Ione and I knew each other for 10 years before we went on a date.
In 1996, I was making an album in LA and didn’t know what was meant to happen next. I just knew I couldn’t go home.
My friend Ian Rogers, who was dating her best friend, invited me to Ione’s house for a Christmas party in Laurel Canyon where I met her family. Bob Dylan’s Isis was playing, there were mushrooms. At one specific moment – I remember thinking “I want my life to be like this”. But there was no way I could have known that 10 years later we’d end up together.
I was 18, she 26. The age difference was more pronounced back then, but we’d bump into each other at clubs and parties, sharing a vibe and admiration.
When we reconnected in LA after Claire [Danes] and I broke up, I’d put out Awake is the New Sleep, which was doing well. We were both in new chapters.
I watched Ione parenting Kate and loved what a sweet, artistic and compassionate mum she was. Just the way she flowed through life with spontaneity, wit and tenderness. And, of course, so beautiful.
After living on a tour bus for three years, LA had kinda grown on me.
We were both just playing the field, experimenting and reassessing really, but subconsciously looking for serious partners, maybe? There was a lot more experimentation to go. I had a few cults to join and quit, businesses to start, all kinds of things to succeed and fail at. She too. At the time I was also devoted to an Indian guru and had to wade through all that fanaticism.
At the Marie Antoinette premiere, she was flirting with my friend Jason Schwartzman, but we ended up talking all night. Weirdly, I was driving up Fairfax Avenue the next day and thought I saw her brother Ella Dono. At that very moment he called – wasn’t on Fairfax, but he said Ione said hi.
I texted her an invite to the John Lennon and Yoko Ono doco. Our first date was watching two eccentric artists figuring out how to create a life together that didn’t become static. It became the blueprint.
There was a moment when she looked at me and said “I have high hopes for us”, right when we started seeing each other. It was so perfectly stated, poetically and elegantly phrased. I was helpless to do anything except agree.
I don’t like pressure. I’ve always been someone who likes to take the time and space to figure out my own feelings. Maybe I wanted to be the hunter, so in the beginning I found her a bit intense. She definitely saw the potential in our connection, while I needed a minute.
Once she gave me some room, I realized I was falling in love.
I kissed her on the stairs of the ArcLight cinema after the movie. And this radio DJ I know named Gary Calamar walked past. Auspicious!
We met again at the same house we’d met in 10 years before, so I felt 18 and insecure again. Like a boy. Nervous muscle memory?
She had picked up some veggie burgers from a drive-through and just gobbled the whole thing up – not at all self-conscious. I felt very attracted to her.
Things didn’t move fast enough for (the self-confessed “aggressor”) Ione. She would have gotten engaged sooner, but I needed to come to that on my own. We always liked each other. That has carried us through everything.
There was a moment in India, when we got caught in a monsoon while riding in a tuk-tuk and a street sign collapsed in the middle of the road. The driver and I had to get out and move it. I turned around and Ione was sitting in the tuk-tuk laughing hysterically at the whole situation. And I just realized at that moment… I want to laugh through life with this person.
Once we were in, we were in.
Just by virtue of being older, I wanted a relationship with appropriate levity and play. To let go of the type of dramas that tend to plague relationships in your 20s. To consciously choose each other. I guess a greater simplicity.
Because we had known each for a decade, we got to skip the whole part where you secretly wonder if they’re crazy. We already knew we were.
It felt like a choice, but with providence. Move courageously and the world supports you. That sort of thing. We connect. Genuinely. We talk. TO LOT. There really is no magic recipe other than the genuine desire to keep it going. I think partnerships can make it through almost anything as long as both people really want it to.
Working together has helped our marriage deepen. I include parenting in that too – it is the ultimate creative collaboration.