Talia Balsam: Who Is George Clooney’s Ex-Wife?

Since the engagement that led to those certain nuptials followed closely in Venice, it seems everyone has been asking “Who is Amal Alamuddin?” As it turns out, now everyone seems to be well-versed in the biographical facts of George Clooney’s new wife–Lebanese lawyer, raised in London, and staunch advocate for human rights. Has anyone asked: “Who is Talia Balsam, George Clooney’s ex-wife?” Is the common assumption that since she is no longer married to King George, she is, therefore, eating ice cream alone in her pajamas in a dark apartment, while watching old episodes of The Facts of Life? Actually, it does not look that way. Here are six tidbits about Talia Balsam.

She seems to be happily married now. Talia and George married in 1989 and divorced in 1993. However, only a few years later, she met and married actor John Slattery on December 30, 1998 in Hawaii. They have been married ever since. That would equate to over 15 years of wedded bliss and practically a lifetime by Hollywood standards.

Her current husband is a heart throb in his own right. George may be a silver fox of sorts now, but John Slattery plays the original silver fox, Roger Sterling, on Mad Men. Balsam herself actually appears on Mad Men as none other than Roger Sterling’s first wife, Mona. As for working together, John points out that already being together and not having to invent a history makes their jobs easier. Balsam acknowledges that her husband is often recognized when they are out together whereas she stays under the radar. However, she adds John is quick to alert fans who approach them that his wife standing beside him is Mona Sterling from Mad Men. Fans of Sex and the City will also recognize Balsam’s husband from the Season 3 episodes where he played a handsome politician, who briefly dated Carrie Bradshaw. He was also Clooney friend Julia Roberts’ love interest in the movie Mona Lisa Smile.

She is a mom. George Clooney may have sworn off marriage before meeting Amal, but he has been mum on the topic of children. His ex-wife, however, seems to have embraced both life-altering transitions as a wife yet again and a mother. Talia and John are parents to one son. A teenager now, Harry Slattery was born in 1999 and Balsam appears to relish the role, saying it keeps her young–tired but young.

She comes from an entertainment family. It would seem Balsam had some family members to show her the ropes when it comes to all things show business. She is the niece of Dick Van Patten, perhaps best known as the dad from the television show Eight Is Enough, and her own father is Academy Award winning actor Martin Balsam, who won the Best Supporting Actor statue for the movie A Thousand Clowns in 1966.

She is a busy working actress. It looks like she has managed to get a job at all of the top television shows. Aside from Mad Men, Balsam can also be found on The Good Wife, where she played Anne Stevens, and Homeland, where she played Cynthia Walden, the wife of the Vice President.

She is over it! Perhaps the best indication that someone is over a  divorce is when all parties, including the ex-wife, ex-husband, and their new respective spouses, can be friendly. Considering that George Clooney and John Slattery have worked together and got along quite well, it is safe to say they are all over it. Balsam has said: “Everyone’s very friendly.” Maybe Talia Balsam will have the chance to get friendly with Amal Alamuddin if their paths cross. Both seem intelligent, talented, and warm so there is a good chance the friendliness will continue.

Opinion By Jennifer Fernicola Ronay


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