Simon Baker is a pretty fortunate guy.
In addition to a successful and lengthy Hollywood career, including his well-received directorial debut Breath, Baker is coming up on his 20th wedding anniversary with wife Rebecca Rigg — though he’s not yet planning to celebrate it.
“We’ve never really been big on it,” Baker, 48, tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. “Anniversaries, they’re an odd thing, aren’t they? I have some friends that are very strict about anniversaries of everything. There was one year, I think, that we went out to dinner and I bought a gift, and we had an argument. Because I think we put too much pressure on it. It’s not like that with us. We’re a team. Most of the time, 99% of the time, we’re really great friends. So I don’t need to mark it with great things.”
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Baker and Rigg, 51, met almost three decades ago when they were semi-set up by friends around 1990-1991 and then went on to star together on the short-lived Aussie soap E Street. They have three children: Stella, 24, Claude, 19, and Harry, 16. The former Mentalist star says he and Rigg like to keep things spontaneous.
“When we put too much pressure on something, everything gets a little clipped and we don’t feel like we’re ourselves,” he explains. “And I think the most important thing in our relationship is that we’re both able to be ourselves. I think it’s probably the most important thing in most relationships, isn’t it?”
Baker credits his wife’s honest opinions and no-nonsense advice for helping convince him to take on adapting Breath for the big screen.
She said, ” ‘Look, honey, there’s so many crap films made these days, so what if yours is just another one? Just go and make it,’ ” he recalls with a laugh. “She’s pretty great at taking the piss out of me and supporting me at the same time. Which is a real skill. One of her other great ones is, ‘You’ll be fine, honey, just don’t be yourself.'”
With their kids growing up — Stella is a Yale School of Drama graduate — Baker felt he could dedicate the time to make Breath, filmed on Australia’s west coast. “I feel really proud that we actually were able to pull it off,” he says of the movie, which has already earned him an Australian Directors Guild award.
Next on his to-do list? Some R&R with his family — “We live by the beach and get into the water most days” — and some free time to put into his new hobby: growing veggies.
“I like gardening,” he says. “It’s nurturing. As my kids get older, I have to find things to put love into, and gardening is good for that. And my dog. And my wife. And maybe another film.”