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Best known for his performances in Apollo 13 and Forrest Gump, Gary Sinise has been on our screens for around four decades now. His wife, actress Moira Harris, has been by his side for the same period of time, too. But what exactly is the secret to the famous couple’s long-lasting marriage? Well, Sinise has since chosen to spill the beans – and what he has to say may come as a surprise.

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Yes, Sinise and Harris first met all the way back in college, when the pair were both budding actors. Then, after walking down the aisle together in 1981, the couple went on to have three children. And in 1986 Sinise and Harris made their relationship a professional one, too, when Harris briefly appeared alongside her spouse on screen in NBC series Crime Story. Appropriately enough, she starred as the wife of Sinise’s one-off character Howie Dressler.

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But, of course, Sinise and Harris’ union hasn’t always been a bed of roses. Over the years, Harris has battled alcoholism, for one, while both parties have also admitted to various affairs. Yet as the two approached their 40th anniversary, Sinise has explained how one thing in particular has helped them to weather each storm. Here’s a look at the couple’s touching and enduring love story.

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Interestingly, Sinise was perhaps always destined for a career in Hollywood, as the actor was born in Illinois in 1955 to a father who earned a living editing films. That said, Sinise’s first love was the stage. In fact, at the age of just 19, he co-founded his own theatre company, Steppenwolf, alongside two friends.

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Nevertheless, Sinise’s step into acting happened almost by chance. In a 2013 interview with The Saturday Evening Post, the star revealed, “I was asked to audition for a play by the high school drama teacher because she was going to do West Side Story, and she needed guys that looked like gang members. I wasn’t sure about it, but I saw all the pretty girls going in there to audition, and so I sort of just followed them.”

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Steppenwolf proved its worth, too, by going on to serve as a launchpad for actors such as Ethan Hawke, John Malkovich and Joan Allen, while Sinise also established himself as a talented director and actor during his early years with the company. Then, finally, audiences across the globe got to see Sinise’s talents in the early 1980s when he made it to television.

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Yes, Sinise earned his initial screen credit in a 1980 episode of prime-time soap opera Knots Landing. His first notable TV role came four years later, however, when he starred in the PBS production of True West. And in 1988 he also made his directorial debut with Richard Gere vehicle Miles from Home – practice, perhaps, for the movie that would really show off his skills.

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With 1992’s Of Mice and Men, you see, Sinise not only produced and directed the adaptation of the classic novel, but he also played leading man George Milton. Thanks to that showcase of his various talents, then, the actor suddenly found himself in demand in Hollywood. And as it happens, a big-screen hit was just around the corner.

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You’ve guessed it: in 1994 Sinise starred as the accidental hero’s best friend, Lieutenant Dan Taylor, in the decade-spanning dramedy Forrest Gump. His performance was ultimately honored by the Academy, too, through a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination. And after that, Sinise teamed up again with Tom Hanks in two other box-office hits: Apollo 13, where he portrayed real-life astronaut Ken Mattingly, and Stephen King adaptation The Green Mile.

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Then, after having previously picked up an Obie Award, Sinise added a Golden Globe to his trophy cabinet for his turn as Harry S. Truman in a biopic of the 33rd U.S. President. Proving that he could ace more than one political figure, he also took on the role of the 45th Governor of Alabama in TV movie George Wallace. Sinise’s 1990s golden period also included parts in Ransom, Snake Eyes and Albino Alligator.

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And the dad of three continued to rack up the credits in the 2000s, appearing on the big screen in Reindeer Games, Mission to Mars and Impostor during that time. In 2004, meanwhile, he landed his first recurring TV role, Detective Mac Taylor, in the CSI franchise. Sinise starred in two episodes of the Miami spin-off before moving to the NY version, where he spent nine years.

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But during his run on CSI, Sinise didn’t rest on his laurels. He took on some narration work, for instance, in When We Left Earth – a miniseries about the history of space travel – and several World War II documentary series. Sinise also lent his voice to Captain America: The Winter Soldier and executive produced the Iraq War-themed Brothers at War. And in 2015 he assumed the role of Agent Jack Garrett in Criminal Minds before going on to take top billing in spin-off Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders.

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Furthermore, as his filmography may suggest, Sinise is also a vocal supporter of the U.S. military. He’s served as a spokesman for the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial, for instance, as well as narrating various Army recruitment ads. The actor even regularly performs with his musical outfit, the Lt. Dan Band, on United Services Organizations (USO) tours. And in 2008 George W. Bush honored the star’s work in the field by awarding him the Presidential Citizens Medal.

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Naturally, the Lt. Dan Band is named after Sinise’s character in Forrest Gump – the same movie that the actor credits for inspiring his military and humanitarian efforts. In 2019 Sinise told The Daily Signal, “[Forrest Gump] changed my life in many ways. Not just with the acting career, and what it did to kind of reshape that, because the movie was so popular and all of that. But it opened a door to helping our wounded veterans in a way that I couldn’t have predicted at the time.”

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Intriguingly, the director and actor has also become one of Hollywood’s most high-profile supporters of the Republican Party, having donated money to the presidential campaigns of both John McCain and Mitt Romney. In 2011 he even gave a speech at a celebration marking the 100-year anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s birth. However, Sinise is apparently not a fan of Donald Trump, and he has taken some umbrage with the 45th president’s doubts over McCain’s war hero status.

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So, what about Sinise’s personal life? Well, in the late 1970s he met Moira Harris, a fellow aspiring actor studying at Illinois State University. And as we’ve previously mentioned, the pair went on to wed and have three kids: McCanna, Ella and Sophie. The couple are no strangers to working together, either.

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For starters, Harris honed her craft at the Steppenwolf Theatre Company – which, of course, her future husband helped to co-found. A little later on, she also appeared as the Girl in the Red Dress in the Sinise-directed Of Mice and Men. Away from her spouse, though, Harris has enjoyed roles in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Breakdown and Tall Tale prior to her retirement from the industry in 2003.

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Meanwhile, in 2019 Sinise proved that he could conquer the publishing world, too, by topping The New York Times Best Sellers list. But while his book Grateful American: A Journey from Self to Service is largely focused on his work and experiences with the U.S. military, he also found time to reflect on his personal life and the hardships that he’s faced throughout his career. One moment, in particular, could’ve killed him.

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In the book, you see, the actor discusses the period in 2012 when he was left bedridden for around a month. Shockingly, Sinise suffered a fractured neck and concussion after his car was rammed from behind by a fast-moving van. He had been en route to the Walter Reed Military Medical Center to visit wounded soldiers at the time.

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The candid memoir also sees Sinise write about the agony of losing his Vietnam veteran brother-in-law to cancer and relay a near-death experience that his father endured thanks to a burst faulty pipe at his home. Plus, the actor naturally talks about his three children and his relationship with his wife in the book. And it seems that Harris gave her spouse her full blessing to expand on a very difficult period of their life together.

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In any case, Sinise chooses to discuss his wife’s past alcoholism, which led to a period that he has described as being one of the most challenging of their time as a couple. But in a 2019 interview with Parade magazine to promote the bestseller, Sinise described the chapter in question as a “hopeful thing.” He added, “And I wouldn’t have put it in the book if [Harris] wasn’t comfortable with that.”

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Sinise went on to further explain, “[My wife] was good with telling the story of those challenges [with alcoholism]. It was tough and happened right around the time that I was breaking into the movie business in a big way and getting a lot of great roles. A lot of great things were happening on camera. Off camera, it was far more challenging.”

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But the star hopes that readers can take something away from this particular period of his life. He told Parade, “I thought perhaps telling this part of the story could help somebody to know that you can’t judge the book by its cover. There’s always something underneath that somebody might be going through. In our case, it was a hopeful ending, and we wanted to share that.” So, what had helped Harris get over her addiction?

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Well, in a 2019 interview with website Catholic Philly, Sinise revealed that his wife’s new-found faith had played a notable role. He revealed, “At one point in the late 1990s, I remember my wife was doing a play, The Playboy of the Western World. She was playing a woman in a tavern. She had just gone through sobriety, and she was new to her sobriety as she was playing this woman defending her life in a tavern.” But that’s not all.

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Sinise continued, “At one point, [my wife] went to a Catholic church looking for an AA meeting. This little French woman, [Harris] asked her, ‘Where’s the AA meeting?’ [The woman] looked at her and said, ‘You should become a Catholic.’ Something happened to [my wife] at that moment — I don’t know, something that had been aligned within her.” Following that, Harris went on to get confirmed in 2000, while Sinise himself joined the church ten years later.

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But it may be interesting to note that Sinise is certainly no stranger to discussing his marital problems in public. Indeed, during an interview with The Guardian in 2000, he freely admitted that he and Harris had “weathered many, many storms.” The newspaper reported that the couple had even survived affairs and subsequent splits during their marriage. Sinise added of those experiences, “Many times it was questionable where we were going.”

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And Harris herself has admitted that she and her husband had decided to take a break from each other in the early 1980s, when Sinise had taken True West to the New York stage. She explained to The Guardian, “We separated and dated other people. We were married, but we had a verbal separation agreement.” Yet this arrangement didn’t always prove smooth sailing.

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Harris told The Guardian, in fact that Sinise would often admit he’d found a new love. “Well, okay, that’s fine,” was the actress’ typical response. She added, “Then a week later he came back to Chicago, and we were back together again. But it went on for quite a while like that – him wanting me, me wanting him.”

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Despite all the apparent heartache, however, the pair have ultimately stayed together. And in 2011 Sinise was asked by Parade magazine as to how he and Harris have managed to keep their marriage going. Remarkably, as we’re about to find out, Sinise’s answer proved to be a surprisingly simple one.

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Indeed, Sinise revealed that the key to his and Harris’ long-lasting – if occasionally turbulent – relationship was their shared sense of humor. The award-winning actor said to Parade, “My wife’s a loving, funny, Irish-spirited person, and I’m still surprised at some of the things she says. She makes me laugh every day.”

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Years later, Sinise once again discussed how valuable the ability to laugh had been in his marriage with Harris. He told the Catholic Digest, “[My wife]’s been remarkable in what she’s been through in her life, and she’s got a great sense of humor. We keep each other laughing.” Still, as we’ll find out, other things had apparently bound the couple together, too.

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In particular, Sinise reflected on the important role that the pair’s shared faith had played in their marriage. He explained, “We have great kids and a great family life. We recognize that a lot of the difficult things we went through early on and throughout our lives have played a role in our journey — and our faith journey is a big part of that.”

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A year prior to that conversation with the Catholic Digest, Sinise had been asked by Time magazine what he was most thankful for. And yet again, his answer seemed to suggest that he’s still very much in love with his wife of nearly four decades. The star answered, “Family above all else – it’s the thing that keeps me grounded, connected.”

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The actor/director continued to explain, “I look to my family for strength and support – my wife, kids, and even my mom and dad, who I’m blessed to still have around. Their love and support all these years means the world to me, and it’s truly the thing that counts most at the end of the day.”

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And in the aforementioned interview with The Guardian at the turn of the century, Sinise also revealed how the pair had first met. It turned out that he had initially encountered Harris during a Steppenwolf production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Of this moment, Sinise joked, “It’s a good way to first see your future wife, in a negligee.”

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What’s more, Harris revealed that she and Sinise had immediately experienced a connection when they began talking at an after-show bash. As she went on to explain, “I loved [Sinise] because he was very quiet and sweet and shy. And, of course, I thought he was awfully handsome, like a young Paul Newman. And he took me home, and that was it.”

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Even back in 1997, Sinise was speaking highly of his wife’s talents in an interview with The Irish Times. There, he said, “We have three kids, so she’s been out of acting for a while now, but she’s very keen to get back in. She really wanted to do Brian Friel’s Molly Sweeney, which she would be terrific in. We did it at Steppenwolf recently, but she couldn’t get away from the kids.”

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Now, since Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders was taken off the airwaves, Sinise has unfortunately been notably absent from our screens. In 2020, however, fans can see him in movie theaters not just once but twice. Firstly, he will appear alongside Mark Wahlberg and Connie Britton in the drama Good Joe Bell.

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Then, Sinise will play KJ Apa’s father in faith-based biopic I Still Believe. The Riverdale star portrays Jeremy Camp – the singer-songwriter who lost his wife Melissa to cancer shortly after their wedding. Sinise and Apa are joined in the cast by Britt Robertson and country legend Shania Twain.

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And, of course, Sinise will continue with his humanitarian and charity efforts – including work for the eponymous foundation that he set up in 2011. Touchingly, the organization provides specially adapted homes to badly injured soldiers, among other projects. Harris and the actor’s three children regularly lend a hand, too, at the initiative’s various events. In fact, it was Sinise’s wife, along with the numerous veterans in her family, who first inspired him to take up the cause.

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