The sitcom Friends is still a fan favorite years after it ended its run. Millions of people love the six actors and their characters. The show brought smiles to viewers’ faces and sometimes a tear or two to their eyes.
What you may not know about Friends, however, is that it brought screenwriter, director, and actor Jon Favreau of Elf (2003), Swingers (1996), and Iron Man fame together with his future wife, Joya Tillem. Here is what we know about their resilient 22-year marriage.
Who Is Joya Tillem?
According to The Jewish News of Northern California, Tillem is a Los Angeles-based doctor specializing in internal medicine. She attended the Georgetown University School of Medicine, where she graduated in 1996.
Her family is part of Congregation Shir Shalom in Cotati. Her brother, Len Tillem, is a lawyer and host of a weekend call-in program on the radio station KGO.
Favreau And Tillem Have Been Married Since 2000
Favreau and Tillem reportedly met on the set of Friends in the mid-1990s, when Favreau played Monica’s boyfriend in a handful of episodes.
Favreau joked to LA Magazine in 2014 that Tillem (along with her mother) was initially impressed by his swanky ride—a Cadillac DeVille—rather than his personality or success.
The couple wed in Sonoma, California, on Nov. 24, 2000. They share three kids: Madelaine, Max, and Brighton Rose. Max followed in his dad’s Hollywood footsteps when he had a cameo as a young Peter Parker in Iron Man 2.
Here’s How They’ve Kept Love Alive For Two Decades
Even though Favreau and Tillem both have extremely demanding careers, they value time with each other and their children.
Religious faith also ranks high among the family’s priorities. According to 18 Doors, Favreau’s mother was Jewish and his father was Catholic. He described the importance of religion in his family’s life and how they blended various religious practices during his youth in 2003 for The Los Angeles Jewish Journal.
“When I was growing up,” Favreau said, “we’d have the traditional Christmas Eve dinner with my Catholic grandmother, and then Christmas morning would be lox and bagels with my Jewish side [of the family].”
The observance of Christmas in the Favreau household was always pleasant until 1979. That year, Madeleine Favreau, Jon’s mom, entered the hospital just prior to the holiday.
Jon, who was 12 years old at the time, believed that she had an ulcer. Sadly, she actually had leukemia. Favreau’s dad brought him to visit her, but tragically, she had passed away.
Favreau took his mom’s loss hard. Having her death come at Christmas made it even more painful. “Over the years,” he said, “I felt like I had not only lost my mother, I had lost Christmas.”
He found ways to heal and cope. For example, he named his daughter Madelaine in tribute to his mother. He reportedly has fundraised for the Jewish Television Network and attends synagogue services.
They Support Each Other
As is the case with many couples both famous and non-famous, each spouse is there for the other in both upbeat times and bad ones. That’s true of Favreau and Tillem, which must surely account to some degree for the longevity of their marriage.
In 2007, People reported that Favreau, who was nearing 40, weighed almost 300 pounds. He was understandably concerned. “[T]his is not the weight my body wants to be,” he confided to Tillem. With her medical background, she was able to put him on a healthy diet of her own curation. He eventually lost 85 pounds.
Jon Favreau and Joya Tillem don’t just have a marriage—they have a loving partnership. They share everything, prioritize their relationship and family life, and have never allowed professional success to overwhelm them. Their down-to-earth lifestyle and values are a refreshing change from Hollywood’s often superficial glamour.