Melanie Lynskey says 'supportive' husband Jason Ritter sacrifices roles for her career

"A lot of men don't have that kind of self esteem and respect for their partner."

It turns out Jason Ritter is the ideal Hollywood husband.

Melanie Lynskey said Ritter, her husband of four years, has turned down roles to help parent their 5-year-old daughter so she could further her career. (In other words, what women have done since the dawn of time.)

“He's the most supportive person in the world,” Lynskey told PEOPLE. "The last few years we've had this role of like, whoever's job makes the most sense, whether it's the most exciting career-wise or it's more money, we would prioritize the one that was going to help move the person's career forward.”

The system has come at the expense of Ritter, an actor best known for his roles on Parenthood and Kevin (Probably) Saves the World, who is "offered stuff all the time," Lynskey said. "It's genuinely sacrificing." It was Ritter who urged Lynskey to take the role of antagonist Kathleen in HBO's acclaimed drama The Last of Us, which earned her an Emmy nomination for outstanding guest actress in 2023.

<p>Elyse Jankowski/Variety via Getty</p> Melanie Lynskey and Jason Ritter

Elyse Jankowski/Variety via Getty

Melanie Lynskey and Jason Ritter

“He was like, ‘There's no way you're not going to do The Last of Us. You have to do it,’” Lynskey recalled. “So it was months and months and months that he was just being a dad and hanging out with me, and I'm so, so, so grateful to him. I think a lot of men don't have that kind of self esteem and respect for their partner. I'm grateful that I have someone who does.”

Lynskey and Ritter wed in 2020, after running in similar circles and starring in the 2013 comedy film The Big Ask together — though the initial introduction apparently took a while to stick. During a joint appearance with Ritter on Drew Barrymore's eponymous talk show last year, Lynskey said her future husband "often forgot" that they had met multiple times and she often had to reintroduce herself.

"We got cast in a movie together . . . you were late to the table read. He came to this table read and introduced himself again and I said a month and a half ago we co-hosted an actors brunch at Sundance with like five other actors, but still, small group. I showed him a picture of us standing together," Lynskey recalled to laughs from Barrymore and the audience.

The two have continued to share the screen since, with Ritter appearing as a clicker during his wife's guest arc on The Last of Us and as a cop on her limited series Candy, which also featured a cameo from costar Jessica Biel's husband Justin Timberlake. He's also expected to pop up at some point in Lynskey's acclaimed Showtime drama Yellowjackets.

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