Let it be said that there are far worse titles to have than “Jon Hamm’s Girlfriend.” But, for better or worse (definitely better, I mean, jeez, look at the guy) that’s what talented actress/writer/director/producer Jennifer Westfeldt has been labeled by Hollywood, as Hamm’s role on Mad Men has put him on red carpets and magazine covers.
But Westfeldt – who has been in a relationship with Hamm since 1997 – is a star in her own right and impressively holds a quadruple-threat credit on her new comedy Friends With Kids. Not to mention that she broke onto the scene well before her handsome beau was on that show about ad execs.
In 2001, Westfeldt wrote and starred in the indie sleeper Kissing Jessica Stein, a romantic comedy which explored a neurotic, single, straight New Yorker (played by Westfeldt herself) having a meaningful, but complicated romantic relationship with a woman (Heather Juergensen.) Despite being over a decade-old, the infinitely re-watchable film still feels as fresh, honest, and daring as it did when it was released. (Fun fact: Hamm has a small part in the movie as one of Westfeldt’s failed suitors.)
Westfeldt starred in the ABC sitcom Notes from the Underbelly, and has spent much of her career on the stage. She’s also had turns on shows like 24 and Grey’s Anatomy and made a couple true-to-life relationship comedies like 2006’s forgettable Ira & Abby, but the actress was thrust into the unshakable title of ‘Jon Hamm’s Girlfriend’ when her partner landed the plum role of Don Draper on Mad Men in 2007. The happily unmarried couple (look out Goldie and Kurt, these two may just be our new favorites) have continued to work together on projects like their adorable Gap ads and now again, in the presumably semi-autobiographical, Friends With Kids.
But if Friends With Kids (which EW’s Lisa Schwarzbaum praises for being “quick and smart”) turns out to be a success, it might not be her partner Hamm or the equally impressive cast that includes the likes of Kristen Wiig, Adam Scott, Maya Rudolph, Megan Fox, Chris O’ Dowd, and Ed Burns that get all the credit. It could (finally) be Westfeldt, thanks to her funny and heartfelt script, direction, and performance, that makes her emerge as the big story of an underrated star getting her chance to shine. Now that’s a title we can support.