Jake Gyllenhaal’s dad and step-mother divorcing unexpectedly

 December 20, 2023

New legal documents that were obtained and reported on by The Blast indicate that Stephen Gyllenhaal, the father of actor Jake Gyllenhaal, is in the process of filing for divorce from his wife.

Prior to the official dissolution of their marriage, Stephen and Kathleen Gyllenhaal had been married for close to eleven years. He is submitting a petition for shared custody of their son, Luke, who is nine years old.

The duo has worked together on a number of projects, including the movie "Grassroots," which featured Jason Biggs and Joel David Moore as the main characters.

The documents state that "irreconcilable differences" are the cause of the dissolution of their marriage.

History of the Family

Stephen Gyllenhaal was married for the first time in 1977, to Naomi, and the pair were married for more than 30 years before officially divorcing in 2009. Both Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal are the children of Stephen and Naomi.

In 2005 Naomi spoke to how challenging it was for her to be a working mother because of the "pull between the selflessness required for real parenting and the selfishness you need to have in this work."

“I made a lot of mistakes,” she said at the time. “Believe me, I was not a perfect mother, as they will tell you. But I do think that a gift I can give them is the idea that it’s never too late to do the work. Because life doesn’t only go in one direction.”

Stephen has directed episodes of the television shows 'Blue Bloods,' 'The Mentalist,' and 'Rectify,' in addition to movies like 'Paris Trout,' 'Family of Spies,' 'Waterland,' and 'Girl Fight.'

Together, Stephen, Naomi, Jake, and Maggie Gyllenhaal, which was at the time the entire Gyllenhaal family, collaborated in the production of the film "A Dangerous Woman" in 1993. It was the only project in which all four members actively participated.

Jake's Take

In an interview with Esquire, Jake Gyllenhaal expressed his thoughts on his family life and offered gratitude to his parents. He said, "As you get older, you get to a place where you see yourself as you saw your parents when you were a child."

"I’ve been on this earth with my parents for forty-one years, and it’s a really deep, really complex relationship,” he added.

When addressing his home life, Jake described it as "like a circus, with writers and filmmakers coming in and out. We had a room above the garage rented by Steven Soderbergh – before he was Steven Soderbergh," Jake said in 2010. "We were brought up with a great respect of storytelling.”

The actor said that after he found out his parents were divorcing, he took a step back to reflect on his life and his career: “It allowed me to be more honest with myself,” the actor told PEOPLE at the time.

The filmmaker shared his thoughts in 2012 regarding what makes his work unique: “Usually characters that are a little outside, a little off the beaten path. I’m generally intrigued by people who don’t accept what’s going on, and the status quo,” he told The Long Island Press at the time of his work.

“You know, they’re either confused by it or driven nuts by it. And you know, just trying to battle with it. Those are the characters that intrigue me, and have always intrigued me.”

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