An actor’s job is to kiss and tell. While we don’t believe there’s such a thing as « too much » kissing when you love and commit to each other on mutual terms, when you have to fall in love on-screen, lines and feelings can get blurry very quickly. Not that it’s that scandalous when two celebrities fall hard while (or after) working together: Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds met on the set of Green Lantern; Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher met while working on That ’70s Show; and Freddie Prinze Jr. and Sarah Michelle Geller met while filming I Know What You Did Last Summer.
These longtime couples are proof that it’s possible to fall in love with your co-star and stay there. But anyone who knows Hollywood romances knows that these examples are the exception to the rule. Too often, actors meet on set and get caught up in their characters’ stories. In many cases, they think they are truly, madly, deeply in love with their co-star and start kissing them after hours — beginning a relationship they’ll later regret.
These are the actors who enjoyed kissing their co-stars too much.
That Mr. & Mrs. Smith kiss was just the beginning for Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie
When Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie filmed Mr. & Mrs. Smith in 2004, they shared a steamy on-screen kiss, danced the tango, and formed a « strange friendship and partnership, » the actress told Vogue (via OK!). It sounds innocent … except Pitt was married to Jennifer Aniston at the time, and affair rumors spread like wildfire. Pitt and Aniston denied the speculation amid their January 2005 split. Months later, Jolie and Pitt’s « Domestic Bliss » photoshoot for W magazine seemed to tell a different story, but we digress.
Brangelina were together for 12 years (married for two) and raised six children together. Jolie even told The New York Times, « Not a lot of people get to see a movie where their parents fell in love. » When their romance ended in September 2016, potential reasons for the split pointed to Pitt’s alleged behavior during an in-flight argument with Jolie and their eldest son, Maddox. This led to a child abuse investigation (Pitt was later cleared of any wrongdoing), but the incident reportedly prompted Jolie to file for divorce the following day. Their divorce proceedings resulted in a nasty custody battle.
Jolie later told Madame Figaro (translated from French by Harper’s Bazaar) that she « didn’t recognize » herself by the time they split, saying she became « smaller, insignificant, » and « profoundly, deeply sad. » Speaking with Vogue India, Jolie explained, « I separated for the wellbeing of my family. It was the right decision. »
Chad Michael Murray and Sophia Bush had to pay for a ‘stupid’ mistake
Chad Michael Murray and Sophia Bush met on the set of One Tree Hill in 2003 and began dating almost as quickly as their characters, Lucas and Brooke (Hilarie Burton’s Peyton completed the show’s love triangle), did on-screen. What followed was a whirlwind romance: per People, the TV couple-turned-real-life couple were engaged by May 2004, married in April 2005, and split five months later. In December 2006, Murray and Bush’s divorce was finalized — but they filmed four more seasons together.
Was their relationship a mistake? While Bush doesn’t enjoy talking about it publicly, the actress admitted she got involved with Murray when she was young and « stupid, » as she put it on Dax Shepard’s Armchair Expert podcast in 2018. Noting that one of her motivations might have been needing to feel validated, she explained, « Being a super nerdy kid and suddenly you’re on TV and all this stuff is happening and one of the cool people you work with thinks you’re awesome. »
On top of the natural stress of working with your ex every day, Bush was determined to remain professional following the very public breakup, but explained that « there was no space to self-reflect » as producers made moving on difficult: « They were actually really deeply inappropriate to both of us … They made practice of taking advantage of people’s personal lives. »
Liam Hemsworth couldn’t tame Miley Cyrus
Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth are Hollywood’s version of high school sweethearts gone weird and completely wrong. Glamour reports that they met on the set of The Last Song in 2009, portraying summer loves Ronnie and Will, before starting a real-life romance of their own: It included a broken engagement, plenty of revealing songs, a re-engagement, a wildfire evacuation, a secret wedding, and a divorce. Cyrus even celebrated International Kissing Day with a throwback snap of their first on-screen kiss years later. That is a lot of emotional stress for 20-somethings to go through in a decade.
Just eight months after quietly marrying in December 2018, a statement announcing the on-and-off couple’s separation to People read in part: « … Ever-evolving, changing as partners and individuals, they have decided this is what’s best while they both focus on themselves and careers. They still remain dedicated parents to all of their animals they share while lovingly taking this time apart. » Their divorce was settled in December 2019, with TMZ reporting that there had been « significant bitterness » between the pair that has thankfully since disappeared.
So, what went wrong? According to a source cited by ET, Hemsworth « wanted marriage and a family, » but Cyrus « never seemed ready to settle down. » The actor later found love with model Gabriella Brooks, who’s reportedly almost « the opposite of Miley, » while Cyrus shared an infamous fling with blogger Kaitlynn Carter, before moving on with singer-actor Cody Simpson.
Vanessa Marcil took a custody battle with Brian Austin Green to Instagram
Teen dramas are known to breed on-set drama. So it’s not surprising that Beverly Hills, 90210 stars Brian Austin Green (David Silver) and Vanessa Marcil (Gina Kincaid) — whose characters briefly dated on the show — went on to get engaged in 2001, welcome a child in 2002, and call it quits in 2003 (via People). What made theirs a sad case of a romance gone wrong were Marcil’s claims that Green was neglectful to their son, Kassius.
« 12 years ago I was served legal papers and then spent 8 years+ defending myself and my son in custody court in response to his father & his stepmother trying to get full custody … and then asking me to pay them child support, » Marcil wrote on Instagram in 2018, referring to Green’s then-wife, Megan Fox. Green lost the case, but they continued to share 50/50 custody. « Then, 5 years ago on their own they decided to completely cut Kass out of their lives and his younger brothers’ lives, » leaving Kassius « heartbroken. »
A source cited by People claimed it was Fox who sparked the issue: « Megan was very young when they started dating and she was always jealous and nervous that Brian would go back with Vanessa. Brian is a great dad to his sons with Megan, so it’s absolutely strange that he doesn’t see Kassius. » Luckily, this father-son duo appeared to bond when Kassius visited the set of BH90210.
A scandalous kiss ended Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson’s Twilight romance
Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson met on the set of Twilight in 2008, and quickly became Hollywood’s new It-couple. They joked about their on-screen kisses, but those filmed PDAs won them four MTV Movie Awards. Whether Team Edward, Team Jacob (or Team Bella), all our hearts broke when their romance came to a sudden end: In 2012, Stewart was caught kissing her then-married and much-older Snow White and the Huntsman director, Rupert Sanders. Just like that, Robsten was over.
It was scandalous for both ill-fated relationships, but Stewart took the brunt of the bad press. Issuing a public apology, she stated (via People): « … This momentary indiscretion has jeopardized the most important thing in my life, the person I love and respect the most, Rob … I love him, I’m so sorry. »
The post-MeToo era has given a clearer view of the situation, with both actors believing there was too much attention on their relationship. Pattinson is now on good terms with his ex. Stewart — who’s since publicly dated women, describing her sexuality as « grey » to The Guardian — was candid about the incident on The Howard Stern Show in 2019. « We lived in a different time then, the slut-shaming that went down was so absurd, » she said (via The Blast), noting she didn’t reveal that she didn’t sleep with Sanders because, « Well, who’s going to believe me? » Stewart added, « It wasn’t innocent, that was a really hard period of my life … I was really young. »
Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott on-screen kiss built a marriage on shaky ground
Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott were both married to other people when they met and fell in love on the 2005 set of Lifetime’s Mind Over Murder. Both of their marriages quickly fell apart, and the two tied the knot in May 2006. If that isn’t the textbook definition of enjoying kissing your co-stars too much, Spelling further shed light on their shady beginnings on True Tori, a Lifetime show in which the couple worked through their own marital issues.
« We had sex the first night we met, » Spelling revealed during a 2014 episode (via ET), explaining why she couldn’t bring herself to blame the woman McDermott cheated on her with in 2013. Spelling and McDermott didn’t just hook up for fun, either: « It was a conscious decision, like, fell head over heels for you. » Admitting that some might view McDermott’s infidelity as karma at its purest, this couple has stayed together through more than just cheating scandals. They’ve had unexpected and dangerous pregnancies, alleged emotional breakdowns, money troubles, and stints in rehab, to name a few of their trials.
Are there any regrets? « I thought that Tori was just going to run for the hills, and I could totally understand why, » McDermott told US Weekly in 2019. « But she was like, ‘I just can’t turn off the love for you. I love you. You hurt me. I’m angry, but I love you.' »
Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga have a rare kind of love for each other
Based on chemistry alone, there was definitely something going on behind-the-scenes with A Star Is Born stars Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. The energy of attraction is so palpable and undeniable whenever they’re together. However, rumors of a romantic relationship got so outrageous — especially after that headline-making 2019 Oscars performance and Cooper’s split from partner Irina Shayk months later — that the pop star had to shut them down while talking to Oprah Winfrey for Elle.
« I mean, we made a love story. For me, as a performer and as an actress, of course we wanted people to believe that we were in love. And we wanted people to feel that love at the Oscars, » Gaga said. « We wanted it to go right through the lens of that camera and to every television that it was being watched on. And we worked hard on it, we worked for days. We mapped the whole thing out — it was orchestrated as a performance. »
Way to crush our dreams, Gaga! But even if the only mission these two pulled off is to make us believe they enjoyed flirting and kissing each other on-screen as Ally and Jack, neither would deny that the depth of their friendship is rare. « She knows everything about me — everything, » Cooper told Entertainment Weekly. « There is not one thing she doesn’t know, and I believe the same for me. » It may not be romantic, but that is definitely love.
Mandy Moore and Milo Ventimiglia have no problem making their kisses look authentic
On the hit TV series, This Is Us, Milo Ventimiglia and Mandy Moore’s characters, Jack and Rebecca Pearson, share a very intense love. In order to make the depth of their passion look authentic, the actors have to make certain artistic choices. During a 2016 appearance on Watch What Happens Live, Moore admitted that Ventimiglia was her best on-screen kiss. When host Andy Cohen took it a step further and asked if there was ever tongue involved, Moore revealed, « Sometimes that’s required … I think to make it look like a real kiss there has to be tongue. »
The very next day, Ventimiglia echoed Moore’s sentiment when an interviewer at E! News told him his on-screen wife’s answer. « It’s more than just an act, » he explained. « … There’s a moment. You’re looking into someone’s soul, you’re looking into their eyes … I know when the cameras are rolling, it’s Jack and it’s Rebecca, and they have a deep, deep connection. » Kissing Moore is also not a hardship for Ventimiglia, because, he explained, « She’s so giving and so lovely, and has such a kind heart that it’s not difficult, and she’s beautiful. »
Don’t get this one twisted, though. Moore has been happily married to Dawes member Taylor Goldsmith since 2018 — and we couldn’t be happier for her.
Milo Ventimiglia and Alexis Bledel’s past may have influenced the Gilmore Girls revival
These days, Milo Ventimiglia only kisses and tells about his on-screen loves. But the actor’s past is scattered with ex-girlfriends who are also former co-stars, with Gilmore Girls‘ Alexis Bledel being one of them. Per People, Ventimiglia said of their first on-screen kiss: « I was nervous. We did each angle a million times. » It must’ve gone well, considering the two got together in real life shortly after, dated for over three years, and even talked marriage long after their characters, Rory and Jess, had broken up on TV.
If it weren’t for the 2016 revival series, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, this tale would be rather boring. Whether we like it or not, the revival was real, leaving fans to wonder if Bledel and Ventimiglia’s failed real-life relationship influenced her character’s fictional love life. There’s no way to know for sure, as the actors don’t often speak about their romantic past. But with Ventimiglia only appearing in two parts of the reboot, does he think Jess and Rory belong together? We had to dig for that answer, too, but found a hint.
« I feel like — well, if you’ve got that hair and you’ve got a cool jacket and you’ve got a book in your pocket, you must be good for a girl, » Ventimiglia told W magazine. Sigh. File this one under « actors we wish would kiss each other on-screen again. »
Penn Badgley and Blake Lively are really good at keeping secrets
When Penn Badgley and Blake Lively started dating in 2007, they tried to keep their romance from becoming gossip on the Gossip Girl set. « I remember there was one point where we were just afraid of how our personal lives overlapping our work life could be perceived by our bosses, » Lively told Vanity Fair during a 10-year retrospective on the series. According to executive producer Joshua Safran, they were just as mum about their breakup in 2010.
Badgley declined to be interviewed for that piece, but he has spoken about his relationship with Lively, telling Elle, « We were very much caught up in the show, which itself was a six-year endurance test. Our relationship was a part of that and helped us through it. » While this on-screen pairing didn’t work out in real life, Badgley’s wife, Domino Kirke, announced in February 2020 that they were expecting, and Lively is happily married to Ryan Reynolds, with whom she has three daughters. So, everyone got a happy ending, including characters Dan and Serena.
What can we learn from this? Dan may have been Gossip Girl, but tell Badgley all your secrets — he’ll never tell. Well, sort of: During an appearance on Watch What Happens Live, he called Lively his best on-screen kiss « because we actually had a relationship at the time » (via Us Weekly), as well as his worst « after we broke up. »
Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn had a love affair made for movies
Hollywood is notorious for the short-lived marriages its produced, but affairs by nature are kept quiet. In 1942, one of the most iconic affairs in the business began: Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. They met on the set of Woman of the Year, playing rivals Sam and Tess — who kissed, fell in love, and got married — but decided (with pressure from MGM studios) to keep their scandalous real-life relationship a secret for the next 26 years.
Tracy separated from (but didn’t actually divorce) his wife, Louise Treadwell, according to The Rake. He struggled with anxiety, depression, alcoholism, and « volatile » moods, but the otherwise feminist and liberal Hepburn was devoted to her lover nonetheless. « I wanted him to be happy, safe, comfortable. I liked to wait on him, listen to him, feed him, work for him. I tried not to disturb him … I was happy to do this, » the actress once said (via The Rake). Hepburn was by Tracy’s side days before he died — which was shortly after Tracy finished filming the pair’s last movie together, 1967’s Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner — but didn’t attend his funeral out of respect for his family.
It’s a love story made for the movies and almost made it to the big screen. Per Deadline, Tracy and Hepburn was in development in 2014, but further details have been kept under wraps.
Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams fell under The Notebook’s kissing spell
Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams are unique to this list, because they did not fall in love on the set of The Notebook. In fact, it would be more accurate to say they actively disliked each other. Director Nick Cassavetes told VH1 that Gosling wanted him to kick McAdams off the set one day and read with another actress off-camera. The actors had a mediation session. « We went into a room with a producer; they started screaming and yelling at each other, » Cassavetes said. « … The rest of the film wasn’t smooth sailing, but it was smoother sailing. » Smooth enough for the pair to start dating after filming.
« I mean, God bless The Notebook. It introduced me to one of the great loves of my life, » Gosling told GQ in 2007. « But people do Rachel and me a disservice by assuming we were anything like the people in that movie. Rachel and my love story is a hell of a lot more romantic than that. » (Their best kiss win at the 2005 MTV Movie Awards led to probably the best on-air kiss in the broadcast’s history, so he’s got a point.)
As for the breakup, Gosling said, « The only thing I remember is we both went down swingin’ and we called it a draw. » It sounds like they eventually fell under the spell of their characters, Allie and Noah, on set and found something real — but spells wear off.