Michael Weatherly: Personal Life, On-Set Tensions, NCIS Comeback, and Legal Controversies

Michael, a New Yorker born on a warm summer day, July 8, 1968, spent his formative years in the serene town of Fairfield, Connecticut. With dreams bigger than his hometown, he ventured to Boston University, eyeing a future in the spotlight. The world of performing arts called to him, a call so strong that he left his studies behind, diving headfirst into the uncertain waters of acting. To keep afloat during those early days, Michael balanced auditions with waiting tables and even played his music in the echoing tunnels of subway stations for spare change.

His persistence paid off as he began to snag roles in notable TV shows like “The Cosby Show,” “Significant Others,” “Charmed,” and “Dark Angel.” It was his portrayal of the charismatic special agent Anthony DiNozzo in “NCIS” in 2003, however, that truly marked his arrival on the main stage of fame.

Michael’s personal life, too, was a whirl of headlines and heartbeats, especially his engagement to the dazzling Jessica Alba. Their paths crossed in January 2000 on the set of “Dark Angel,” sparking a romance that quickly captured the public’s imagination. Despite the glow of young love, the couple navigated through the complexities of a significant age difference—Michael, 31, and Jessica, a budding star at 18.

A year into their romance, Michael asked Jessica to marry him on her 20th birthday—a gesture as romantic as it was bold. Yet, the match was met with skepticism, particularly from Jessica’s family. By 2005, the couple had parted ways, closing a chapter that, for a brief moment, seemed like it could have been written in the stars.

Jessica opened up about their relationship. Speaking to Cosmopolitan, she said: “It’s really, really, really difficult to have the same occupation as the person you’re with—especially when you’re both actors. “Actors are pulled in so many different directions that unless you both are absolutely into it through thick and thin and completely sure about each other, it’s just hard. I’ve decided I’ll never date an actor again.”

Asked about the relationship in a later interview, Jessica noted: “I don’t know [why I got engaged]. I was a virgin. He was 12 years older than me. I thought he knew better. My parents weren’t happy. They’re really religious. They believe God wouldn’t allow the Bible to be written if it wasn’t what they are supposed to believe. I’m completely different.”

Michael’s journey through love and life has been as dynamic as his acting career. In 1995, he found love close to the set, marrying Amelia Heinle, his co-star from “Loving” and “The City.” Their union brought them a son, August, in 1996, adding a new role to Michael’s repertoire: fatherhood. However, the marriage was short-lived, and by 1997, they had parted ways, signing off on their divorce.

The years that followed saw Michael in the company of notable figures like Rachel Hunter and Jessica Alba, with each relationship adding layers to his personal story. Yet, it wasn’t until 2007 that Michael’s love life took a turn for the lasting. In the unlikely romantic setting of a Vancouver bar, he met Bojana Jankovic, an award-winning doctor whose presence captivated him instantly.

Despite the challenges of a long-distance relationship, Michael and Bojana’s connection blossomed. In 2009, two years after their serendipitous meeting, they tied the knot. Their marriage has flourished, blessed with the arrival of two children, Liam and Olivia. Michael’s family has become his paramount joy and pride, a sentiment he shared openly in a 2017 interview with People. “My kids and my marriage are the things I’m proudest of,” he beamed.

Michael has skillfully managed to keep his professional and personal life distinct. At work, he immerses himself in his roles, but at home, his focus shifts entirely to his children and wife. Acting, for Michael, is more than a career; it’s a lens through which he understands himself and the world around him, ultimately shaping him into the devoted husband and father he is today. “I don’t bring my work home. I’m a single-track-mind person, so at work I do my work, but at home, I’m devoted to my kids. Acting has given me a way of understanding myself. It’s made me a better person.”

After 13 years, Michael decided to leave NCIS in 2016. Speaking to TV Insider at the time, he revealed that his decision had been two and half years in the making. 

Explaining the impact of his co-star Cote de Pablo’s departure on his own decision to leave, Michael reflected on the unique chemistry between their characters, Tony and Ziva. “[Tony and Ziva’s] great dynamic, the badinage and sparring and flirting between those two characters and how they would swing from siblings to near lovers and back to buddies, that was gone. Then I got to the point where I felt I’d stayed at the party for too long.”