Hamm with his significant other of 14 years, writer and actress Jennifer Westfeldt. / David Livingston/Getty Images
In Love & Work
Jon Hamm and Jennifer Westfeldt have lived together for more than a decade, adopted a dog together and now, at long last ... they’ve made a movie together. She wrote, directed, produced and stars in Friends With Kids, a new comedy he co-produced and acts in.
Making the movie was like “running a marathon,” Hamm says. Of course, they “got tired and grumpy.” But “we never really lost our tempers with each other.”
Who was the boss?
“We were each other’s boss,” he says. She echoes: “It was collaborative. ... By now we’ve learned that, all right, if he’s going to be up all night doing [work], I’m going to, you know, be really chill.”
Don't miss the photo gallery of outtakes from our photo shoot with Jon.
Jon Hamm strolls down a windy Manhattan street and fades anonymously into the city. With his lady love, actress Jennifer Westfeldt, by his side, he looks like any other fortysomething guy.
Except he’s not.
Tall (6-foot-2), dark, 40, fabulous and sporting, once indoors, a stylish striped crew-neck sweater with disappointingly baggy jeans, Hamm is America’s Most Wanted Man, at least to his growing fan base of Hammatics.
This month, the actor has not one but two projects to build on. First, a movie, Friends With Kids, opens next Friday. Then, after a 1½-year hiatus, Hamm reprises his starring role as the enigmatic Don Draper in TV’s critical juggernaut Mad Men.
So what happens when Season 5 finally begins March 25?
“I’m going to tell you the whole thing,” Hamm teases. Fresh from shooting, he adds gamely, “I remember most of the lines.”
His only clue on Draper, who, last we saw, was plunging frighteningly fast into his second marriage and facing career collapse: “It will be made very clear in the first few minutes where Don is.”
Also crystal-clear: Hamm refuses to rest on his Mad Men laurels. On-screen, he mischievously darts from dashing to doofus. He showed off his silly side hosting Saturday Night Live three times, played Tina Fey’s hapless beau on 30 Rock, and nailed it as a shameless stud in Oscar-nominated Bridesmaids.
“I don’t consider myself funny,” Hamm says. “But I do consider myself willing to embarrass myself for other people’s enjoyment. I’ve never been afraid of standing in front of a big group of people and acting like an idiot.”
In person, Hamm radiates brooding bohemian, not buffoon. He is introspective, realistic and unimpressed by his all-too-apparent allure. He says he’s really a nerd who loves video games and hanging with his buds, and he counts Steve Jobs and President Obama as idols. He readily admits he cries at movies. “I’m moved,” he says without irony, “by beautiful things.” He despises reality TV and has no patience for celebrities “who are all too happy to give up their privacy.”
Though he doesn’t hide his personal life, he has avoided becoming tabloid fodder. After all, Hamm is hardly the bed-hopping womanizer of his TV alter ego. He has been with the same woman for 14 years. Asked if they’ll marry and have kids someday, Hamm defers to Westfeldt, who has joined the conversation.
“We feel married as much as any couple,” she says, her hand on Hamm’s knee. A tiny blonde best known for her 2001 movie Kissing Jessica Stein, Westfeldt and her high whisper and delicate persona disguise the Yale grad’s strong creds as a talented writer and actress. Westfeldt, 42, not only stars in and directs her boyfriend’s latest movie, the smart comedy Friends With Kids, but she wrote it, too. “It’s not that we’d never get married, but it’s not something to think about.”
As far as having kids, the subject of their new movie, Hamm waffles. “If we have children in one way, shape or form, that could be great. If we never have children, that might be great, too.”
An only child from St. Louis whose parents divorced when he was 2, Hamm lost his mother to cancer when he was just 10. He moved in with his father and two half sisters until going off to the University of Missouri, where he studied English. His father died when Hamm was 20.
“Getting out of college and figuring out what to do was kind of tricky,” Hamm reflects. “At that point, both of my parents had died, and I didn’t really have anywhere to go back to.”
He bunked with friends (“any bed is a good bed when you're in your 20s”), waited tables and taught drama at his old high school. At 24, he left for Hollywood. His big break came in 2007 when he landed Mad Men.
Philosophical about his success (“it’s so fleeting in many ways”), he concedes that life as a late bloomer is pretty good.
“I just turned 40 last year, and it did not bother me. I was like, ‘Great, maybe that’s my [favorite] age after all.’”