Inside Richard Gilliland's Marriage To Jean Smart

Actor Richard Gilliland died on March 18, 2021 in Los Angeles following "a brief illness," according to People. He was 71. The late star was the longtime husband of fellow actor Jean Smart — and just like Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell and Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, the couple's enduring relationship was one of a kind in Hollywood. They were married for over three decades and share two children together: son Connor and daughter Bonnie.

But Gilliland and Smart's long-lasting marriage isn't the only thing they have in common with other Hollywood couples. They also met and fell in love after working together on the '80s CBS sitcom Designing Women, per Entertainment Weekly, after Gilliland landed a recurring role on the series in 1986 as J.D. Shackleford, the on-again-off-again boyfriend of Annie Potts' Mary Jo Shively. Though he and Smart (who starred as Charlene Frazier Stillfield) didn't play lovers, they did hit it off in real life.

Keep scrolling to read about the start of Gilliland and Smart's love story, which was as unconventional as it gets.

Richard Gilliland and Jean Smart met when he was locking lips with another woman

In 2017, Jean Smart revealed she first met her husband Richard Gilliland in 1986 which he was smooching someone who wasn't her. "I met him when he was kissing someone else," Smart said during an interview with Northwest Prime Timeseemingly referring to Annie Potts' character, who was dating Gilliland's. At the time, she asked her other co-star Delta Burke, to find out if the actor was single. "Naturally, Delta walked up to him and blurted, 'Jean wants to know if you're married,'" Smart explained. He was, in fact, available. The actress told, per Northwest Prime Time, that she and Gilliland hit it off right away after she "lured" him into her dressing room by pretending she "needed help with a crossword puzzle" — and the rest is history. The couple later tie the knot in June 1987 on another one of the cast member's properties.

Throughout their long-lasting marriage, the couple went on to work together on multiple projects, including the theatre productions It Had to Be You and Love Letters, the TV show 24, and the TV movies Just My Imagination and Audrey's Rain, according to EW. The outlet reports Gilliland and Smart were also going to team up together again in a Tate Taylor-directed film in summer 2021 prior to his death.