Inside America Ferrera's Relationship With Her Husband (Who Was Also In Barbie)

America Ferrera and Ryan Piers Williams have enjoyed a largely quiet relationship over the past two decades, but everyone wants to know their entire history after seeing her iconic role and his hilarious cameos in Greta Gerwig's summer box-office hit, "Barbie." The world's new favorite Hollywood couple met in 2005, and their meet-cute is so perfectly fitting you'd think it was written straight out of a romance novel. In the years that followed, both their film-centric careers took off and they managed to tie the knot and welcome a few kids, all while killing it on the silver screen and showing the world what allyship really means in an increasingly divided climate.

From acting together and producing movies to starting their own non-profit and competing in a seriously impressive athletic event, Ferrera and Williams have proven to be quite the power couple. They're movie stars, Tinseltown tycoons, protective parents, and downright good people, and their relationship is the foundation — or the Dreamhouse, if you will — of it all.

They met the same year America Ferrera starred in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

America Ferrera and Ryan Piers Williams met in 2005 — the same year she starred in one of her most iconic movies to date, "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants." Ferrera was simultaneously acting and pursuing an undergraduate degree at the University of Southern California, and Williams was a fellow student. The two were not only classmates but also both students of film. A few years older than Ferrera, Williams recently finished grad school and was looking for actors for his first movie, "Muertas." The short film was about violence against women taking place in Juarez, Mexico at the time, and Williams cast Ferrera to help bring his message to life. In addition to acting in the film, she also served as executive producer.

In June 2020, the "Ugly Betty" star took to Instagram to celebrate their 15th anniversary, sharing a selfie she and Williams took at the start of their relationship. Among other sweet sentiments, Ferrera reminisced about their first shared project and set of their blossoming romance. She lovingly joked: "You have always felt like home to me @ryanpierswilliams since our first 9-hour-meeting over enchiladas & refried beans."

Ferrera and Williams have worked on multiple movies together

"Muertas" was just the first film America Ferrera and Ryan Piers Williams would collaborate on. After his debut short, the couple worked on "The Dry Land" in 2010, which Williams wrote and directed. The movie followed an American soldier's difficult transition from active war to civilian life, and Ferrera had a starring role alongside Melissa Leo, Ryan O'Nan, Jason Ritter, and Wilmer Valderrama. Like their first project, the "Superstore" star also served as executive producer. 

Four years later, after nearly a decade together, the couple acted in "X/Y" with Ferrera's "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" co-star Amber Tamblyn. The film, again written and directed by Williams and produced by Ferrera, navigated the complexities of creating and sustaining relationships in the rising era of social media and smart technology. Ahead of the movie's premiere, Williams spoke to The Moveable Fest about what it's like to work on-screen with his wife. "It's great to be able to collaborate with people you know well because when you're working in this way, you have to really dive in deeply and you're very vulnerable in so many different ways," Williams explained. "It does sometimes make it more challenging because you have all these personal relationships, but as long as you keep it professional and have clear boundaries, it can be a really rewarding experience," the filmmaker added.

They said 'I do' in 2011

After five years of dating, America Ferrera and Ryan Piers Williams got engaged in June 2010. Ahead of their wedding, the "Superstore" actor told People: "We kind of connected from the get-go on that professional level and that was something that really drew us to each other ... a shared passion for what we do and our work." They married the following year on June 27 with some of Ferrera's closest industry friends present, including her "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" co-star Blake Lively and her "Ugly Betty" castmates Vanessa Williams and Rebecca Romijn. 

The bride wore a stunning trumpet-style gown that featured a fitted bodice, a sweetheart neckline, a drop waist, and a voluminous, multi-tiered skirt of tulle ruffles. Ferrera also donned a classic cathedral veil with intricate lace trim during the wedding ceremony. In celebration of their 12th year of marriage in 2023, the actor shared a photo on Instagram of herself and Williams cutting their cake at their ceremony, captioning the shot: "Happy Anniversary to my emergency contact. My person and home for 18 years. Damn we look young here."

Ferrera and Williams started a non-profit with another Hollywood star

In 2016, the two entertainment multi-hyphenates teamed up with industry peer and former co-star Wilmer Valderrama to co-found a non-profit. Harness was created in the wake of that year's tumultuous presidential election to provide an organizational liaison for fellow celebrities and artists to get involved with politics in a meaningful way. "As an actor, influencer, celebrity, whatever you want to call it, you're often asked to engage in very shallow, transactional ways," America Ferrera explained to Vogue. "It's not 'Can you really come learn about our issue and magnify the work that's being done?'"

Harness was inspired by Ferrera's lived experience and the trio's early days of bringing awareness to socio-political issues through filmmaking. The actor told the publication: "People make decisions every single day that impact my life — the air I breathe, my ability to walk down the street and be safe, how much money I make for the job I do, whether I can choose what happens to my body. And at every important social moment in our history, artists have played a role," Ferrera said. "It doesn't have to be about marching. The art itself has a role to play. At the end of the day, it's about wielding that sword with awareness."

While they share two children, they don't share them with the world

America Ferrera and Ryan Piers Williams are parents to two kids: a son named Sebastian, born on May 29, 2018, and a daughter named Lucia, born almost exactly two years later on May 4, 2020. "Welcome Sebastian Piers Williams — aka Baz! Mom, Dad, and Baby are happy, healthy and totally in love!" Ferrera wrote on Instagram, via Cosmopolitan, following her son's arrival. "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" alum also shared a birth announcement for her daughter, writing: "Lucia Marisol Williams arrived on May 4th to give me my Mother's Day hugs and kisses herself. Mama, Dada & Big Brother are over the moon to welcome her bright light to our family" (via The Hollywood Reporter).

Ferrera and Williams have kept Sebastian and Lucia from the public eye, only rarely sharing photos of the two on social media and ensuring their faces aren't showing when they do post images with their children. In the years since the kids were born, Ferrera actually deleted their birth announcements from her Instagram.

Ferrara and Williams compete in an impressive athletic event

America Ferrera and Ryan Piers Williams are one of those wildly impressive couples that compete in triathlons together. They signed up for their first event in 2016 after being inspired by a friend, and Ferrera revealed that a great deal of her motivation for becoming a triathlete was to prove her inner critic wrong and overcome her imposter syndrome.

In an essay for The New York Times, Ferrera revealed she felt she didn't deserve her Emmy award while being presented her hard-earned trophy. "It deeply saddened me that this mean, scared voice stole that moment of joy away," she wrote. When Williams decided he was going to join their friend for her next triathlon, Ferrera's inner-critic voice returned, telling her she couldn't possibly be the kind of person to compete in the athletic event — but she decided she was going to prove she absolutely could. Reflecting on her first triathlon, Ferrera recalled: "With every step, stroke and pedal, I turned 'No, I can't' into 'Yes, I can,' 'I'm limited' into 'Look what I'm capable of,' and 'I'm weak' into 'I am whole, healthy and strong.'"

The two actors went on to complete a second triathlon the following year, and in addition to sharing their training progress, Ferrera posted a photo on Instagram with her medal after she finished the race. The Emmy-winning triathlete wrote: "Got my personal best swim time! And ran on my rehabbed ankle the whole time! No walking!"

They fight for a better world together

In addition to using their careers and celebrity status to bring awareness to socio-political issues, America Ferrera and Ryan Piers Williams actively practice allyship in their personal lives. The couple attended several rallies in 2017, uplifting various causes with physical and digital support. In January of that year, Ferrera and Williams joined a women's march in Washington, D.C., and the "Ugly Betty" star shared a photo on Instagram of herself with a raised fist and her husband holding a sign that read: "#LOVEARMY." 

A few months later, Ferrera shared another photo on Instagram of herself, Williams, and a friend at a "resist march" with the caption: "Standing united for the liberation of ALL our brothers and sisters, LGBTQ & Black & Latino & Native & Asian & Muslim & Sikh & undocumented."

The couple also attended a gala in support of Planned Parenthood, with the actor writing: "Raising a glass to 100 years of Planned Parenthood" alongside an Instagram photo from the event with the hashtags "#myrideordie #100YearsStrong."

Williams had a fitting cameo in Barbie — and dropped a fun Easter egg

Eagle-eyed fans noticed Ryan Piers Williams had a role in "Barbie" that mimicked a very real one he fulfills in his off-screen life. The actor had two brief cameos in the hit movie, cheekily credited as "El Esposo de Gloria" — the spouse of Gloria, who was played by his real-life wife America Ferrera. Portraying a clueless but dedicated husband, not unlike the Kens, Williams first appears after Gloria wonders if her husband will be okay while she and their daughter Sasha leave the real world to help restore order in Barbieland. The scene cuts to her husband sitting on a couch at home clumsily practicing his Spanish-speaking skills with the help of Duolingo, wholly oblivious to his wife and daughter's adventure to another dimension. 

At the end of the movie, El Esposo appears once more in the car with Gloria, Sasha, and Barbie. Ahead of a very big moment for Barbie, he shares words of encouragement in Spanish, putting his Duolingo lessons to good use. He proudly stumbles through his words, telling Barbie: "Estoy orgullosa de ti" — "I'm proud of you." He then adds: "Sí se puede," which translates in English to mean "Yes, you can." Making Williams' "Barbie" role even more iconic, the line is an Easter egg referencing one of Ferrera's very first acting roles, Disney's "Gotta Kick It Up!" in which her character Yolanda chants the phrase to encourage her dance teammates.

They channeled major Barbie vibes and Ken-ergy at the pink carpet world premiere

America Ferrera and Ryan Piers Williams stepped out in their best Barbie-and-Ken-inspired threads at the Los Angeles world premiere of the Greta Gerwig blockbuster. Ferrera was radiant in a silk blush pink set by St. John, which included a bustier-style crop top and a sheath-silhouette maxi skirt. The actor accessorized with a chunky beaded choker — bubblegum-pink-colored, of course — and a small Barbie-pink handbag. Ferrera's glowing makeup included similar blush tones, and her long black locks were pulled back in a slick bun.

William's Ken-ergy style did not disappoint — the filmmaker looked dapper in a crisp white suit with a pale pink dress shirt underneath. His accessories included bright white sneakers and a fabulous pink tie with a teal and yellow floral print. His ensemble was certainly "Kenough" to keep up with the fashion-forward looks worn by Ryan Gosling, Simu Liu, and the various other Kens in attendance.

Ferrera and Williams support their industry

Alongside several other A-list stars and industry professionals, America Ferrera and Ryan Piers Williams joined the picket line in New York City for the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) strike. Members of the union are boycotting the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which represents major film studios and streaming services like Warner Bros. and Netflix, after being denied better wages, streaming residuals, and provisions preventing artificial intelligence from taking over their jobs.

A few days after the SAG-AFTRA strike began on July 14, 2023, Williams shared an update on Instagram. Alongside a photo of himself, Ferrera, and fellow "Barbie" actor Ana Cruz Kayne (Supreme Court Justice Barbie), the filmmaker wrote: "The energy was on fire today on the picket line in NYC! Proud to be in the fight for better contracts for my fellow SAG and WGA members!"