Joshua Jackson: ‘I think an affair can be forgiven. We’re all grown-ups’

Joshua Jackson is currently promoting Paramount+’s Fatal Attraction limited series, where he plays the lead character, Dan, the one who cheats on his wife with Alex (played by Lizzy Caplan). There were rumors about infidelity when it came to Joshua’s longest relationship, with Diane Kruger. Kruger’s supporters always swore up and down that Joshua cheated on her, and yet Kruger was the one flaunting her affair with Norman Reedus before she and Josh broke up. I bring that up because Joshua is asked about his own thoughts about infidelity, and his answer is interesting. Almost as if he’s been on different sides of it. Some highlights from his Times interview:

On Dawson’s Creek: “I think the secret to the show was that it didn’t talk to young people like they’re stupid. Those characters and what they were going through felt real. We were trying to tell stories about those moments in your life and we were close enough to it in our own ages that we deeply remembered what that angst was.”

Dawson’s changed his life. “I wasn’t poor but I also wasn’t economically stable, so being on that show for that long gave me the chance to put my sister through school and helped my mum buy a home. It changed my life.”

He loves his career these days: He says he is now in the “golden era of my career. This is when the roles as an actor are the most interesting.”

Stepping into an iconic Michael Douglas role: “The film is beloved and iconic and so burnt into our collective psyche. I was intimidated by that. Ultimately I’m curious and interested in portraying characters who are examining the frailties of being a grown-up, and particularly a grown man.”

What are his own views on cheating? “I think an affair can be forgiven. We’re all grown-ups. No one wants to be cheated on and there is massive repair to be done. Affairs aren’t about the partner, they’re about the person who has transgressed. It’s not purely about the sex. There’s a deeper violation.”

Why he felt ready to get married & become a father in his early 40s: “Partially it’s age. I’m old enough to be able to do this. Partially it’s about finding somebody in the right moment of life. If we had met five years earlier we probably would have had a torrid affair, but all the rest of this stuff, I was just not ready. I didn’t think I ever wanted to get married.”

Falling for Jodie Turner Smith: “In the beginning we did this dance with each other like, ‘Oh, this is casual.’ Except that we’d spend every moment together and find reasons to be in other cities together at the same time.” She proposed to him during a New Year’s Eve holiday in Nicaragua. “I don’t know if she planned it or if it was a spur-of-the-moment thing, but out popped a proposal I was not expecting and the organic and instinctive answer was yes. Six months later she was pregnant and we were on our way. And now we have this beautiful baby who is literally the manifestation of that love. It is impossible for me to look into the face of my child without feeling love for my wife.” Indeed, Jackson is besotted with fatherhood. “It has changed me in every single possible way,” he says.

He’s embracing middle age. “Being in my forties is far and away the best decade. I wouldn’t want to go back to my twenties again, that amount of angst. I would make more money doing four episodes of Dawson’s Creek than most of my friends’ parents made in a year. That was the centre of my impostor syndrome: ‘You’re trying to set me up to be a role model to kids, and I definitely am not, and you’re paying me all this money that I don’t deserve.’ ”

[From The Times]

Maybe he’s a real prick in real life, but I came away from this piece just liking him so much and admiring the man he’s become. He’s always been one of my favorites though – I like his answers about finally feeling ready and meeting the right person, how fatherhood has changed him and how much he adores Jodie. As for what he says about affairs…”I think an affair can be forgiven. We’re all grown-ups. No one wants to be cheated on and there is massive repair to be done.” Yeah, I kind of agree? For some people, it will be a dealbreaker, for others, they’ll try to repair their relationship. It sounds like he’s cheated and been cheated on.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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66 Responses to “Joshua Jackson: ‘I think an affair can be forgiven. We’re all grown-ups’”

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  1. Pointillist says:

    Jodie is so beautiful omg

  2. Steph says:

    He was caught brazenly kissing another woman at LAX while Jodie was pregnant.

    • TQ says:

      Yep. This. Thought the same thing.

    • Kitten says:

      It can be forgiven! We’re all grown-ups here, according to Josh.

    • LBB says:

      I thought that was when they were just dating, but my timeline could be off.

    • Ameerah M says:

      They were only casually dating when that happened. She wasn’t pregnant.

    • otaku fairy says:

      Now now, he is so cute & lovedorable or something and that was in the recent past, not in the early 2010’s or early 00’s. Nobody’s perfect after all, and we must allow middle-aged fathers their moments of human weakness, lapses in judgment, and impulsivity. We can’t go holding them to the high standards we always hold unmarried, childless, at times drunk, alcoholic or mentally ill unmarried college sophomore, freshman, or younger cheating females to. Special concessions must always be made for gen x+ dick.

    • Rachel says:

      He wasn’t cheating then and Jodie wasn’t pregnant. Evidence for both. An interview with Josh stating when her due date was. When you do the math Jodie got pregnant in July. They were casual dating with Jodie seeing other people too. They could have even been not together at the time, as Jodie said in a video from an event that she was single two weeks before. Other evidence from their social media at the time as well. They were together weeks later.

    • KPC says:

      Is this still going around. Jodie could not physically be pregnant at
      That time. They literally have stated they started as FOB and then became serious. So this falsehood needs to stop.

  3. Erin says:

    I came away feeling the same Kaiser, really enjoyed this. As someone who has also just entered their 40s I relate to not being so full of angst and not caring as much about what other people think, which for someone like me that was always a people pleaser and doing not what I wanted but what other people expected of me has been very freeing. Is it my favorite? No, I would go back to my 30s in a heartbeat, less physical pain, less wrinkles, and not having started peri menopause yet, sigh.

  4. Emmi says:

    Eh. I think a one-time slip can be forgiven but an affair? I don’t know that I could. I mean, if you manage to lie to me for weeks or months or whatever, what else are you lying about? There’s a chance I could move on from a mistake if it’s confessed … in a timely fashion. LOL

    • Kitten says:

      Yes one drunken, stupid one night stand I could forgive, A full-blown affair, though? Not so sure…

      • BQM says:

        I’ve always wondered which would be harder. I’ve been with my hubby 32 years, since I was 19 and he was 21. We have three kids. If he threw all that history away for a one night stand? It almost might be worse imo.

    • Jessica says:

      This is what I’ve always thought, quietly of course, but if my partner had a one time drunken thing I MIGHT forgive that, but a months or years long affair with so much lying snd sneaking around? no way

  5. LIONE says:

    “I don’t know if she planned it or if it was a spur-of-the-moment thing, but out popped a proposal I was not expecting…”

    So they don’t talk to each other? That’s just weird not to know

  6. Well Wisher says:

    From a psychological point, an affair can be forgiven of both parties do the work.
    Even the person who was cheated. One has to be committed to forgive and work at it.
    It can be done, the cheater has more work to do, if he/she does everything possible to make amends, and the person cannot forgive then he/she has to forgive themselves.
    With new self awareness, the next relationship would not be a repeat of the last.
    But one can make new mistakes.

    • ML says:

      Yeah I feel like the word “can” is doing some heavy lifting. An affair CAN be forgiven, but that doesn’t mean that it will be. Or should per se. Circumstances, the people involved and the mutual desire to work on the relationship have a lot to do with forgiveness as well.

  7. Lili says:

    OMG he is aging like fine wine! defintiley the new Clooney! i wish him & Jodi all the best and a long happy marriage

  8. Kitten says:

    I’ve always liked Josh but there are a few things to criticize here like “He says he is now in the ‘golden era of my career. This is when the roles as an actor are the most interesting’.”

    It is GREAT to be a dude, isn’t it? I know I’m being a bit pissy but I don’t think it would have killed him to acknowledge that men in their forties are still perceived as handsome, “in their prime”, and still offered interesting roles while actresses in their forties are seen as over-the-hill, undesirable, and often passed over for women half their age–even to play older roles. Like, it’s a thing my guy.

    • Normades says:

      Yea, it’s great being a dude huh? Like deciding well after 40 that you want to make a baby. That is a luxury women do not have.

    • Glitterachi says:

      I think it’s allowable to be excited by something in your life without spending five minutes detailing the systemic issues in the world first. He’s given plenty of interviews where he does in fact acknowledge, and even go into great detail about, systemic injustices against women, and they’ve been posted to this site because that’s the only way I would have come across them. Entirely possible he did here as well, and the published piece just did not include it, and entirely okay for him to occasionally just enjoy himself.

      • Kitten says:

        Wasn’t asking for a dissertation, just a 3 second moment of self-awareness where he admits there’s a double standard. Not a huge ask and goes a long f*cking way for a high-profile actor with his platform.

  9. HeyKay says:

    I am an adult. And for me? No. Adultery and betrayal breaks the trust between partners.

  10. girl_ninja says:

    I really like Joshua and appreciate the honesty that he seems to bring. As for the freak out with a Black America (see black Twitter/LSA) of Josie proposing to him. So f*cking what? We are in such a chokehold by the patriarchy that we can’t see beyond it in certain instances. Let consenting adults do what they want to do.

    As for cheating and forgiving. I just think that if someone cheats that they have given up on the relationship. Idk. Everyone is different.

    • BothSidesNow says:

      @ girl_ninja, I like him as well. I think JJ came off very well balanced and is fully embracing his current life with everything that comes with it. He seems to be loving being a father and his sharing of when he looks at their child is a profound expression. I am glad that JJ shared his views with their courtship, marriage and fatherhood. As for the cheating, I think that he is right.

      I cheated on my husband, pre marriage, and I had kept it a secret but our relationship was in tatters and we were both simply going through the motions which is when I had emotionally checked out of our relationship. Do I regret it?? Yes, immensely! But we were able to work through it as we had started seeing a counselor and I had already ended it. I told him as he had proposed and I didn’t feel worthy of accepting his proposal unless he knew. I wanted to give him the opportunity to leave me which was a chance I was willing to take. I felt he deserved to know. I have never cheated on him again and my infidelity only last for 3ish months.

      • Polly says:

        Only?? Three months is a long time to be cheating on someone… But hey I’m glad it worked out for you.

  11. Normades says:

    I’m thinking maybe he’s always been in open-ish relationships. He really defended Diane after the cheating thing, but maybe that’s just how they rolled.

    One thing he absolutely got right though was how cheating is not about the partner. We’re always amazed when the side piece isn’t as good as the main. I think that’s the whole point.

    • The Hench says:

      Yes – I saw this great Ted talk from a counsellor once on infidelity and that was absolutely the thing she stressed about affairs – they are NEVER about the person being cheated on. People have affairs because they are trying to prove something to themselves or because of insecurity or fear of getting old or just they no longer love the person they’re with but can’t get the energy or the courage to actually end it etc etc. As many different reasons as there are affairs – but always about the cheater.

      As such it sucks that society has these tropes about women not ‘keeping’ a man – always some woman’s fault….

      • JesMa says:

        Eh, I disagree. I don’t think you should use the use the word NEVER. I think it depends, and sometimes a partner can be the reason. My cousin’s wife told him after they had their agreed upon number of kids that the sexual part of her life was over. She said sex was for procreation. He loved her, but wasn’t ready at 38 to never have sex again. I don’t think he would have had an affair if his wife hadn’t declared them celibate.

      • The Hench says:

        @JesMa – Yikes. Yes that is extreme – and also entirely unfair of your cousin’s wife. I don’t think, under those circumstances, I would count your cousin as having an affair. His wife is entitled to take her body off limits if she so wishes but that would pretty much torpedo the marriage for most people.

  12. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    My husband and I were both cheated on. That pain from other people made our relationship super solid. I can’t be cheated on lol. I don’t think it’s in my DNA to “work it out.”

  13. Kirsten says:

    Maybe Diane also didn’t want to be married to JJ, but at least this confirms that it wasn’t just her who wasn’t interested in marriage.

  14. JoanCallamezzo says:

    Cheating is intimacy abuse. An unsuspecting partner being repeatedly lied to, and potentially exposed to all the STDs, including life threatening ones. It is devastating.

    • Zapp Brannigan says:

      Agree with this, there is also the emotional abuse and gaslighting, blaming the faithful partner to excuse the unfaithful partner, financial infidelity of spending family money on an affair partner, physical, financial and emotional harm. There is an emerging idea in therapy called Post-Infidelity-stress-disorder, symptoms are just like PTSD but occur after the discovery of infidelity. Infidelity can be a form of trauma.

      • JoanCallamezzo says:

        Zap, yes to all of this, I didn’t want to get too heavy. Scrolling down I want to add that cheating is black and white, if you’re in a monogamous relationship you end the relationship before starting another one for all the reasons. And cheaters don’t stop cheating they just get better at hiding it, and they don’t admit to more than they have to, the entire relationship is a lie, going through the devaluation process, etc. Devastating. Chump

      • The Hench says:

        Agreed. Cheating is a red line for me for all these reasons. I don’t want to be with anyone who has deliberately lied to and deceived me for any reason.

        I’m an adult too and as such I recognise that relationships evolve and change and sometimes run their course. I would never want someone I cared about to be stuck with me unwillingly – we only get one life – so do me and yourself the respect of sitting down and telling me that you would like to end the relationship. It doesn’t really matter why – what’s relevant is how you feel and, if you’re not feeling it then move on.

  15. melissa says:

    Esther Perez completely changed my perception of cheating from black and white to a full spectrum of greys.

    Making any broad statement about a term like “cheating” makes no sense. The circumstances, the relationship, the reasons etc…there are so many factors to be considered. One situation may be forgivable and result in a closer relationship through couples therapy etc.

    Highly recommend her podcast Where Should We Begin.

    • Rachel says:

      Josh did a tv show called the Affair and Esther was a consultant on the show. He and the other main actors talked through this stuff with her when doing the show. His answer is from talking to her I think.

    • Lila says:

      This is very true.

  16. Sass says:

    My husband and I have always agreed that adultery cannot be forgiven for us. We were both cheated on previously, and it hurt us enormously in those prior relationships. It ended them. 15 years and I trust him entirely. He is not perfect, but if we wanna talk about “all adults here,” how about we talk about honoring your commitment. If monogamy isn’t for you, don’t commit to monogamy. Don’t break the trust. Even if someone never finds out, your secrecy still weakens the bond.

    I chose my husband because he wasn’t a boy at 25, and he didn’t act like one. He was already fully aware of who he was and what he wanted in life. He has strong values and is honest, patient, and responsible. Maybe not exciting for most 23yo women but it’s what I wanted. I have always felt safe with him. It would be wildly out of character for him to cheat.

    If your marriage can survive infidelity then that’s great for you, but I know I would be heartbroken and unable to trust again in that relationship.

  17. Lila says:

    I agree with his take. To be honest it takes a lot of work and a lot of therapy; It’s heartbreaking and obviously best not to cheat at all. But you aren’t weak or bad if you stay married. I think it might happen more than we realize with couples.
    Life is so challenging. And while there is no excuse for cheating I know that marriages can survive and even thrive afterwards.

  18. Doris says:

    He is determined to embarrass his wife.

  19. Rnot says:

    He’s saying good things but I get bad vibes from that relationship. He gives me an uneasy feeling.

  20. Torttu says:

    No I don’t like him and I don’t find him cute or interesting. Sorry sorry I just don’t.

    • Jade says:

      I’m neutral on him but I didn’t really watch Dawson’s Creek back in the day and I think he benefits a lot of people thinking he’s Pacey.

      • Christine says:

        Look up Fringe. There are a whole lot of us who watched Dawson’s Creek, but he solidly won hearts in the sci fi fandom (for as little attention this little show ever got, this was before Marvel took over the world), for a drama that boils down to a love story between a father and son.

        I am absurdly dedicated to the entire cast of Fringe, I love it so much.

  21. Dara says:

    JJ is another one I like in spite of his many character flaws. Then again he is exactly my celebrity kryptonite – handsome, smart, and messy (ie Ben Affleck, Edward Norton). And boy was he messy when he was younger. Hopefully he has aged out of most of that.

    Is it weird that if a famous dude couples up with a woman of substance, he automatically becomes more attractive to me? If he had settled down with a twenty-something Insta-model or a quasi-famous reality star, I wouldn’t give him a second thought.

  22. Rapunzel says:

    If we’re all adults here…then we should be able to control our impulses and not cheat. End of. If you want someone else, leave who you’re with first. That’s the adult thing to do.

  23. Jade says:

    I remember people saying that he wanted kids and Diane Kruger didn’t (some blaming her for it too) and he says he didn’t want kids before.

  24. ME says:

    Dude should be so lucky as to have a wife THAT beautiful ! I really hope he hasn’t cheated on her. Why the f*ck would she stay? She could have her pick of men. Let’s hope he didn’t.

  25. Nedsdag says:

    The article aside, when did Puddingface Pacey become somewhat attractive overnight? That puppy fat of his, when he was in Dawson’s Creek, was a bit of a distraction for me, but I’m glad he grew into his face. My brother used to watch him on Fringe, and he still can’t get over how he was able to pull Jodie Turner-Smith. I guess he’s a tad jealous.

  26. Jaded says:

    I tried to forgive and work things out after I caught my then partner, who I’d been with for 5 years, cheating. The shock literally took my breath away. He went to the Bahamas with this woman and covered it up by saying he was golfing with some business partners. But I found the pictures. Well folks I stuck it out for another few years, thinking I was doing the right thing, but the relationship never got back to where I could trust him. I was constantly on edge when he worked late or said he was going out for drinks with colleagues, whatever, and so I pulled the plug. Unless an open relationship is discussed and agreed to in the beginning, cheating is vile, cowardly and selfish.

  27. Melissa says:

    THANK YOU. People act like cheating is akin to murder and yet the statistics are still something like half of married people have done it? I’m not saying it’s good either but to act like it’s SO shocking and SO unforgivable is, I think, intellectually dishonest.

    • ME says:

      Well everyone has a right to their own opinion and feelings. I personally would not forgive a cheater. Cheating is disgusting on so many levels.

    • Turtledove says:

      I am sure it can largely depend on the situation, people and relationship.

      When you find out your husband has been sneaking around for literal years, while gaslighting you and treating you poorly because …I don’t know why…because he feels stuck/wants out and doesn’t have the balls to say so, or is mad that you aren’t his affair partner, or doesn’t want to deal with the annoyance and financial aspects of divorce? That is not forgivable in my book.

      But there are many scenarios and personalities, I am sure that some people CAN work it out.

    • Green Desert says:

      I’m mostly with you, @Melissa. I will add that I believe most of the takes in this thread are also cultural. I know we have CB’ers from all over the world, and there are no monoliths, but I think the black and white view of cheating is very American. There are other cultures where this isn’t even a conversation people have – it’s not something they worry about.

  28. vinivino says:

    I’ve cheated and been cheated on. My S.O. never found out about my cheating (to my knowledge), but I still regret it. It definitely wasn’t about him – I wanted out of the relationship and did something that made it so that I couldn’t stay. Like “well, I cheated on him, I definitely can’t stay with him now!” I broke up with him soon after. I found out about being cheated on. The worse part of it is the lying – even after getting caught. We can work it out if you’re going to be honest with me and with yourself, but otherwise it has to be over. I’m married now – if my husband wanted to explore elsewhere, I think we could make it work so long as he was honest about it. He would never do that, though, because he’s pretty traditional and I’d be absolutely shocked if he cheated on me or told me he wanted an open relationship. He too has cheated and been cheated on, but is a lot more black and white about it. I think I’m more open than he is about what a relationship can look like – it doesn’t necessarily have to follow all the “rules” of society.

  29. Meagle says:

    I strongly suspect that a lot more Hollywood marriages than people realize are open. It makes sense–actors travel so much, and spend long periods of time away from their partners. But it’s still hard to acknowledge that in public.

    I have that agreement with my long-time partner–we’re exclusive when we’re physically together, but when one of us is traveling we can do whatever we want, as long as it doesn’t get messy–and it works well for us. But only my closest friends know, because people judge so hard.

    • cf86713 says:

      Yep which is why I don’t get outraged over cheating scandals involving celebrities. I figure the real reason they split was because of the public embarrassment of it all.

  30. shanaynay says:

    I’m sorry, but for me, it cannot be forgiven. An affair/cheating is a total deal breaker for me. A cheater doesn’t/won’t stop cheating, they just find better ways of hiding it. For me, once a cheater always a cheater.
    This I cannot forgive.