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Hollywood Now: Emmanuelle Chriqui on Boyfriend Adrian Bellani

Emmanuelle and Adrian
Adrian Bellani and Emmanuelle Chriqui

Emmanuelle Chriqui True to Her Roots

In the National Geographic Channel docudrama Killing Jesus, premiering March 29, Jewish actress Emmanuelle Chriqui plays a Jewish historical figure, Herodia, the wife of King Herod’s son Antipas. Offscreen, she is in an interfaith relationship with actor Adrian Bellani, who is of Salvadorian heritage and is not Jewish. “I’m OK with that, because he’s very respectful of me and my Judaism. He loves the religion. I don’t need to twist his arm to come to Shabbat. He loves it,” she says.

The key to making an interfaith relationship work “is respecting each other and knowing what your boundaries are,” Chriqui says. For example, “I won’t have crosses in my home. It would make me feel uncomfortable.” Fortunately, “My family loves him and I love his family. And he knows I don’t plan on ever giving up my faith. It’s really important to me. It’s very big part of how I operate in this world. It’s how I was raised. We’re part of a tribe.”

Chriqui will reprise her role as Sloan in the long-awaited movie version of the HBO series Entourage, which hits theaters June 5.

Miriam Shor Shows Us Who’s Boss

Miriam Shor
Miriam Shor. Credit: TV Land

A familiar face from such series as Swingtown, GCB, Damages and The Good Wife, Miriam Shor has a juicy new role in the new comedy series Younger, playing the, well, bossy boss (think Meryl Streep as Miranda Bailey in The Devil Wears Prada) to Sutton Foster’s lead, a woman who pretends to be younger to land a job. Shor, Jewish on her father’s side, is the product of an interfaith marriage, and she is in one herself.

“My mom, who was raised Irish Catholic, was also interested in Judaism. From my dad’s perspective Judaism was about intellectualism and activism, things that are important to my mother as well,” she says. “Our celebrations were a familial thing, not going to temple. Organized religion is something I’m not sure how I feel about, because I wasn’t raised with it per se. But I went to Sunday school at the Workmen’s Circle and we learned Yiddish. Judaism is important to me and to my identity because of its place in tradition and history. Your identity as a Jew is much more complicated than just a religion or a place to go to.”

A native of Minneapolis, Shor lives in New York City with her husband, actor Justin Hagan, and their daughters Ruby, 5, and Iris, 11/2. Growing up, “We celebrated Hanukkah and Christmas, so my children celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas. It’s my heritage, therefore it’s my kids’ heritage,” she says. “I want them to celebrate it and be interested in it.”

Younger premieres on TV Land March 31.

Funny People

Josh Gad and Billy Crystal
Josh Gad & Billy Crystal. Credit: Ray Mickshaw/FX

Having charmed millions as the voice of the snowman Olaf in the animated hit Frozen, Jewish actor Josh Gad is teaming up with Jewish comedy legend Billy Crystal in the hilarious FX series The Comedians. In the series, premiering April 9, the pair play versions of themselves, forced to work together despite an immediate dislike for one another. Gad is in an interfaith marriage—he wed actress Ida Darvish, who is not Jewish, in 2008. They have two daughters, Ava and Isabelle, who are being raised with both Jewish and Christian traditions.

Ben Mendelsohn
Ben Mendelsohn. Credit: Marion Curtis for Netflix

Ben’s Bloodline

Australian actor Ben Mendelsohn is beginning to make a splash stateside, following an appearance in Exodus: Gods and Kings with a key role in the dark and twisty Netlix family drama Bloodline, which begins streaming March 20. Mendelsohn, who plays the black sheep son in a clan full of deceivers and secret keepers, learned about his paternal Jewish roots while participating in the Australian version of the genealogy series Who Do You Think You Are? and traced his father’s ancestors to Prussia. Mendelsohn, whose mother isn’t Jewish, carried on the interfaith tradition when he married British writer Emma Forrest (not Jewish) in June 2012.

Gerri Miller

Gerri Miller wrote and reported from Los Angeles about celebrities, entertainment and lifestyle for The Jewish Journal, The Nosher, Hadassah and others. A New York native, she spent a summer working at Kibbutz Giv’at Brenner in Israel and attended High Holy Day services at the Laugh Factory in West Hollywood every year.


Author: Gerri Miller