Acclaimed American film star Billy Bob Thornton is perhaps one of the most recognizable faces in the industry. After first finding fame in the 1992 thriller One False Move, in which he both starred and co-wrote, Thornton received numerous Oscar nominations, both for acting and writing. With two Golden Globes, an Emmy nomination and a Hollywood Walk of Fame star under his belt, Thornton is also an acclaimed musician, having released four solo albums as a singer and drummer, and is also the lead singer of the rockabilly band The Boxmasters.
Fans may recall that Thornton’s career received a notable boost of attention during his highly publicized marriage to famed superstar Angelina Jolie in 2000, which ended just three years later in 2003. Despite the inevitable surge in media attention surrounding this marriage, Thornton has been open about his disdain for celebrity culture, which prefers to rock bottom as a celebrity as much as possible.
It’s perhaps because of this low-key lifestyle Thornton maintains that many fans may not know about the many marriages he’s had — to more than just Jolie. How many times has the famous actor been married? Well the answer is probably more than you think.
Billy Bob Thornton has been married six times
Billy Bob Thornton, who will turn 67 in August 2022, has been married to six women over the years. However, most of his wives aren’t celebrities themselves – appropriate given Thornton’s disdain for celebrity lifestyles – and none is as well known as his brief marriage to Angelina Jolie. Most, however, were relatively brief themselves, and came about even quicker than his marital bond with the “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” star.
Thornton’s first marriage was to an Arcansan woman named Melissa Lee Gatlin, a relatively low-key private, which lasted from 1978-80, according to People. In 1983, three years after his divorce from Gatlin, Thornton married a relatively unknown actor named Toni Lawrence, who starred in such projects as the 1973 thriller Pigs (written and directed by her father Marc Lawrence) and the television series Pigs. Quincy ME” with Jack Klugman. Thornton and Lawrence divorced three years later.
In 1990 he married arguably his most famous wife (aside from Jolie), Cynda Williams, an actress with whom he co-starred in One False Move, which launched both of their acting careers. She was even nominated for an Independent Spirit Award in 1993 for her starring role in the film. However, they would divorce in 1992. The following year, Thornton married Playboy model Pietra Dawn Cherniak. They were acrimoniously divorced four years later, with Cherniak accusing him of physical and emotional abuse, sometimes in front of their two sons, per People.
Billy Bob Thornton may have found his life partner
After his final (and most prominent) divorce from superstar Angelina Jolie in 2003, Billy Bob Thornton understandably seemed to want a break from marriage. In 2008, he told Maxim that he would “probably not” remarry.
“I told Connie I didn’t want to put her through that,” Thornton said, referring to Connie Angland, his then-girlfriend. “If we get married, the press will start calling her ‘Number Six.'” He even once claimed after divorcing Jolie that marriage “isn’t working out” for him. However, despite those comments, everything seems to have changed for him as he secretly married Angland in 2014. Their marriage was publicly announced the following year.
Thornton and Angland have now been married for almost 8 years, which is double Thornton’s longest previous marriage. They also dated longer before marriage than Thornton had with any of his other wives, having started dating in 2003, shortly after his divorce from Jolie, according to People. Together, the two have a daughter, Bella, who was born in 2004. The birth of Bella was Thornton’s fourth (and probably last) child. In the end, Thornton proved that despite statistics and a fast-paced Hollywood lifestyle, true love can always find a way, and marriage can work out for even the most unlikely of people.