From 'Gigli' to 'Mr. & Mrs. Smith': When Onscreen Couples Fall in Love in Real Life

9:57 AM 9/29/2016

by Caitlin Greenho

In the wake of recent splits and sweethearts' films making their way around festivals, relive the happier times when Hollywood couples found love onscreen and off.

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  • 'The Bleeder' (Liev Schreiber and Naomi Watts)

    Courtesy of TIFF

    Onscreen: The biographical film follows boxer Chuck Wepner (Schreiber) as he prepares for his 1975 fight with heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali. Unlike most sports films, the movie features only a few action scenes, and the protagonist is by no means the superior athlete. Wepner is known for his ability to take a punch, not deliver one. Watts plays Wepner's wife, Linda, who sticks by him through his struggle to wow the boxing world.

    OffscreenThe Bleeder marks the couple's third film together after The Painted Veil in 2006 and Movie 43 in 2012. Watts and Schreiber began dating in 2005 and have two children, but they never decided to tie the knot. The couple announced this week that they would be separating after 11 years together

  • 'Mr. & Mrs. Smith' (Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie)

    Summit Entertainment

    Onscreen: In an action comedy as iconic as their relationship, Pitt and Jolie play undercover assassins who learn about one another's identities when they are hired to kill each other. After an action-packed shootout between the couple, they come to find that neither can bring themselves to fire a fatal shot. Now faced with an army of attackers who want them both dead, they team up and find that their combined efforts allow them to defeat pretty much anything that comes their way. 

    Offscreen: Hollywood's beloved "Brangelina," the couple has been together since 2005 and married since 2014. Mr. & Mrs. Smith sparked their love affair, when they became the subject of international media attention. Pitt and Jolie are known for their six children who helped them write their wedding vows, their philanthropic efforts and now, for their surprising divorce. See Brangelina's full timeline here

  • 'The Light Between Oceans' (Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander)

    The Light Between Oceans
    The Light Between Oceans
    Courtesy of Dream Works

    Onscreen: When a lighthouse keeper (Fassbender) and his wife (Vikander), living off the coast of Australia, find a child lost at sea, they take her in and raise her as their own. After years of raising their daughter and building a family, they discover the truth about her parents. They attempt to reach out to the parents personally, but when a co-worker discovers the truth about their child, the police get involved and separate the family for good. Fassbender attempts to take the fall for the entire situation in an attempt to spare Vikander from any legal repercussions. Years later, the child tracks down the couple that raised her in an emotional reunion. 

    Offscreen: The couple makes their onscreen debut in The Light Between Oceans and they've recently opened up to THR about their relationship. The two met on a dance floor and have been inseparable ever since, spending a month together in an abandoned light house while filming the drama.

  • 'Gigli' (Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez)

    Gigli
    Gigli
    Columbia Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

    Onscreen: When mobster Larry Gigli (Affleck) is hired to kidnap the younger brother of a federal prosecutor, his boss doesn't trust him to complete the task, so he assigns Ricki (Lopez) to take the lead. Gigli is torn between his attraction to Ricki and his reluctance to take her orders. The case gets complicated when Ricki's ex-girlfriend questions her sexual orientation in a fit of self-harm. After rushing to the hospital, Gigli and Ricki take their attraction to the next level. When a New York mob boss finds out about the kidnapping, he gets furious and attempts to kill Gigli and Ricki. Barely escaping, they run away together and flee to safety. 

    Offscreen: Despite receiving generally negative reviews (and grossing $7.2 million against a $75.6 million budget), the movie was widely talked-about because it sparked Affleck and Lopez's fiery love affair. By the time they were cast in Jersey Girl in 2004, Affleck and Lopez were in love and engaged. By the end of the year, the media had taken its toll on the couple and they broke up before they had the chance to get married. 

  • 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?' (Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor)

    Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
    Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
    Photofest

    Onscreen: Nominated for 13 Academy Awards, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is one of two films ever to be nominated for an award in every possible category. The movie follows aging couple George (Burton) and Martha (Taylor) as they entertain a younger couple on a drunken night filled with insults and spilling secrets. As they trade stories with the young couple, it becomes clear that they have been suppressing their emotional problems for far too long. 

    Offscreen: Equally as complex as their onscreen relationship, Burton and Taylor's love story consists of two marriages and two divorces. When they met on the set of Cleopatra in 1963, they fell in love despite both being married. Within a year, they were both divorced and decided to marry each other. This marriage fell through in 1974, but after their divorce, they reconciled and married again in 1975. Less than a year later, they decided to end their second marriage. These marked two of Taylor's eight marriages.  

  • 'Adam's Rib' (Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn)

    Adam's Rib
    Adam's Rib
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    Onscreen: As married lawyers in George Cukor's proto-feminist screwball comedy, Hepburn and Spencer work on opposite sides of a lawsuit involving a cheating husband and a trigger-happy wife. Spencer is equally as stubborn as Hepburn and neither will accept defeat lightly. Their tension in the court room follows them home and incites a series of comical showdowns.

    Offscreen: The couple's legendary semi-secret love affair spanned 26 years and nine films. They met on the set of Woman of the Year when Hepburn was 34 and Tracy was 41 and remained lovers until Tracy's death in 1967. (The big secret: he was married the entire time.)

  • 'Eyes Wide Shut' (Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman)

    Onscreen: Cruise plays a New York City doctor who sets out on a dangerous night of sexual exploration when he learns that his wife (Kidman) almost cheated on him. Throughout the course of his adventures, he comes across unfaithful patients, prostitutes and a top-secret orgy ceremony. When he returns home to his wife, the two agree to focus more on each other and less on fantasies. 

    Offscreen: Another couple plagued by the curse of Hollywood love, Kidman and Cruise met when she was 23 and he was 28 on the set of Days of Thunder. Their 11-year marriage was all Hollywood could talk about in the '90s. They adopted two children and were constantly in the spotlight until their public divorce in 2001. 

  • 'Brokeback Mountain' (Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams)

    Photofest

    Onscreen: In the iconic film about an elicit love affair between two cowboys, Williams plays the wife of a closeted Ledger. After developing a relationship with a fellow cowboy (Jake Gyllenhaal), Ledger shuns his feelings and retreats to his hometown to marry his fiancee (Williams). After having two children, Williams witnesses one of Ledger's reunions with Gyllenhaal and their marriage begins to fall apart. 

    Offscreen: Their real-life relationship faired much better than their onscreen relationship during the filming process. The two met onset and fell in love after filming emotionally charged scenes. Just before Brokeback Mountain hit theaters, their daughter Matilda was born. The next year, their offscreen love fell apart. 

  • 'Husbands and Wives' (Woody Allen and Mia Farrow)

    Husbands and Wives
    Husbands and Wives
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    Onscreen: Nominated for two Academy Awards, the documentary-style drama follows two married couples through midlife struggles. Allen and Farrow watch as their two best friends end their marriage, date other people and eventually get back together, and find themselves questioning their own relationship. Once they separate, Farrow goes after her best friend's temporary love interest and Allen remains alone.

    Offscreen: Husbands and Wives marked the last of Allen and Farrow's 13 films together and the end of their 12-year relationship. Although the two never officially married, they lived across Central Park from each other and Allen adopted two of Farrow's previously adopted children. The two then had a child of their own, but it was later questioned whether or not Allen was the biological father. Their romance came to a brief halt when Farrow discovered that Allen had been seeing one of her other adopted children, 21-year-old Soon-Yi Previn, who Allen later married. 

  • 'Cruel Intentions' (Ryan Philippe and Reese Witherspoon)

    Cruel Intentions
    Cruel Intentions
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    Onscreen: In a twisted plot of teenage drama and romance, Philippe plays a womanizing bad boy who makes a bet with his step sister that he will succeed in sleeping with the headmaster's virtuous daughter (Witherspoon). As his seductive plans fail, he begins to fall in love with her. When she finally admits she feels the same way, she discovers his original intentions and rejects him. After a series of dramatic events, the two finally admit their love to each other just before Philippe's untimely end. 

    Offscreen: Similar to their onscreen teenage love affair, their offscreen relationship was a story of young love. They met at Witherspoon's 21st birthday party in 1997 and were engaged less than a year later. By the time the two were cast in the movie in 1998, their love affair was well underway. They were married in 1999 while Witherspoon was pregnant with their daughter, Ava. Four years later, they had their second child, Deacon. After rumors circulated that Philippe had cheated on Witherspoon with a co-star, they decided to file for divorce. 

  • 'Mr. & Mrs. Bridge' (Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward)

    Mr. & Mrs. Bridge
    Mr. & Mrs. Bridge
    Photofest

    Onscreen: Set in the Country Club district of Kansas City in the 1930s, the film follows Mr. and Mrs. Bridge (Newman and Woodward) as they struggle to raise their children in a rapidly modernizing world. Newman's strict conservative standards strain his relationship with his children and his wife while Woodward attempts to please her husband without losing her children. 

    Offscreen: By the time Woodward won an Oscar for Mr. & Mrs. Bridge, the couple had been happily married for 33 years. After meeting on the set of Long Hot Summer, Newman and Woodward began their iconic 50-year love story. They appeared in 10 films together throughout their careers, the last of which was Mr. & Mrs. Bridge. 

  • 'The Getaway' (Steve McQueen and Ali McGraw)

    The Getaway
    The Getaway
    Courtesy Everett Collection

    Onscreen: Set along the border of the U.S. and Mexico, the action-crime film follows the McCoys (McGraw and McQueen) as they run from the law. An imprisoned McQueen tells McGraw to do what it takes to secure his freedom. She then arranges a deal with a business man that will grant her husband parole if he agrees to rob a bank. When the robbery goes haywire and McQueen's partners attempt to double cross him, his wife shoots and kills one of the men and the couple flees for the border. The two fight for their lives in a series of action-packed events. 

    Offscreen: McGraw and McQueen met on the set of The Getaway and became off-screen lovers during the shoot. McGraw divorced her then-husband, the film’s legendary producer Robert Evans, and married McQueen within a year of the premiere date. After five years, the couple split up, marking McGraw's third divorce. 

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