Lucas & Maggie Black: Movie Star Marriage
Most of our blog posts are directly tied to the topic we discuss in our weekly podcast. This week we released an interview two felt was so powerful that recapping it or drawing one or two points out of it wouldn’t do it justice. If you have the opportunity to listen to the full interview, we believe you will be blessed. If not, we want to share pieces of our interview’s written transcript with actor Lucas Black and his wife, Maggie, with you. For the full interview, listen to this episode wherever you get your podcasts or listen at www.themarriageadventure.com.
You may recognize Lucas Black from his most recent role as Special Agent Christoper LaSalle on CBS’s, NCIS: New Orleans. If not, you may be more familiar with his movies like Friday Night Lights, Slingblade, and the Fast and the Furious, among many, many others. But what you might not be aware of is his personal faith in Christ and his dedication to his wife and three children. We were honored to speak with Lucas and his wife, Maggie.
DANIEL: “Lucas, you got your first movie role when you were just 10 years old and have been in the industry ever since. What was it like growing up in the industry?”
LUCAS: “I was very blessed to be able to have the opportunity to grow up in the industry. The Lord has blessed me in many ways being in the entertainment business. It’s not as glamorous as you might think it is. It’s portrayed as red carpet, fancy dresses, and getting everything you want, or it seemed like you wanted at the time.
At our church right now, we’re going through the book of Daniel. When I’m reading that book and hearing the messages, I can’t help but think Daniel was kind of like me going through a Babylonian culture. I was exposed to a lot of things at an early age by being in the entertainment industry. There are certain beliefs and ideas and agendas that Hollywood has that they were trying to push that was unfamiliar to me and didn’t really fall in line with the Bible. I’m very thankful that I had good Christian teachings growing up in a Christian home in Alabama. And I stayed close to friends and family at home in Alabama. So they helped lead and guide me through a culture that is definitely different from what I feel like our lives should be guided by.”
BONNIE: “You have been married for ten years. Maggie, you’ve been behind the scenes married to a celebrity for your entire relationship. What’s that been like for you as a wife and mother?”
MAGGIE: “Lucas is not what people would consider a stereotypical celebrity. He’s confident, but he’s not someone you think of as a diva that you have to pet and boost their ego all the time. He’s very confident in who he is, so he doesn’t need me to bring that to him. It’s been really good for me in a couple of ways. Because people think it’s cool to be a celebrity, they go out of their way to be nice to me. That might be phony. But it takes a lot of pressure off that a lot of women feel in trying to impress other people with what they have or what their husbands do or what they make. I feel like there’s a lot of that in and amongst women. The competitiveness to impress others, and I don’t feel like I have to do that. It kind of gives me more freedom from trying to impress others and lets me be more honest. It gives me more courage and confidence because I don’t feel like I have to compete.
At the same time, I feel like I have to be a little accountable. Lucas is an honorable man. I think he portrays himself as a Christian and wants that to be seen and understood by other people. So, I don’t want to do anything to jeopardize that or make our family look bad. And I don’t think that’s phony. It’s nice to have a little accountability, especially with all the social media where people think they can say whatever they want. No one thinks they have to live with it or don’t have a direct relationship with someone. I like having that accountability for good.”
BONNIE: “As Christians, how do you work through it when Lucas has to portray intimate scenes with women on screen?”
MAGGIE: “Lucas is incredibly loyal. I’ve never ever questioned his loyalty and dedication as a husband. This could have been more in question when we were dating because I wasn’t as strong in my relationship with God as I am now. (Not that I don’t have anywhere to go). But it definitely would have come in more. And at that time, Lucas thought it was wrong to portray that. He’s always made it a stipulation of his that he didn’t want to have scenes like that, and he wanted to be loyal to me.
At the time, I thought it was ridiculous. So, I would be like, “go do your part. Don’t lose this job because you want to fight about a kissing scene.’ And I’m not saying it wouldn’t have bothered me. It probably would have. But I knew how strongly he felt about it not being the right way to convey a relationship. That gave me a whole lot of security. He never acted like he was interested in any of the girls he’s worked with. That gave me a sense of confidence that he has that available to him, and he chooses not to entertain that at all, which makes me feel like a more valued wife. That’s rare.”
LUCAS: “I’m so thankful she felt loved and trusted and valued and felt like I was faithful to her. I never felt comfortable with sex scenes in a movie or television show because I felt like it promoted sexual immorality. Most of the time, the character that was involved had no repercussions. A lot of times, the way the story was written, there was no recourse. You never saw guilt or shame. It was almost glorified that there was sex outside of marriage. Number one, that made me feel uncomfortable because I was convicted by the Holy Spirit. There have been parts I’ve turned down because of that.
There have been times I’ve had to portray sex scenes that didn’t shed a good light on how God wants us to live. I always tried to have those conversations with the directors. Also, I think as a man, the Bible talks about how it’s good and wise to know your weaknesses. I just didn’t want any kind of feelings that might want to creep in or temptation from being in an intimate scene with an actress. There was a lot of prayer asking God to guide me in what to do. I tried to be intentional about letting Maggie know she is the number one person in my life, and this is fake. And there aren’t any feelings there. But it’s an uncomfortable thing.”
MAGGIE: “I forget because I don’t watch the scenes. I just didn’t watch them because I knew where my mind would go. And it’s not healthy for me. I know for him, it’s de-romanticized on set in front of a lot of people.”
BONNIE: “Lucas, you are very outspoken about your faith. How has your testimony been received in your environment?”
LUCAS: “Most of the time, it’s received with respect and really well. I think a lot of times, we can be afraid to express our faith or share it because we think we might lose our job. Or there might be some conflict there or conflict of interest because this is affecting the storyline or the project, their business. I think the enemy wants to keep us from expressing our faith, to take a step, a leap of faith to talking about how the Holy Spirit is guiding us and what God is calling us to do, and how to live. So, I was always surprised when I built up the courage to say something. You never feel bad about it or regret it, even if there is some confrontation, or that you might suffer some repercussions or not get a role. I never regrated that. That encouraged me as I got older and my faith in the Lord got stronger. I became more bold about letting them know what I was comfortable with. As the show went on, I would ask questions about the storyline and where it was leading because I felt like it wasn’t healthy for people to see.”
DANIEL: “I can only imagine how difficult it was to balance a career and family when you’re on set for weeks or months on end. What kind of stress has the industry put on your family?”
MAGGIE: “I felt like everything was really good because we would see Lucas a lot. He would work really long weeks and fourteen-hour days, but the way they were set, he might be working through the night, and we would see him in the day. It was hard for him because it was so much time he was being strained in different directions. But when he was on movie sets, I would always be with him. It was before we had kids, and I was always around him, so I just thought it was fun. Or I was in law school and occupied with that. But we were together a lot.
When he started working on NCIS, that’s when he had really busy working days. But we had 3 children within five years, so I was busy. That occupied me, and I probably wasn’t as sensitive to the time away as I would have been if I had had more time on my hands. The children were so young. They think he’s around all the time. He felt like he didn’t see them a lot, but it was when they were asleep. Maybe later, we saw how that put a strain on our relationship because we didn’t have as much that didn’t just deal with scheduling. The stress wasn’t seen until later.
But it drove Lucas closer in his relationship with God. He was constantly seeking a stronger relationship with God, and I felt like I was behind, which made me feel left out. That put a disconnect in our marriage. We had a hard time when I didn’t feel like we had a connection. Then I started going to a Bible study, and we started talking to our pastor. Then everything got really great after years of that. Otherwise, I never would have sought having more of a relationship with God. I sought God because of Lucas’ leadership, and that has made all the difference.”
LUCAS: “The number one stress for me was the fast-paced energy of network television. You’re doing twenty-four episodes in a season. It’s a marathon. Each episode is eight working days, with mostly twelve-hour days. For the first 2 seasons, we work a lot more, so my schedule got less as each season went on. But that (my marriage) was still on my mind.
As a man, I was trying to stay in God’s word. You realize the responsibilities you have as a husband and a father. There were times I felt like I couldn’t field those responsibilities because of my job. And I couldn’t focus on them as much as I wanted to. There was a lot of prayer about how to be a husband and father in the way this industry works and is run. For me, I just felt like no matter how hard I tried to stay on God’s pace and slow things down, to keep work at work and be a husband and father at home, it was hard to do. How the entertainment industry is run makes it difficult to do that. I’ve observed that over the years.
There’s a great concern because you can see how mentally and physically draining it is on actors, directors, crew members. It’s hard to have what God had put on my heart, my vision of a healthy family life. There wasn’t really anyone I could look to who had that. I had this thought going into the tv show that it wouldn’t last forever. I couldn’t expect to have this job and have the family life, to have the relationship with my wife, be the husband God’s called me to be to her, be the father that he’s called me to be to my children, and continue to do the television show or be in that industry for a long period of time.”
BONNIE: “In January, you stepped away from NCIS to spend more time with your family. I’m sure that shocked a lot of people because you were at a great place in your career. What really brought you together to the decision to step away?”
MAGGIE: “I would hear him talk about it all the time, and I felt like ultimately, it had to be his decision. I felt like things were fine. The people on the show were really good to him.”
LUCAS: “We were trying to be intentional about spending time together. It was structured and difficult because we used to do things spontaneously. One time I made a comment. ‘Really, everything I’m doing was to prepare myself to perform well on the job.’ And that hurt Maggie’s feelings because she felt like the time we were spending together wasn’t for our relationship or to get closer to her. She looked at it as something I had to do to prepare for my job. I did feel like I’m trying to keep our relationship strong and healthy, so it was a plan I wanted to implement. But it was because I knew if we didn’t plan that time together, we wouldn’t spend time together and I wasn’t gonna feel comfortable on the job. I was constantly gonna be at work thinking about my wife.”
MAGGIE: “I do remember that now. When Lucas says he’s going to do something, he’s gonna do it like 800 percent. I mean, with everything he does. He’s all in. I really admire that dedication because I don’t have it. But it is really hard to live with as a spouse. I’m fortunate that it’s all good things that he’s trying to implement, but it is rough.
He said to me, ‘I think about work all the time.’ And I know this. So I shouldn’t let it get to me. Lucas battles with anything he thinks is not a good, moral message he’s putting out. And he doesn’t have control over the content. But he does have control over whether he does it or not. And when he thinks about what it provides for his family and the voice he can have in an industry that doesn’t know God, he thinks, ‘should I be there?’ So it was hard. It was a struggle for him to decide what to do. Every night he would go to bed thinking about it. He would write letters to the president of CBS. He was a strong voice.
I tried to be supportive. But I would let society creep in and say, ‘you have a platform, and you’re gonna lose it.’ I wanted him to be at peace. So, I left it to him because I know Lucas is seeking God first. I felt really confident because I knew he was doing it with God as his guide. I was praying he would hear from God clearly, and that has to be faith. He’s gonna see the good in either way he decided.”
LUCAS: “The show was good to us. The people we worked with were very nice. Here in New Orleans, we saw God doing a work in us. Things were going good. We just felt like we extended our time on the show because of that. There was more than one reason to leave. The main one was I felt like we had sacrificed enough time away from each other in our relationship. I wanted to spend more time with her, and also be there for my children and be a father for them.
There were many things along the way God used to help us make that decision. We made a plan financially. That was a huge weight off our shoulders once we reached that point. We were blessed. Our faith became stronger with Him to help us take a leap of faith and move to whatever God has for us next. I really don’t know what’s next, but we’re still praying and trusting.
We decided to take a year of rest. I’ve taken a year’s sabbatical to stay in God’s word, to stay in prayer, and to spend that family time we wanted to. Since the lockdown, we’ve traveled to over 14 states spending family time together and seeing different parts of the Country, of God’s creation. So we’re just seeking Him for whatever He’s got next for us. He’s blessed us in many ways, and we’re just thankful to have Him in our lives.”
MAGGIE: “Financially, we made a goal. Lucas was to credit for all of this because he started listening to Dave Ramsey, started being very intentional about being a steward of God’s money. A lot of people think we make a lot of money, so we don’t have to worry about it. But we know so many people in his industry who make a lot of money who are stressed about money because they don’t manage it well. And this is so important for married couples who are earning a lot and those who are not earning a lot to pay attention to. There are so many who are stressed and have to have dual incomes because of what they would like to have. But you can manage your money well no matter how much you make. We are both from families who didn’t make a lot, and either managed well or poorly and that makes all the difference. You can take accountability for that and have a lot more to say about your free time if you are a little more disciplined about your spending.”
DANIEL: “Before we wrap up today, what hope would you offer couples who might be struggling in their marriage right now?”
LUCAS: “Number one, we have to put God first. He has to be first in our lives in every area, in every arena. We have to go to Him and ask His will. I’ll speak to the men… It really helped me to seek Godly counsel, to talk to my pastors, to ask them the tough questions. Sometimes I had to swallow my pride and tell them things weren’t going that well. Here are my struggles. We’ve got to be held accountable. When I actually started doing that, it had a huge impact on my wife as far as the trust that she had in me because she knew that I was being held accountable by godly leadership. We’re so grateful for Pastor David and Sarah Madden at Church of the King. They’ve walked with us and met with us. You’ve got to have those meetings. It’s good to have someone else to look at your relationship and guide you in a godly direction.”
MAGGIE: “It comes up a lot with some of my friends and relatives who are thinking about divorce. And it’s important. Lucas and I decided that divorce was not going to be an option. I think so many people might entertain it as an option, and when they do, they are throwing in the towel mentally right there. And that gives the devil so much room to work when they think, ‘if things don’t go the way you expect by a certain time, you always have this out.’ If you realize that your marriage is going to last no matter what, then you’ll get through any other season or any other hardships because you see the end. The end result is that you’re together. And that makes it so much easier mentally.
I also think that women need to stop being a victim, thinking, ‘Oh, if this would change or that would change, or he’d do this, or he’d do that…’ Think about all that you can do. I think prayer is so powerful, and I used to not. I didn’t give it much thought. At some times that were very dark in my life, in my mindset, God has come through on some things big with prayer. He’s given me signs to continue on or to keep seeking Him. I think if you pray for your marriage, not that your husband will change, but that your marriage will be strong; and you pray for your husband in love and continue to do that daily, and pray for yourself that your heart is changed, that you can grow together, He answers those prayers. And you just have to want that. Don’t just worry about it but pray about it. Pray it gets better and want it to get better and want it to be the best it can be. I think that’s more powerful than people give it credit for because it maybe doesn’t give you an immediate result. But it sure does pay off.”
DANIEL: “If you are in a dark place today in your marriage, we hope you will really take that advice to heart. Pray for our spouse in love and pray God changes us in that process. Thank you, Lucas and Maggie, for using that platform and setting your eyes on Christ. You are impacting a lot more people than maybe you even realize.”
When all the glitz and glamor is stripped away, it’s evident that Lucas and Maggie haven’t had a typical “movie star” marriage. Their intentional pursuit of Christ and each other has been the key to having a healthy marriage. We are thankful for their transparency and were incredibly blessed by the time we were able to spend with them.
Encouraged on Our Adventure,
Daniel & Bonnie