Why Tony Hale and His Wife of 20 Years Shun the ‘Don’t Go to Bed Angry’ Relationship Rule (Exclusive)

‘Inside Out 2’ star Tony Hale, who’s been married to Martel Thompson since 2003, shares his secrets to a successful long-term marriage

<p>Courtesy of Tony Hale</p> Tony Hale and Martel Thompson in 2023

Courtesy of Tony Hale

Tony Hale and Martel Thompson in 2023

Tony Hale and his wife Martel Thompson don’t follow a rule many other couples adhere to.

“We don't really follow the model of ‘Don't go to bed angry,’ ” the Veep and Arrested Development alum, 53, tells PEOPLE. “Sometimes we go to bed angry.”

Married since 2003, Hale and Thompson, a Hollywood makeup artist, are both Emmy winners with plenty on their plates. “Having that space,” says Hale, to “start to think about what happened” has been a beneficial habit in navigating conflict.

“To us, it's healthy coming back together and being like, ‘Man, I'm really sorry about that,’ ” he explains. “Because you're thinking more clearly. In a very heightened state you're just not thinking clearly. So when things get tough, we take an hour or two just to separate, and then come back together and have a discussion about it.”

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<p>Jerod Harris/Getty</p> Tony Hale on Jan. 15

Jerod Harris/Getty

Tony Hale on Jan. 15

Hale also speaks frankly about speaking through challenges with professionals, advocating for both individual and couple’s therapy. “We've been in therapy for a long time,” he says. “We love therapy, and having community around us where we just have fun, talk about stuff, that's been huge.”

The main reason for the couple’s long-term success, of course, is simple: Thompson is “my best friend,” says Hale with a smile. “We laugh a lot.”

Hers “is the opinion that I care the most about,” he continues. “So there's a respect that we have for each other. And I think many times, if our opinions disagree, [we’re] wrestling with it so much because you care so much about that other person's opinion.”

One therapist, he recalls, told the duo, “You guys are just saying two sides of the same coin, talking about the same thing. You're just seeing it from different sides." Having a “third party” to “filter that out a little bit” has been key in over 20 years of marriage, according to Hale.

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<p>Courtesy of Tony Hale</p> Loy Ann and Tony Hale in 2022

Courtesy of Tony Hale

Loy Ann and Tony Hale in 2022

Related: Tony Hale Says His Character in 'Archibald's Next Big Thing' Has 'Become My Role Model'

The couple is now facing an unprecedented shift: 18-year-old daughter Loy Ann, their only child, recently graduated high school and is college-bound. 

“It's really beautiful and it's daunting as hell,” says Hale of soon facing an “empty nest.” As parents, of course, he and Thompson “worry about her and just hope she's going to be okay.”

After his viral Verizon Super Bowl ad opposite Beyoncé, Hale’s upcoming projects include voicing Fear in Inside Out 2, in theaters June 14, and a role on Netflix’s Medieval-era comedy series The Decameron

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