The Chaotic Story Of Bill Murray’s Two Marriages

We all remember Bill Murray from his days on Saturday Night Live, as well as his roles in unforgettable films such as Groundhog Day, Ghostbusters, and Lost in Translation, just to cite a few of his cinematic successes. He has excelled for decades as a brilliant funnyman, a dramatic actor and writer.

But what about Murray’s marriages? They have received much less fanfare than his professional accomplishments. From what we do know, one of Murray’s marital relationships appears to have been rather turbulent, especially at the end. Who were his wives? What is his current relationship status?

Bill Murray Was Married To Margaret Kelly From 1981 To 1996

The pair got married in Las Vegas on January 25, 1981, followed by a second ceremony for their families in Chicago. They share two sons, Homer and Luke. While Kelly was married to Murray, she reportedly worked in the real estate business and launched a home goods store. The couple shares two sons, Homer and Luke. Murray and Kelly divorced in 1996 after he allegedly had an affair with Jennifer Butler.

Not much information is available regarding Kelly’s current whereabouts, but their sons are both successful. Homer is a well-known restaurant owner in Brooklyn, New York, while Luke works as an assistant coach for the University of Louisville’s men’s basketball team.

He Married For A Second Time In 1997

(Robyn BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

Jennifer Butler was a costume designer whose achievements included working on the wardrobe for many well-known films including Mutiny on the Bounty, The Last of the Mohicans, and Groundhog Day. She met Murray while he was making Scrooged, a movie that Butler also did costume design for.

In 1997, Murray and Butler wed, and they went on to have four sons: Caleb, Jackson, Cooper, and Lincoln. Butler filed for divorce in May 2008. Their marriage ended in a flurry of serious allegations from Butler against Murray.

According to an archived web record from the South Carolina-based newspaper The Post and Courier, Butler accused Murray of adultery, drug addiction, physical abuse, and abandonment.

The Daily Mail gave some more context to Butler’s serious claims. Her allegations included an incident in November 2007 when Butler claimed Murray hit her in the face. He supposedly said Butler was “lucky he didn’t kill her.” She also claimed that Murray was unfaithful to her and was addicted to alcohol, sex, and marijuana.

Butler asked for a restraining order and claimed that she and the pair’s four sons were compelled to get out of their residence in South Carolina due to Murray’s alleged out-of-control behavior. It isn’t clear if that restraining order was ever granted, and Butler’s claims have never been verified or disproven.

Their divorce was finalized the next month. John McDougall, the attorney representing Murray, said, “I can say that Bill Murray is deeply saddened by the break-up of his marriage to Jennifer. They remain loving parents, committed to the best interest of their children.”

Butler unfortunately passed away in January 2021. No cause of death was released.

Murray Has Other Priorities Beyond Marriage

Murray, now 72, was a guest on The Howard Stern Show on October 8, 2014. In that lengthy and wide-ranging interview in which he talked about growing up, being a caddy much earlier in his life, and the great and ever-evolving cast of SNL, he discussed not having found his ideal life partner yet in response to one of Stern’s questions.

Murray shared that his priority is “taking care of the things [he] really need[s] to take care of the most,” so for him, looking after his children outranks dating. He said he would like to be “more connected to [him]self” before he is truly ready to be connected with someone else.

Being a caring dad who is present for his six kids seems to be another top priority for Murray. As he told Stern, he only got a cell phone so he can text with them.

It’s clear that Murray hasn’t had the best luck with his previous marriages, but rather than choosing to wallow in that truth, he is focused on the family he does have.

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