Riz Ahmed says best part of his pandemic wedding was not having ‘500 aunties’ there

Riz Ahmed
“Sound of Metal” star Riz Ahmed recently married novelist Fatima Farheen Mirza.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Congratulations are in order for Riz Ahmed, the “Sound of Metal” star who just won a best actor Gotham Award and who recently tied the knot.

“The Night of” and “Rogue One” star revealed his months-long husband status during the Jan. 11 episode of Louis Theroux’s “Grounded” podcast. He also opened up about the wedding during a Wednesday appearance on “The Tonight Show” with Jimmy Fallon.

His relationship and subsequent marriage to novelist Fatima Farheen Mirza wasn’t a secret, but it’s not something that usually comes up in casual conversation, Ahmed joked in both interviews. Certainly, the privacy of the pandemic helped too.


The Emmy winner initially made the revelation on the podcast, telling the BBC Radio host that he’d been in California since wrapping the Oscar contender “Sound of Metal” last year because his “wife’s family” is from the Bay Area. After some additional prodding from the host, Ahmed said he hadn’t been married for that long.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever mentioned it in an interview. So, congratulations on this incredibly exciting scoop. I mean, I guess I don’t really feel it’s generally that relevant, so I don’t delve into my personal life or my dating history or even family life much,” the actor said.

However, the 38-year-old Brit was much more candid during his virtual appearance on “The Tonight Show” after Fallon lamented not being invited to the wedding. He also shared his wife’s name and how he and the “A Place for Us” author met.

The bride and groom met randomly when they sat at the same table at a cafe “jostling over the same laptop plug point, like a very modern way of meeting,” he said. They struck up a friendship and reconnected down the line, he added.

He also explained that he wasn’t trying to keep the romance a secret; it just didn’t come up.


“It’s a weird one, isn’t it? I guess because we live in a social media age if you don’t, like, get on the megaphone about stuff, it’s like it’s a secret, but I never know how much is oversharing,” he told Fallon. “Like, I’m into matcha lattes, but that’s just never come up. I’m not a secret matcha latte drinker.”

He added that they kept the wedding ceremony “super intimate and socially distanced” during the pandemic.

Darius Marder’s drama is an uncommonly nuanced portrait of a young man entering a Deaf community.

Nov. 19, 2020

“There was just, like, hardly anyone there, really. We did it in a backyard, which is nice in lots of ways. And 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 quipped. “But Asian weddings are big. You always got these people crawling out the woodworks, who I think are, kind of, probably imposters. They just smell the kebabs on the street and just wander in.”

Prepare to see a lot more of Riz MC, a former rapper and musician. He’s already an awards-season favorite for his work in Darius Marder’s music drama “Sound of Metal.” He plays a rock drummer who goes nearly deaf during a soundcheck and struggles with his new normal as well as addiction. Ahmed said the role connected him to many in the deaf community; he also learned American Sign Language and how to play drums.

Actress Scarlett Johansson and “Saturday Night Live” star Colin Jost got married during the COVID-19 pandemic. Other stars who have done so are Jonathan Van Ness, John Cena, Raven-Symoné, Larry David and Niecy Nash.