Patrick met Jillian when he was a client at her hair salon and knew he was in love from “the moment I saw her,” he admitted to People in November 2023.
“I went in where she was working, and I looked across the room at her and was blown away,” the actor shared. Things between the duo turned romantic in 1997. They wed two years later and have since welcomed three kids together.
While the longtime couple have kept their relationship primarily under the radar, Patrick and Jillian made headlines in 2015 when she filed for divorce. The actor left his role as Dr. Derek Shepherd on Grey’s Anatomy in April of that year and later revealed that his departure came in part so that he could spend more time with his family.
The Dempseys eventually called off their split, and Patrick later explained how he and Jillian had reconciled.
“Our marriage was not something I was prepared to let go of,” he told People in September 2016. “I didn’t feel like we had done all the work. And we both wanted to do that work. That’s where it started.”
The duo attended “very important” couples counseling so they could “work on our issues and improve,” he recalled. “We wanted to be role models for our kids like, ‘OK, if you have differences, you can work them out.’”
Keep scrolling for a timeline of Patrick and Jillian’s longtime romance:
Patrick and Jillian officially tied the knot.
The couple welcomed their first child together, Talula Fyfe.
Patrick and Jillian welcomed twin boys: Darby Galen and Sullivan Patrick.
Jillian filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences as the reason for the split. She sought spousal support and joint custody of their three kids.
A source told Us Weekly that Patrick and Jillian were “trying to be a couple again” despite their breakup. They were spotted holding hands that same month.
Patrick confirmed that he and Jillian had reconciled. “Yeah, I think so,” he told ES Magazine. “You have to work at everything. And you cannot do everything. Something has to be sacrificed.”
Us confirmed that the duo had called off their divorce.
The couple celebrated their 19th anniversary at their wedding location. “This spot 19 years ago, today !” Patrick captioned an Instagram post.
Patrick candidly revealed that individual and couples therapy helped him and Jillian save their marriage.
“Why not utilize those tools? Have someone give you some perspective. What I have learned is that I will hear things differently in a therapist’s office just because we have a little bit of an emotional detachment,” he told Fatherly. “There’s room and space to come in and go, ‘Oh, OK. Now I understand where you’re coming from. OK, that’s what you’re feeling. I don’t want you to feel like that,’ and then you try to work on it.”
Patrick said he tries to be a “better person” and “present” in his marriage. “And to listen to what the needs are of the family and provide from that perspective,” he told People.