How A Swimming Pool Led Russian Doll's Natasha Lyonne To Break Up With Fred Armisen

Natasha Lyonne on Russian Doll and Fred Armisen on Saturday Night Live.
(Image credit: Netflix/NBC)

There are lots of reasons relationships don’t last. Whether it’s infidelity, financial problems, or just two people growing apart, relationships come with obstacles, and sometimes they can’t be overcome. One circumstance you don’t hear too often, though, is couples who break up over a swimming pool. That’s the reason Natasha Lyonne gave, however, when she revealed in an interview that she and The Bubble actor Fred Armisen had broken up. 

Natasha Lyonne — the star of Russian Doll, whose second season is among a number of exciting Netflix premieres coming in April — and Portlandia creator Fred Armisen started dating in 2014. They were introduced by his former Saturday Night Live co-star Maya Rudolph and reportedly split time between her place in Manhattan and his house in Los Angeles. Lyonne is a native of New York (you’ve heard her accent), but during an interview with THR, she was asked if she was now based in L.A. Her response yielded an unexpected update about her relationship status:

I’m not. I had been there living with Fred [Armisen] and during COVID. I honestly think we broke up because I wanted a swimming pool. We love each other just about as much as two people can love each other and we’re still talking all the time, but Freddy doesn’t like a swimming pool. It might seem like a mundane reason for a breakup, but during that pandemic, you’ve got to get your laps — I’m like Burt Lancaster in The Swimmer. So, I got myself a house with a pool out in Los Angeles. So that’s the real scandal. I guess I finally am an actual bicoastal.

Okay, maybe to such a quintessential New Yorker, the real scandal would be purchasing a home in L.A., but what’s this about breaking up over a swimming pool? It seems like a strange reason to end an eight-year relationship, but hey, I’m not judging. Everybody has things they’re not willing to bend on. Fred Armisen didn’t want a pool, and Natasha Lyonne needed to get her laps in. 

It sounds like there’s no real bad blood between the former couple, with the Orange Is the New Black actress saying they still love each other and talk frequently. It’s a shame they couldn’t just buy a second house with a pool — since that’s what the actress did anyway — but it’s possible (and likely) the lack of a pool wasn’t the only reason for the split. It’s so rarely just one thing, right?

Back in 2013, before he was connected to Natasha Lyonne, Fred Armisen reflected on his past marriages to singer Sally Timms and actress Elisabeth Moss, reportedly telling Howard Stern that he was a “terrible husband” and he felt bad for everyone he’s ever gone out with.

We’re happy to hear that Natasha Lyonne got her swimming pool, and we wish both parties the best whether separate or together. If you’re a fan of Lyonne’s projects, you can watch the latest season of Russian Doll with a Netflix subscription when Season 2 premieres Wednesday, April 20. After a critically acclaimed first season, the critics had some good things to say about the sophomore effort. If you need a refresher on how Season 1 ended, here’s what you need to remember before Season 2 premieres. Be sure to check out our 2022 TV Schedule to see what other shows are premiering soon.

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Heidi Venable is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend, a mom of two and a hard-core '90s kid. She started freelancing for CinemaBlend in 2020 and officially came on board in 2021. Her job entails writing news stories and TV reactions from some of her favorite prime-time shows like Grey's Anatomy and The Bachelor. She graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a degree in Journalism and worked in the newspaper industry for almost two decades in multiple roles including Sports Editor, Page Designer and Online Editor. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.