The Untold Truth Of Julia Garner's Husband Mark Foster

No couple sums up young Hollywood quite like actor Julia Garner and her husband, Mark Foster. Garner is best known for her Emmy-winning role on Netflix's "Ozark" and stints on "Dirty John" and "The Americans." Foster might be less recognizable on a red carpet if you're not into music, but still, his voice is familiar: He's the "Foster" of the band Foster the People, responsible for the 2011 mega-hit, "Pumped Up Kicks" — which will probably be stuck in your head all day now that you've read this sentence. You're welcome?

The couple has kept their romance, going strong since at least 2019, according to People, fairly private, but it definitely ramped up the exposure and celebrity quotient for Foster, a prolific songwriter and music business personality aside from his work in Foster the People. It's been a long, strange, and tough journey to the top for the musician. Here's the personal and professional story of Mark Foster, from struggling rock performer to spouse of one of show business' brightest burning young stars.

Mark Foster's career had some false starts

Mark Foster was decidedly not an overnight sensation. According to Interview Magazine, he moved from his Ohio hometown to Los Angeles in 2002, shortly after graduating high school, with dreams of making it in the music industry. For three years, he lived on a succession of friends' couches, but also learned the ins and outs of songwriting and played in a few bands, one of which was "pretty serious" by the time Foster turned 21. 

"We almost got signed — went to New York, showcased, all that — but didn't end up getting signed, and we broke up," he said. "I went back to the drawing board; I really took a hit from that whole experience."

After treading water for another two years, Foster got another possible break, summoned to work with rapper, music industry power player, and Aftermath Records founder Dr. Dre. "There was a producer/A&R guy I had met a couple years before, Alonzo Jackson, actually he called me up and originally wanted me to song-write for 'Detox,'" Foster said, referring to a years-in-the-making and ultimately scrapped Dr. Dre album. "We didn't really see eye-to-eye for the record. They wanted a soul album, and I was moving out of that phase and into the electronic stuff."

He was Andy Dick's personal composer

Andy Dick is a lot of things — sketch comedian on "The Ben Stiller Show," sitcom star of "NewsRadio," stand-up comic, and a notorious party animal with substance use issues, according to Page Six. He generates a lot of independent film and TV projects, too, and in the mid-2000s, he hired a pre-Foster the People Mark Foster to be his go-to guy for all of his screen music needs. 

"He's super off-the-cuff," Foster told USA Today. "You have to be on your toes to follow where he goes." After Lionsgate acquired the release rights to Dick's indie comedy, "Danny Roane: First Time Director," the filmmaker couldn't use all the costly pop songs he'd wanted. According to DVD Talk, he brought in Foster to compose and record an original score, which he also did for Dick's 2005 film, "AdCorp, Inc."

Foster also wrote smaller pieces of music both for and about Andy Dick. He composed Dick's 2007 song, "Do Your Shows Always Suck," and during his Foster the People years, performed an original song called "The Ballad of Andy."

Julia Garner's husband wrote commercial jingles

Foster the People's music, as conceived by songwriter and frontman Mark Foster, is nothing if not catchy. The man can write hooks that turn into earworms and get stuck in listeners' heads for days — a skill that served him well when he was an advertising music writer. In other words, he wrote commercial jingles, which, by their very nature, are supposed to be so memorable and appealing that they'll make millions of people want to buy a product.

In his twenties, while trying to get his music career going in earnest, Foster landed a job as an ad songwriter, composing jingles for Honey Bunches of Oats and Verizon, according to the Baltimore Sun, as well as for the California Tourism Board, Cadillac, and the Bing search engine, per NME. Arguably, Foster's greatest contribution to the world of marketing was "Spring Break it Down," a 2010 comic music video celebrating and savagely mocking "Jersey Shore" type party dudes that was actually a commercial for Muscle Milk.

Mark Foster was a producer before he was a rock star

In addition to his work in advertising in the years before Foster the People broke through, leader Mark Foster helped other people launch and advance their own musical careers. He worked as a producer and guest singer for numerous acts in the early 2000s, including the pop-rock act Toques, which landed "Breakdown," a song co-written and sung in part by Foster on the soundtrack of the 2006 teen movie, "Stick It." Foster also helped further the musical ambitions of former child actor Brad Renfro, his Los Angeles roommate. Renfro had a band called Frodad, with whom Foster would occasionally play and record. "I produced the last song that he recorded," Foster told USA Today, before Renfro's death in 2008.

Even after the success and business of Foster the People, Foster continued to make music for other major acts. He wrote songs for Kimbra and lovelytheband, for example. Other Foster compositions include DJ Khaled and Justin Bieber's No. 5 hit, "No Brainer," as well as Drake's chart-topping tune, "In My Feelings."

How Foster the People got its name

After toiling in the fringes of the music industry for years, Mark Foster found fame, fortune, and success with Foster the People, the alt-pop band for which he's the primary creative force. That role is subtly reflected in the band's name, although it also sounds like other cryptic, atmospheric, verb-based band names, like Cage the Elephant or Rage Against the Machine.

A perfect, carefully selected name is important to any band, but Foster the People got theirs by accident. The frontman initially named the group in the classic singer-plus-group style, like Florence and the Machine or Huey Lewis and the News — originally Foster & the People. But so many people Foster told the name to misheard it, and then repeated it wrong, as Foster the People. 

"'Foster the People' — that's like 'Take Care of the People,' 'Do Something for the People,'" Foster told USA Today. "The first few shows that we played were for charities. It kind of clicked: Foster the People, that's us."

Julia Garner's husband is technically a viral star

Following years of writing, composing, producing, and hustling, Mark Foster — via Foster the People — made it to the top of the music world in the summer of 2011 when the band's first single, "Pumped Up Kicks," raced to the near-top of the Billboard Hot 100. As of 2021, it's still Foster the People's biggest hit, but it didn't get so popular via anything resembling a conventional method. 

In early 2010, when Foster the People was little more than a little-known, months-old Los Angeles band, Foster posted "Pumped Up Kicks" on his website — as a free download, according to Billboard. It got some attention, but what really made it pop was when hip magazine Nylon licensed the song for use in an online advertising blitz. The influential music blog world noticed the tune and started posting it and writing about it, too, with one going so far as to predict (accurately, it would turn out) that "Pumped Up Kicks" would be "the song of next summer." 

In January 2011, a full year after the slowly building buzz of the tune began, Foster the People released "Pumped Up Kicks" commercially, as part of an EP.

Mark Foster is over Pumped Up Kicks

Foster the People's breakthrough hit was a monster, the groovy guitar-driven power pop jam, "Pumped Up Kicks." It went all the way to No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Alternative charts in 2011, and the Recording Industry Association of America certified it 10-times platinum. It's a jaunty tune with an easy to sing along to chorus, which masks some dark lyrics about a troubled adolescent, who finds a gun in his father's closet and is said to be "coming for" his enemies.

Despite lyrics like, "You better run, better run, outrun my gun" and "The sleight of my hand is now a quick-pull trigger," and how he's previously said that the song is written about a teenager named Robert making plans for a school shooting, Foster the People leader Mark Foster insists that "Pumped Up Kicks" is not really about that. "The school shooting part of it was never spoken about in the song," Foster told Billboard. "I think people filled in the blanks that it was about a school shooting, but I never say anything about a school in the song. It's really more about this person's psyche."

Foster got so tired of the public misinterpreting the song that he considered permanently removing "Pumped Up Kicks" from Foster the People's setlist. "What artist has officially retired their most well-known song?" he rhetorically asked. "So it's something that I'm really wrestling with, but I'm leaning towards retiring it, because it's just too painful."

Foster the People lost a member and it broke Mark Foster's heart

The initial and most successful lineup of Foster the People consisted of frontman Mark Foster, drummer Mark Pontius, and bassist Jacob "Cubbie" Fink, according to Billboard. Together, the trio played all over the world and moved millions of copies of their chilled-out, electronics-and-guitars brand of poppy alternative rock. By 2015, that era of Foster the People had unceremoniously come to an end with the sudden and seemingly unexplained departure of Fink.

At the time of the founding bassist's exit, according to Rolling Stone, no clear reasons for the split were publicly given, and three years later, it was still difficult for Foster to talk about. "That was really hard. He's like family," he said. "We were friends before I started the band. I dated his sister for over a year and thought I was going to marry her." Foster admitted that it took him about nine months to get over and move past Fink leaving, but that they no longer spoke. "I have tried. We have mutual friends and I've heard he's doing well," the singer added. "But it was a bad breakup."

Snoop Dogg helped Mark Foster say no to drugs

There's a long and storied association between musicians and marijuana, from Bob Dylan imploring "everybody must get stoned!" in "Rainy Day Women #12 and #35" through to the pro-pot lyrics of numerous reggae acts, jam bands, and hip-hop artists. Perhaps no artist is more known for his enthusiasm for marijuana (particularly a strain known as "the chronic") than rapper Snoop Dogg. He has often rapped about marijuana, how it's great and how he loves it, and yet off-record, he actually helped another famous musician quit partaking of that favored substance.

"It's funny, the one time I got star-struck was when I met Snoop Dogg," Foster told Q Magazine in 2012 (via NME). "I gave him a hug and said, 'I love you, man.' It was cool cos I'd just stopped smoking weed three days before." Even so, Foster explained that he told the "Smoke Weed Everyday" rapper that he'd partake with him, if the opportunity presented itself. Snoop turned him down. "He said, 'Y'know what, brother: Sometimes you gotta slow down and focus on your s**t.' From the godfather of marijuana smoking! That was good enough for me."

How Mark Foster and Julia Garner met, fell in love, and got married

Following the long, grand tradition of rock stars coupling with actors, Mark Foster of Foster the People married "Ozark" and "Dirty John" star Julia Garner. Not a tabloid-populating, paparazzi-courting couple by any means, Foster and Garner's relationship was so hush-hush that the general public didn't know the dates the two got together until they'd already been married for a while. 

On February 1, 2020, Garner's birthday, Foster posted to Instagram a picture from their wedding with a caption noting that this would be "the second year we have celebrated her birthday together" and "it's the first year, we celebrate as husband and wife," meaning they'd been together at least since February 2019. He sweetly added in the caption, "My home is not a place, it's a person. her heart is my heart. her pain, my pain. her joy, my joy. ... happy birthday my beautiful sweet julia. you make everything magic." A source close to the couple previously confirmed to People in May 2019 that a trip to Yellowstone National Park included a successful proposal of marriage. Later that year, Foster and Garner got hitched. 

According to ET, they married on December 27, 2019, news confirmed by posts on the Instagram accounts of Foster and wedding guest and wedding dress designer Zac Posen. Per Vogue, husband and wife made it official at New York City Hall, the same venue where Garner's parents married 40 years earlier.

Mark Foster wrote his own wedding song for Julia Garner

Mark Foster and Julia Garner had a simple wedding in New York City, according to Vogue, which Foster helped to plan. As previously mentioned, they tied the knot at City Hall, and then the next day, had dinner with friends at the posh Locanda Verde in Tribeca. Afterwards they went to the Public Hotel, where they cut cake and danced. 

Foster's contribution to the wedding was super romantic — their first dance was to "Lovers in a Stream." Garner told Vogue in March 2020, "Mark wrote, produced, and sang it. It was very surreal, and the most beautiful present I've ever received. It felt like I was floating up in the air — it was the most magical moment I've ever had. The only people who heard this song were at the wedding, but it will come out soon."

Indeed, the Foster the People frontman has been working on a ton of music since his band's 2011 hit, "Pumped Up Kicks," from the album, "Torches." The band released "Supermodel" in 2014, although you might not know it if you're not a huge fan; Foster told Rolling Stone that he didn't want to have any singles from that album on the radio, lest people get sick of them. "Sacred Hearts Club," released in 2017, was more of an official comeback album with "Sit Next To Me" as a sleeper-hit single, rising the charts almost a year after its release, per Rolling Stone.