Inside Mandy Moore's Long, Winding Road to Happily Ever After


It was a Monday afternoon when Mandy Moore realized she just had to get married. 

Never the type to dream of a crowded church or a fluffy white ballgown—she’s had plenty of that on camera—she asked her rep to phone up Pastor Steve Schulte to see if he could officiate a ceremony for two at his Whitefield Chapel at Bethesda Home for Boys on the edge of Savannah, Ga. He was the second choice (they’d already tried to find a judge to no avail) but Schulte agreed to host them on the grounds dotted with Spanish moss-covered oaks and dogwood trees if they could come close to 2:30 the next afternoon. He was already booked for another event that evening. 

Wearing a lace cream-colored, tea-length dress and flats, the singer-actress joined hands with her skinny jeans- and sneakers-clad groom in front of rows of empty wooden pews. They repeated vows, slid silver rings on each other’s fingers and eight minutes later were pronounced husband and wife. 

The union that followed was not so much a fantasy with This Is Us star summing up her six-year marriage to singer Ryan Adams by explaining simply, “I didn’t choose the right person.” But she seemed to have no qualms with her ceremony choice. After indie musician Taylor Goldsmith proposed last September, she told anyone inquiring about wedding planning that she wasn’t envisioning a drawn out, elaborate process. “It’ll happen sooner rather than later,” she insisted to E! News last September. “I’m not in any rush, but also I’m like, ‘I wanna do it.’ I don’t need to wait, I don’t need to have a long engagement. I’m not planning some giant, lavish affair. So, I might as well just do it.”

But as her fiancée status stretched past the year mark and the 34-year-old enjoyed an engagement party, a bachelorette trip to New Orleans and all the other traditional bridal trappings it became clear that maybe she had shifted her view…just a little.

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Eternally grateful for the greatest girlfriends who are equal parts spontaneous and generous. They’re always game for an adventure and manage to prioritize our friendships in the face of the busy lives we all lead (like going on a trip in the middle of week cause why not??) Nola- thanks for hosting us. We came, we saw, we ate all the food. Can’t wait for more with these ?s.

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Because when she and the Dawes lead singer, 33, agreed to forever yesterday in what a source labeled an “intimate backyard wedding” at the 1950s-style Pasadena Hill, Calif. home they remodeled together, some 100 of her nearest and dearest were there to look on. (On the guest list for the sunset vows: costars Milo Ventimiglia, Chrissy Metz and Sterling K. Brown, close pal Minka Kelly and ex-boyfriend turned pal Wilmer Valderrama.)  Explaining her change of heart just days earlier, she told Us Weekly, “It will mean a lot, I think, to be surrounded by friends and family and to say certain things to each other in front of them.” The true importance of the ceremony had been pulled sharply into focus for one simply reason: “Because I’m with my person. I’m with the right person.” 

And, oh man, does it feel like it took forever to reach this place. 

Having first found fame at the age of 15 when she was the alternative to Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, sweetly singing about crushes and candy, Moore has been in the public eye for the better part of two decades.


Fans have watched as she was romanced by the various types of men one might encounter moving through Hollywood circles: the athlete (Andy Roddick), the DJ (Adam “DJ AM” Goldstein), the TV star (Zach Braff), the other TV star (Valderrama), experienced the celebrity rite of passage that is having your virginity discussed on The Howard Stern Show and endured what turned out to be a pretty painful marriage. 

And she would go through it all again in triplicate if it meant landing at this very same spot with the man who makes her melt. “I view the past as a stepping-stone to get me where I am today,” Glamour‘s cover girl declared in their November issue. “I would gladly weather all of that a million times over if it brought me to Taylor again.”

Her romantic life started off easily enough.

AP Photo/Charles Krupa

Despite having weathered splits from Valderrama and Roddick before she exited her teens, Moore declared in a 2003 interview with PBS, “I haven’t had too much trauma with love. I’m sure it’s coming sometime because you can’t escape it. I feel like I’ve come off unscathed so far.” 

Already wise at 19 she was, of course, right. In 2006 she would listen in horror as Valderrama recounted their sweet, teenage love story—for their first date at Santa Monica’s Ivy at the Shore, he picked her up from the W hotel where her mom informed him she’d nervously changed her shirt three times—to shock jock Stern. 

Pressured to share more beyond their meet-cute (they were shooting the cover of Teen magazine) and how they “were each other’s first loves,” he finally relented as Robin Quivers and Artie Lange joined Stern in asking about their sex life, each demanding to know if he was her first, you know, everything. Having already ranked his previous paramours and spoken about his, er, stature, he said this about supposedly taking Moore’s virginity, “Honestly, I think everyone’s going to relate to this, but…I will say this: it is not like warm apple pie…Let’s see, how do I put this in the most [politically correct] way possible—it’s just really good.” 

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Moore, for one, was left unimpressed, shooting back to Elle that his remark was “utterly tacky, not even true and it hurt my feelings because I like him.”

But it was hardly the only time she was left crushed. That same year she ended her romance with Scrubs star Braff, exacerbating the depression she was already muddling through. “The breakup added to what I was going through, but it’s not the complete reason,” she told the now-defunct (may it RIP) Jane in February 2007. “It definitely doesn’t help if you’re already in that place.” 

Writing had been “really therapeutic” she shared, the breakup inspiring much of her 2007 Wild Hope album, but she wasn’t fully back in the sense that she was ready to seek out a new mate. “I’ve tried dating a bit, and I don’t like it,” she told the mag. “I know I should be putting myself out there. But I don’t really think it’s for me. That’s not to say I’m ready to jump back into a relationship anytime soon. I’m definitely not looking. But it’d be fun to have a crush.” 

E. Charbonneau/WireImage

By the time the issue hit stands, she’d done herself one better, diving into a months-long romance with Goldstein. Something of an OG celebrity DJ, he inked a $1 million Las Vegas residency long before the likes of Calvin Harris, Diplo and David Guetta manned a turntable. 

Despite their relationship’s brevity, Goldstein and Moore remained close following their March 2007 split and she was on hand to provide comfort the next year when he and Travis Barker survived a plane crash that killed the other four passengers on board. When he died of an accidental drug overdose in September 2009 at just 36, his former girlfriend was among those that expressed their shock. “I am absolutely heartbroken,” she shared in a statement. “For those of us lucky enough to have known him, Adam radiated a contagious exuberance for life and also personified the very definition of a true friend. To say that he will be missed beyond words is an understatement.”

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Looking back, she shared in her Glamour interview, their rush to wed wasn’t so much about burning passion as it was a reaction to learning her mom Stacy was leaving her father for a woman some 30 years into their marriage. “I couldn’t control what happened to my immediate family, but I could control starting my own,” she reasoned. “Not the smartest decision.” 

Her six years with Adams were tough on the star and bled over into her professional life. “Ryan could be terrible to Mandy when they were married,” a friend revealed to People last month. “Yes, there were some good times, but he had so many issues. He constantly belittled her. And he was selfish and made everything about him.” 

It was a point he, perhaps inadvertently, drove home when he went on a rambling now-deleted Twitter rant in response to Moore’s chat with Glamour. “She didn’t like the Melvins or BladeRunner. Doomed from the start…” he wrote before insinuating he didn’t exactly go into their union with a clear head. “When someone told me we got married I thought they were joking. Then I realized how many painkillers I was taking. Honestly there weren’t enough to numb the shock.”

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Happy Birthday to my favorite. I can’t wait to hike every mountain with you, T. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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Her introduction to the frontman of the folk-rock group is a meet-cute for the digital age: She posted a photo of the band’s album to Instagram. Though, as she told E! News, “I didn’t know the rules of social media. I didn’t tag him, you know, as you do in a photograph now,” he still spied the post and sent her a note. “We started emailing back and forth,” she shared with People, “then we went on a date and the rest is history.” 

The early part of their courtship in 2015 was largely long distance as he was on tour and her NBC show kept her tied to L.A. Spending hours talking through FaceTime, “I started to absolutely fall in love with him just by communicating,” she shared with Stern.” 

His list of attributes is lengthy. “I think he is the most refreshingly kind, honest and soulfully good person I’ve ever met,” she gushed to Us Weekly, but it was his unwavering ability to have her back that clinched things. “I was still dealing with the trauma of my divorce when we started dating,” she revealed to Glamour. “Taylor was steadfast in his support—that was a huge sign for me.” 

Having already made a home together (“We saw the potential of this house and brought it back to life,” she told Architectural Digest of the $2.6 million spread they share with dogs Joni and Jackson), building a family is on the agenda next, with Moore noting adoption “will be a part of our lives.”  

Whatever else comes, she feels confident they’ve got it. “I feel incredibly understood and supported,” she told People. “I feel incredibly lucky to have somebody who is like, ‘I got your back.’ I found the right person and I feel like we can handle anything together.” 

In large part, she notes, she has her admittedly rocky past to thank for bringing her to this incredibly bright future. “I’m better equipped to appreciate everything because of what I’ve gone through,” she explained. “I cannot believe my life and good fortune.” 

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