Sarah Shahi Opens Up About Steve Howey Divorce: "We Tried to Make It Work For 10 Years"
Two years after Netflix's steamy drama "Sex/Life" premiered in June 2021, the show returned for its highly anticipated second season on March 2. The show stars Sarah Shahi as a housewife and mother of two who is going through a midlife crisis as she longs for her more exciting past. Her character, Billie Connelly, is married to a successful man named Cooper Connelly (Mike Vogel), but when she begins to feel unsatisfied with their sex life, she starts fantasizing about her ex-boyfriend Brad Simon (Adam Demos). Eventually, the former lovers reunite, and Billie spends the show wrestling with her feelings between Cooper and Brad.
If you can't get enough of Shahi and Demos's onscreen chemistry, you'll be happy to hear the stars are actually an item in real life. They began dating in 2020 shortly after the "Black Adam" star split from her husband, Steve Howey. Shahi and the "Shameless" actor were together for over a decade before they went their separate ways. Although the pair have since divorced, they continue to coparent their three children: William Wolf, Violet Moon, and Knox Blue.
During Shahi's April 4 appearance on the "Not Skinny but Not Fat" podcast, the actor opened up about her divorce from Howey, saying they tried to make things work for 10 years before eventually calling it quits. "From the time that our first child was born, our relationship suffered and it was hard to get back on track," Shahi said.
"We tried to make it work for 10 years after the relationship took a nose dive. It's like divorce is not a bad thing. It's not, doesn't mean a failure. It's like look at what we created and did with one another and we grew up together and that's a beautiful thing," she added. "So we had already separated, tried to file once before didn't go through with it. So really, it's like we were already in trouble. We were already in trouble. So I auditioned for the show and, living separately, and I had auditioned for the show and I tanked the audition."
To get a glimpse at Shahi's love life, keep reading for a breakdown of her public relationships over the years.
Steve Howey (2009-2020)
Shahi and Howey first crossed paths in 2004 when she guest-starred on an episode of "Reba." It's unclear exactly when they started dating, but the couple got engaged in Hawaii in June 2007 and eventually tied the knot in Las Vegas in February 2009.
In July 2009, Shahi and Howey welcomed their first child, William Wolf, and six years later, they expanded their family again by welcoming twins Violet Moon and Knox Blue in March 2015. The "Shameless" actor opened up about raising three kids with Shahi in a December 2018 interview with CBS. "Anyone that says parenting is not hard is not doing it right. I don't see my friends anymore. I don't see my immediate family as much as I should. What my kids are teaching me is utter patience. I don't really call it patience — I call it no murder," he joked.
Howey also praised Shahi's parenting skills by telling the publication, "My wife, Sarah, is the hero. Three kids — and starring in a TV series? That woman is a warrior!"
When asked how he and Shahi made their relationship work as two actors, Howey said it all came down to the couple trying to keep their life as "normal" as possible. "Life comes with a lot of, you know, ups and downs, but you go through it. That's my attitude. And being married to a [fellow] actor is so great because we understand each other's challenges," he said. "It's not easy in this business — you go to work where you're used to ordering beverages through a walkie-talkie at your whim, then you've got to go home and do the dishes. We live a life with many dualities, but in the chaos we make sure to keep a lot of normality in our family. Sarah and I — that'll be forever. It's epic."
In June 2020, Us Weekly reported that Shahi had filed for divorce from Howey that May. "After much thought and consideration, we have decided to end our marriage," the pair said in a joint statement at the time. "We are so grateful for the past 10 years together and proud of our children that we've raised. As we enter into this new phase of our lives, our priority will remain co-parenting our children with so much love, mutual respect and friendship. And though our relationship is changing, we are committed to continuing our lives as a loving family."
Their divorce was finalized in April 2021, per Us Weekly.
Adam Demos (2020-Present)
Just months after Shahi and Howey announced their separation, she moved on with her "Sex/Life" costar Demos. In a June 2021 interview with People, Shahi revealed that Demos immediately caught her eye when she first met him on set. "I said, 'Well, that's a tall drink of water.' When I first met Adam, I was really blown away with him," she recalled, adding that the pair clicked due to having so much in common. "We met in the makeup trailer and we just got on instantly. We had the exact same taste in music. We had the same taste in whiskey and tequilas and I was really blown away by him just as a person and all I knew was that I wanted more."
Shahia added: "And then I got an opportunity to act with him, and I will say, sitting across the other side of the camera with him was just a privilege. You're only as good as your scene partner. He's amazing in the show."
While Demos debuted Shahi on his Instagram with a behind-the-scenes photo from their show in September 2020, it wasn't until December 2020 that fans began to speculate the pair were more than just friends. On New Year's Eve, Demos shared an Instagram photo of himself lying in bed with Shahi. "Rats NYE," he captioned the shot, which showed the costars playfully hiding their faces.
In January 2021, Shahi officially confirmed they were together on Instagram by thanking her "love" Demos for making her 41st birthday feel "very special." And after spending Valentine's Day together that year, Shahi dedicated an Instagram post for Demos's 36th birthday that May. "Not exactly sure how two people on opposite sides of the world could have more in common, were meant to meet, were meant to be together," she wrote. "But I do know I met my soulmate. I do know I found my forever. I do know I've never loved deeper, harder, more ferociously. I do know I'm overly grateful for him. I do know I've loved him for a thousand lifetimes before and will love him for a thousand lifetimes more. Happy birthday my baby ❤️."
That December, the couple marked a major milestone together by making their red carpet debut as a couple at the 2021 People's Choice Awards. Four months later, Shahi was spotted wearing a ring on that finger in photos obtained by the Daily Mail, sparking rumors she and Demos got engaged.
During Shahi's appearance on the "Not Skinny but Not Fat" podcast in April 2023, Shahi shot down rumors that she began dating Demos while she was still with Howey. "We met each other and it was not instant," she said. "It was over time, it was getting to know him as a person and seeing like how aligned our values were . . . I also really respected how he talked about his mom and how he talked about women. There was just so much that I started seeing over time that made me go, 'Oh, you're kind of everything I've ever wanted.' And that's when we started being together."