Film and TV

Everything you need to know about Elliot Page’s ex-wife Emma Portner, who he says is still his ‘close friend’

Emma Powys Maurice March 16, 2021
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Emma Portner and Ellen Page

Emma Portner and Ellen Page at the premiere of "Flatliners" in 2017 (Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)

Elliot Page has told Time magazine that he and his wife Emma Portner have “remained close friends” after their marriage of three years ended in divorce in early 2021.

In the interview, he goes into detail about his journey as a trans man, and how he knew he was a boy from the age of nine.

Page explained that the isolation forced by the pandemic brought his wrestling with gender to a head, with Page and Portner separating last summer. He explained: “I had a lot of time on my own to really focus on things that I think, in so many ways, unconsciously, I was avoiding.”

Elliot Page’s ex-wife Emma Portner, 26, was his strongest supporter when he came out as trans and continues to have “the utmost respect” for him after their split.

Though she became widely known to the world through their relationship, she was already an accomplished dancer long before that. Here’s everything you need to know about her.

Who is Emma Portner?

Emma Portner hails from Ottawa, Ontario, and began dancing when she was just three years old.

As a child she joined a competitive studio in Ottawa while spending her summers with the National Ballet of Canada, before moving to New York at 17 to train at the elite Ailey School of dance theatre.

Portner quickly set herself apart from her peers, and by the time she was 18 she’d already been named Young Choreographer Of The Year at the American Dance Awards.

As she blazed through the dance world she personally choreographed and starred in Justin Beiber’s “Life Worth Living” video and Purpose world tour; she created music videos for Blood Orange, BANKS and Maggie Rogers, taught classes in New York, LA and Canada, and even founded her own dance company, Emma Portner and Artists.

As if that wasn’t enough, she became the youngest woman to ever choreograph a musical, Jim Steinman’s Bat out of Hell, which premiered in 2017.

Portner’s incredible way with dance caught Elliot Page’s eye, who told the New York Times he was “transfixed” by the videos on her Instagram profile.

“I thought, damn, this girl is so talented and so cool,” he recalled. “I knew right away we were both creative spirits.”

 

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When did Emma Portner and Elliot Page get married?

Elliot Page said he and his wife Emma Portner had a “modern day romance”, meeting after he reached out to her on Instagram in the spring of 2017.

The Juno star was never a dancer himself, admitting he would “close down and be terrified at the thought”, but within the year they’d posted their first video collaboration together. Before long Page was a frequent presence in Portner’s YouTube and Instagram videos.

In September 2017 the couple arrived together at the movie premiere of Page’s film Flatliners – their first red carpet appearance as a couple.

In January 2018 Page announced his marriage to Portner, who was now a jazz teacher at the prestigious Broadway Dance Center in New York.

Taking to social media, he shared a heartwarming snap of the couple’s hands, showing off their sparkling wedding rings.

“Can’t believe I get to call this extraordinary woman my wife,” he shared on Instagram.

For the most part the couple kept their relationship private, but Portner opened up about their deep love for each other in a December 2018 interview.

“[He] and I have an indefatigable connection and this undying desire to be near each other,” she told Them. “It cannot ever be perfect, but we really respect each other. Love can’t flow without respect.

“[Elliot] is the best, and I still cry every time we part ways for work. I probably will forever, and I’m OK with that.”

 

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When did Elliot Page comes out as trans?

Elliot Page came out as trans in December 2020, sharing a powerful message of love and hope to fans on social media.

“I feel lucky to be writing this. To be here. To have arrived at this place in my life,” he said in the lengthy post, adding that it felt “remarkable” to finally pursue his authentic self.

Emma Portner gave him her full support through the first steps of his transition, telling the world she was “so proud” of him for coming out.

She had no time for those who felt her sexuality was a matter for public commentary, and sparred with transphobic trolls who sought to challenge their relationship.

“I hope you know my sexual preferences and gender identity are none of your business,” she hit back. “For me to decide, thank you. Release your labels of me. I am as fluid as can be.”

How did they split?

Sadly, their love didn’t last. On Tuesday (26 January) it was revealed that Elliot Page had filed court documents to the Manhattan Supreme Court in New York, amicably dissolving their three-year-long marriage.

The couple had been largely offline since Page came out but they broke their silence to confirm their split. The two revealed that they had quietly separated in the summer of 2020, months before Page publicly announced his transition.

In a joint statement released to ET, they said simply: “After much thought and careful consideration, we have made the difficult decision to divorce following our separation last summer.

“We have the utmost respect for each other and remain close friends.”

Related topics: divorce, Elliot Page, emma portner, LGBT couples, marriage, Trans

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