Acting! The art of playing pretend! Only for some actors playing couples… it’s not pretend.
Here are 30 times actors playing a couple turned their onscreen romance into something real. After all — where else are single Hollywood celebrities supposed to meet each other?
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt – Mr. & Mrs. Smith
It’s a tale as old as time. Two ginormous movie stars, both of whom have had high-profile relationships on their own, play lovers in a big-budget action movie. Their chemistry is so palpable, they wind up dating, marrying, and adopting 900 kids in real life. We’ve all been there, right?
In Mr. & Mrs. Smith, about a married couple who happens to be spies, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie bicker, go on spy missions, and find some time to canoodle. They fell in love while shooting, breaking up Pitt and Jennifer Aniston’s marriage in the process. Unfortunately, Brangelina divorced in 2019.
Drew Barrymore and Justin Long – Going the Distance (2010)
It’s hard to think of two people more endearing than Drew Barrymore and Justin Long. They are the everywoman and everyman of a certain film generation, positively oozing with self-effacing charm. So it makes sense that they would date in the late 2000s — with some speed bumps along the way.
The couple split up in 2008. However, when they were cast in long distance romcom Going the Distance, they decided to, well, go the distance, and got back together. The film was poorly reviewed, but critics pointed out their undeniable chemistry. The couple split for good one year later.
Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon – Bull Durham
One of Hollywood’s true power couples for 21 years, Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins originally met on the set of baseball romcom Bull Durham. While Sarandon’s character winds up with Kevin Costner after a failed courtship with Robbins, that ain’t how real-life history played out.
During their partnership, Robbins and Sarandon had two children, Jack and Miles. They also regularly participated in political activism, including acts of public advocacy for folks arrested on minor drug offenses and folks on death row. The couple split in 2009.
Ryan Phillippe and Reese Witherspoon – Cruel Intentions
How do you put a relationship to the test? Some might go to couples counseling, or attempt a high ropes course together. But Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe starred together in a twisted, charged, very adult teen movie called Cruel Intentions.
So that’s always an option.
In a book about the movies of 1999, Witherspoon talked about Philippe’s reluctance on the two of them starring in the film together. Ultimately, they went for it, helping make the movie a bonafide cult classic — they also had their first child the same year. The couple separated in 2006.
Geena Davis and Jeff Goldblum – The Fly (1986)
Ah, love. The sweet scent of romance in the air. Smells like… human flesh transforming grotesquely into a bug. Huh?
Most folks might be grossed out by David Cronenberg’s adaptation of The Fly, but stars Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis got caught in the web of love.
The stars got married one year after The Fly’s release, and appeared in wackadoo sci-fi musical comedy Earth Girls Are Easy one year after that. Unfortunately, the couple split up in 1990. Goldblum has gone on to marry athlete Emilie Livingston, and Davis had two other marriages end in divorce.
Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart – Twilight
RPatz and KStew. With nicknames like that, they had to date.
Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart blew up our late 2000s/early 2010s culture by centering the Twilight film franchise, supernatural romance movies based on the hit YA novels. Their IRL romance also captured the hearts of many.
The relationship lasted throughout the Twilight saga. But then, Stewart was caught having an affair with her Snow White and the Huntsman director Rupert Sanders in 2012 — the same year as the release of the last Twilight movie, Breaking Dawn Part 2. Pattinson and Stewart split a year later.
Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman – Days of Thunder
On your mark. Get set. Marry!
No, mega celebrity couple Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman’s courtship didn’t rev up that quickly. But in 1989’s Days of Thunder, the post-Top Gun Tony Scott/Tom Cruise racing car drama, their onscreen chemistry was notably thunderous — and they were married the following year.
During their marriage, Cruise and Kidman adopted two children, Isabella and Connor. They also appeared together in Far and Away and Stanley Kubrick’s controversial last film Eyes Wide Shut. The couple split up in 2001, and Kidman has gone on to marry country star (and fellow Aussie) Keith Urban.
Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder – Edward Scissorhands
To track the relationship between Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder, just track the tattoo on Depp’s arm.
In 1990, the two starred as ill-fated lovers in Tim Burton’s goth romantic fantasy Edward Scissorhands. Later that year, Depp proposed to his costar, and got “WINONA FOREVER” tattoed on his arm.
The two stayed engaged for three years, enjoying a loud, high-profile Hollywood relationship. But when the couple split up, what happened to Depp’s tattoo?
He improvised, erasing two key letters to now proclaim: “WINO FOREVER.” Given the latest profiles written about him, we’d say that’s a bit more accurate.
Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds – Green Lantern
A superhero must be honest. So, we will take our cue from Ryan Reynolds’ depiction of Green Lantern to tell you: The Green Lantern movie stinks. It’s very, very bad. But — it did give us the lovely marriage between Reynolds and Blake Lively.
One bad ring creates one good ring.
The couple has two children, with a third on the way. Professionally, Reynolds has since found his superhero mojo playing Deadpool, and Lively crushed the modern camp classic A Simple Favor. Reynolds was previously married to Scarlett Johansson.
And speaking of ScarJo…
Josh Hartnett and Scarlett Johansson – The Black Dahlia
A grim, violent noir based on the vicious real-life Black Dahlia murder. The perfect atmosphere for romance, right? Somehow, for Johansson and Josh Hartnett, who starred as each other’s love interest in Brian De Palma’s The Black Dahlia, the answer was “Yeah!”
The couple (“HartJo” being the fun nickname we’d like to pitch) dated from 2004 until 2006, the same year The Black Dahlia was released. Hartnett said that “it was difficult spending so much time apart with all our different commitments and both of us flying all over the world.”
Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher – That ‘70s Show
How about a delayed reaction Hollywood romance?
In 1998, Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis were cast in the charming period sitcom That ‘70s Show as on-again-off-again couple Michael Kelso and Jackie Burkhart. And as the show progressed and eventually ended… they didn’t date each other.
Kutcher had a high-profile marriage to Demi Moore. Kunis had a high-profile partnership with Macaulay Culkin. But in 2012, 14 years after they first starred together in That ‘70s Show, the two K’s finally joined forces in a relationship. They got married three years later, and have two children together.
Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens – High School Musical
“We’re all in this together” ain’t just a catchy tune from Disney’s High School Musical. It was also apparently the mantra for its highly photogenic stars, Vanessa Hudgens and Zac Efron. The onscreen couple started seeing each other off-screen in 2005, during the middle of High School Musical’s production.
Their relationship lasted five years (and two High School Musical sequels). Since then, both actors have appeared in more grown-up material. Hudgens starred in Netflix’s hyperviolent action movie Polar, and Efron turned from a series of bro-friendly comedies to playing Ted Bundy in Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile.
Jenna Dewan and Channing Tatum – Step Up
2006 was a big year for Channing Tatum. He appeared in classic teen comedy She’s the Man, won a special Sundance award for A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, and met his wife Jenna Dewan. Where? Oh — playing the lead characters in lovable dance drama Step Up.
Beyond her relationship with Tatum, Dewan was also having a big 2006, having starred in 2006’s other dance drama Take the Lead and J-horror sequel The Grudge 2. She and Tatum wed in 2009 and had a daughter together. Nine years later, the couple divorced.
Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth – The Last Song
In 2010, Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth appeared in The Last Song together. And in 2019, Cyrus and Hemsworth’s relationship had its own last song, following a tumultuous series of engagements and breakups and reconciliations.
This couple’s journey is worthy of its own Nicholas Sparks-written weepie.
Cyrus and Hemsworth got engaged in 2012. By 2013, they had broken up. But then, by 2016, they got back together, and got re-engaged in October of that year. Their wedding took place in December of 2018 — just months later, they broke up and got divorced for good (for now).
Lea Michele and Cory Monteith – Glee
Rachel Berry and Finn Hudson: An odd couple match made in TV heaven.
On Glee, the two high school show choir singers centered an impressive ensemble cast with their mismatched workaholic/jock romance. And their performers, Lea Michele and Cory Monteith, underwent an off-screen romance as well.
Unfortunately, their relationship ended tragically, as Monteith died of a drug overdose in 2013. On Glee, the episode “The Quarterback” served as an on-air tribute to Monteith/Finn, including a heartfelt performance of “Make You Feel My Love” by Berry/Michele.
Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone – The Amazing Spider-Man
Spider-Man, Spider-Man, dates whoever a spider can.
While most comic books fans maligned 2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man, the film did give us one pure thing in this world: Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield’s relationship. They were charming as heck, on and off-screen.
Among their many cute/constructive shenanigans: Anytime paparazzi would snap pics of the couple, they’d hold up signs with names of social justice organizations that need our time and attention. Garfield and Stone eventually split amicably, due to their show biz obligations.
Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes – The Place Beyond the Pines
If an alien came from outer space and asked us to bring the two most attractive people on the planet, we could do worse than to produce Eva Mendes and Ryan Gosling. The two are in perhaps the most attractive relationship of all time, all thanks to an indie movie.
The Place Beyond the Pines is a sprawling, epic, intimate, and emotionally volatile film about fathers, sons, crimes, and… motorcycle stunts. A bleach-blond Gosling plays Mendes’ unpredictable lover, and the two had such a nice time working together, they entered a relationship and had two children.
Nicholas Hoult and Jennifer Lawrence – X-Men: First Class
When two mutants who alternate between being “very beautiful” and “very blue” meet, sparks are gonna fly.
Director Matthew Vaughn must’ve known this when he cast Jennifer Lawrence and Nicholas Hoult as Mystique and Beast in X-Men: First Class, a reboot of the film franchise with younger versions of the mutants.
Hoult and Lawrence’s relationship began while filming First Class in 2010. Poetically enough, they broke up around 2014, right after wrapping X-Men: Days of Future Past. During their relationship, many of Lawrence’s personal photos intended for Hoult were hacked and leaked, resulting in arrests of several criminals.
Jude Law and Sienna Miller – Alfie (2004)
Why, when we have the Michael Caine-starring Alfie from 1966, would we ever choose to watch the 2004 Jude Law-starring remake?
Oh, because most critics found it pretty good, especially Law’s performance. Dang. We need to check our judgments at the door.
In the “not-bad” remake, Law’s Alfie undergoes a brief relationship with an unstable woman played by Sienna Miller. Law and Miller began a relationship while shooting, and got engaged in 2004. But then, Law cheated on her with their nanny, and the couple was no more.
Dominic Cooper and Amanda Seyfried – Mamma Mia!
Amanda Seyfried once called falling in love on set “one of the easiest things in the world,” saying “you’re put in a situation where you have to make out with each other. It’s easy for things to get carried away.” How would she know about this?
From personal experience.
In the ABBA-scored, “floppy hats and catchy tunes” romantic musical, Seyfried’s fiance is played by Dominic Cooper, known now for his leading role on AMC’s Preacher. The two dated on and off during the film’s production, before splitting in 2010 — but they appeared in the sequel together.
Penelope Cruz and Matthew McConaughey – Sahara
Did you see Sahara, the 2005 adventure film starring Matthew McConaughey, Penelope Cruz, and our single greatest actor alive Steve Zahn? Statistically, you did not — it’s one of Hollywood’s biggest box office bombs of all time. That didn’t matter for McConaughey or Cruz, though, as they started dating while shooting.
One year after the film’s release, Cruz and McConaughey broke up. What happened?
If you ask their publicity people, it was simply because of busy work schedules. But if you believe certain Hollywood insiders, it’s because McConaughey met his now-wife Camila Alves.
Rachel Bilson and Hayden Christensen – Jumper
Rachel Bilson had a history of dating her costars. While making classic teen drama The O.C., Bilson got together with Adam Brody for three years. But when Bilson made Jumper with Hayden “Future Darth Vader” Christensen, she found a costar/life partner she stuck with for awhile.
Christensen and Bilson began dating in 2007, while filming the teleportation action film. They got engaged one year later, broke up two years later, and reconciled just a few months later. Now that’s jumping!
They had a child in 2014, and split up for good in 2017.
Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner – Daredevil
From one Bennifer to another.
Ben Affleck was in a high-profile relationship with Jennifer Lopez — you can see the fruits of their love in Gigli, which is politely “not very good.” Then, he booked Daredevil and met Jennifer Garner, who was playing Elektra. And it was time for round two.
Affleck and Garner were married in 2005, and had their first of three children later that year. But amidst rumors of Affleck’s various vices, including gambling, alcohol, and infidelity, they separated in 2015. The two share custody of their children, and seem to be co-parenting amicably.
Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn – The Break-Up
Jennifer Aniston had just broken up with her husband Brad Pitt, thanks to his Mr. & Mrs. Smith-assisted romance with Angelina Jolie. What was she gonna do? Explore her pain through art, of course.
So she made The Break-Up, about a break-up between herself and Vince Vaughn.
However, the film’s process had the opposite effect on its co-stars.
Aniston and Vaughn (who appeared in Mr. & Mrs. Smith) began dating while shooting in 2005. The couple broke up just one year later — but not before Vaughn sued some tabloids for asserting that he cheated on her.
Kit Harington and Rose Leslie – Game of Thrones
“You know nothing, Jon Snow”? Not quite: He knows how to find the perfect woman.
After years of watching Jon Snow and Ygritte’s romance blossom and burn on Game of Thrones, fans got to see a happily ever after IRL: Kit Harington and Rose Leslie are now an actual couple.
Leslie and Harington started dating in 2012, during the making of season three. They got engaged in 2017, and married one year later in Scotland. While Harington did check into a wellness center after wrapping Game of Thrones, the couple remains strong together.
Dev Patel and Freida Pinto – Slumdog Millionaire
Slumdog Millionaire is full of sweeping gestures, passionate moments, and aching humanity. How could you make a piece of art like that and not fall in love? We definitely can’t blame costars Dev Patel and Freida Pinto, that’s for sure.
They began dating in 2009, one year after the Best Picture-winning film was released. Five years later, they split up. Since then, Patel has been linked with another costar of his: Tilda Cobham-Hervey, who appeared in Hotel Mumbai with him.
Anna Faris and Chris Pratt – Take Me Home Tonight
For eight perfect years, they were America’s Comedy Couple. Accessible, hilarious, charming. Anna Faris and Chris Pratt were too good for us.
They met on the set of Take Me Home Tonight, shot in 2007 but released in 2011, and eloped two years later.
Pratt and Faris, who had a son together, gave the public lots of insight into their relationship, thanks to appearances on Top Chef and Faris’ popular podcast. Ultimately, the couple separated in 2017 amicably.
Two years later, Pratt married Katherine Schwarzenegger.
Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander – The Light Between Oceans
Derek Cianfrance should consider a second career as a Hollywood matchmaker. After his Place Beyond the Pines brought Mendes and Gosling together, his followup The Light Between Oceans inspired a real-life coupling of onscreen couple Alicia Vikander and Michael Fassbender.
In 2017, Fassbender and Vikander wed, one year after the film’s release. They currently live in Lisbon, Portugal, and keep details about their relationship private. Both actors are highly acclaimed, with Fassbender earning Oscar nods for 12 Years a Slave and Steve Jobs, and Vikander winning for The Danish Girl.
Bradley Cooper and Zoe Saldana – The Words
By 2011, Bradley Cooper has known quite the dating history. He briefly married Jennifer Esposito and had an “open secret” relationship with Case 39 costar Reese Witherspoon. Then, while filming literary romance mystery (that’s right, “literary romance mystery”) The Words, he and costar Zoe Saldana got together.
The two broke up right before 2011 turned into 2012. A tragedy? For Saldana, not so much: “I was finally able to spend time without being in a relationship… It was beautiful. I lost that fear of being alone.” She wed Marco Perego a year later.
Taylor Lautner and Taylor Swift – Valentine’s Day
Here’s a tip: Don’t date Taylor Swift unless you can handle a song about you. Because if things go awry, she will absolutely write a song about you, and it will absolutely be a banger. If only Taylor Lautner had heeded this advice on the star-studded set of Valentine’s Day.
In 2009 (simpler times), Valentine’s Day was Swift’s first movie, and Lautner was coming off his hunky Twilight breakout. Of course they entered a relationship while shooting!
When they broke up later that year, Swift wrote “Back to December” about him, offering what she called an “apology.”
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