40 Co-Stars Who Dated Off-Screen
Ah, romance--something both the big and small screens are more than happy to deliver to us. There’s some kind of satisfaction seeing two beloved movie or TV characters fall madly in love with one another, especially if the actors and actresses manage to nail the characters.
What if it’s not all acting though? What if some of those beautiful character romances that viewers love so much run a little bit deeper, and that romance you see isn’t just two people playing a part. It happens more often than you think.
It makes sense for celebrities to date their co-stars. After all, they’re spending hours and hours a day with each other, getting intimately close in some situations. And if their characters are romantically involved, sometimes it’s hard to believe that that love the viewers see isn’t real.
However, celebrities live under constant watch, their lives being picked apart and examined under a microscope. This probably makes it kind of difficult to date and maintain a public relationship. So, these stars kept their relationships secret from the prying eyes of their adoring public, sometimes for months or years. Some ended up marrying while others ended it after a brief time. However, these 40 celebrity couples managed to keep their relationships under the radar and on their own terms. How many did you know about?
Maureen McCormick and Barry Williams
These two may have been Brady Bunch siblings on the small screen, but in reality, they were close in a different way. Almost 35 years after the show had ended, McCormick wrote about their affair in her memoir. It was apparently hard for them to “keep their hands off each other,” according to the memoir.
TV producers had to keep a close eye on Barry Williams and Maureen McCormick. Lloyd Schwartz wrote, “An unspoken responsibility that became part of my job was hormone patrol. The Brady kids were attractive to America – and attractive to each other.” The relationship never really developed into a long-term serious thing, but it was definitely on-again-off-again.
Kaley Cuoco and Johnny Galecki
The Big Bang Theory co-stars played love interests Leonard and Penny, but they managed to keep their real-life romance off-screen to avoid affecting fan’s perceptions of their characters. The two broke up but remained good friends, even after their characters Penny and Leonard get married in the show’s ninth season.
The funny thing is that she married Karl Cook. On Valentines Day in 2021, she posted a touching tribute to her husband, saying she didn’t remember a moment before he entered her life and “what a boring life that must have been!” Galecki saw the post and simply posted “Um.” Talk about awkward!
Matthew Broderick and Jennifer Grey
Before it was all about Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze, it was about Matthew Broderick. Well…secretly. In the movie, Ferris Bueller may have been all about Sloane Peterson, but off-screen Matthew Broderick was all about his co-star Jennifer Grey. At the time, she played his on-screen sister. If we had a dollar for every time that happened, we’d be rich.
The truth about their relationship came to light after Broderick was in a terrible car accident in Ireland. Grey was with him in the passenger seat. Broderick crossed into the wrong lane and collided head-on with a Volvo, killing the driver and a passenger. Broderick could have gotten five years in prison, but instead, he got fined 100 pounds – roughly $71 at the time.
Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes
Have you seen A Place Beyond The Pines (2011)? If you have, you can easily see that Eva Mendes and Ryan Gosling really get along – and we mean really get along. Back in 2011, Hollywood experts speculated that the chemistry between the two was much better than normal. Well, it turns out they were right on the money!
A year later, the two went public about their relationship. The two are intensely private people, so it’s surprising they announced it at all. Since then, the couple has had two children together. That being said, some experts have claimed the two aren’t even married legally! Seems a little ridiculous, but whatever. They’re happy, and that’s what matters!
Ewan McGregor and Mary Elizabeth Winstead
When Ewan McGregor left his wife of 20 years, Eve Mavrakis, it made huge news. They had four daughters together, but they stated they split because of “irreconcilable differences.” We’re going to bet that it has something to do with his co-star on Fargo, Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Why do we say that?
Well, the news came shortly after McGregor was spotted kissing Winstead in London. They were cast in Fargo together in 2016, and Winstead had dinner at the McGregor household. Rumors began to circulate, and a year later, they were kissing. The two are still together, and his daughters aren’t pleased with what occurred. They definitely side with their mother.
Jason Segel and Linda Cardellini
These Freaks and Geeks co-stars had a super-serious and super-secret relationship. The two stayed together for a while after the comedy’s finale in 2000. They dated for a few years but ended up breaking things off in 2007. Cardellini is supposedly the inspiration behind Segel’s infamous naked breakup scene in Forgetting Sarah Marshall.
Apparently, even during the breakup, he couldn’t help but think it was the funniest thing that’s ever happened. He is quoted in an interview saying to himself, “Let her leave so I can write this down immediately.” Um…that’s not the reaction most of us would have during a breakup, but whatever.
Kit Harington and Rose Leslie
This is probably the best addition to the list – or, at the very least, it got this Game of Thrones fan excited. The series isn’t known for happy endings, but Jon Snow and Ygritte got the ending fans wanted. Kit Harington and Rose Leslie got together and got hitched! Talk about a fairy-tale love story.
They began a real-life romance on set. In 2011, GoT was filming it’s second season, and they began to get close. Less than a year later, TMZ broke the news that the two were spotted eating dinner together in London. Guess it worked out, because they married in 2018. In 2021, they welcomed their first baby into the world.
Tori Spelling and Brian Austin Green
So, here’s the lowdown with Tori Spelling and Brian Austin Green. They were an on-screen couple in 90210 and an off-screen couple. The thing is, they were never officially announced as a couple, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t have mad chemistry. Tori admitted that the two had relations, and it seemed to affect her quite a bit.
During an interview, Tori Spelling stated that she felt like they were in a relationship. She remembered how they both said, “I love you,” but Green claimed not to remember. She recalled how he said, “We hooked up. We were friends.” It was definitely an emotional moment for her, but apparently not for him.
Claire Danes and Hugh Dancy
During the filming of their movie Evening in 2007, Danes and Dancy secretly began a relationship that stayed under the radar for a couple of years. The couple married in 2009, but their getting together is a bit of a funny story. Apparently, Danes had a one-night stand with a random guy before getting together with Dancy.
The couple weren’t together at the time, mostly because Danes wasn’t sure she wanted to jump into another relationship. Apparently, she did want to! They got together and have been happy ever since. Now, they have two children together. Cyrus, who was born in 2012, and Rowan, who was born in 2018.
Katie Holmes and Joshua Jackson
Before Katie Holmes got in a relationship with Tom Cruise (and had to deal with that massive fiasco), she was in a relationship with none other than Joshua Jackson. Their characters got together and made it official at the end of Dawson’s Creek, but the pair became a couple before the show came to a conclusion.
The pair dated for about a year in the first two seasons, but it wasn’t meant to be. They called it quits and both moved on to new relationships. Apparently. Jackson was Holmes’ “first love,” according to an interview with the actress for Us Weekly. Since then, Holmes went on to have several relationships while Jackson married Jodie Turner-Smith. The two just welcomed their first child.
Ryan Gosling and Sandra Bullock
When you’re in a movie with Ryan Gosling, we can understand how it would be hard not to get into a relationship with the guy. While filming Murder by Numbers, that’s exactly what Sandra Bullock did. She and Gosling got together in secret. It took eight years before either of them spilled the beans.
Gosling was the first one. He stated that it was one of the fondest memories he had, even if their relationship didn't last very long – about two years. Gosling even stated that she was one of his “greatest girlfriends.” They ended up splitting because of pressure from their jobs. Both now have their own families.
Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson
The movie Twilight itself was almost old news when rumors started to circulate that Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson were spotted together outside of the movie set. Turns out, they were actually dating and had managed to keep it under wraps for a year! That’s actually impressive considering how fast news spreads in Hollywood.
Fans were absolutely ecstatic – well, at least the Bella/Edward ones were. Then, news broke that Stewart cheated on Pattinson with director Rupert Sanders, who was married. Neither denied it, and Pattinson split from his girlfriend. The saddest part is that he was close to proposing to her. Guess he dodged a bullet there! Sanders’ wife also left him.
Nina Dobrev and Ian Somerhalder
The Vampire Dairies’ Nina Dobrev and Ian Somerhalder couldn’t keep their love on the show. While Elena and Damon were a huge part of the show, Dobrev and Somerhalder struck up a romantic tryst of their own. They began dating in 2010 and tried to keep it as quiet as long as they could.
However, once the beans were spilled, everyone was excited to see their favorite pair in a relationship. The relationship lasted until 2013, according to co-star Claire Holt. Afterward, they kept things professional and it “never got weird,” according to her interview with the podcast Not Skinny But Not Fat. We’re glad to hear it!
Lili Reinhart and Cole Sprouse
Riverdale has a lot of attractive people, so they’re bound to get together (even if the show is going really left field). Two actors who formed a relationship are Lili Reinhart and Cole Sprouse. Their on-again-off-again relationship went on for three years before the two called it quits in early 2020, this time for good.
August 2020, Cole Sprouse confirmed their breakup after experts had been guessing the two split for months. Reinhart said that it was one of the most emotional few months of her life. Cole seemed a little less emotional about it, stating that he “wished her the utmost love and happiness moving forward.”
Charles Melton and Camila Mendes
Riverdale certainly has plenty of actors and actresses giving a relationship a shot! Similar to their Riverdale co-stars Lili Reinhart and Cole Sprouse, Charles Melton and Camila Mendes began having a relationship while filming the show. They managed to keep it quiet for several months before news broke.
In October 2018, the pair announced that they were seeing each other. It didn’t last too long, unfortunately. Less than a year later, they secretly separated as quietly as they got together. So far, it’s just “a break” so they can work on themselves, but they haven’t joined back yet. Chances are, they won’t.
Tom Holland and Zendaya
Is it an unwritten rule that Spiderman should date his costar? The third (and most recent) iteration of the web-slinging hero found his MJ in none other than his co-star Zendaya. The relationship was kept under wraps for what felt like forever. Then, in October 2017, the speculation was confirmed in People Magazine.
They prefer to keep their lives out of the spotlight, so we’re not sure when they split. Sometime between then and now, Zendaya started to become romantically involved with another one of her co-stars from another show, Euphoria. In 2019, she and Jacob Elordi began a relationship, and they’ve seemed to really hit it off! So much for Spidey and MJ.
Alexis Bledel and Jared Padalecki
Alexis Bledel has a bit of a history dating her co-stars, and with some of the guys, she’s worked with, who can blame her? When Padalecki came onto Gilmore GIrls, it was only a matter of time before the two started a relationship. Somehow, they managed to keep it under wraps until the director, Mara Casey, dropped the bomb.
They were just young teens, and no one is even sure how long they dated. When asked about it, Padalecki couldn’t even remember. The only thing he could recall was that they had gone bowling and then dinner. Now, both are happily married to different people – Padalecki is married to another co-star, Genevieve, who was on Supernatural with the actor.
Kelly Clarkson and Justin Guarini
Being in a competition can bring people close, so it isn’t a huge surprise that Kelly Clarkson and Justin Guarini briefly dated while they filmed From Justin to Kelly. The pair did a great job keeping it under wraps because no one found out about the relationship until 2014. Justin Guarini confirmed during his one-man show Lovesick that they had a fling.
Clarkson confirmed that they had dated in 2015. The pair didn’t quite work out because Clarkson’s career was taking off. Since then, the two fell in love with other people. Clarkson married Brandon Blackstock in 2013, and the pair had a daughter three years later. Guarini married Reina Capodici in 2009.
Channing Tatum and Amanda Bynes
Anyone that grew up in the ‘90s or 2000s has to have seen the movie She’s the Man. In the film, Channing Tatum played Amanda Bynes’ love interest, but it wasn’t confined to the movie set. The two briefly had a relationship, but both stated it was only a fling and not serious.
Later, Bynes stated that she was the one who launched Channing Tatum's career. Instead of getting salty, he agreed. Bynes went on to struggle quite a bit with substances, while Tatum has moved on to other relationships. He married Jenna Dewan but divorced her in 2019. Now, he’s reportedly dating singer Jessie J.
Vanessa Hudgens and Zac Efron
High School Musical was from a Disney era that most young adults remember very well, and nothing was more memorable than the dramatic romance between Troy Bolton (Zac Efron) and Gabriella Montez (Vanessa Hudgens). It seemed like the pair were truly made for each other inside and out! It wasn’t just the characters that had an unforgettable romance, though.
Vanessa and Zac apparently dated secretly while filming the movie. Was that love a little something more than just good writing? The two lasted for four years, and their split broke several die-hard fans' hearts. As the two moved on with their careers, it was just too difficult to keep a long-distance relationship going.
Taylor Lautner and Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift has a long line of relationships, so her showing up on this list isn’t too surprising. The co-star? Taylor Lautner. The pair met while on the set of the rom-com Valentine's Day in 2009. It didn't take long for the two Taylors to form a relationship. Like many on this list, the whole thing didn’t last too long.
Before the film even released, they had split. A source “close to Swift” (according to InStyle) claimed that they had no chemistry and that things weren’t going anywhere. Lautner liked Swift more than she liked him – that’s a sad story. Many believe that “Back in December” was written about Lautner, but nothing’s ever been confirmed.
Brenda Song and Macaulay Culkin
It’s been a while since anyone talked about Macaulay Culkin, hasn’t it? While on set for Changeland, he and Brenda Song started a thing. They dated for months before anyone found out. They bonded over the fact that both had been child stars. Culkin had starred in Home Alone while Song was famously in Suite Life of Zach and Cody (among several other movies and shows).
As of early 2021, it seems like the two have a storybook romance. They got a cute little house with a literal yellow brick road leading to the front door. They have three cats and a dog. They also welcomed their first child, Dakota, in April. Dakota is named after his sister, who died in 2008.
Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas
Talk about a real-life fairytale! Once Upon a Time co-stars Josh Dallas and Ginnifer Goodwin began a relationship so quietly that no one knew – except insiders of course. It went public in 2012, and we got to take a good look at what it is to have #relationshipgoals. Dallas said that the relationship began naturally, as they were lovers in the show.
He goes onto say, “I think it happened very organically and actors playing opposite each other never fall in love off sets, do they? That never happens in this business,” he joked. “But, two kids later we’re still going strong, so it’s a great thing.” Keeping a long-distance relationship going is tough, but the two manage to keep it going with sweet messages, flowers, and get-togethers.
Ed Westwick and Jessica Szohr
Gossip Girl co-stars Ed Westwick and Jessica Szohr met during their time on the show (even though they were never a couple on the show) and kept their relationship under wraps for a few months before they went public in 2009. Szohr stated that the relationship “kind of just happened.”
The two stayed together until 2010 when a cheating scandal drove the two apart. Szohr was caught getting very comfortable and flirty with Marco Minuto – one of Westwick’s friends – while celebrating his birthday. It’s unclear what happened, but what we do know is that the pair went back to a hotel room together. That’s not a good sign.
Taylor Lautner and Lily Collins
Taylor Lautner sure gets around! He and Lily Collins really hit it off when they began filming Abduction (or shortly thereafter). Lautner stated that the two hit it off right away, but the pair didn’t last that long. Before the film released, they broke up. That made the premiere very awkward.
Lautner has been with his current girlfriend since 2018. Will we see an engagement soon? The funny part is that his current girlfriend is also named Taylor – Taylor Dome. Collins, however, is already looking forward to tying the knot. She’s engaged to writer and director Charlie McDowell. We’re happy for both of them!
Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Elizabeth Berkley
Zack and Kelly apparently weren’t the only couple on the set of Saved by the Bell. In early 2019, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, who played Zack Morris, revealed that he and his co-star Elizabeth Berkley, who played Jessie Spano, had briefly dated during filming. While there were rumors, it didn’t come out until later that the two had a little fling.
In 2019, Gosselaar did an interview on Unqualified, Anna Faris’ podcast. He stated, “We dated. If you want to call it dating, sure. You're in an environment, you know how it is when you're working on a set, and we were young, I mean we were young. There's no one around really. I mean, you work and live in a bubble.”
Josh Hutcherson and Vanessa Hudgens
Josh Hutcherson has had quite a lot of girlfriends in his time, many of whom he met while filming a TV show or movie. It’s not a huge surprise that he and Vanessa Hudgens hooked up while they were both filming Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. They began dating in 2011, but it didn’t last as long as fans wanted.
The relationship didn’t even last a year before they split. Hudgens was the one that did the dumping, as Hutcherson later did an interview for Seventeen and inferred that being dumped was harder than doing the dumping – duh! The actor also admitted to falling for girls fast. Even though they split up, they still remain good friends.
Alexis Bledel and Milo Ventimiglia
The Gilmore Girls actress returns with another co-star she dated on set. Bledel and Ventimiglia kept the beginning of their relationship under the radar. They did a great job of keeping it secret, and they lasted much longer than some of the other entries on this list. As their on-screen relationship deteriorated, the pair lasted four years in real life!
What made them split? No one knows! Only Bledel and Ventimiglia know. In 2006, the pair suddenly split. They keep very quiet lives, and neither has spilled the beans as to what happened. Both have moved onto different relationships. Bledel has married Vincent Kartheiser, while Ventimiglia has yet to get married. He remains one of Hollywood’s most eligible bachelors.
Rob McElhenney and Kaitlin Olson
Their characters aren’t nice to each other on the show (but who is in Always Sunny?), but that didn’t stop the two of them from forming a relationship off-screen. McElhenney and Olson met on the set of their show It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. The two dated and kept it a secret from the rest of the cast until after the second season.
While some of the cast members were a little jealous at first – mostly Glenn Howerton because it disturbed his “bromance” with McElhenney – the pair said it was love at first sight. Today, the couple are married and have had two children. Her first pregnancy was actually written into the show, in season six.
Rachel Bilson and Adam Brody
The OC had its fair share of romances between co-stars, but none were quite as memorable or adorable as Bilson and Brody. The two started dating in secret in 2003 and managed to stay together through busy schedules for three years. The split was sad, but they still remain good friends today.
During an interview with Nylon, Bilson stated, “because of what the show was and how young we all were, going through it with someone experiencing the same thing and having that kind of support was really awesome.” Today, Brody is married to a different co-star, Leighton Meester, whom he met while filming The Oranges.
Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton
The OGs of co-stars who dated off-screen, Burton and Taylor met on the set of Cleopatra in 1962. Unfortunately for the pair, both couples were married at the time. However, that didn’t quite stop them. They shared their first kiss on camera and continued said kiss even after the director called “cut!”
Guess the sparks flew! The couple wed a few days before Taylor's divorce was finalized in 1964. These lovers starred together in 11 more films, and they were considered to have “marriage of the century”. They divorced in 1974 and remarried a year later. Their tumultuous romance finally ended in 1976.
Helen Mirren and Liam Neeson
The Taken actor Liam Neeson and Oscar-winner Helen Mirren dated for five years in the 1980s after they met while on the set of Excalibur in 1981. At the time, Mirren and Neeson were both relatively unknown, but today, we know they didn’t stay that way. Now, they’re some of the best well-known actors of our time!
According to Neeson, he was smitten by his co-star at first sight, which is totally understandable considering Mirren was quite the catch! They started dating soon after filming. “We didn't date—we lived together,” Mirren confirmed during an episode of The Graham Norton Show in 2018. “We were a serious item for a while.”
Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell
Hawn and Russell are probably one of the most solid relationships in Hollywood. They starred in the 1987 comedy Overboard and have been a couple ever since. They actually first met on the 1968 set of The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band, but didn't start dating until over a decade later.
At the time, Hawn was 21 while Russellwas just 16. She told BBC Radio 4, “I thought he was adorable, but he was much too young.” Today, they’re proud parents and grandparents, but there’s still a spark between this couple 40+ years later. Hawn and Russell also show you don’t need to get married to be in a long-lasting relationship.
Courteney Cox and David Arquette
Before Friends, there was Scream, where Cox and Arquette met and eventually married three years later. Along the way, they had a daughter and named her Coco. The marriage wouldn’t last. They separated after 11 years. They had tried to make it work and turned their marriage into an on-again-off-again sort of situation.
Cox said about her marriage, “I think you really need to work in a relationship, and I think that we tried. We're just really different, too. I'm the polar opposite of him.” At the time, Cox was the one that called it quits saying that she was tired of being his mother and didn’t want to put up with his “weird antics” anymore.
Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise
Meeting on the set of Days of Thunder in 1990, Kidman and Cruise were two of the hottest young stars in the world, and together, they were an A-list power couple. They married a year after they met. After adopting two children and starring together in a couple more films, things began to fizzle. The couple divorced in 2001.
After hearing what Katie Holmes went through, it’s clear whey they never would have worked out. Nicole Kidman stated that throughout their marriage, she felt objectified and that her job was to be “seen and not heard,” according to her interview with Marie Claire. She felt like her role in the relationship was purely to “put on a beautiful dress” and look pretty while being silent.
Winona Ryder and Johnny Depp
It seemed to be a match made in Hollywood Heaven – Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder met on the set of Edward Scissorhands. Their ‘90s courtship and engagement left tongues wagging, but it wouldn’t last forever. Depp was madly in love with Ryder – enough to propose five months in and brand himself with “Winona Forever” on his bicep.
But alas, their love was not meant to be. They never tied the knot because their relationship with tumultuous for three years. According to Depp, there were too many pressures from Hollywood, and he sort if implied that they had an open relationship. After their breakup, Johnny changed the infamous tattoo to “Wino forever.” They remained friends until Depp left his wife for Amber Heard.
Sarah Jessica Parker and Robert Downey Jr.
You read that right – Carrie Bradshaw and Ironman were one of the most photographed couples in the 1980s after meeting on the set of Firstborn in 1984. Both were only 18 and moved in together after a few weeks of dating. Downey notoriously had issues with substances, and that put a huge strain on their relationship.
Parker had tried to get Downey in rehab until she’d had enough. Seven years after they got together, they split in 1991. During an interview with Huffington Post, Downey stated, “I was so selfish. I liked to drink, and I had a drug problem, and that didn’t jibe with Sarah Jessica, because it is the furthest thing from what she is.”
Madonna and Sean Penn
The couple met on the set of “Material Girl” video in 1985, where they started as friends. Their relationship quickly escalated. After only six months, the couple married in August 1985 on Madonna’s 27th birthday. The pair then starred in a 1986 film, Shanghai Surprise, and it seemed all was wedded bliss.
However, behind the scenes, Penn’s jealousy and the couple’s general discord were causing problems. After their wedding, Penn started to have unpredictable outbursts and temper tantrums. Insiders stated he would fly off the handle without any notice. The final straw was when Penn attacked one of Madonna’s male friends. A source told People Magazine that it was all very traumatic to Madonna. They divorced in 1989.
Gwyneth Paltrow and Brad Pitt
Considered a golden couple by many in the 1990s, Brad and Gwyneth worked together on the horror movie Se7en. The couple started dating and stayed together for four years, with a long-term engagement. After Pitt won his Golden Globe for 12 Monkeys, he called Paltrow his “angel” and the “love of [his] life.”
However, the rumor mill is fierce, and scandalous cheating allegations drove the couple apart in 1997. The pair have not been particularly friendly since their split, like his relationship is with Jennifer Aniston. Pitt notably married Angelina Jolie, but they separated in 2005. Now, Pitt seems to be getting close to Aniston once again.
Kyra Sedgwick and Kevin Bacon
Kyra Sedgwick and Kevin Bacon met on the PBS set of Lemon Sky in 1987 and married shortly afterward in 1988. Both were busy Hollywood stars, him with Flatliners and her with Born on the Fourth of July. The funny part is that when they first met, Sedgwick stated to Redbook that Bacon “definitely wasn't my type.”
When they got together, that tone changed. When the duo started having children, Sedgwick gave up part of her career to stay home. However, they aren’t opposed to swapping roles. When a role for The Closer came up, they switched places. Now, their kids are old enough to allow both to take on roles, but that doesn’t mean they don’t make time for each other and their family.