Who doesn’t love Jason Bateman? The former child actor has grown up to become a beloved Hollywood star, best known for playing Michael Bluth on the cult hit Arrested Development and the devious Marty Byrde on Netflix’s Ozark. Bateman also hosts the hilarious Smartless podcast alongside real-life pals Will Arnett and Sean Hayes.
But what about Jason Bateman’s family? Is it as happy and full as his Hollywood career? Jason Bateman’s wife, Amanda Anka, has had a lot to do with his success—both personally and professionally. Here’s an inside look at Jason Bateman’s marriage and what the Game Night star has to say about the support he gets from kids.
Jason Bateman And Amanda Anka’s Romance Was The Ultimate Slow Burn
According to GQ, Jason Bateman and Amanda Anka first met at an L.A. Kings game when they were in their teens. While they liked each other immediately, they didn’t start dating for another 10 years because—as Anka puts it—”I just wasn’t into where he was at.” What she’s referring to is the party lifestyle that Bateman had adopted as a young, up-and-coming Hollywood star.
Having worked steadily since the age of 12 on shows like Little House on the Prairie, Silver Spoons, It’s Your Move, and The Hogan Family, Bateman was a seasoned Hollywood performer by the time he reached early adulthood. He was also financially independent and ready to have some fun.
“It was like Risky Business for 10 years,” Bateman says of that time period. “My parents were out of town, they left me a bunch of money, the car, and the house, and I didn’t know when they were coming home. I’d worked so hard that by the time I was 20, I wanted to play hard. And I did that really well.”
Eventually, Bateman calmed down enough to realize that he wanted to settle down and start a family. And by this point, Anka had become one of his closest friends. “I looked around at relationships in my life that did last and those were friendships,” Bateman said in 2013. “And I wasn’t sexually attracted to buddies, so I found a female buddy that I was sexually attracted to and asked her if she wanted to give it a go and that’s why it’s lasted so long.”
The couple married in 2001 and now have two daughters together—Francesca Nora, born in 2006, and Maple Sylvia, born in 2012.
Bateman’s Partying Nearly Destroyed Their Marriage
While Bateman had eased up his wild antics to some degree, he continued to party after marrying Anka. According to US Weekly, she eventually gave him an ultimatum to shape up or ship out. The pair came close to splitting up, and it wasn’t until Anka left Bateman behind to take Christmas vacation without him that he realized he needed to change his ways.
Fortunately, the wake-up call really worked, prompting Bateman to ask himself: “Do you want to continue being great at being in your twenties, or do you want to step up and graduate into adulthood?”
The Break-Up actor also revealed that things started to fall into place for him once he decided to straighten out—including the reemergence of his career. “Along comes Arrested Development, along comes Amanda, my wife still to this day, and sobriety, too,” he told GQ. “So all of these things kind of coalesced around my early thirties, and it has fueled and continued to fuel the respect that I have for people, for work, for this business. I really feel lucky that ambition is matched with access right now.”
Bateman says that the bond he and Anka share is particularly strong because it is grounded in friendship. “Our marriage has defied the odds and works really well,” the Ozark actor said in a 2013 interview with Redbook magazine. “We are really aware of our boundaries. We know how to bug each other and not bug each other. If you don’t get along, it’s garbage. With a girlfriend, you get into a fight, you drive away. With us, we learn to fight quickly or not at all. I wanted to marry a friend. Friends last longer.”
Family Keeps Bateman Grounded
These days, Bateman is happy to say no to late-night parties. “I can’t get him off the couch to go to a party,” Anka joked in an interview with GQ. “This is a guy who wants to go get frozen yogurt and come home.”
Now Bateman prefers being a family man—and he credits Anka with making it all possible. “Being a father of two is everything I wanted,” the Arrested Development star told Redbook. “I’m a big fan of marriage and being a dad. And my wife, Amanda, makes those things easy. She spoils me; she makes the husband part simple.”
In a backstage interview during the 2019 SAG Awards, Bateman elaborated on how Anka helps keep his family functional, especially when he’s out of town so often for work. “She’s got a full-time career herself, and she’s able to be an incredible mom, and she’s also almost a full-time dad too because I’m out of town so much,” Bateman explained. “I’m floored by that. That keeps me grounded. That reminds me that I’ve got a real strong example to kind of live up to what she’s showing. That keeps me from taking any of this for granted or just doing it half-assed.”