But for a spell in late 2015 she wasn’t feeling super confident that it was in the cards for her. She had ended her five-year romance with fellow actor Nicholas Hoult more than a year earlier and a year-long on-and-off romance with rocker Chris Martin had fizzled as well, leaving the then-25-year-old secure in telling ABC News’ Diane Sawyer that she had stopped envisioning herself as a bride. While she was absolutely sure that she would have kids (“I definitely want to be a mother,”) she was less certain on the husband front.
“I don’t know if I ever will get married and I’m OK with that,” the already well-decorated actress asserted in a Nightline interview that November. The solid friendships she’d held onto before she skyrocketed to Hollywood’s top tier and the pals she collected since (she had kicked off her enviable BFF bond with Amy Schumer just six months earlier) provided enough companionship. “I don’t feel that I need anything to complete me,” she explained. “I love meeting people—men, women, whatever; I love people coming into your life and bringing something.”
“I definitely wasn’t at a place where I was like ‘I’m ready to get married.’ I just met Cooke, and I wanted to marry him,” she explained her change of heart on the NAKED With Catt Sadler podcast in June. “We wanted to marry each other. We wanted to commit fully.”
Tonight they will, with a source telling E! News they’ve invited 150 guests to watch them wed at the Belcourt mansion in Newport, Rhode Island. Roughly a year-and-a-half into their romance, the once-marriage shy star has no doubts about her choice. “You know, he’s my best friend,” the 29-year-old told Catt Sadler. “I feel very honored to become a Maroney.”
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Suddenly Lawrence was looking at a world that didn’t include her most formative relationship to date. Nor was she set to get covered in the blue body paint required to play X-Men‘s Mystique or don Katniss’ braids, with filming on The Hunger Games franchise wrapped as well.
“These movies had been my life for so long and they had to come first in everything,” she said. “I was also in a relationship with somebody for five years and that was my life. So my life was this person and these movies and we broke up around the same time that I wrapped those movies. Being 24 was this whole year of, ‘Who am I without these movies? Who am I without this man?'”
The problem, a source told Us Weekly, was he simply wasn’t seeing enough of her. No longer committed to the same film set (he went on to film Dark Places, Mad Max: Fury Road and Kill Your Friends), “They just weren’t together a lot,” said the source, “her life is a whirlwind. They have gotten back together before, it just got to be too hard for now.”
“Chris doesn’t really want the relationship to end, but he needs to be flexible so he can see his family as much as possible with his own work schedule,” a Martin source explained to E! News in August 2015, after the pair had ended things for the second time. “He’s crazy about Jen but wants to keep his own schedule and be able to do what he wants when he wants to do it.”
But Lawrence had no interest in being someone’s fourth priority. As a friend put it to E! News, “She was tired of him being so noncommittal.”
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“No one ever asks me out,” she revealed to Vogue‘s December 2015 issue, her relationship with Martin now firmly in the rearview. “I am lonely every Saturday night. Guys are so mean to me. I know where it’s coming from—I know they’re trying to establish dominance—but it hurts my feelings. I’m just a girl who wants you to be nice to me. I am straight as an arrow. I feel like I need to meet a guy, with all due respect, who has been living in Baghdad for five years who has no idea who I am.”
She knew it wasn’t healthy, per se, but ultimately she was able to find that silver lining: “It’s what you want to have before you get married, so that you don’t seek it out once you are.”
Her wisdom was coming mainly from friends who had just committed to tying the knot, assistant Justine Ciarrocchi was already wed and best friend Laura Simpson (the pair met at an industry event and “hit it off over a mutual respect for Chandler Bing,” Simpson shared in a blog, “and we’ve been eating pizza together ever since,”) was next.
As for who that perfect man would be, well, she had a list of imminently reasonable criteria.
She’d like a guy who shares her penchant for reality TV and wouldn’t mind an evening spent vacillating from Dance Moms to Doomsday Preppers to the entire Real Housewives oeuvre. “I love Intervention, New York Housewives—and Beverly Hills, New Jersey, and Atlanta Housewives,” she told Vanity Fair in 2014. “I mean, I love them all, but Miami—oh, my God! Miami is really special.”
And though she works in an industry whose bread and butter is turning life partnerships into near-unattainable stories of romance, she was simply looking for a mate who, “you know, isn’t afraid to fart in front of me [rather] than to have big, passionate love. I’d rather have just a peaceful time. [Those relationships] are deeper because you can be your true self with somebody, and somebody can be their true self with you.”
That wasn’t quite what she found in famed director Darren Aronofsky. She and the Oscar-nominated director linked up after finishing work on their widely-panned film mother! in 2016. Had Lawrence had her way, it would have been far sooner, having immediately labeled the 49-year-old as “hot” after their initial pitch meeting. “I remember I was holding my dog and I shut the door and when the door shut I went, ‘Pippy that’s called sexual tension,” she shared with Marc Maron on his WTF with Marc Maron podcast last February. “He played hard to get for like nine months, maybe longer, which just killed me.”
“Normally, I promote a movie, you put the work in to promoting it, ask people to go see it, and then it’s just kind of out of your hands. I normally just kind of let it go,” she told Adam Sandler during a November 2017 installment of Variety’s “Actors on Actors” series. “Dating the director is different.”
When they’d get back to the hotel after a long day of shilling for the film, “the last thing I want to talk about or think about is a movie,” she said. “He comes back from the tour, and that’s all he wants to talk about and I get it. It’s his baby. He wrote it. He conceived it. He directed it. I was doing double duty trying to be a supportive partner while also being like, ‘Can I please, for the love of God, not think about mother! for one second?'”
So it made sense that when pal Simpson mentioned she had someone in mind who was industry-adjacent (Maroney’s gallery, Gladstone 64 represents bold-named artists such as Lena Dunham‘s father Carroll Dunham) but decidedly not part of Hollywood, Lawrence was interested.
It’s not as if she was holding any animosity to the previous men she had dated, all as well-known as herself. “I’m friends with all my exes, actually. For the most part, yeah,” she told Maron. “I have a theory. I think it’s because I’m blunt. I don’t think that you can have any sort of bad relationship with anybody if you’re just blunt. Everybody always knows how you feel at all times and there’s no lying, it’s just honesty. Everybody’s a good guy to each other. All my boyfriends have been wonderful. Nick [Hoult] was a great boyfriend.”
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But she was ready to find one that could really last. “I have not had sex in a very long time,” she confessed to Stern on his radio show. “I would like to have a relationship, you know—it’s hard out there!”
Weeks into her romance with Vermont-bred Maroney, a fixture at high-end art openings in New York City, they went from being careful not to be seen together, to openly in love, going about their relationship much like any Manhattan couple. On any given day, they could be spotted at The Smile, a favorite of Lawrence pal Justin Theroux, Italian restaurant and wine bar Felice 64, taking in a New York Rangers game or simply picking up groceries, with trips to two of the world’s most romantic cities—Paris and Rome—thrown in for good measure.
A source tells People the pair gelled over a mutual love of arts and culture “and living a life that includes both of their passions, yet sits outside of it,” but for Lawrence determining that Maroney was right for her came down to a few simple questions. “I don’t know, I started with the basics. How do I feel? Is he nice? Is he kind?” she shared with Sadler. “It’s just—this is the one, I know that sounds really stupid but he’s just, he’s—you know. He’s the greatest person I’ve ever met.”