Harrison Ford doesn’t like to sit still for long. “When I’m up in Wyoming, I just walk out the door and keep walking,” says the actor, who splits his time between the Cowboy State and Los Angeles. “If my chores are done and there’s nothing more pressing and the weather’s good, I’ll go flying — I love to fly up there — or walk in the woods.”
Through trial and error, the actor, who turned 80 on July 13, has learned what makes him happy. Those lessons didn’t come easy. He’s weathered a career that got off to a late start, two failed marriages and a long time spent in a haze. But today, Harrison’s proud of his 12-year union with Calista Flockhart, delighted by his five children and excited about the future. “I think one of the pleasures of my work is not knowing what’s coming,” he says.
That uncertainty was a lot harder to bear when he first arrived in Hollywood. Married to Mary Marquardt in 1964, he became a carpenter to support their two young sons before Star Wars made him a star in 1977. Unfortunately, the marriage would not survive fame and its many temptations — years later Harrison’s Star Wars co-star Carrie Fisher revealed their “intense” drug-fueled affair while he was still married.
The actor’s next marriage, to E.T. screenwriter Melissa Mathison, produced a son and a daughter, but fared no better — and cost Harrison a bundle! The couple didn’t sign a prenup before their 1983 wedding, so the Raiders of the Lost Ark star had to fork over an eye-watering $85 million when they divorced in 2004. Though the split was called amiable, it was rumored that Harrison had been unfaithful.
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In 2002, Harrison, who was already legally separated from Melissa, met Calista at the Golden Globe Awards. “I’m in love,” the ordinarily closemouthed actor gushed a year later. “I think there is a potential for it at any stage of your life.”
But this time around, Harrison didn’t jump into marriage. Even as he became a father to her adopted son, Liam, he waited eight years before tying the knot with Calista in 2010. “Their marriage is built on trust, loyalty, respect and openness,” says a friend, who credits Calista for helping Harrison to open his heart. “He used to be very closed off, but she taught him the meaning of open communication.” In many ways, they are a marriage of opposites. “Calista is the organizer and very type-A,” explains the friend. “Harrison is a lot more laid-back.”
Harrison and Calista agree on the big things, though, like the importance of family. They host Harrison’s children, Ben, 55, Willard, 53, Malcolm, 35, Georgia, 32, and Liam, 21, at their Wyoming ranch as often as possible. “He is super close to all of his children,” confides the friend. “They all planned a private get together for his recent birthday.”
Spending more time in Wyoming than L.A. also suits Harrison. “I need balance,” he says. “I need to be in a situation where my every whim is not attended to, where I have to fetch my own nails, do my own shopping and wash my own dishes. Being normal is a kind of victory.”
In addition to his satisfying personal life, Harrison continues to enjoy his work. “Acting remains very much a passion,” says the friend. Harrison is set to star in 1923, a new prequel series about Yellowstone’s Dutton family. He has also wrapped his fifth big-screen installment of the Indiana Jones saga, which is being readied for release next summer. Playing an older, wiser Indiana feels perfectly right. “That’s one of the things I was most keen about,” says Harrison, who doesn’t think an aging hero is any less interesting. “What’s the big deal? The guy’s older,” he says. “So what?”
— Reporting by Natalie Posner