The hearts of comedy fans across the country collectively broke on Friday at the announcement that Amy Poehler and husband Will Arnett are separating after nine years of marriage. The couple, who many (or maybe just me) consider to be the Beyoncé and Jay-Z of comedy, have been a long time favorite for comedy nerds (like myself) who saw the union of two of NBC’s brightest stars as a testament to the importance of a good sense of of humor.
The couple began dating in 2000, a year before both of them were skyrocketed into stardom by landing roles on SNL and Arrested Development. The two wed in 2003. It was the first marriage for Poehler and the second for Arnett who was married to The Artist actress Penelope Ann Miller from 1994-1995. Previously, the couple who have two sons, Archie (3) and Abel (2), have never been shy about expressing their love and respect for one another, “The first time I saw her on stage, I said, ‘I’m gonna marry that girl,’” Arnett told People in 2009.
So what happened? According to reps the split is “very amicable” and the romance “fizzled out.” This came as a surprise to followers of the couple’s careers, as both have made frequent appearances together with Poehler playing Gob’s seal-training wife on Arrested Development and Arnett making an appearance as Poehler’s failed love interest on Parks and Recreation, as well as working together on films like Monsters vs. Aliens and Blades of Glory. For many, the split came as a shock, which is not unreasonable considering that the two worked hard to keep their private lives out of the public eye.
While splits like this are always heartbreaking, it’s important to remember that both Poehler and Arnett are adults with good heads on their shoulders and are probably making the right decision for themselves and their two boys. The best we can do as fans of the pair is wish the them the best of luck as Poehler reprises her role as Leslie Knope on NBC’s critically acclaimed series Parks and Recreation and Arnett stars opposite Christina Applegate in Up All Night (also on NBC).
It won’t be long before the public has a chance to see Arnett and Poehler in the same room as they will both be nominated for several well-deserved Emmys this year (Poehler is nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series and Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series for Parks and Rec and and Arnett for Oustanding Guest Actor for his frequent hilarious appearances on 30 Rock.)
For comedy fans like myself who had long held the couple as the King and Queen of comedy, the news of their split came as quite a blow. I found myself thinking things like “but they seemed so perfect!” and “if they can’t make it, who can?” But that line of thinking is dangerous. No relationship should be held to a higher standard than others. We should be proud of Poehler and Arnett for ending a relationship that wasn’t working. It’s inspiring to hear that the two have split amicably and I hold out hope that the upcoming new season and movie of Arrested Development may include a reprisal of Poehler’s now ironic role as Gob’s fun loving, seal training wife whose name he can’t remember.