life to yours. I am aware of my good fortune. What I don’t have to struggle for that makes my life easier than most. I have thought of you and know you wouldn’t remember me but I am sorry.”
She added, “I realize now that whatever I was walking through was part of my life, one piece of a bigger story that is mostly beautiful.”
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