Millais's personal life has played a significant role in his reputation. In 1855 Millais married Effie Chalmers, who had previously been married to John Ruskin and thereby ended his friendship. Effie Chalmers became a powerful promoter of his work and they worked in concert to secure commissions and expand their social and intellectual circles. They lived in Perth in Scotland until 1861 when they returned to London and Millais began painting society portraits.
Between 1855 and 1864 Millais made illustrations for numerous publications, including the Moxon edition of Tennysons poems (1857) and several novels by Trollope.
His later works, from the 1870's onwards demonstrate his reverence of old masters such as Joshua Reynolds and Deigo Velzquez. Many of these were of an historical theme and indicate his interest in British history and the expanding empire. This broader style was condemned by Ruskin as a catastrophe and William Morris accused him of selling out to achieve popularity and wealth.
In 1885 Millais was created a baronet and in 1896 he was elected President of the Royal Academy of Arts, but sadly he died later that year. He is buried in St Paul's Cathedral.