Paul Simon Reflects on Tumultuous Marriage to Carrie Fisher: A Cascade of Mistakes

Exploring a celebrated union's complexities and emotional depths.

by Nouman Rasool
Paul Simon Reflects on Tumultuous Marriage to Carrie Fisher: A Cascade of Mistakes
© Ian Gavan/Getty Images

In the captivating documentary "In Restless Dreams: The Music of Paul Simon," the iconic singer-songwriter Paul Simon opens up about his tempestuous marriage to the late Carrie Fisher, offering a rare glimpse into their intense relationship through archival interviews.

The film sheds light on Simon's sentiments during a period marked by profound emotional turmoil, a time when the whirlwind of fame and personal differences tested the bounds of their union. At the age of 82, Simon reflects on the distinct paths he and Fisher tread, emphasizing the stark contrast in their relationship with the limelight.

Fisher, catapulted to stardom by her role as Princess Leia in the "Star Wars" saga, navigated fame with a seasoned ease, a trait that Simon admired yet found foreign. "Carrie was much more show business oriented," Simon recounts, acknowledging the disparities in their comfort and manipulation of the media spotlight.

The documentary also features insights from Lorne Michaels, the creator of "Saturday Night Live" and a close friend of Simon, who reminisced about the couple's lavish engagement and honeymoon adventures across Greece and Egypt.

Despite the glamorous veneer, Michaels hints at the complexities inherent to two individuals at the zenith of their careers, entangled in a relationship amid a "fame bubble."

Marriage's Emotional Turmoil

Simon and Fisher's marriage, although short-lived, was anything but mundane.

Married in 1983 and divorced by July 1984, the couple's journey together was fraught with challenges, as Simon candidly shares in the documentary. Describing his state post-divorce, Simon reveals a profound exhaustion, a consequence of relentless emotional upheaval.

His introspection highlights the demanding nature of marriage and the inevitable "mistakes on top of mistakes" that accompanied their life together. Fisher, who passed away in 2016, also shared her poignant reflections on their marriage in an old interview, candidly acknowledging the mismatch between her persona as a partner versus an "interesting girlfriend." Her self-aware commentary sheds light on the inherent difficulties Simon faced, painting their marriage as a memorable narrative overshadowed by daily realities.

Despite their divorce, Simon and Fisher's connection endured through intermittent reconciliations until their eventual separation. Their story, as detailed in Peter Ames Carlin’s biography "Homeward Bound: The Life of Paul Simon," reveals a tumultuous mix of affection and personal turmoil, underscored by Fisher's battles with depression and substance abuse.

Their dynamic, often marked by heated exchanges that dissolved into laughter, underscores the complexity of their relationship.