Courteney Cox has pal Ed Sheeran to thank for her long-term relationship with partner Johnny McDaid. The former Friends star met the Snow Patrol guitarist in 2013, and they’ve gone from being engaged to broken up to now devoted life partners.
Johnny was born in Northern Ireland in July 1976 and is one of six children. He broke through on the music scene with Snow Patrol, whose songs rose to prominence thanks to appearing during highly emotional scenes on ABC’s hit medical drama Grey’s Anatomy. As if any viewer can hear “Chasing “Cars” without bursting into tears at the thought of prom-dress-clad Izzy tearfully holding Denny as he died in season 2!
Versatile Johnny has also produced tracks for other musicians, including his pal Ed, Harry Styles and Ingrid Michaelson. As a songwriter, he had his first No. 1 hit with a co-credit on Ed’s 2017 smash single “Shape of You.” That same year, Johnny co-wrote Pink‘s single “What About Us?”
The musician met Courteney through her pal Ed in 2013, and the couple had their first date on September 13 of that year. “I introduced her to my best mate Johnny, who I wrote ‘Shape of You’ and ‘Bad Habits’ with. I introduced them like nine years ago,” the singer told The Hits Radio Breakfast Show in June 2021. “She just invited me ‘round her house, and I just kept going ’round, and then one day I brought Johnny, and he didn’t come home,” Ed added.
After that introduction, sparks flew between Courteney and Johnny. She was coming off a 2011 divorce from actor David Arquette, and despite a 13-year age difference with the guitarist, the chemistry was off the charts. They pair officially came out as a couple in early 2014, and by June, they were engaged. Courteney shared an Instagram photo with her then-fiancé, writing in the caption, “I’m engaged to him!”
Sadly, Johnny’s life in the U.K. put a strain on his relationship with Los Angeles-based Courteney. The pair called off their engagement in 2015 amid questions of where they would reside. But the love was still so strong that Johnny and Courteney got back together the following year.
“He’s not my fiancé. We were engaged to be married, but now we’re just together,” the Scream star told Ellen DeGeneres in a 2016 appearance on her daytime talk show. “We broke off our engagement, and he moved to England, then we got back together, and it’s actually better than it was before.”
“Everything’s better,” she continued. “Not because he’s in London — although I think the distance after that breakup, we were apart for six months, that really showed us a lot. It’s just better.” Yet pricey, as their romance remained long distance! “I mean, it’s expensive,” Courteney added. “That’s an expensive relationship! We go back and forth a lot.”
But it was so worth it. Courteney revealed to The Guardian in 2019 that when Johnny calls her “darlin’ girl,” it “makes me melt.” His love makes her feel “safe and peaceful,” and she cries tears of emotion when she hears the beautiful new music he is composing.
The relationship really had to stand the long-distance test in 2020, as the two went through the COVID-19 home quarantines on separate continents.
“He was supposed to go to Switzerland to write. He went to England first, then all of the sudden, they called quarantine,” Courteney revealed in a May 2020 video chat with Ellen. “I have not seen him in so long. You don’t realize — I mean, we spend a lot of time on FaceTime — now it’s like oh my god, I just miss his physical touch. It’s been hard. This is the longest time.”
In July 2020, Courteney shared an Instagram photo of the couple having a “date” via a Zoom session. “It’s been 133 days since we were last together. Covid sucks. Happy Birthday J,” she wrote in the caption, adding, “I loved our lunch/dinner (LA/London time) zoom date today. I miss you madly.”
While Johnny prefers to remain private when it comes to his relationship with Courtney, she can always be counted on to give insights into why he is so special.
For his birthday on July 24, 2019, the brunette beauty gushed next to an Instagram photo of the pair, “He always listens no matter what is being said. Where others lose interest … he still cares. He turns words into poetry and thoughts into songs. He has a tender heart, a beautiful mind, a wicked sense of humor and he’s not bad to look at. Happy birthday J. I love you.”
The lovebirds hit the red carpet together at the BRIT Awards in February 2022. They wore matching black ensembles and were all smiles as they posed for photos. His band, Snow Patrol, has been nominated for the BRITS six times in the past.