Michael Irby has been in show business for over two decades. He made his mainstream debut in 1997 but had not gotten the success he wanted… until 2002.
That year, everything would change. The actor, who had just moved to LA with a pregnant wife, got his first big break in Haunted.
He also welcomed his son soon after, and his career became a family affair, even more so than it already was.
Michael Irby’s Success and Family Expansion Synced
Irby and his wife, Susan Elena Matus, an only child to a Nicaraguan father and an Irish/Danish mother, met in New York.
They were both pursuing a career in acting when they first came across one another — she was studying theatre in New York after being raised in San Francisco; he was doing theatre here and there in New York after moving to the state when he was around 19 or 20.
They got married on June 18, 1996. Leaving the theater scene, they moved to LA after nine years together in New York. They actually moved to LA just 10 days before 9/11, and things just started falling into place for the couple.
Six months after getting to the West Coast, she got pregnant with their son.
Earlier in 2002, Irby auditioned for Haunted, a horror drama. He had a unique approach to his auditions — he shakily read his own poetry at the auditions which somehow managed to get him cast.
“I had been in New York for 10 years and had just moved out to Los Angeles. My wife was pregnant and all of a sudden this just changed everything,” he said of his casting during an interview in December 2013. “It changed who I was as a man and a human being.”
The offer made him determined to make it in the business.
Haunted, even though it ended up getting canceled after just one season due to low ratings, became Irby’s first big project. It put him on the map and paved his way to a successful show business career.
As for kids, he only has one. Their son, Adison James Bear Irby, arrived sometime around December 2003.
Irby and Matus both got busy with acting after Adison’s birth — they worked on The Unit together from 2006 through 2009, although she only did cameos, whereas he was a lead as Charles Grey. They both describe themselves as artists rather than actors.
Adison has inherited his parents’ artistry. He is a budding photographer, glimpses of whose talent are obvious through his Instagram. He is also a student and has been attending the School of Visual Arts in New York since June 2021.
Michael Irby and Wife’s Secret to Marital Success — Communication
Being married for over 26 years must come with its own challenges. For Matus, the hardest thing in her life after having a baby was to balance time.
“All mothers know there just never seems to be enough of it,” Matus said during an August 2008 interview.
She confessed that while she was “very committed” to being a mom, she also felt it important, as a woman, to not let go of her artistic goals. Matus hoped that her ability to manage those two aspects of her life would result in a “balanced child.”
She now pursues her artistic inclinations through her production company, MagPi Films.
Michael Irby with his wife, Susan Elena Matus (middle), and son Adison James Bear Irby (right). (Photo: Michael Irby/Instagram)
As for Irby, he felt the most important thing in their relationship was communication, and it was also their trick to keeping things working.
When asked about the same in an interview in July 2009, he said, “You make sure you communicate with each other at a high level. You go the extra mile.”
However, striking a connection with his wife meant not only relaying his thoughts. Doing chores when the other person was not at home and making everybody feel important also fell into his definition of good communication.