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Did you know that Hilary Swank was married to this famous Hollywood sibling?

The Million Dollar Baby actress welcomed baby twins this year

Hilary Swank on the red carpet
Faye James
Senior Editor
15 June 2023
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Before Hilary Swank was married to Philip Schneider, she was actually married to Rob Lowe’s brother Chad. Their love story began at a party in 1992, where they locked eyes across the room, and time stood still. 

Chad recalled the moment, saying: "It was like the old cliché where you see somebody, lock eyes across the room and time stands still. ... I said, 'I would love just to take you to lunch.' Then I worked my way up to dinner. We had lunch, we had dinner and then some," he told People, describing their first-ever encounter. 

For the actress, it was "love at first sight." After several years of dating, the pair wed in 1997. They separated in January 2006 after nearly nine years together, and while it seemed like they might reconcile, the two announced their decision to divorce mere months later. "Hilary Swank and Chad Lowe have jointly decided to divorce," the couple's lawyer told People in May 2006. "They continue to be friends and have the utmost respect for one another."

Chad Lowe & Hilary Swank © Sam Levi
Chad Lowe & Hilary Swank

A few months after her split from Chad, Hilary opened up about what led to the divorce in a Vanity Fair cover story. "Marriage is something we both took really seriously," she told the outlet. "I believed in my marriage; I never, ever thought I would get a divorce. That's why I tried so hard to make it work. I went down every road possible. For me, this is something I've been living with for probably five years."

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When asked why her marriage came to an end, the Oscar award-winning actress said, "[i]t's been a long time coming," adding that if she "had to sum it up to one particular thing, I would say that we grew apart." She continued, "But there's never one thing. It's an accumulation of things that make it slowly start to drift apart."

However, Hilary confirmed one of said "things" was Chad's substance abuse problem and the fact that he kept his addiction from her. 

Rob Lowe and Chad Lowe back in the hey day© Mathew Imaging
Rob Lowe and Chad Lowe back in the hey day

"When I found out, it was such a shock, because I never thought he'd keep something from me," she explained. "And yet, on another level, it was a confirmation of something I was feeling that was keeping us from being completely solid." she clarified, "Would I say that his substance abuse problem caused our divorce? No. Would I say that his substance abuse problem helped us? Absolutely not."

During a poignant moment at the Oscars, Hilary Swank forgot to thank Chad during her acceptance speech for her role in Boys Don't Cry. However, she made amends during her 2005 speech for Million Dollar Baby, declaring: "Chad, you're my everything." It was a heartfelt expression of her love and appreciation for her former husband.

Despite rumors, Chad made it clear that his marriage to Hilary did not end because he was jealous of her success. (The couple split one year after she won an Oscar for Million Dollar Baby.) "I was always proud of her achievements," he told People in 2007. "It's true that I was less than inspired by the opportunities coming my way as an actor. But that in no way negated my support or admiration for all she's accomplished."

Hilary Swank with Philip Schneider on the red carpet © Jon Kopaloff
Hilary Swank with Philip Schneider on the red carpet

Following the actress' candid Vanity Fair profile, Lowe expressed disappointment that "details of [their] relationship became public fodder" during an interview with Extra in 2006. 

He later told People: "I was disappointed with her decision to go public with my sobriety. But I don't deny that I had a problem and that it strained our relationship." Echoing Hilary’'s words, he added, "Was this the reason it ended? No."

Chad Lowe and Hilary Swank during Legally Blonde 2 Red,© Jim Spellman
Chad Lowe and Hilary Swank during Legally Blonde 2 Red,

He also spoke fondly of his marriage to Hilary, telling Extra, "She was the love of my life, and that's not something you just shut off. I will always love her." Hilary echoed the same sentiments to InStyle in 2010, revealing she'd carry Chad "in [her] heart forever." 

It's unclear where the former couple’s relationship stands today, but they've both moved on with other people since their split. He married TV producer Kim Painter — with whom he shares three daughters — in 2010, and she wed businessman Philip Schneider in 2018 and in April 2023 the couple welcomed twins.

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