Sam Elliott and His Wife Katharine Ross: How the Hollywood Couple Met

by Matthew Wilson

Sam Elliott met his future wife Katharine Ross while on a movie set. But the actor actually knew of her years prior to their meeting.

Elliott and Ross both appeared in the classic western “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” in 1969. But they appeared in very different capacities. Ross was a leading lady after starring as Elaine Robinson in “The Graduate” two years prior. The film offered her another starring turn as Etta Pace. Meanwhile, Elliott appeared in a bit part in what would be his film debut.

Though the two didn’t share any scenes, Elliott saw Ross around set. But the young actor was too bashful to approach her. She was a Hollywood star and he was just some fresh-start rookie to the business.

“I didn’t dare try to talk to her then. She was the leading lady. I was a shadow on the wall, a glorified extra in a bar scene,” Elliott told AARP The Magazine in 2015.

Sam Elliott and Katharine Ross Star Together

But by 1978, Elliott got the chance to know Ross better. His star power had risen dramatically over the ensuing decade. He was now actually starring opposite Roos in the horror film “The Legacy.” The two played a couple experiencing the fright of their lives at an English estate.

At the time, Ross was married to Gaetano Lisi. The actor had been married four times before she met Elliott. She was married to Joel Fabiani, John Marion, Conrad Hall, and Lisi. None of her marriages lasted longer than five years. She would divorce Lisi by 1979. Meanwhile, Elliott had never been married before.

The Two Are Happily Married

The two quickly fell in love. Ross confessed she had been attracted to both Elliott’s voice and mustache, as well as just the man in general. “Probably all that and more. We were working together and one thing led to another. And here we are,” she told the Mercury News.

By 1984, the two were married. A year later, their daughter Cleo Rose was born. The two have been married ever since. Ross has been influential in Elliott’s career, convincing him to star in “Mask.” The duo has also played opposite of each in the 2017 “The Hero.”

“We have a common sensibility, but we also work at being together,” Elliott said. “You work past the s–t; you don’t walk away from it. That’s how relationships last.”