Best Actresses and Actors Who Thanked Their Partner and Later Split

4:42 PM 2/26/2016

by Caitlin Plummer and Jackie Strause

THR went through 30 years' worth of acceptance speeches and found truth to the recent theory of an “Oscar love curse.”

Reese Witherspoon Halle Berry Kate Winslet_Oscar_Split - H 2016
Getty Images

Reese Witherspoon Halle Berry Kate Winslet_Oscar_Split - H 2016

While analyzing 30 years of acceptance speeches, THR found truth to the theory of an “Oscar love curse” — which suggests that women who win best actress typically go on to break up with their partner. 

When looking at every acting award given from 1986 to 2015, 120 in all (90 of which were in confirmed relationships at the time of their win), more women than men ended up splitting after their Oscar win. Out of 24 best actress winners, 15 of them broke up with a partner, making for a break-up rate of nearly 63 percent.

The overall findings said that winners were more likely to break up if they did not thank their significant other during the acceptance speech, but when it comes to the "Oscar love curse," it doesn't seem to matter: The majority of best actresses who ended relationships after winning did give thanks, from 2000 and on, especially — including Halle Berry, Reese Witherspoon and Kate Winslet.

Men who won best actor had a lower break-up rate of 44 percent. But in the same time-frame — from 2000 and on — only four of 13 winners ended their relationships post-Oscar.

Here are some of the heartfelt speeches of 13 best actresses and best actors who did express their thanks, but still ended up splitting down the line.


  • Kate Winslet, 2009

    Kate Winslet smiled at husband Sam Mendes as she referred to him as "my very own Sam" while accepting the award for The Reader in 2009. The pair divorced in 2010.

  • Reese Witherspoon, 2006

    Reese Witherspoon thanked her "wonderful" husband Ryan Phillippe during her speech for Walk the Line in 2006. The couple divorced in 2007.

  • Jean Dujardin

    Jean Dujardin thanked wife Alexandra Lamy, whom he married in 2009, during his speech for The Artist in 2012. The pair separated in 2013.

  • Charlize Theron, 2004

    Charlize Theron spoke directly to her "partner in crime,"  longtime boyfriend and actor Stuart Townsend, from the stage while accepting her award for Monster in 2004. They broke up in 2010.

  • Hilary Swank, 2012

    Hilary Swank forgot to thank Chad Lowe in 2002 for Boys Don't Cry, but she made it up to him in 2005 for Million Dollar Baby: "I'd like to think I learn from past mistakes," she said, adding, "Chad, you're my everything." The pair ultimately split in 2007.

  • Sean Penn, 2004

    Sean Penn didn't thank Robin Wright when he won for Milk in 2009, but he did thank the House of Cards star when he first won for Mystic River in 2004, calling her an "undying emotional inspiration." The pair later divorced in 2010.

  • Julia Roberts, 2001

    Julia Roberts thanked boyfriend Benjamin Bratt by name when she won for Erin Brockovich in 2001. The pair split later that year.

  • Halle Berry, 2002

    Halle Berry thanked husband Eric Benet, calling him the joy of her life, while accepting the award for Monster's Ball in 2002. They divorced in 2005.

  • Nicolas Cage, 1996

    Nicolas Cage thanked his "gorgeous" wife Patricia Arquette during his speech for Leaving Las Vegas in 1996. The couple, who were married in 1995, later divorced in 2001.

  • Helen Hunt, 1998

    Helen Hunt called boyfriend Hank Azaria "the very best man I know" while accepting her award for As Good as It Gets in 1998. The acting pair married in 1999, but ended up divorcing in 2000.

  • Susan Sarandon, 1996

    Susan Sarandon thanked longtime boyfriend Tim Robbins during her 1996 speech for Dead Man Walking, saying, "Finally, to my partner in crime and in all things from the heart ... this is yours as much as mine, thank god we live together." (Robbins directed the film.) The pair later split in 2009 after 23 years together.

  • Anthony Hopkins, 1992

    Anthony Hopkins thanked his "beloved" wife Jennifer Lynton while accepting his award for Silence of the Lambs in 1992. They divorced 10 years later in 2002 after 29 years together.

  • Michael Douglas, 1988

    Michael Douglas thanked wife Diandra Luker during his 1988 win for Wall Street. The pair split in 1995 but didn't officially divorce until 2000.