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Who Is Martin Scorsese's Wife? All About Helen Morris

Director Martin Scorsese and his wife, Helen Morris, fell in love in a unique way

<p>Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic</p> Martin Scorsese and Helen Morris attends the 2011 National Board of Review Awards gala on January 10, 2012 in New York City.

Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic

Martin Scorsese and Helen Morris attends the 2011 National Board of Review Awards gala on January 10, 2012 in New York City.

Martin Scorsese thinks the world of his wife, Helen Morris.

The pair exchanged vows in 1999 after having met four years prior. Morris was an accomplished book editor who had worked with people within Scorsese’s inner circle before joining forces with The Wolf of Wall Street director himself.

Having been married once before, Morris wasn’t particularly keen on walking down the aisle again, but all that changed when she met Scorsese, whom she affectionately calls “Marty."

"Before, everything had to be on my terms. It wasn't conscious, of course. By the time I met Marty I had figured things out. Marty is very direct about what he wants. I was happy to give that,” she revealed in her Talk Magazine feature.

While Morris prefers books over cinema, she’s still her husband’s biggest fan. The native New Yorker has accompanied Scorsese to a number of red carpet premieres and film festivities. Most recently, she attended WSJ Magazine’s 2023 Innovator Awards, where Scorcese was honored for his film Killers of the Flower Moon.

Even still, it’s Morris who continues to impress Scorsese. While appearing on the SiriusXM podcast, This Life of Mine with James Corden, the director opened up about Morris’ Parkinson’s disease diagnosis, which she first received in 1990.

“I find that her strength is something ... I've never seen such strength like that in a person and such a fortitude and a positive way of approaching life under the worst of circumstances,” he said.

So who is Martin Scorcese’s wife? Here's everything to know about Helen Morris and her relationship with the Academy Award winning filmmaker.

She grew up in New York

<p>Brian Lawless/PA Images/Getty</p> Martin Scorsese and Helen Morris at he Philosophical Society at Trinity College in Dublin.

Brian Lawless/PA Images/Getty

Martin Scorsese and Helen Morris at he Philosophical Society at Trinity College in Dublin.

Morris was born in 1947 to Stephen Van Cortlandt Morris and Persis Mason. She also has two brothers: Christopher and James.

Her father was a career diplomat for 25 years, whose profession took him to Brussels, Paris and Rome. According to The New York Times, their family lineage traces back to General Lew Morris, who signed the Declaration of Independence, and former United States Minister to France Gouverneur Morris.

According to Talk magazine, Morris was primarily raised in New York, where she was surrounded by opulence. She briefly studied at Georgetown University but left soon after her divorce. Morris retreated to Paris and eventually enrolled at Columbia University.

She worked in publishing

<p>Kevin Mazur/WireImage</p> Martin Scorsese and Helen Morris at a red carpet event.

Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Martin Scorsese and Helen Morris at a red carpet event.

A descendant of author Edith Wharton, Morris grew up surrounded by books and carried her passion for reading into adulthood, where she had a successful career in the publishing industry.

In 1989, she served as editor of The Reader’s Catalog, a robust collection of 40,000 of the world’s best books. From there, Morris went on to work at Random House. She managed a number of projects, including the in-house magazine as well as the production of her future mother-in-law’s 1996 cookbook, Italianamerican: The Scorsese Family Cookbook.

However, by the time she reached the age of 50, Morris had begun experiencing the early telltale signs of burnout. In a Talk magazine interview, Morris admitted it wasn’t unusual for her to wake up before sunrise — her brain working on overdrive, thinking about picture captions and obsessing over the day’s schedule.

Morris eventually stepped away from the publishing world for good, but she and Scorsese still gift each other first editions of their favorite novels.

She and Scorsese first met in 1995

<p>Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection/Getty</p> Martin Scorsese and Helen Morris attend the premiere of 'Kundun' on December 11, 1997 in New York.

Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection/Getty

Martin Scorsese and Helen Morris attend the premiere of 'Kundun' on December 11, 1997 in New York.

The couple originally crossed paths because of Michael Powell. The late filmmaker was a dear friend of Scorsese’s, and Morris happened to be editing his memoir, Million Dollar Movie.

On the day they first met, it was raining, and Morris, who was running late, had been tasked with escorting Scorsese to an event for the project.

The encounter was a “disaster,” Morris told Talk magazine. “We sort of grunted at each other," she added. Admittedly, he didn’t pay close attention to her until a bit later.

"The first time I noticed Helen was in a meeting. I was editing Casino and I was consumed by the picture. I was there but not there," Scorsese recalled in the same interview. "I looked over and saw a pair of legs intertwined in these pastel stockings. Slowly, I looked up. It was like a long, slow tilt to her face."

“I was very struck by her. Besides being attracted to her physically, her intelligence was very attractive to me. It was very sexy,” Scorsese added, to which Morris responded, “I thought he was great, and we laughed a lot. He was funny.”

They wed in 1996

<p>Volker Dornberger/picture alliance/Getty</p> Martin Scorsese and Helen Morris at the premiere of 'Kundun' on March 11, 1998 in Germany.

Volker Dornberger/picture alliance/Getty

Martin Scorsese and Helen Morris at the premiere of 'Kundun' on March 11, 1998 in Germany.

Scorsese and Morris married on July 22, 1999, in New York City, per Entertainment Weekly.

The moment she fell in love with him is etched in history: It was the summer of 1996, and Morris was visiting Scorsese in Morocco on the set of his film, Kundan, about the Dalai Lama.

She had only planned on staying a week when he initially extended the invite, but by the time Thanksgiving rolled around, Morris was still in Morocco, and the two were in love.

Over six months on set, they got to know each other on a deeper, more personal level and away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Morris said it didn’t take long for her to realize that Scorsese was the one.

"We found that we just got along really well. We never fight. I'm calm and he's not," she explained to Talk. "We come at things from different angles but we often reach the same conclusion. I think we are both at this stage when we know what we want — and we know what we don't want."

For his part, Scorsese could immediately tell Morris would make for both an excellent partner and mother. "You make a family with a person like Helen," he shared. "She's someone I want to be with, she's a companion. I learn a great deal from her."

She was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1990

<p>Daniele Venturelli/Daniele Venturelli/WireImage</p> Martin Scorsese and Helen Morris attend "The Irishman" red carpet during the 14th Rome Film Festival on October 21, 2019.

Daniele Venturelli/Daniele Venturelli/WireImage

Martin Scorsese and Helen Morris attend "The Irishman" red carpet during the 14th Rome Film Festival on October 21, 2019.

Prior to meeting Scorsese, Morris was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. According to Mayo Clinic, the disease is a progressive nerve disorder that impacts movement and speech. While symptoms are manageable, there is no cure.

During an emotional moment on the SiriusXM podcast, This Life of Mine with James Corden, Scorsese opened up about his wife’s decades-long journey with Parkinson’s.

“It's been 30 years, 35 years or whatever with the illness, and so when I think I'm not feeling well or something, I look over there and see her rally herself together,” he said of Morris’ strength.

Scorsese thinks she is “the most remarkable person.” He acknowledged, “My complaining, I find, is nothing compared to what the suffering that a condition like that does, and so we live with it, and it changes how you perceive life and everything around you."

As he enters his “golden years” and Morris’ condition progresses, Scorsese said he’s become more cognizant of the types of projects he takes on.

“Do I still say I'm gonna make a film and go out there, and you're gonna come on location? Yes. As much as possible,” he explained. Albeit, he’d be lying if he didn’t also ask himself, “Do you want to do a film that's only based near the house?” to which he answered, “I may have to.”

“I have nurses in the house ... it helps, but it's not that simple,” Scorsese added.

They share a daughter

<p>Jim Spellman/Getty</p> Francesca Scorsese, Martin Scorsese and Helen Morris attend the "Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story By Martin Scorsese" New York screening on June 10, 2019.

Jim Spellman/Getty

Francesca Scorsese, Martin Scorsese and Helen Morris attend the "Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story By Martin Scorsese" New York screening on June 10, 2019.

Scorsese was already a father to his daughters Cathy and Domenica when he met his wife but dreamt of starting a family with Morris, who hadn't envisioned herself becoming a mother.

A 51-year-old with Parkinson’s, she was referred to a high-risk pregnancy doctor and "got pregnant immediately."

“I have Parkinson's. I was in bed for a few months, but it was easy. I watched a lot of television,” Morris recalled of her pregnancy to Talk.

Four months after tying the knot, the pair welcomed their daughter, Francesca, on Nov. 16, 1999.

Related: Martin Scorsese's 3 Daughters: All About Cathy, Domenica and Francesca

"This was like some special blessing of some kind. It suddenly changed all the values, what I thought was important in life," Scorsese said on This Life of Mine with James Corden in 2024.

Francesca was inundated with the world of filmmaking at a young age, which inspired her to seek out a career in cinema. Like her famous dad, Francesca is a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.

“He is the best teacher, guide, just overall mentor — and also, he’s literally my best friend. I tell him everything,” she told The Hollywood Reporter of their father-daughter relationship.

In 2023, Francesca made her directorial debut with Fish Out of Water.

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