tamara podemski

Tamara Podemski on her long-distance love story with a fellow actor

Podemski stars in the new play 'This Is How We Got Here' in Toronto

Tamara Podemski will hit the stage this month in This Is How We Got Here. Podemski is best known for her role in the original Canadian cast of RENT, as well as playing Maureen in the Broadway company of RENT. While living in L.A., she met her husband Jamie Thomas King, best known for his role in The Tudors. After a transatlantic romance, they’ve settled in Leaside — for now. Here, Podemski tells us how it all started.

How they met

We met at a birthday party of a seven-year-old girl who was the daughter of a mutual friend. Even though we had both been living in Los Angeles for several years, we happened to meet just two days before Jamie moved back to England and one month before I moved back to Canada.

The first date

We only had one night to find out if this was actually something, so there was a lot riding on this date. We went to an amazing restaurant called the Hungry Cat in Hollywood (which, sadly, closed down a couple of years ago). I had made him a mix CD for his plane ride home, but I was going to wait until the end of the night to decide if he was worthy of this premature declaration of love. I gave it to him after the appetizers. After dinner we went to a cocktail piano bar to make the date last as long as possible.

The courtship

We wrote to each other every day until I flew to England two months later, on Sept. 13.

Our courtship was epic. It was brutal, it was passionate, it was expensive — it was the thing of fairy tales. And nightmares. Anyone who has done the transatlantic long-distance thing knows what I’m talking about. For two years, we flew back and forth, trying to be with each other for important moments or holidays and trying to meet each other’s friends and family during our very brief visits. I remember aiming to be together every two to three months. It was a crazy time. I’m always amazed that we survived that.

The proposal

Yorkdale shopping mall, outside of the Geox. Very matter of fact. It was more like a heated conversation that ended with the conclusion that we were going to get married. It wasn’t a surprise. We had been talking about it for months. It was just that the actual decision happened there — after walking by Tiffany’s, but purposely nowhere near it. The family heirloom engagement ring was FedExed from L.A. shortly thereafter by his brother.

The wedding

We were married in Grimsby, Ont., on the ridge of the Niagara Escarpment at a gorgeous manor built in 1864. We booked almost every B & B in wine country for five days over Labour Day weekend, so that we could bring our two families together for the first time ever — Jamie’s family from England and the U.S. and my family from Toronto. Afterwards, we took a short trip to Paris but only because I was moving my whole life to England. The U.K. doesn’t allow dogs to fly into the country, so I had to fly to France instead, and Jamie had to come pick us up and drive us back to London because dogs aren’t allowed on the train, either! So, I guess we made a honeymoon out of an inconvenient animal-related flight diversion.

The kids

We have a five-year old son named Oliver, who is the light of our life. And we have another son named Benjamin, who died shortly after birth due to medical negligence. He is the other light of our life.

The home

We live in Leaside at Bayview and Eglinton. We have been in this neighbourhood for three years, which is pretty impressive since we move house regularly. This is the sixth home we’ve had in six years.

This Is How We Got Here starring Tamara Podemski runs from Jan. 26 to Feb. 16 at Aki Studio.

Article exclusive to TRNTO