Zach McGowan and his wife, Emily McGowan (née Johnson), are college sweethearts. The two met at Carleton College.

Theirs was not a love at first sight. Actually, it took over a year for her to soften up to him.

The thing keeping her from dating him for the longest time was his involvement in football. But, as soon as he gave that up for theatre, their love story began.

Zach McGowan’s Wife Did Not like Footballers

Both Zach and Emily are Carleton's class of 2002, which means they joined the university right before the turn of the century.

Zach had chosen Carleton because he wanted "an academically rigorous school in a part of the country with which he was unfamiliar." In his luck, Emily just happened to be there.


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The two first met at the college's Goodhue Dining Hall in 1998. He had entered the hall with his football teammates; she was there "swiping meal cards."

On his turn, he handed her his card and smiled but she did not. "She wouldn’t talk to me," the actor remembered during an interview in 2019.

"Emily will admit that she was prejudiced against football players," he added. Even in a future meeting set up by their mutual friends, he could tell she "kind of liked" him but was still thinking, "Ew, that football player."

This was all during their freshman year of college. As the sophomore year arrived, Zach had a decision to make — football or theater. He chose the latter.

The decision might or might not have been influenced by his fancy for her, but it certainly worked in his love life's favor.


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After watching him perform on stage, she softened up her thoughts about him. Trying to get closer to her, he even convinced a professor to team them up for a project for an educational studies class they attended together.

Zach's attempts worked, and they started dating at the end of his sophomore year. They have now been together for over two decades and married for over 10 years.

Zach McGowan’s Family Life with Four Children

Zach, who married Emily on September 27, 2008, has built an amazing family with her. The two are now parents to four children.

They had their reservations about starting a family, but eventually decided to just jump into it.

The couple welcomed their first daughter, Elsie, on March 24, 2011. She is 11 years old as of this writing and is into soccer.

Zach McGowan with his wife, Emily McGowan (far left) and his four children.

Zach McGowan with his wife, Emily McGowan (far left), and his four children. (Photo: Zach McGowan/Instagram)

Their second kid, daughter Nelly, was born on April 9, 2014. And finally, their third and fourth kids, twins Vinnie and Josie, arrived on October 20, 2019.

Now, the family-of-six incredibly photogenic humans regularly appears at movie premieres and red carpet events.

And when Zach is not doing celebrity things, he is usually having fun at home with his kids and posting pictures on Instagram. His IG is filled to the brim with pictures of his family from over the years.