In his upcoming memoir, Nevertheless, the 58-year-old actor reflects on his long history with NBC's Saturday Night Live and opens up about meeting Fey for the first time and instantly falling in love with her.
"When I first met Tina Fey—beautiful and brunette, smart and funny, by turns smug and diffident and completely uninterested in me or anything I had to say—I had the same reaction that I'm sure many men and women have: I fell in love," Baldwin reveals in an adapted portion of his memoir, published by Vanity Fair on Tuesday.
"Tina was then the head writer at Saturday Night Live, and I was hosting that week's show," he continues. He then recalls attending a meeting at Lorne Michael's office with the show's writers and producers, where he bluntly asked talent coordinator Marci Klein if Fey was single.
“She pointed to a man sitting along the wall. Or maybe he was standing?” he writes. “This was Jeff Richmond, Tina’s husband. Jeff is diminutive. Tina describes him as ‘travel-size.’"
“When I saw him, I thought, What’s she doing with him?’ ” he shares. “With his spools of curly brown hair and oversized eyes, Jeff resembles a Margaret Keane painting.”
But everything changed when Baldwin got the opportunity to work alongside Richmond on the hit comedy series 30 Rock.
“When I ended up working with the two of them years later, on 30 Rock, of which Tina was writer, producer and star, I changed that to ‘What’s he doing with her?’” Baldwin jokes. “Jeff, who was the talented composer and music supervisor on 30 Rock, is as loose and outgoing as Tina is cautious and dry.”
From 2006 to 2013, Baldwin and Fey worked tirelessly together to bring to life the beloved characters of Jack Donaghy and Liz Lemon, respectively. And, with every year that passed, Baldwin's fondness for Fey grew deeper.
“The roles of writer, producer and star are a lot to handle. Over the life of the show, she was honored for all of them,” Baldwin writes. “But Tina will tell you she is a writer at heart. Beyond dressing up for red carpets, hosting awards shows, or starring in films, Tina, I believe, is most comfortable in a room full of clever people doing what she does so well.”
“Our characters, Liz and Jack, never consummated their relationship,” he continues. “There was, in place of that, a genuine respect, fondness and, ultimately, love for a trusted and irreplaceable colleague. For Jack, the only thing better than good sex was a good hire. Over the years, I had bitched and moaned, as only actors can, about being tied to a contract for a show that would never be my own.”