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All About Jake Johnson’s Wife, Erin Payne

'spider man into the spider verse' film premiere, arrivals, los angeles, usa 01 dec 2018
All About Jake Johnson's Wife, Erin PayneVariety - Getty Images

Actor Jake Johnson has been one of the most compelling performers in an array of hits, from the iconic show New Girl to his turn as Peter B. Parker in the animated Spider-Verse world. It may be Johnson’s job to be a charismatic chameleon, but behind the scenes, he’s a pretty average family man who keeps his personal life private. The actor has two children with his wife Erin Payne, and while fans may wish to know everything about them, the couple is pretty good about making calculated appearances and then going home.

premiere of digging for fire arrivals
JB Lacroix - Getty Images

So here’s everything there is to know about Jake Johnson’s wife, Erin Payne, so far.

Who is Erin Payne?

Despite her low profile on social media, Payne is a pretty successful artist. She’s shown her work at OBJECT Gallery, the First Street Gallery Art Center, and White Box Contemporary. In 2012, she was the winner of the New American Paintings Reader’s Choice Prize for her project, Piles Paintings.

“I’m addressing an ambiguous relationship to place and the environment, and navigating the slippery definitions of those terms,” she said in an interview following her award. “The result is a mix of realism and abstraction.”

She went on about her artistic style to say, “It’s a fun play with reality and illusion, where the painting sets the ‘place’ for the pile, even though the backdrop is within an actual place. For me, they function like two characters in a scenario that is immensely larger than either one can comprehend. Who is the subject and who is the prop, and which location is actually real? It’s very funny and human to me. When I pose these setups in my studio, I view the process like an exercise and use the situations to construct some of the paintings.”

Though she’s more of a visual artist than an actor like her husband, Payne has a lot productions listed on her IMDb page. She was a scenic artist for The Other Guys, The Last Airbender, Sex and the City 2, Shutter Island, The Lovely Bones, and The Happening.

When talking about his 2015 film Digging for Fire, which he worked on with Drinking Buddies co-star Joe Swanberg, Johnson credited his wife for vastly improving the script. The story centers on a couple who find a gun and bones in the backyard of the house they’re staying in for the summer. It was based on something similar that happened to Johnson and Swanberg in Los Angeles when they were living together.

While talking with The Mary Sue, Johnson said his wife told him of the script, “Not only do I hate your character, but I hate this movie.”

He went on, “So I talked to Joe [Swanberg], and he 100 percent agreed. So at that point we needed a woman who was very strong and talented, who could help build that story in a way Joe and I didn’t think we could at the time.”

In another crossover, Payne made art that hung up in the room of Johnson’s character Nick Miller in New Girl. During Fanfest, he said, “My wife, in real life, did those drawings, so I took those back.”

How did Johnson and Payne meet?

Johnson said during an appearance on The Kelly Clarkson Show in 2022 that Payne was working at a bar when he met her. He was just a regular customer at the time who dared to ask out the bartender.

How long have Johnson and Payne been together?

There aren’t too many hard timeline facts about their meeting or courtship, but in a 2012 interview with Marie Claire, Johnson said he and Payne had been married for seven years. That means in 2023, they’ve been married about 18 years.

Does Jake Johnson have children?

The couple welcomed their twin daughters, Elizabeth and Olivia, in 2014. They don’t post pictures of the girls online, but Johnson shared a bit about them during an interview on MTV UK. When asked if he’d let his Spider-Verse character babysit his kids, he replied, “No, I would not. Well, actually, maybe, because he’s Peter B. Parker and he could probably keep them alive.”

He added more about fatherhood, and how he relates to Peter being obsessed with his own kid.

“When you have kids, you’re kind of obsessed with them,” he said. “You think that they’re so incredible and so special and so much greater than all of the other kids that have ever come before and you think you have created the greatest child that has ever existed on Earth.”

Has Payne and Johnson made any event appearances together in 2024?

Not yet. The couple was absent from awards season.

Johnson did attend SXSW and spoke to Deadline about how unattached to the fame aspect of acting he is. “I am in a spot where if that stuff doesn’t happen, I’m not chasing it,” he said. “The spotlight does not mean that much. It doesn’t fulfill me.”

He added that he “never cared about the awards, about the red carpets, about that feeling of it,” although he respects those who do. “So for me going forward, when you say, how do I plan the career? I don’t,” he continued. “It has to be the people. It has to be that right thing, and it just has to work out. And if it doesn’t work out, it’s been a hell of a ride.”

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