Natasha Lyonne and Fred Armisen broke up over a swimming pool

Two years ago I was writing, “I didn’t know Natasha Lyonne and Fred Armisen were dating.” That’s on me because CB reported on it in 2014. And today I write, I didn’t realize that Natasha Lyonne and Fred Armisen broke up. These guys like to keep me on my toes. But they did break up and it’s been a while. I guess Natasha was already spotted with someone else at the Malibu Chili Cook-Off (it still kills me that’s a place to be seen). Natasha and Fred made sense as a couple. They were set up by Maya Rudolph. They’re intellectuals. They’re quirky with a good sense of humor. They enjoy making movies and television but don’t take the business too seriously. Plus, they take risks in their storytelling, which probably has nothing to do with their relationships, it was just another chance for me to say how much I appreciate their shows Russian Doll and Forever. However, in the latest round of press before season two of Russian Doll begins (this Wednesday!), Natasha confirmed that she and Fred had split, that it’s been over for about a year and that apparently the culprit was a swimming pool. According to Natasha, Fred doesn’t like pools and she went out and got one.

Russian Doll star Natasha Lyonne recently confirmed her split with comedian Fred Armisen over their different opinions on swimming pools.

“We love each other just about as much as two people can love each other,” she told The Hollywood Reporter. “But Freddy doesn’t like a swimming pool.”

The Orange Is the New Black star acknowledges that it’s a mundane reason for a breakup, but during the COVID lockdowns, she yearned for a house with a pool that would allow her to get a little exercise. Armisen balked at the idea.

“I’m like Burt Lancaster in The Swimmer,” she said in her THR interview. “So I got myself a house with a pool out in Los Angeles.”

Despite their aquatically driven parting of ways, Lyonne says she and Armisen still talk “all the time.”

“So that’s the real scandal,” she joked.

[From ET]

Normally I would say this is a smokescreen so they didn’t have to tell us what really happened. People don’t break up because one of them bought a house with a pool, especially if it was for exercise. But when I said Fred is quirky, I wasn’t just tossing that out there. And if this was the reason – maybe there was a phobia involved, or an environmental objection – and the pool was more important to Natasha than the relationship, then it was time to end things anyway. The good news is Fred and Natasha seem on good terms if they’re talking all the time. I assume it’s on the phone since clearly Fred’s not popping by for drinks in the hot tub. I also assume they share joint custody of Maya R.

I was trying to think of the flimsiest excuse I ever used to break up with someone. The real reason was generally boredom, but I used some pretty lame excuses. I remember one guy I was seeing in school talked about a “break” but in the “Spring Break” sense. But when he came back, I convinced him I’d thought he meant the other kid of break and suggested a tap tap no back idea to the comment that he hadn’t made. I wish I had thought of this “I don’t like (item in your living room/back yard)” idea.

Photo credit: Avalon Red and Wenn

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67 Responses to “Natasha Lyonne and Fred Armisen broke up over a swimming pool”

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  1. Erin says:

    I once broke up a a guy bc he ate a hamburger once and got mayo all over his mouth and never wiped it off.

    Looking back, there were other reasons. He was nice enough but boring. Pressured me into stuff, etc. However, in my 16 year old head, that was the reason.

    • Chaine says:

      Haha, teen love. I broke up with my first real boyfriend because he got a haircut that made him look dorky and I didn’t want to be seen with him looking like that.

    • Lionel says:

      I broke up with a guy for driving too slowly. Never regretted that decision!

    • Leslie says:

      🤣 that mayo thing should be grounds for divorce!!!!

      • Agreatreckoning says:

        +1 lol I broke up with someone in high school because they showed up in flight pants. Ill fitting ones to make matters worse. I realize that I just wasn’t interested in him or his shiny pants.

    • B says:

      Haha! I broke up with my boyfriend the day of “Snowball” (winter formal) because I didn’t like my dress. Of course I thought that was a good ‘out’ at the time…I like the pool/no pool rationale better.

    • teecee says:

      Entirely justified.

  2. Libellule says:

    I’d love to have pool over which I could break up with someone

    • Catlady says:

      I’m team Fred. I grew up in a house with a pool and it’s so much work.

      • Msmlnp says:

        Omg I have a pool now- hate it.
        My pool tech (who is ALWAYS around) told me there are 2 great days of pool ownership: the day you get it , and the day you don’t deal with anymore .

        No truer words. Never again.

  3. Rapunzel says:

    I wonder if Fred can’t swim and is thus reluctant to date a person with a swimming pool. He could have some serious aquaphobia.

    • Beth C says:

      It could be a phobia, but I think it’s more likely that:
      1. he had moral objections to having a swimming pool in LA since it’s such a waste of water. Based on her emphasis, this is what I would guess
      2. her new home was too far away and they both realized that they didn’t want to put in the extra effort to physically see each other.

    • Mattie says:

      This is coming from someone with a water phobia, if this is the reason why they broke up I can understand it.

      I have panic attacks around water…pools, lakes etc.

  4. Merricat says:

    Fred Armisen says he’s a terrible boyfriend and husband. Ex-wife Elisabeth Moss agrees.

    • Div says:

      I can believe Fred may difficult, but Moss is also an extremely hardcore Scientologist and one of the reporters that covers Scientology and celebs said allegedly that was rumored to be a major issue between the two…that he wouldn’t commit or do anything with the church.

      • Merricat says:

        People should have these discussions before they get married.
        I think he knew she was (fill in blank) before they got married. Whatever—6 of one, half dozen of the other.

      • BothSidesNow says:

        Agreed @ Merricat, but to discuss whether to have a pool or not would not be in my top 10 or 25 relationship talks.

        Strange the matters that people break up over. A pool would not have been my guess.

    • mj says:

      I like him as a comedian but I’ve always side-eyed his personal life. He just has this very unsavory aura.

      Elisabeth Moss has her own bucket of Scientology craziness, but the first time I read her saying his greatest impression is that of a normal person it gave me chills. I’ve dealt with that guy before.

      • BothSidesNow says:


        A “normal” guy? The Scientology cult members should ONLY date/marry within their own pool. No pun intended!!

      • detritus says:

        He gives me real bad vibes.

        Squicks me out whenever I see him in things. He also gives me that Rob Schneider I’ll play any ethnicity and any stereotype feel.

        Can we just replace him fully with Tim Meadows and never look back?

      • LooneyTunes says:

        Wait? What about Tim Meadows? What did I miss? (PS I thought Fred was half-black, which is why he always gets the “racially ambiguous” roles?)

      • Sealit says:

        He’s part Asian. Grew up thinking his grandfather (I think) was Japanese. He found out on Finding Your Roots he was really Korean.

      • detritus says:

        Lol, no, no! Meadows is a treasure from what I know.
        All Armisten roles going forward should have Meadows INSTEAD of Armisten.

      • ANON says:

        You’re not the only one. I don’t watch things he’s in because of that vibe.

      • tealily says:

        I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels this way! He weirds me out for no specific reason, and I do always think of Moss’s comment when I see him. Not my cup of tea.

      • Dashen’ka says:

        All Moss says must assumed to be lie since she is part of criminal abusive organization. Cannot watch Handmaid Tale, what dissonance she has.

    • teecee says:

      He also turns up a lot in the accusations made by the woman who is suing Horatio Sanz and if you take a look at her testimony, both Armisen and Jimmy Fallon seem like Grade A supercreeps. Actually, creep is too soft a word.

    • MoonTheLoon says:

      That’s what I was about to say. Maybe this is her diplomatic way of saying, “He’s an insufferable pretentious douche/he cheated/etc.”

  5. dlc says:

    This is a little crazy, but I think having a pool helps my mental health. The water and the sun is so soothing. We couldn’t afford to get ours fixed last year, and I put on a no big deal facade, but I felt it.

  6. Stef says:

    I once broke up with a guy because he was a bad kisser and I didn’t know how to deal with it.

    Fred is a great comedian and Portlandia and Forever are some of his best work, IMO. However, I don’t fully trust he is a good person and I side eye his personal life.

    There was an article out a few years back about all the women he used to date and how horribly he treated them. Apparently, he is a real weirdo and likes to “test” women in terrible ways. The article came out around the time he and Elizabeth Moss broke up. It was just a series of creepy accounts of his true behaviour and what Moss said about him trying to be a real person sealed it for me. I can’t look at him the same.

    • Concern Fae says:

      Was just about to say this same thing. Did some internet sleuthing after that and there was a lot of info lying around about how awful he is to women.

      I could totally see a toxic dude being completely ridiculous over his girlfriend buying a house with a pool and the girlfriend seeing that this is the time to get out.

      Also glad that Natasha has buying a house in LA with a pool money these days.

    • SophieJara says:

      Yah it is definitely not just an Elizabeth Moss thing. He is famous in New York and on the West Coast for how awful he is to women. He even talks about it! He talked about it on the WTF podcast and other places. He love bombs, he wants that intensity, and then he flips a switch when they’re all in. Also a hardcore cheater, which is such a weird look in the poly-friendly circles he runs in. He is a great artist and as far as I know there’s been no sexual harassment or anything like that, but he has been described as a sociopath by women he’s dated….

    • BlueNailsBetty says:

      My mom didn’t give me much advice about dating but she did impart one very useful bit with regards to sexual intimacy: if you don’t like the way they kiss, you probably won’t like how they do anything else.

      I’ve found that to be 100% true.

      • Lady Baden-Baden says:

        My husband isn’t the greatest kisser… but he’s excellent at cunnilingus. I’ll take it.

      • buenavissta says:

        Holy. Do I ever wish I had known that before putting 21 years into a gong show of a marriage.

  7. Eclta says:

    My pool is a pain in the rear end but I was so thankful for it during quarantine. Had a kid friend bubble and it was so great to have something for them to do since all the pools were closed down.

  8. Qsan says:

    Assuming this is true, this makes me love her all the more. For people who love to swim and love a pool, (I’m one), having a pool is goals and something I use everyday. I love that Natasha knew what would make her happy and went after it, instead of staying in a relationship that would in some ways, make her life smaller. It says a lot about their relationship that there could be no compromise, and that’s what the split is really about.

    • Twin Falls says:

      I love that Natasha knew what would make her happy and went after it, instead of staying in a relationship that would in some ways, make her life smaller.

      +1 and as a fellow swimmer, I’d pick having my own pool, too (now that I’ve had therapy and don’t stay in toxic relationships).

  9. Willow says:

    Being married for umpteen years, I would guess it wasn’t just about the pool, but about an ongoing problem that blew up and couldn’t be resolved.

    • tealily says:

      Yeah, it sounds like the pool in emblematic of something else. There is a larger issue at stake, but the pool was the breaking point.

      • drbessy says:

        yup, maybe “pool” is code for baby, dog, open relationship, anything other than “pool.” i have a hard time buying this as THE reason for breaking a marriage.

  10. Jo says:

    I am pretty sure this is a joke and they simply do not want to talk about their private lives and relationship. Which is sane, and normal. In Portugal we say “fool me with the truth”, meaning that you use something that is true to build an artificial narrative, which is most likely what happened, There must have been a quarrel about a pool, and that was what she decided to talk about.

    • Twin Falls says:

      Agree but but the what would you give up or not for a relationship is a good conversation so I appreciate she threw this out there for us to talk amongst ourselves about.

  11. teehee says:

    I CAN imagine that this will lead to a breakup.

    It’s not about the swimming pool– its about what makes the other person happy and whether you can find a compromise. Are they empathetic to your wants, concerns, do they support your dreams– even when they don’t share them with you?

    I guess they couldn’t- and that’s a deal breaker.

  12. HeyKay says:

    I like the fact that a woman put her wants/needs first.
    I’m from the generation of women who were raised and valued to “do as you are told”.
    I am not joking about this.
    And ffs, stop putting that garbage in childrens heads. All that does is undermine independence and strength.

    Russian Doll is a good show, she was good in OITNB too.

    • BothSidesNow says:

      I was too but it was much more damaging. In that my father was Argentine and my mother was a force to be reckoned with. Unfortunately, he beat her into submission. That’s hell to grow out of and break the cycle too. But 6 years of therapy and 2 failed marriages fixed me up right as rain!

  13. JJ says:

    Hasn’t he openly admitted that he’s an AWFUL partner?

  14. LooneyTunes says:

    “I was trying to think of the flimsiest excuse I ever used to break up with someone. The real reason was generally boredom, but I used some pretty lame excuses. I remember one guy I was seeing in school talked about a “break” but in the “Spring Break” sense. But when he came back, I convinced him I’d thought he meant the other kid of break and suggested a tap tap no back idea to the comment that he hadn’t made. I wish I had thought of this “I don’t like (item in your living room/back yard)” idea.”

    They way I hollered at this! LOL

  15. ooshpick says:

    he is one of my fave comedians of all time. esp when he can’t stop laughing on snl. if i’m ever feeling down i watch this skit

  16. Shannon says:

    I broke up with a guy in high school because he kept calling me while I was trying to watch X-Files. I told him we couldn’t talk during that day/hour and he kept calling hahahah

  17. ClaireB says:

    I like Armisen on SNL and enjoyed Forever, but he does give off squicky vibes. Why admit you’re an “awful partner” but not work on it to be better?

    • Katie says:

      But maybe he did work on it? It seems he spent several years with someone who was his tempermental and emotional match. She said it was a very amicable break-up and they still talk a lot.

  18. Katiekate says:

    To me, that sounds like a “we should move in together, let’s look at houses” –> they realize as they’re looking at houses that they want vastly different things, in a house and in general. Or she moved out because she wanted that pool.

    I would love a pool, especially if I lived in a warmer place where having a pool made sense.

  19. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    I once broke up with a guy because he wrote me poems. Yeah yeah I know. I couldn’t handle it…sue me lol.

    • AnneL says:

      I once had a guy I wasn’t even dating write me a poem, which made me not want to date him. I think the weirdest reason I ever broke up with a guy is he told me his former roommate had slept with my former roommate, but he said he “f***ed” her and that really turned me off. I don’t mind cursing but him phrasing it like that just made me think he might be a dog pretending to be a nice guy.

      I’m Team Pool. I love having a pool.

  20. Songs (Or It Didn't Happen) says:

    He’s Just Not That Into Pools.

  21. Andrea says:

    I broke up with a guy who refused to pleasure a woman orally. Said every woman’s taste was gross and he would never do it for any woman ever. Somehow, the guy is married with a kid now. Lol

  22. Mirage says:

    What’s the big deal with pools?
    I’m dreaming of having my own pool one day, shall I stick to the sea and rivers?

    • DiegoInSF says:

      Not that I have one in my SF apartment lol but apparently they’re money pits!

      • micky says:

        I agree, they are money pits. My parents had a pool put in several years ago and they regretted it after a year or two. The upkeep is tremendous. Even if you do the work yourself, you spend insane amounts of money on pool chemicals and other supplies. If you have trees, you will have to work hard to keep the leaves out, etc. And then there’s the issue of every friend and neighbor wanting an invitation to swim and the dangers of a child getting into your backyard and falling in. Pools are a major liability.

      • Mirage says:

        @micky, I see!
        I wonder if a saltwater pool is not cheaper to maintain.
        But it’s true that I didn’t imagine it could be that expensive.

  23. coreths says:

    Malibu Chili Cook-off is in September. So they have been broken up for a long time! But yes, Hacate, it is quite the scene! I live in Malibu not far from where they hold it. It is basically just a huge carnival type thing. We avoid that whole area at all costs that weekend. There is a VIP gate so guess maybe it’s a place to be seen? Mostly it just looks like a incredibly crowded overwhelming nightmare of carnival games and rides. I can see kids loving it. No idea why adults would go on their own!

  24. Agreatreckoning says:

    I’m today years old learning that Natasha & Fred have/had been in a relationship and broke up over a swimming pool/not a swimming pool. Armisen does seem like the guy you are only best at being friends with.

  25. MsGnomer says:

    Love them; love this break up story….on Fred’s Wiki page, there is a little genealogy. Fred claims a royal ancestry. So, perhaps we may all assume a swimming pool would break his royal protocol. Hee hee.