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Relationships How this showbiz couple navigates a life that involves time apart

Stars frontman Torquil Campbell and actress Moya O’Connell.

Norman Wong

He is a songwriter and front man for the Montreal indie band Stars, she is an actress and Shaw Festival ensemble member. This month, both have shows at Toronto's Crow's Theatre.

Who: Torquil Campbell, 45, musician/actor; Moya O'Connell, 43, actress.

Relationship status: Married since 2007, parents.

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Meet the parents

Moya: Eighteen years ago I was straight out of theatre school, auditioning for the Bard on the Beach festival in Vancouver, where Torquil's parents [actors Douglas Campbell and Moira Wylie] were both directing.

Torquil: The story goes that after Moya's audition, my father said to my mother, "I think she's the best one we've seen yet," and my mother said, "Yes, and I think Torquil will fall in love with her – we should hire her." They did and I did.

Moya: I guess sometimes parents just know.

Fumbling toward normalcy

Torquil: It can be hard with our schedules. I don't always get to be there for Moya's important things and she doesn't always get to be there for mine.

Moya: There are times when I am home with our daughter and he will be in Paris or Berlin and I think, "Oh God, I wish I could be there," but there is something beautiful about living independent lives. I guess the hope is that the person comes back renewed and fulfilled. It's a balancing act. And we're really just fumbling our way through.

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Torquil: Every single time I walk off stage, it doesn't matter where I am on Earth, if I have to steal somebody's cellphone or walk 10 blocks to find the last payphone in Berlin. And every morning, I call.

Moya: He does it when we are waking up, to say good morning to Ellington. It might be the middle of the night where he is, but that consistency means a lot. It adds up to something.

Escaping the spotlight

Moya: Torq grew up in a showbiz family, so he was aware of how the spotlight can blind people. From the outside our relationship might appear a certain way, but there is a lot of just typical life stuff: Making macaroni and cheese and watching Fuller House with our daughter.

Torquil: There is that question of how do you be an artist and be a normal human being, but the same could be asked of anyone. How do you work in an intensive-care unit and raise three children and go through a messy divorce? I think we're incredibly lucky.

Moya: We got married in 2007 and every year since, we have renewed our vows on New Year's Day. Some years it's a big celebration with family and friends. This year it was the three of us – we went to Shakespeare Beach in Niagara-on-the-Lake and Ellington officiated. It was -25 and the winds were howling off the lake, so we could barely speak. The metaphor was not lost on us.

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