MERYL STREEP’s 35-year marriage to sculptor Don Gummer has always been one of Hollywood’s strongest – but sources say it’s been rocked in recent months by rumors of her long-ago cheating and her unyielding focus on her career.
In a biography of actor Jack Nicholson published last year, author Marc Eliot claimed that the notorious ladies’ man bedded Meryl in his motor home on the set of the 1987 drama “Ironweed” – nine years after her marriage.
The two first starred together the previous year in “Heartburn,” and it was reported that Meryl vowed to never work with Jack again due to his “relentless sexual overtures.”
But while shooting “Ironweed,” Eliot says she gave in to Jack’s charms, and their hookups were rumored to have shaken his motor home right down to its suspension.
“Often, during shooting, his Winnebago seemed to be balanced on overworked Slinkys,” Eliot claimed, although Streep denied allegations of an affair at the time.
While Meryl’s union survived the alleged affair, a friend told The ENQUIRER: “The book opened old wounds and that, on top of her workaholic ways, has led to bitter fights. Now, their marriage is struggling.”
Since her film debut in 1977’s “Julia,” three-time Oscar winner Meryl has come to be regarded as America’s finest actress, starring in dozens of memorable roles and garnering an astonishing 172 award nominations – winning 119 of them. And she’s up for another Best Actress Oscar this year for her role as the mean-spirited matriarch of a dysfunctional family in “August: Osage County.”
But at age 64, the hard-driving star has three films in post-production to be released this year and more than a half-dozen projects in development.
“Meryl just won’t slow down,” said the friend. “But Don wants them to start enjoying their golden years.”
The acclaimed actress tied the knot with Don, now 67, in 1978, and the pair – worth more than $55 million – had four children.
“Don used to joke that Meryl works so much he never sees her,” said the friend. “Now I don’t think he’s joking anymore.
“He’s demanded she slow down, and friends fear that if she doesn’t, their once-strong marriage could crumble.”
To make matters worse, another family issue has taken a toll.
As The ENQUIRER reported, Meryl was hit hard by the divorce last year of the pair’s only married daughter, 30-year-old actress Mamie Gummer, and Broadway actor Benjamin Walker, 31.
“Meryl was heartsick when they split up less than two years after their wedding,” said the friend. “She absolutely adored Ben and still considers him part of the family. When the marriage failed, so did her dream of becoming a doting grandmom.
“It’s like Meryl and Don are being torn apart,” the source said. The source added that if Meryl can’t find a way to ease back on her workload, the marriage may be doomed.