On his 65-acre ranch in Hidden Valley, California, Tom Selleck always rises early. “I get up before Jillie and put on the teakettle, so when she gets up, her tea water is hot,” he exclusively tells Closer Weekly. “I think I’m pretty romantic.”
There’s no doubt his Wiltshire, England–born wife, Jillie Mack, agrees. The couple’s marriage is now 33 years strong. It’s survived career highs and lows, raising a daughter, a humiliating scandal and the everyday stresses that can cause even the hottest love affair to flame out. “They still love spending time together,” a family friend tells Closer in the magazine’s latest issue, on newsstands now. “They like the simple life.”
The ranch, where they grow avocados and raise horses, is the center of their lives. The 76-year-old actor purchased the property, which once belonged to singer Dean Martin, in 1988, after filming his final episodes of Magnum, P.I. in Hawaii. “He knew he needed to buy back his anonymity, to replenish the soul,” explains Jillie, 63.
And Tom has never looked back. “I quit Magnum to have a family,” says the star, who became a father to daughter Hannah the same year. “It took a long time to get off the train, but I try very hard to have balance, and this ranch has helped me do that.”
While Tom often engages in “grunt work,” the hard physical labor that goes into maintaining a working farm and horse ranch, Jillie takes charge when he is off filming his hit series Blue Bloods in New York. “We’re both independent. There is a lot of yin and yang in us,” explains Tom, who confesses that he is the quieter, more introspective partner in their relationship, while his wife is more outgoing and exuberant. “Jillie has this sort of joie de vivre, this effervescent quality that just lights up a room,” he gushes. “Apart from being my wife, she’s my friend.”
Jillie gave up the life of a professional dancer and actress when she moved to the United States to be with Tom, but she has no regrets. “Jillie loves her life! Her happiness is her animals. She has around five dogs, which she speaks to like they are humans, and the horses,” the friend confides. “And the ranch is just magical. They grow every fruit and vegetable imaginable. There are avocado trees, orchards and a pond. Jillie and Tom have everything they need at the ranch.”
Well, almost! The Golden Globe winner and Jillie’s happiness was threatened during the California water crisis in 2015, when communities were asked to cut water usage by 25 percent. All those avocado trees, orchards and gardens need a lot of water. A utility company sued the couple after accusing them of stealing truckloads of water from a fire hydrant in a neighboring community over the course of two years. However, a lawyer for Tom and Jillie reached a settlement and there were never any criminal charges pressed.
This embarrassingly public episode might have torn apart a less committed marriage, but Tom and Jillie weathered the storm and even survived a few heartbreaks together, including the death of Tom’s beloved mother, Martha, at age 96 in 2017. “She’s always been there and always been fair,” he has said. “And she made a great cherry pie.”
Tom was married once before to model Jacqueline Ray, whom he’d met when he was still an unknown actor doing commercials. During the marriage, which lasted from 1971 to 1982, Tom became a dad to her son Kevin, 55. As a youth, Kevin got into a bit of trouble — which broke Tom’s heart — but has since become a responsible family man.
Despite the 3 Men and a Baby actor’s movie-star looks, he insists that he has never been a ladies’ man. “With women, I’m somewhat shy and not exactly brimming with confidence,” he said in 1982 after his separation from Jacqueline. Meeting Jillie backstage at a performance of Cats, where she played the role of Rumpleteazer, changed his life. It’s a good thing Jillie made the first move! “She had to go on [stage]. I was hemming and hawing, and she finally asked, ‘Do you want to meet for a cocktail?’” recalls Tom. Married in 1987, the couple successfully raised their daughter, Hannah, 32, out of the spotlight.
Today, Hannah is an equestrian jumping champion, but she is also studying for an MBA. “Tom works to maintain their lifestyle, but he wants Hannah to have something to fall back on,” the family friend explains. “Her equestrian career is so expensive — her horses are $300,000 each. Tom will pay for them because that is her career, but he doesn’t spoil Hannah with material things.”
The couple is looking forward to becoming grandparents someday. “They like Hannah’s current boyfriend,” confides the friend. “Everyone can imagine her getting married at the ranch.”
As of publication, Blue Bloods has not yet been picked up for a 12th season, but it’s likely Tom will stick with the police drama if the network wants it. “This is a different deal than Magnum,” he shares. “I don’t love the commute, but that’s OK. I don’t work every day. I’ve got a job right now that I love.”
When the series does end, he will be grateful to slip back to his ranch where Jillie is waiting for him. “Relationships are tricky, but if you are in love with somebody and like them, you’ve got a chance at success,” Tom says. “You become true partners.”