The love story between Riz Ahmed and the author Fatima Farheen Mirza, who first met at a café and were married during the pandemic, was kept mostly private at the start. Now, the couple has taken a very public first step.
On Sunday, Ahmed and Mirza appeared on the red carpet at the 93rd Academy Awards in Los Angeles, making their first public appearance since they were married in 2020. Ahmed is nominated for Best Actor at tonight’s Oscars, following his boundary-breaking role in Sound of Metal.
During an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Ahmed described his meet-cute with Mirza, the novelist who wrote A Place For Us. While the actor was preparing for his part in Sound of Metal, he set up shop in a New York City café to do some writing—where Mirza had also gone to get some writing done. According to Ahmed, they “were both jostling over the same laptop plug point.” A few years following their meeting, the pair got married at a socially distant ceremony the actor described as “super intimate.”
“I think the nicest thing about it was you didn’t have 500 aunties hanging around you, pinching your cheeks. No disrespect to the aunties,” he said.
More details of their rom-com-worthy love story emerged last week, when Ahmed revealed on Jimmy Kimmel Live how he proposed—using Scrabble pieces.
“We went out to the park, one of the few things we could do at that point in lockdown,” he told the late-night host. “We kind of had a little picnic...She loves a bit of Scrabble. I did that corny thing where I stole all the correct letters up and spelled out ‘Will you marry me?’ She looked up and was like, ‘You’re joking.’”
Despite opening up about the details of his relationship with Mirza, Ahmed has maintained since the start that he never intended to keep his marriage a secret, it just wasn’t necessarily his style to gush about it on social media.
“I guess because we live in a social media age, if you don’t get on the megaphone about stuff, it’s like it’s a secret,” Ahmed said during his Fallon interview. “I never know how much is oversharing.”