Mark Ruffalo’s Tragic Loss Indirectly Led To Greta Gerwig Meeting Her Husband Noah Baumbach

A tragic incident in Mark Ruffalo paved the way for Greta Gerwig to meet Noah Baumbach.

Mark Ruffalo’s Tragic Loss Indirectly Led To Greta Gerwig Meeting Her Husband Noah Baumbach


  • Greta Gerwig first met her future husband Noah Baumbach on the set of Greenberg in 2010.
  • Mark Ruffalo and Amy Adams were originally considered to lead the romantic comedy.
  • Ruffalo backed out due to a personal tragedy and Adams soon followed suit. Ben Stiller and Gerwig ended up replacing the pair.
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2023 has been a great year for the partnership of Academy Award-nominated writer-directors Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach, both at the box office and in their personal lives.

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greta gerwig
Greta Gerwig.

The couple wrote the screenplay of Barbie, which went on to smash countless box office records, cementing itself as the highest-grossing film of this year by managing $1,4 billion globally. Behind the scenes, Gerwig and Baumbach welcomed their second son in the summer and have now tied the knot in a seemingly quiet ceremony. Not many fans know it, but the very successful and romantic chemistry started because of a tragedy in Mark Ruffalo’s life.


Read more: “I am always trying to impress her”: One Obsession of Greta Gerwig’s Husband Noah Baumbach Might Have Been the Biggest Secret Behind Barbie’s Success

How Barbie Duo Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach First Met

Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach crossed paths for the first time in 2010 when Gerwig starred opposite Ben Stiller in the romantic comedy Greenberg. The movie about Roger Greenberg (Stiller), a failed musician, returning to Los Angeles to house-sit for his brother was directed by Baumbach. Gerwig played Florence, the assistant of Roger’s brother. She helps him find happiness again in his life.

Hollywood actor/filmmaker Greta Gerwig
Hollywood actor/filmmaker Greta Gerwig.

The on-screen chemistry between Stiller and Gerwig received plenty of plaudits. However, they weren’t the first choice pair for Baumbach’s movie. It is understood (via Observer) that originally Mark Ruffalo and Amy Adams were in mind to lead the movie, but the actor had to back out of the project following the tragic death of his brother, Scott Ruffalo. Adams also departed shortly later.

This opened doors for Stiller and Gerwig to join the project and it subsequently kick-started a connection between the director and the actress. At the time, Baumbach was married to Jennifer Jason Leigh, who co-wrote the film and also featured in it. Months later, the pair separated.


In 2012, Gerwig and Baumbach sat at the writing table for the first time for the comedy-drama Frances Ha. The following years saw more collaborations, but they didn’t confirm their romance until January of 2018, appearing on the Golden Globe Awards red carpet as a couple for the first time.

In 2019, they welcomed their first child together and in the same year announced the collaboration of Barbie. 


Read more: Greta Gerwig Becomes the First American Female Director to Earn an Incredible Honor at Cannes International Film Festival

How Noah Baumbach Initially Reacted to Greta Gerwig’s Barbie Idea

Despite their frequent collaborations, the Marriage Story director wasn’t fully convinced by his partner’s idea of making a movie about the most famous toy figure of all time.

Hollywood filmmaker Noah Baumbach
Hollywood filmmaker Noah Baumbach.

During a Q&A with Gerwig and Judd Apatow (via People), the filmmaker admitted he initially thought it was a terrible idea and Gerwig had to make an effort to get him on board.

“I don’t see how this is going to be good at all,” the 54-year-old said. “I kind of blocked it for a while and every time [Greta would] bring it up, I’d be like, ‘You’ve gotta get us out of this.’” 

Gerwig’s creative instincts eventually proved to be a masterstroke. Barbie has not only managed to become a huge financial success but has also dominated Golden Globe nominations with an impressive nine nods.


Read more: Greta Gerwig Admits One of the Best Moments of Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie From Barbie Was Inspired From a Commercial


Written by Vishal Singh

Vishal Singh is a Content Writer at FandomWire. Having spent more than half a decade in the digital media space, Vishal specializes in crafting engaging entertainment- and sports-focused stories. He graduated from university with an honors degree in English Literature.