Mia Swier: The Truth About Darren Criss' Wife

Darren Criss first made an indelible impression on viewers on the television show Glee as Blaine, the quintessential leading man to Kurt Hummel — and if there's anything to be said for how life imitates art, it's that the Emmy Award-winning actor is as swoon-worthy a romantic lead in real life to his wife, Mia Swier. According to Criss, who is currently starring in Ryan Murphy's Netflix series Hollywood, it took a while for the actor to propose to his then-longtime girlfriend. But in the end, married life is better than he could've ever possibly imagined.

"The idea of marriage was not something I gravitated to earlier in life," the actor confessed to People magazine in an April 2020 interview. While the reason for it was, as per Criss, "painfully cliché" — he chalked it up to the idea that girls "mature faster" than boys — it caused him to "[drag] his feet" when it came to putting a ring on it.

Despite any reservations Criss might've had before he finally proposed to Swier in 2018, they've since been put to rest. Now, Criss considers it "a validation and sharing of our life and existence." "In many ways, it's not been a change at all," he concluded. So, who exactly is Mia Swier? And does it turn out that she, rather than Criss, is the true romantic lead in their story?

Mia Swier and Darren Criss dated for seven years before their engagement

According to People, Darren Criss and Mia Swier met in 2006 through mutual friends, but didn't begin dating until four years later, before Criss ever entertained the notion of working as a television actor. At that time, the Boy-Who-Would-be-Blaine was best known as the Boy Who Lived — during his time as a student at the University of Michigan, he co-wrote and starred in a musical Harry Potter parody aptly titled A Very Potter Musical, the first theatrical produced by what eventually evolved into Criss' own company, StarKid Productions.

It was actually Swier, not Criss, who had her sights set on the film and television industries, having attended NYU's Steinhardt School for Media and Television Studies, according to IMDb. Though she prefers to be behind the camera, her credentials are just as impressive as her husband's: She's directed short films and music videos (including Keke Palmer's "I Don't Belong to You" video and the comedy short A (Not So) Civil Union) and has served as a producer at Showtime for promotional content for series ranging from Dexter to Nurse Jackie to Weeds.

Like Criss, she's also an industry polymath, founding her own production company, Effin Media, in 2009. (According to LinkedIn, she founded an additional company in 2012 named Von Glitz Productions.) But just because Swier mostly works off-screen rather than on-screen, it doesn't mean she's stage-shy. In fact, she's a singer like her husband... with a twist.

Mia Swier rocks out in her own right

While we can't say for sure that a love of the stage was what first brought Mia Swier and Darren Criss together, it's definitely something they share. Criss is more prone to appear on the screen than on a theater marquee nowadays, but for Swier, the latter is more likely — as part of a rock and roll all-girl cover outfit (which, in some ways, might be infinitely cooler).

So, if you want to catch Swier in a live show, what should you look for? None other than her Guns n' Roses cover band, which plays under the cleverly pun-tastic name Guns n' Hoses. And when she's with her band, her last name isn't Mia Swier — she's Mia Von Glitz.

Considering how ambitious and industrious Swier and Criss are, it's also no surprise that this husband-and-wife duo went in on another kind of business together — a one-of-a-kind joint that mixes business, music, and pleasure.

Mia Swier co-owns a piano bar with the best name ever

Along with her husband Darren Criss, Mia Swier is the entrepreneurial force behind one of the only piano bars of its kind — and which might have the best name ever.

According to a 2018 profile on the bar written by The Hollywood Reporter, Tramp Stamp Granny's is, as Superstore actor Ben Feldman described, "as if an old Broadway piano bar went on a nasty drug binge and woke up with a face tattoo but, like, in the best way." Inspired by piano bar/de facto institution Marie's Crisis (located in New York City), Tramp Stamp Granny's serves as both a casual hangout and holds a number of LGBTQ-centric events, a nod to how piano bars have traditionally served as safe spaces for members of the queer and transgender community.

By all accounts, Swier is responsible for the name, which serves as an homage to "a generation of tatted grannies" while simultaneously taking back the term "tramp stamp," usually used as a pejorative for women with certain tattoos. While the bar is closed right now due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, it's not completely out for the count: According to an update on the bar's Instagram account, the bar "can't wait" to open its doors again.

Considering the stuff this power couple has already achieved both separately and as collaborators, we can't wait to see what they do next.