Daniela and David on their wedding day
It’s been a year of new beginnings for Daniela Ruah, who plays Kensi Blye on NCIS: Los Angeles, returning for its sixth season September 29. She became a new mom last December, and married actor and stuntman David Olsen in June, in an interfaith ceremony.
“We got married in Portugal,” says Ruah, who is of Portuguese-Jewish ancestry on her father’s side and of Portuguese, Russian and Ukranian Jewish heritage on her mother’s. “Our fathers married us. Dave’s father was ordained, and my father isn’t a rabbi but you just have to have a minyan, ten men, to make it valid. We got married under a chuppah and Dave broke the glass. We had the wine ceremony and drank out of the Kiddush cup. Dave’s father recited a beautiful homily.”
Ruah’s husband (Dave Olson) is the brother of her co-star (and love interest) Eric Christian Olsen, who played matchmaker a few years ago: “Eric kept inviting me to friends’ houses that he knew Dave would be at,” Ruah explains. “Then he stepped back and let whatever develop between us, and the rest is history!” The couple didn’t take a honeymoon: “We’re going to wait till our baby is a little older. There was the proposal, pregnancy, and birth and wedding all in one happy year-and-a-half and we want to spread that out now,” says Ruah.
The fact that Dave is Lutheran has never been a problem, and they’re on the same page where parenting their son is concerned. “Dave once said something to me that resonated very positively: ‘We never take away, we only add.’ So the way we’ve decided to do things is we want the baby to be comfortable with whoever he is with, whatever temple—in the broad sense—he decides to go to. We think it’s important that he knows both,” Ruah says. “He had his bris and we plan on having his bar mitzvah and if there’s anything that David wants to instill in him we’re open to that too.”
Ruah goes on to say, “One thing that I learned from people in my own family who’ve married interfaith, they always told me that it’s very easy when it’s just you and your partner, but [not] when you have a baby you both want to establish your own belief system and culture.” Ruah advises interfaith couples who are planning to start a family “to make sure that everything is discussed before you have the baby. Otherwise, there will be complications. Unless one person is like, ‘Do whatever you want, I’m OK with it.’”
Ruah, who was pregnant while shooting last season and worked until her seventh month, is now adjusting to being a working mom. She takes baby River Isaac to work with her on the NCIS: Los Angeles set, where the “producers have accommodated the situation very well. Everybody tells you life’s going to change and it’s going to be hard. Maybe I’m surprised that it’s not as hard as I thought it would be,” she reflects. “You have so much love going into it, it’s OK that you only slept three or four hours last night because you love this little thing so much. If I don’t see him for half an hour I miss him.”