This article is about Madeline Mackenzie, a character from the limited series. You may be looking for Madeline Mackenzie (Novel).
Sometimes I'm just holding onto this idea of perfection so tight; something has to give.

–Madeline Mackenzie

Madeline Mackenzie is a main character in Big Little Lies, the limited series. She is portrayed by Reese Witherspoon.


The mother of Abigail and Chloe, Madeline also works at the local community theater. Now married to Ed, she is less than thrilled that her ex-husband Nathan is living in the same school district.[1]


Madeline has a very friendly, beautiful appearance. She has long blonde hair, bright blue eyes, and a big smile. She has a petite frame and is on the shorter side. Madeline is always dressed very trendy- she has great clothes and shoes and likes to look her best, especially when out on the town.


Madeline is witty and sassy but also innocent, caring and thoughtful. She is very protective of her daughters and always looks out for them, as well as her friends. Her sarcasm and sense of humor often makes her come across as 'ditsy'. However, she is actually quite smart and bright. Madeline is the boldest and the most outspoken of the three girls often making snarky comments, not afraid to say what she really thinks of a person.


Season 1

In Season 1, we learn that Madeline has a tenuous but amicable relationship with her ex-husband, Nathan. They both live in the same town and have custody over their daughter, Abigail.

After Madeline and Nathan broke up, she went to a party and met Ed. They hit it off, got married, and had a daughter, Chloe. They live together in a beautiful home in Monterey.

Madeline had a flirty relationship with a theatre director, Joseph Bachman. They had a lot of sexual tension and eventually Joseph kissed Madeline. This led to an extramarital affair between the two of them. However, when Joseph asked Madeline if she wanted to go forward with it, they got in a car accident. Ed does not know about the affair in Season 1.

Madeline is the ring leader of her group of friends, specifically Celeste Wright, Jane Chapman, and Renata Klein. They often grab coffee together at a local shop. Madeline was the one who initially invited Jane to come out and grab coffee with her and her friends. She and Celeste grew to be protective over Jane in the judgmental Monterey community.

Madeline and her daughter, Abigail, fight often in Season 1. Abigail decided to move out of Madeline's house and move in with her dad, Nathan, and his wife, Bonnie. Madeline was extremely upset about this but let it happen.

Season 2

In Season 2, Madeline tries to help Bonnie, Celeste, and the others move on after Perry's death. She doesn't seem to understand why Bonnie can't move forward. Madeline often clashes with Celeste's mother-in-law, Mary Louise Wright. They are both forward with each other about their dislike for the other one.

With Bonnie's depression, Madeline decides it's time for Abigail to move back in with her. Abigail agrees and moves back. While they fight about Abigail's protest about going to college, Abigail mentions Madeline's affair with Joseph. Ed overhears and gets extremely upset with Madeline. He tells her that they're done.

Madeline spends a lot of Season 2 fighting for Ed and trying to get him back. She promises she won't cheat again, tries to take him to a couple's retreat, and tries to talk to him repeatedly. Ed is upset and doesn't give in as he's unsure what to do. However, at the end of the season, he says they should renew their vows and she agrees.





  • Celeste Wright
  • Jane Chapman: Jane and Madeline have only been friends since the moment that Jane found and helped Madeline on her way to school. Although Jane was skeptical and somewhat unwilling to open up, Madeline (due to her character) treated her like she was one of her best friends and poked and prodded her in an attempt to find out more about her.
  • Renata Klein
  • Bonnie Carlson


Memorable Quotes

Madeline: I am a lady and I’ve never said this to anybody in my entire life but I’m gonna say it to you: You can go fuck yourself on the head.

Madeline about Renata: She's a fake bitch!

Madeline: Sometimes I’m just holding onto this idea of perfection so tight; something has to give.

Madeline: Honesty is always the best policy.

Madeline: No, I love my grudges. I tend to them like little pets.


Season 1

Season 2


Season 1 Appearances
"Somebody's Dead" "Serious Mothering" "Living the Dream"
"Push Comes to Shove" "Once Bitten" "Burning Love" "You Get What You Need"
Season 2 Appearances
"What Have They Done?" "Tell-Tale Hearts" "The End of the World"
"She Knows" "Kill Me" "The Bad Mother" "I Want to Know"


  1. Madeline Martha Mackenzie played by Reese Witherspoon | HBO
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