Celebrities Who Gave Their Partners Ultimatums And What Happened After

Supermodel Gisele Bündchen was accused of giving Tom Brady an ultimatum that supposedly destroyed their marriage: me or football. But Bündchen insists that no such thing ever happened, and she's actually not a big fan of the ultimatum. "When you love someone, you don't put them in a jail and say, 'You have to live this life.' You set them free to be who they are," she told Vanity Fair.

This wasn't the first time a prevalent marriage ultimatum rumor was denied by one of the parties involved. According to Southern folklore, former first lady Laura Bush got her husband, ex-president George W. Bush, to stop drinking by dishing out the kind of tough love that you might hear Carrie Underwood fans cheer for in one of her empowering anthems: "It's either Jim Beam or me." But in her memoir "Spoken from the Heart," Laura reveals that she never uttered these words to her husband. In fact, she had no intention of leaving him over his drinking. "We were two people who did not have divorce in our DNA," she writes. While Laura does say that she expressed her disappointment in her husband, it was evangelist Billy Graham who convinced Dubya to get sober.

We can't know if issuing ultimatums to their husbands would have helped or hurt in Bündchen and Laura's situations. However, we can take a look back at what happened in the relationships of other celebrities who have admitted to trying the tactic.

Liam Neeson said no to James Bond for Natasha Richardson

There are many women who would love to be married to the man with the golden gun, but "The Parent Trap" star Natasha Richardson was not one of them. In a 2023 Rolling Stone interview, Liam Neeson revealed that Barbara Broccoli, the producer of the James Bond films, informed him that he was once one of the actors under consideration to play the spy. This was before Liam and Natasha tied the knot in 1994, so he would have been replacing Timothy Dalton. "My lovely wife, god rest her soul, said to me while we were shooting 'Nell' down in the Carolinas, 'Liam, I want to tell you something: If you play James Bond, we're not getting married,'" he recalled. Natasha's ultimatum worked, and the role ultimately went to Pierce Brosnan.

Liam and Natasha went on to enjoy 15 years of marriage together, and they had two children, sons Micheál Richardson and Daniel Neeson. Sadly, Richardson died in 2009 after suffering a head injury in a skiing accident.

Two years later, Liam spoke to Esquire about how grief was affecting him. "I'm out walking. I'm feeling quite content. And it's like suddenly, boom,'" he said. But 14 years after Natasha's death, he was able to look back and laugh at his wife making him say no to playing Bond, telling Rolling Stone he was certain that the spy's womanizing ways had something to do with her ultimatum.

Jenna Dewan gave Channing Tatum a dating ultimatum

Sparks flew between Jenna Dewan and Channing Tatum when they starred together in the 2006 dance flick "Step Up," but Dewan soon let her co-star know that he needed to step up his romance game if he wanted to keep seeing her. "I was like, 'Look, if you want to date other people and be free, that's fine, but we're not going to hang out and watch movies. You've got to figure out what you want, because I know I want to be in a relationship with you,'" Dewan recalled on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" in 2017 (via People). Tatum didn't think that he wanted to settle down at the time, but after a raucous night of drinking with some of his other "Step Up" co-stars, he realized that he really didn't like the idea of Dewan no longer being in his life.

Dewan's ultimatum worked its magic on the tipsy "Magic Mike" star in the wee hours of the morning, but he couldn't wait to let her know what his decision was. This resulted in a very Tatum moment. "I go and open the door — he's going to kill me for this — and he has [on] underwear, a sombrero and Ugg boots, and he's like, 'Let's do this,'" Dewan continued.

The couple married in 2009 and welcomed their daughter, Everly, in 2013. But while Dewan's ultimatum was clearly effective, she and Tatum announced that they were separating in 2018.

Harry Hamlin threatened to divorce Lisa Rinna over RHOBH

Lisa Rinna is certainly no wallflower, but when she first got the opportunity to star on "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills," she almost turned down her dance with destiny. In a 2023 appearance on "The Talk," Rinna recalled speaking to her husband, "Mayfair Witches" star Harry Hamlin, and telling him that she'd received an offer to join the cast. "He literally said to me, if you do this show, I will divorce you,'" Rinna recalled. She took his threat seriously, saying that she accepted his decision because she knew that filming the show would affect their entire family. But she did leave Hamlin with something to chew on. She casually mentioned how Bethenny Frankel was able to capitalize on the notoriety she gained from "The Real Housewives of New York City" by creating her successful Skinnygirl brand.

Two days later, Hamlin had a change of heart. "He said, 'You know, I have been thinking about Bethenney Frankel and her business, and I think this might not be a bad idea for you,'" Rinna recalled. Hamlin even appeared on "RHOBH" sporadically, and their marriage survived eight years of catfights, betrayals, and other messy moments. After Rinna announced her departure from the Bravo show in 2022, she and Hamlin agreed that the experience actually strengthened their relationship, and they had no regrets. In a joint interview on "Today with Hoda & Jenna," Hamlin said of their marriage, "It's a lock, trust me."

Michael Jackson's baby ultimatum to Lisa Marie Presley

When Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley tied the knot in 1994, it was the merging of two music dynasties. However, their marriage wasn't exactly celebrated by the public. For one thing, months before their wedding, Michael had paid a multi-million dollar settlement to the family of a boy who had accused him of sexual abuse.

When Presley appeared on "Oprah" in 2010, she had to insist, not for the first time, that she and Michael didn't get married for publicity. Presley also revealed that Michael desperately wanted to have children with her. She already had two kids from her previous marriage to Danny Keough, son Benjamin Keough and daughter Riley Keough, and she explained that she didn't want to endure another future divorce with children involved. So Michael informed her that Debbie Rowe, a dermatologist's assistant who'd met the singer at the clinic where she worked, was willing to carry his children. Presley recalled, "He would tell me, 'Debbie said she'll do it.' That's how he knew to handle it, 'If you're not going to do it, this person will,'" she continued.

Presley and Jackson did not end up having any kids together. Instead, they separated in December 1995. When Michael married Debbie Rowe less than a year later, Rowe was already pregnant with the pop star's son, Michael Joseph Jackson Jr., aka Prince Jackson. Rowe gave birth to Paris Jackson in 1998, and two years later, Rowe and Michael divorced.

Diane Keaton made Al Pacino an offer he could refuse

Diane Keaton has dated a few of her leading men, including "Annie Hall" director Woody Allen and "Reds" co-star Warren Beatty. But her premier Hollywood romance came when she and Al Pacino played a couple in "The Godfather" movies, the first of which premiered in 1972. "I was mad for him. Charming, hilarious, a nonstop talker," Keaton recalled to People in 2017. She confessed that she found Pacino pretty easy on the eyes, too.

After falling in love at work, the couple dated for around half a decade before Keaton decided to put her foot down and basically tell Pacino, "Something's Gotta Give." But when presented with the options of the altar or the exit, Pacino picked the latter. "I went about it in not a perfect way," Keaton said of her ultimatum presentation. But in another interview with People, she revealed that she eventually reached the realization that Pacino was probably better off remaining unwed. "I don't think a long-term happy marriage would be easy for him," she mused.

Keaton seemed to be correct in this assumption, as Pacino never did get married. Keaton also ultimately decided that marriage wasn't for her. "I didn't want to give up my independence," she told Interview in 2021. But like Pacino, she did become a parent; he's a father of three, and Keaton has two children. She adopted her daughter, Dexter, in 1996 and her son, Duke, in 2001.

Dax Shepard threatened to leave Kristen Bell for leaving

There were no fireworks when Kristen Bell first met Dax Shepard at a dinner party. "The only thing I remember is that he talked so much," Bell recalled on "Today." But two weeks later, they ran into each other at a hockey game and hit it off, which inspired Shepard to get Bell's number from a mutual friend. The risky move worked, but the couple's first year of dating had too much in common with the notoriously shouty sport that brought them together.

On the talk show "Harry," Bell confessed that she and Shepard fought constantly early on in their relationship, and Bell learned that what made her feel better was the impulsive thrill of storming away during an argument. And to punctuate her final point as dramatically as possible, she'd slam doors and shout on the way out. "I'd get in my car, and then I'd skid out the driveway. And then I'd just go sit around the corner in my car, and it felt so good," she admitted.

But her behavior didn't make Shepard feel good. "Three months into our relationship he was like, 'You can't leave anymore during fights,'" Bell recalled. "He was like, 'No, I have more respect for myself. I love you but I'm not going to do that my whole life.'" Shepard's tough love helped her realize that her dramatic departures were unhealthy, and together, they went on to build a thriving marriage worth fighting for.

Meghan King's IVF ultimatum

When Meghan King and World Series champ Jim Edmonds joined the cast of "The Real Housewives of Orange County," one of the couple's big storylines was their journey to parenthood. Edmonds already had four children from previous relationships, and King had to present him with an ultimatum to get him to agree to become a dad again. "I think I said 'Baby, or no me at all,'" King told People. "All or nothing." Edmonds had already had a vasectomy, but King's threat to ditch him if he didn't comply with her wishes worked. He agreed to let her use his frozen sperm, and she conceived her first child via IVF.

King and Edmonds welcomed their daughter, Aspen, in 2016, and the following year, King announced that she was expecting twins. In a January 2018 blog post, she shared that she was departing "RHOC," explaining that she was exhausted and didn't want any added stress during her second pregnancy.

King and Edmonds welcomed their sons, Hayes and Hart, in June 2018. But while King's ultimatum got her the children that she wanted, her marriage started falling apart. Edmonds admitted to sexting another woman, and on her blog, King claimed that he had lied to her about spending time with one of their children's babysitters. Their marriage was over by the end of 2019, and as King sadly observed, it's unlikely that their children will have any memories of living with their mom and dad as a family.

Scott Disick chose Kourtney Kardashian over Sofia Richie

After Scott Disick and Kourtney Kardashian's decade-long relationship ended in 2015, Disick's next long-term romance was with Sofia Richie, the daughter of singer Lionel Richie. The couple dated from 2017 to 2020, and Disick admitted that his friendship with Kardashian was the cause of their split.

Disick and Kourtney maintained an amicable co-parenting relationship after their breakup, even spending time with their three children — Mason, Penelope, and Reign — together. According to Disick, Sofia started struggling with the situation. "She literally said with an ultimatum, 'You have to choose me or Kourtney,'" Disick told Kim and Khloé Kardashian on a 2021 episode of "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" (via E!). As Disick explained, his family has always been his top priority, and to him, Kourtney and the rest of the Kardashians are family. "Nothing in a million years will be worth what we have," Disick said of his relationship with Kourtney.

But unfortunately for the Disick and Kourtney stans who have long held out hope that they would reconcile, Kourtney married Blink-182 member Travis Barker in April 2022. On an episode of "The Kardashians," Disick admitted that their romance stung a little. "It's becoming a huge adjustment losing her as kind of a best friend," he said of his ex (via Today). Richie also moved on, getting engaged to music exec Elliot Grainge in 2023. As for Disick, his rebound romance with model Amelia Gray Hamlin didn't quite last a year.

Marilyn Manson wouldn't change for Dita Von Teese

Pinup model Dita Von Teese wed shock rocker Marilyn Manson in 2005. Their marriage lasted a little over a year before Von Teese filed divorce papers. "I felt like I'd found the man of my dreams. But sometimes things change overnight," Von Teese told Harper's Bazaar in 2007. She was cryptic when pressed on what went wrong in their relationship but said that her hasty exit on Christmas Eve was an indication of just how awful it was.

Von Teese told The Telegraph that Manson's alleged cheating was one of the issues. When they split, rumors suggested that he'd had an affair with his next serious romantic partner, actor Evan Rachel Wood. However, Von Teese didn't name names. "I wasn't supportive about his partying or his relationship with another girl, and as much as I loved him I wasn't going to be part of that," she revealed. But instead of leaving right away, she chose the ultimatum route. "It didn't work. Instead, it made me the enemy," she recalled.

Manson and Wood went public with their relationship in 2007 and broke up in 2010. In a February 2021 Instagram post, Wood accused the singer of abusing her during their time together (via Vanity Fair). Von Teese reacted to Wood's accusations in a post of her own, saying that she had never been abused by Manson. However, she added (via NME), "Abuse of any kind has no place in any relationship."

Jana Kramer gave her unfaithful husband an ultimatum

In 2015, retired NFL player Mike Caussin married country singer Jana Kramer, who was unaware that she was about to get a lifetime's worth of inspiration for songs about heartbreak. The couple's new life together looked picture-perfect at first, with their daughter, Jolie Rae, arriving eight months after their wedding. But before Jolie celebrated her first birthday, Kramer announced that she and Caussin were separating. She later told People that Caussin had cheated on her. "Mike was the biggest of the betrayals because it was the first time in a relationship where I truly loved the version of me," she said.

Caussin entered rehab for sex addiction, and in a 2019 episode of Kramer's "Whine Down" podcast, he explained why he made the decision to seek treatment. "Jana kind of gave me an ultimatum when everything came out ... she looked at me and said, 'You need to go somewhere. Basically, you need to figure out what's going on and what this is, or I'm gone, period.'"

The couple reconciled, but Kramer told E! that Caussin came close to relapsing right before she learned she was pregnant with their son, Jace. She felt like the pregnancy was the sign she'd been praying for and made the choice to stay with Caussin again. However, by April 2021, she was ready to move on. "I've given everything I have, and now I have nothing else to give," she wrote on Instagram.

Faith Hill got Tim McGraw thinking about his drinking

Faith Hill and Tim McGraw are one of country music's biggest power couples, and they can boast appearing together on a popular TV series to boot. But the "1883" co-stars' marriage wasn't always perpetual bliss. McGraw has been an open book when it comes to his struggle with alcohol use, and in his memoir "Grit & Grace: Train The Mind, Train The Body, Own Your Life," he recalls the moment Hill gave him an ultimatum that inspired him to get sober. "Getting real like only she can do, Faith told me, 'Partying or family, take your pick,'" he writes (via People).

In 2014, McGraw revealed that Hill made the right move by forcing him to confront his behavior and reflect on how it was affecting his family. He also confessed that his three daughters, Grace, Maggie, and Audrey, had started to realize that he had a problem, and this added to his shame. "When your wife tells you it's gone too far, that's a big wake-up call," McGraw told Men's Health (via E!). "That, and realizing you're gonna lose everything you have. Not monetarily, not career-wise, but family-wise."

While Hill's ultimatum may or may have not been an empty threat, the "Wild One" singer has revealed that she's not the type to give up on her marriage without a fight. "When you commit to someone, when you love someone, you commit to being there for them for the highs, the lows, anytime," she told People.

Why Joe Jonas had to learn that he's a muggle

While Sophie Turner grew up on "Game of Thrones," Joe Jonas discovered that his future wife was a massive fan of a different fantasy series. In fact, he had to worry about her deciding to Evanesco their entire relationship if he didn't embrace her Harry Potter obsession. On "The Late Late Show," Jonas recalled Turner telling him, "If you are going to date me, you have to watch the Harry Potters." He agreed to watch all eight of the Harry Potter films, which is almost 20 hours of screen time. Luckily, he found that he enjoyed the series.

In an interview with The Times, Turner revealed that Jonas issued his own more profound ultimatum before they got serious. "I was going through this phase of being very mentally unwell," she revealed. "He was, like, 'I can't be with you until you love yourself, I can't see you love me more than you love yourself.' ... I think he kind of saved my life, in a way."

Jonas and Turner wed in 2019, and during lockdown the following year, Jonas made his wife do something for him in return for how dutifully he fulfilled his Potter ultimatum obligations. He told James Corden that they spent some of their free time watching the "Lord of the Rings" movies and building their corresponding Lego sets at his behest. Turner also got to indulge her inner Potterhead by completing the huge Hogwarts castle set.

Richard Gere didn't want Cindy Crawford to sashay away

One year after "Pretty Woman" hit theaters in 1990, Cindy Crawford managed to convince the rom-com's leading man, Richard Gere, that if he didn't put a ring on it, he'd be making a big mistake. Huge!

In a 2013 episode of "Oprah's Master Class," Crawford reminisced about how she first met Gere at a star-studded soiree at age 21. Her modeling career hadn't yet catapulted her to the celeb stratosphere, so she was still impressed to find herself rubbing elbows with A-listers. "I met Richard Gere there. We pretty much started dating right away," she recalled (via Us Weekly). Four years later, Gere claimed that Crawford gave him a marriage ultimatum. "I was a holdout at age 42, and this woman who I was crazy about and loved very much said, 'I can't wait. I gotta move on if it ain't happening,'" Gere told People.

The couple got hitched in Las Vegas in 1991, exchanging rings that they fashioned out of tinfoil. By 1993, Crawford was expressing an interest in starting a family, but Gere's response to baby talk was reportedly, "I am a child." Before the couple divorced in 1995, Crawford told Harper's Bazaar that she met her future husband, Rande Gerber, at a wedding Gere declined to attend. "We became friends and after Richard and I broke up then we started dating," she recalled. Crawford and Rande wed in 1998 and had two children together, Presley and Kaia Gerber.

Cardi B's daddy demand for Offset

In many relationships, a baby ultimatum usually comes after marriage, but for Migos member Offset, he hadn't even popped the question when Cardi B had him dreaming of a baby in the baby carriage.

It was Cardi B who issued an ultimatum early on in her relationship with Offset. When she first learned through a friend that Offset was interested in her, Cardi B was skeptical of his intentions, telling Essence that flings are not her thing. But she decided to give him a chance to romance her with an extravagant Super Bowl date. Things just snowballed rapidly from there. "We were making out and he was like, 'You're going to have my baby one day,' and I was like, 'We ain't having no baby. You have to marry me,' and he was like, 'Alright, let's get married,'" Cardi B recalled. Eight months after they first met, they were husband and wife.

The couple welcomed their daughter, Kulture, in July 2018. Mere months later, Cardi B publicly announced that her marriage was over, but she and Offset reconciled after a long break. Cardi B told Vogue that Offset's infidelity had caused the split. "We have come to a clear understanding. For me, monogamy is the only way. I'll beat your a** if you cheat on me," she said. After Offset survived another divorce scare in 2020, his dream came true again: He and Cardi B celebrated the birth of their son Wave in 2021.

Nick and Vanessa Lachey's experimental separation

When 98 Degrees member Nick Lachey met his second wife, "NCIS: Hawaii" star Vanessa Lachey (née Minnillo), little did he know that the near-demise of their relationship would become relevant when they scored their own reality show many years later.

In 2022, Nick and Vanessa hosted the Netflix dating series "The Ultimatum: Marry or Move On." The contestants on the show were couples considering marriage. In each pair, one partner was the ultimatum giver, while the other was the marriage-resistant party. To see if they wanted to "marry or move on," the couples were divided and paired with other potential partners. On the show, Nick and Vanessa revealed that they did something similar before their 2011 wedding. "I always said I was gonna be that girl who would never give a man an ultimatum," Vanessa said. So what changed her mind? Well, half a decade passed, and during that time, she recalled, "I had now moved in with him. I renovated his entire bachelor pad. There was a bar in the pool. ... I'm like, 'Okay, now I want to put kids in the pool.'"

Her ultimatum initially didn't do the trick. She and Nick decided to take a break, and each of them dated one other person before realizing that they missed each other. Vanessa ultimately got those swimming kids, but Nick warned, "Psychologists agree an ultimatum is not a good way to get somebody else to do what you want."