This Is Us fans are used to silently (and sometimes not-so-silently) sobbing their way through each episode as the Pearson family leans on one another to get through the string of emotional hardships that seem to eternally plague the tight-knit group. But there’s one family member who, regardless of what’s going on, never seemed to break; furrowing his emotions deeper inside and positioning himself as the family’s rock. Until now.
That’s right: Jack Pearson (Milo Ventimiglia), the man who so delicately balances his hardened military past with his sweet family patriarch persona, has finally broken, and it’s all thanks to a beautiful song intimately performed by his one true love, Rebecca (Mandy Moore). This moment is only made more delicious when you realize the tune, called “Invisible Ink,” was co-written by Moore’s real-life fiancé, Dawes frontman Taylor Goldsmith.
Apparently, this wild meeting of Moore’s pretend and actual loves was on everyone’s mind for some time. “We wanted to bring [Goldsmith] in for something,” executive producer Isaac Aptaker told Entertainment Weekly — but the collaboration was set completely unbeknownst to the actress.
“Sid[dhartha Khosla, This Is Us‘s composer and music supervisor,] approached Taylor outside of me — they did it on their own. It was such a surprise.… That my own soon-to-be-husband got to write from my character’s perspective was pretty meta and weird, but it was so cool,” Moore said.
NBC also seized the opportunity to create a special behind-the-scenes look at the making of the song, in which Goldsmith gushed that he was “thrilled to get that call.” Fortunately, he already had the perfect starting point for the Joni Mitchell-inspired tune scrawled in his notebook: “All the ink is invisible if you give it enough time.”
Check out the video above for more on the song. This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.