Laura Wasser, Celebrity Divorce Attorney, on Inspiring Laura Dern's 'Marriage Story' Character (Exclusive)

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Laura Dern is on a serious awards streak -- her portrayal as feisty divorce attorney Nora Fanshaw in Marriage Story was the film's undeniable breakout character, and the role has earned the actress statuettes for Best Supporting Actress at the Golden Globes, SAG Awards and Critics’ Choice Awards. It has also earned her an Academy Award nomination, for which she is the favorite to win. 

One individual Dern is likely to be thanking behind the scenes is none other than famed celebrity divorce attorney Laura Wasser, who the role was loosely inspired by. Wasser’s client list includes A-list celebrities like Jennifer Aniston, Angelina Jolie (twice!), Jennifer Garner and Kim Kardashian West -- as well as Jennifer Jason Leigh in her divorce to Marriage Story’s writer and director, Noah Baumbach.

“When [Baumbach] decided to write this and shoot this movie, he said, ‘Do you think we can use some of the conference rooms in your office for the scenes?’" Wasser reveals in an interview with ET. Sure enough, Nora’s office scenes in the Netflix dramedy were actually filmed in Wasser’s own office building. 

“So much about this movie really resonated with me. The Laura Dern character, yes, there are some similarities, but for the most part, I am hopeful that when people see her and her very aggressive character, they’re not going, ‘Oh, that’s Laura Wasser,’” Wasser says with a laugh, before adding, “Very good shoes though, and I appreciate that.” 

The film, which is now available to stream on Netflix, tells the story of a stage director (Adam Driver) and his actor wife (Scarlett Johansson), who struggle through a grueling, coast-to-coast divorce that pushes them to their personal and creative extremes.

“I think, for the most part, the family and law attorneys that saw this film were like, ‘Oh my god, that’s not me!’” Wasser laments. “I mean, they really got the emotion and what this family goes through with their divorce, they got that right. Some of the things they didn’t get as right -- but I’m sure they needed to do as artistic techniques -- were the lawyers and some of the legal stuff.”  

Wasser, who represented Dern in her 2010 divorce from then-husband Ben Harper, spoke with the actress about the character, though she played coy on the details. “I don’t think I gave her any specific advice, I think we just talked things through," she shares. 

Wasser was at home rooting for Dern as she won her Golden Globe Award earlier this month, and plans to do the same for next month’s Oscars, but notes she doesn’t take any credit for the wins. “I hope she wins the Oscar, I really do," she says. "I wouldn’t feel like it had anything to do with me though.” 

When Wasser isn’t giving advice to would-be Oscar contenders, she is one of the most sought after family law attorneys, charging a staggering $950 an hour for her time. For those without a celeb-sized budget, she now has an online service offering divorces in all 50 states, ItsOverEasy.com, costing users a one-time fee of $1,500. 

“We have the actual platform where you go on and get the forms, we help fill them out because that’s the hard part,” Wasser explains. 

Not only does the online service help with filing court documents, it guides users on their next steps after divorce. “We have listings for mental health professionals, child care, dating apps. We have an affiliation with an engagement ring consignment company if you want to sell your ring because it is not doing you good anymore,” Wasser notes. 

In the meantime, don’t expect Wasser to be rewatching Marriage Story anytime soon as viewing it the first time around hit a little too close to home for her. “It was like, ‘I hope I can bill for watching this two-hour movie because I feel like I’m right back at my job!’” Wasser quips. 

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