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Richard Gere Said He Married Cindy Crawford After She Gave Him an Ultimatum

One of the biggest celebrity couples of the '90s wed in Las Vegas with tinfoil rings.

While only a select few of them are still together, you probably remember the hottest celebrity couples of the 1990s. There was Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder, Brad Pitt and Gwyneth Paltrow, and of course Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise, just to name a handful. And among that group of hot stars in high-profile relationships were leading man Richard Gere and world-famous supermodel Cindy Crawford. The two tied the knot in 1991 after a few years of dating in the public eye. However, that marriage, which only lasted until 1995, was probably doomed from the start. Gere was famously commitment-phobic, leaving Hollywood stunned that he had settled down with the younger model. And indeed, years later, the American Gigolo star admitted he married Crawford when he did only after she gave him an ultimatum. Read on to find out more about their romance and what they've said about it over the years.

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Richard Gere became a sex symbol in the '80s.

Richard Gere in American Gigolo
Paramount Pictures

Beginning with his starring role in 1980's American Gigolo, Richard Gere established himself as one of Hollywood's go-to leading men. In 1982, he swept Debra Winger off her feet in An Officer and a Gentleman and later gained credibility as a serious actor in Francis Ford Coppola's 1984 drama, The Cotton Club. At the start of the next decade came the Garry Marshall romantic comedy Pretty Woman, co-starring America's new sweetheart Julia Roberts, which cemented Gere's heartthrob status.

Cindy Crawford was part of the '90s supermodel boom.

Cindy Crawford on MTV News in 1991
MTV Vault/YouTube

In January 1990, British Vogue published an issue featuring Crawford and fellow models Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista, Tatjana Patitz, and Naomi Campbell on the cover, hailing them as the "supermodels" of the catwalk. Crawford had been modeling professionally since 1987, but that cover, followed by the Fab Five's appearance in George Michael's "Freedom! '90" video, cemented her and her peers as fashion icons.

"When people ask me what was my big supermodel moment, I always refer to this Vogue cover and that autumn/winter 1991 Versace show, when we sang George Michael's 'Freedom' as we strode down the catwalk," Crawford wrote of the iconic shoot. "But the Versace show wouldn't have happened if we hadn't done George Michael's video, and George Michael would have chosen actresses to star in his video if he had not seen the Vogue cover. So it all comes back to it."

Gere and Crawford were one of the hottest couples in the industry.

Cindy Crawford and Richard Gere at the Oscars in 1993
Brenda Chase/Online USA, Inc

Gere and Crawford met at a barbecue hosted by photographer Herb Ritts in 1988 and began seeing each other romantically, per People. After they took their relationship public, it rocketed the couple to the cover of magazines and features on TV shows like Entertainment Tonight. In 1991, Crawford and Gere caused a fuss when they attended the Academy Awards post-Pretty Woman together, with the supermodel in a red Versace dress that defined high fashion in the early '90s. At the end of that year—and without an engagement—the pair made it official by getting married.

Crawford had put her foot down.

Cindy Crawford in 1998
Featureflash Photo Agency/Shutterstock

While outsiders probably imagined that their decision to get married was romantic and spontaneous, both stars have shed some realistic light on it in the years since. First of all, Gere was 42 at the time, while Crawford was 25. The model was marriage and children-minded, while the actor had spent decades in Hollywood refusing to be tied down. According to The Mirror, Gere later admitted that Crawford had threatened to walk if he didn't get down on one knee. "This woman, who I was crazy about and loved very much, said, 'I can't wait. I gotta move on if it ain't happening,'" he reportedly said.

In 2015, Crawford said pretty much the same thing during an appearance at the 92nd Street Y. "Richard [Gere] and I had been dating for several years and at one point I was like, 'Are we doing this or what?' And he said, 'Let's go to Vegas tonight,'" she told the crowd, as reported by Yahoo! Entertainment.

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It was not the wedding of her dreams.

Cindy Crawford in 1998
Brenda Chase / Liaison Agency

The Las Vegas wedding was such a whirlwind affair that there wasn't even time for the couple to get actual bling—they made their promises with rings made of tinfoil. And only a sparse few guests attended.

"It wasn't the wedding I dreamed of. It was so last minute I wore this Armani suit. It was a nice Armani suit, but I didn't dream of getting married in a navy blue suit," Crawford said at the 92nd Street Y. But at least the couple didn't have to skimp on their wedding photos. The model explained that Ritts, the very photographer who introduced him, was both their bridesmaid and memory-maker.

After the deed was done, Gere went right back to work filming Mr. Jones, which was coincidentally the first flop he'd had in a while when it was released in 1993.

The marriage didn't solve their problems.

Richard Gere in 2000
George De Sota/Newsmakers

Of course, Crawford wanted more than just a marriage license. She was ready to have children. As reported by People, the model explained at the time, "I feel that's the thing in my life I'm going to be best at, being a mother." Gere seemed less keen on the idea, reportedly saying, "I am a child," when the possibility came up.

Amid what seemed to be complications in their relationship, the tabloids had a field day speculating that their marriage was a sham, including rumors that both stars were part of the LGBTQ+ community and had only wed to cover it up. Gere and Crawford fought back, including utilizing the unprecedented strategy of taking out a full-page ad in The Times of London in May 1994 stating their marriage was fine and monogamous and that they were both heterosexual. However, despite their protestations, the two were already on their way to divorce. In December 1994, their publicists issued a statement that they were separating. By January 1995, Crawford was spotted visiting her ex-boyfriend, bar proprietor Rande Gerber. The two married in 1998 and have two children: son Presley and daughter Kaia, who's following in her mother's footsteps.

As for Gere, he married two more times. From 2002 to 2016, he was married to actor Carey Lowell, with whom he welcomed son Homer. And he's been married to current wife Alejandra Silva since 2018. They've welcomed two sons: Alexander and a younger boy, whose name they have not shared publicly.

Crawford says Gere is "like a stranger" to her now.

Rande Gerber and Cindy Crawford in 2022
Gonzalo Marroquin/Getty Images for Haute Living

Reflecting on the short-lived marriage on a 2016 episode of the podcast WTF With Marc Maron, Crawford blamed the stars' age gap. "I didn't think I was young, though, but I was young," she explained. A few years early, she had said something similar on an episode of Oprah's Master Class. "I think a lot of what happened with Richard and I was, I was still 22 and at 22—as a young woman—I was kind of still figuring out who I was and what I wanted to be and he was already 37," she said, as reported by Page Six.

The now-57-year-old model also opened up about the exes' status on WTF. "We're friendly, but I think it's almost like he's gone back to being, like, 'Richard Gere' again, like a stranger," she said. "I think part of the problem in our relationship was that we were a lot of other things, but I don't know if we were ever friends."

Ani Bundel
Ani Bundel is an entertainment writer covering everything from celebrities to movies to peak TV. Read more
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