What We Know About James Caan's Ex-Wives

On July 6, 2022, the Oscar-nominated actor James Caan died at 82. Known for his roles in "The Godfather," "El Dorado, and "Elf," Caan paved an incredible career for himself. Having married four times throughout his life, Caan has also left quite the family legacy behind. As the actor once answered Esquire's question, "What's the difference between sex and love?" by saying, "I have four wives and five kids. I apparently don't know the difference."

Caan had a jovial outlook on his romances towards the end of his life, but as his eldest son Scott explained to the Los Angeles Times, his dad wasn't a quitter. "He's obviously had some failed attempts at marriages," he said. "My dad is a good example of someone who digs into life and goes, 'Yeah, that tore my heart out, I'm going to try again.'"

Caan eventually did settle down for more than two decades with his last wife, but even that ended in divorce. With all that in mind, here's what we know about the actor's ex-wives and what they're up to now.

James Caan was married to Sheila Marie Ryan, an ex-girlfriend of Elvis Presley

In 1961, James Caan married actress Dee Jay Mathis (via Daily Mail). Mathis only starred in two films during her career, including "The Patsy" in 1964 and "Frankie and Johnny" in 1966 (via IMDB). The couple had a daughter together in 1964, called Tara. According to Heavy, she has three children.

Following Caan's divorce from Mathis in 1966, he met actress and model Sheila Marie Ryan (via The Sun). When they were married, they welcomed their son Scott to the world. Despite Caan wanting his son to play baseball (via Theater Mania), Scott soon followed in his father's footsteps and became an actor.

Caan wasn't the only celebrity Ryan was linked to; she also dated Elvis Presley for several years. She met Presley for the first time when she was brought backstage by Joe Esposito, Presley's road manager and friend (via Elvis Australia). Ryan said they "clicked instantly," and their romance was "fate." Ryan sadly died in 2012 from cancer.

James Caan was 20 years older than his third wife, Ingrid Hajeck

Over a decade after his second marriage, James Caan was introduced to Ingrid Hajek through mutual friends. As it turned out, the two came from the same neighborhood in Queens, New York, and even attended the same high school (via AP News). But being 20 years her senior, Caan, and Hajeck didn't cross paths until the late '80s. After dating for a couple of years, the actor proposed. The pair married on the Regentsea yacht in Marina Del Rey, per the Daily Mail, with Caan's eldest son Scott as his best man.

A year after tying the knot, Hajeck gave birth to their son Alexander James. Then, after a couple more years as a family, Caan and Hajeck decided to call it quits. Shortly after, Caan went on to marry actress and costume designer Linda Stokes.

As for what Hajeck is up to these days, she now works as a life coach in California. According to her LinkedIn page, she's been in the profession for over a decade, starting in 2006. Her specialties include emotional freedom techniques, neuro-linguistic programming, and Kriya yoga.

James Caan and Linda Stokes divorced three times

James Caan's longest relationship was with Linda Stokes, whom he married in 1995 (via Daily Mail). They had two sons together, James Arthur and Jacob Nicolas, according to Closer. Caan and Stokes were together for two decades before they decided to call it quits — not once, but three times. They first filed for divorce in 2005 and again in 2009 but didn't follow through with either. Eventually, they divorced in 2015, which ended up being pretty messy due to the couple not having a prenup (via Page Six).

The circumstances that led to the breakdown of their marriage aren't exactly clear, but it may have had something to do with Stoke's alleged spending habits (via the Daily Mail). As per a 2016 court filing, Caan wrote that he was "no longer willing to take part in films and/or television shows that detect from the 50 years I have spent building my reputation" to provide a sustainable income to Stokes.

It sure sounds like there was a bit of animosity there, but Caan had nothing but good words to say about his ex-wife when talking to TMZ. "Linda is a beautiful woman who gave me two beautiful sons which helped enrich my life tremendously," the actor said, "and I'll always be indebted to her for that."