When watching a movie or TV show, it’s only natural for viewers to buy into the illusion that’s being presented on the screen. It’s that suspension of disbelief that allows for the assumption that actors playing friends or lovers surely must be real-life besties when the cameras stop rolling. And while that’s frequently the case — the cast of Friends, for example, has famously remained actual friends long after the show ended its run — it’s certainly not a hard-and-fast rule.
In fact, sometimes the opposite dynamic proves to be true, with fans making the awkward discovery that the stars of their favorite films and TV series secretly hate each other’s guts — which, in a weird way, only makes their onscreen acting that much more impressive.
Over the years, there have been some downright legendary feuds between co-stars, and these vicious on-set battles invariably wind up in the pages of supermarket tabloids and online gossip blogs. Whether these conflicts result from personality clashes, diva-like behavior, or lingering resentments from the past, read on to find out about a whole bunch of co-stars who couldn’t stand each other.
Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy clashed during Mad Max
Rebooting the Road Warrior franchise resulted in big-screen triumph, with director George Miller’s 2015 action flick Mad Max: Fury Road going on to sweep the 2016 Academy Awards, nabbing six Oscars out of 10 nominations.
Getting there was no mean feat, given the contentious relationship between co-stars Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy. On-set reports that the actors were engaged in a vicious feud proved to be no rumor, with both subsequently admitting they were at odds. “We f**kin’ went at it, yeah,” Theron confessed to Esquire. She elaborated in an oral history of the film for The New York Times, explaining that their real-life relationship mirrored their characters’ animosity. “In a weird way, we were functioning like our characters: everything was about survival,” she said. Hardy admitted he wasn’t blameless. “I think in hindsight, I was in over my head in many ways,” he said. “The pressure on both of us was overwhelming at times.”
Fury Road actress Zoë Kravitz was asked about the feud during an appearance on Watch What Happens Live, with a caller asking if she’d “witnessed any beef” between the two. “Yeah,” Kravitz responded matter-of-factly. “They didn’t get along … I don’t actually know if there was one issue, I just think it was like they weren’t vibing.”
David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson hated each other
Reports of tension between co-stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson seeped from the Vancouver set of The X-Files during the 1990s, and the co-stars have subsequently admitted they were not the best of friends during the series’ original run. During a 2016 appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! to promote the reboot, Anderson blamed the “moist” Vancouver climate, which caused her hair to become “frizzy” and left Duchovny impatiently waiting while the show’s hairstylist returned her locks to Scully-like perfection. “I think it added to the tension,” she admitted.
Duchovny offered another theory: after all those seasons, they had simply grown sick of each other. “Familiarity breeds contempt,” he told Metro UK in 2008. “It’s nothing to do with the other person. All that fades away and you’re just left with the appreciation and love for the people you’ve worked with for so long. We used to argue about nothing. We couldn’t stand the sight of each other.”
Anderson addressed the complicated dynamic head-on in a 2007 blog post. “Did David and I hate each other?” she wrote. “At times yes like any brother and sister, husband and wife, co-worker and co-worker forced to spend that much time together under such strenuous circumstances.”
George Takei’s feud with Star Trek co-star William Shatner spanned decades
You’ve got to hand it to former Star Trek co-stars George Takei and William Shatner for keeping their feud going far longer than the show’s original “five-year mission.” Takei first wrote about the discord in his 2004 memoir, To the Stars (via the New York Post), taking some shots at Shatner’s legendary ego.
The feud erupted publicly in 2008 when Shatner gave an on-camera interview griping about not being invited to Takei’s wedding. “There’s such a sickness there, it’s so painfully obvious that there’s a psychosis there,” said Shatner, claiming to have “no idea” why Takei didn’t like him. “There must be something else inside George that is festering, and it makes him so unhappy that he takes it out on me,” he added. “Why would he go out of his way to denigrate me? … It’s sad. I feel nothing but pity for him.” Takei refuted Shatner’s accusation in a 2017 interview with the Edmonton Journal. “This is silliness,” said Takei, who claimed he invited every member of the Trek cast, including Shatner, but theorized the invite may have gotten lost in the mail.
In 2019, the erstwhile Capt. Kirk alleged that Takei’s obsession with Shatner’s “shiny ego” was nothing more than an attention-getting shtick. “If I really did something to anger him I’m sure he’d hold a Press Conference…” Shatner tweeted.
Janet Hubert claimed Will Smith had her fired
When The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air made its TV debut in 1990, the role of Vivian “Aunt Viv” Banks was played by actress Janet Hubert — for three seasons, at least. In 1993, Hubert was let go, with actress Daphne Maxwell Reid brought in to replace her. Ever since, Hubert has publicly blamed star Will Smith for her firing.
The reasons behind Hubert’s termination are murky; Fresh Prince actor Alfonso Ribeiro once claimed the temperamental actress would “literally go off on people” and “made it very difficult for us to work.” According to Us Weekly, in 1993 Smith told an Atlanta radio station, “I can say straight up that Janet Hubert wanted the show to be The Aunt Viv of Bel-Air Show, because I know she is going to dog me in the press,” he claimed, implying she was jealous of his success. “She said once, ‘I’ve been in the business for 10 years and this snotty-nosed punk comes along and gets a show.'”
In 2011, Hubert told TMZ she would turn down an offer for a Fresh Prince reunion, because “I will never do anything with an a**hole like Will Smith. He is still an egomaniac and has not grown up.”
Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams fought while making The Notebook
The Notebook has become a classic screen romance, yet those who watched the film likely had no idea that the actors at the center of the iconic love story didn’t get along. In fact, the tension between stars Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams once escalated to the point that Gosling refused to work with her.
“Maybe I’m not supposed to tell this story, but they were really not getting along one day on set,” The Notebook‘s director, Nick Cassavetes, revealed to VH1. “Really not.” Gosling, Cassavetes explained, was in the midst of a scene with McAdams when he told the director, “Would you take [McAdams] out of here and bring in another actress to read off camera with me?”… I can’t. I can’t do it with her. I’m just not getting anything from this.”
Cassavetes pulled the actors into a room with a producer so they could “[have] it out,” with the co-stars “screaming and yelling at each other.” Cassavetes stepped out of the room to smoke a cigarette. When he returned, “everybody came out like, ‘All right let’s do this.’ And it got better after that.” The remainder of the filming, Cassavetes admitted, “wasn’t smooth sailing, but it was smoother sailing.”
Julia Roberts thought her co-star Nick Nolte was ‘disgusting’
I Love Trouble turned out to be an apt title for a movie plagued by on-set animosity between Nick Nolte and Julia Roberts, co-stars of the 1994 rom-com. While the movie was still filming, the Los Angeles Times reported of friction between the two, alleging that “tempers flared early on” as Roberts balked at Nolte’s “machismo” while he was unimpressed with her “tantrums.” The two eventually grew to dislike each other so much that stand-ins were brought to film their scenes separately and avoid being in the same room together.
Roberts didn’t exactly shoot down the rumors when she told The New York Times, “From the moment I met him we sort of gave each other a hard time, and naturally we get on each other’s nerves.” Admitting Nolte could be “completely charming and very nice,” she added that “he’s also completely disgusting. He’s going to hate me for saying this, but he seems go out of his way to repel people. He’s a kick.”
According to Australia’s News.com, Nolte issued a terse response to his co-star’s comments. “It’s not nice to call someone ‘disgusting.’ But she’s not a nice person,” he said. “Everyone knows that.”
Blake Lively and Leighton Meester stopped speaking
While neither actress has commented, persistent speculation of tension between co-stars Leighton Meester and Blake Lively ran throughout Gossip Girl‘s six seasons. Those rumors were apparently confirmed by an anonymous source who spoke to the National Enquirer in 2010 (as reported by Celebitchy).
“They don’t even acknowledge each other when they’re not in a scene together,” the insider claimed. “Leighton thinks Blake is an egomaniac who views her time on the TV set as slumming. And Blake feels stifled. She’s just ignoring her co-star because she knows bigger things are in store…” Commenting on the allegations, Lively’s publicist told the Enquirer: “Blake and Leighton have never been best friends and never professed to be. Blake goes to work, does her job, and goes home.” A piece on the show in New York Magazine backed that up, claiming the two would “avoid each other like the plague” during filming, with the rest of the cast left to “choose sides.”
A report from gossip columnist Perez Hilton seemed to indicate that the friction continued even after the show had ended. According to a source, “Leighton and Blake don’t speak anymore.”
Debra Winger compared An Officer and a Gentleman co-star Richard Gere to ‘a brick wall’
Despite becoming one of Hollywood’s most iconic onscreen couples in the 1982 drama An Officer and a Gentleman, there was no love lost between co-stars Richard Gere and Debra Winger when the cameras weren’t rolling. As The Telegraph reported, their co-star Louis Gossett Jr. wrote in a book that Winger didn’t think much of Gere’s acting ability, with Gossett claiming that she once described Gere as “a brick wall.” Winger was also no fan of the film’s director, Taylor Hackford, whom Gossett alleged she referred to as an “animal.”
Looking back at the experience of making the movie, in 2009, Winger admitted to the Daily Mail that her “bad behavior” sprang from her “insecurity,” explaining, “Even though I loved what I was doing, I didn’t always know I could pull it off.” Asked if that insecurity led her to lash out at Gere, she admitted it did. “Oh, I took it out on everybody!” she said. “It’s no secret that I didn’t love An Officer And A Gentleman then, and I certainly don’t love it now, so at least no one could accuse me of being inconsistent.”
Anthony Hopkins was no fan of Shirley MacLaine
Oscar-winners Anthony Hopkins and Shirley MacLaine headlined the 1980 film A Change of Seasons, and to say it was an unpleasant experience for both is an understatement. According to The Independent, Hopkins famously described his co-star as “the most obnoxious actress I have ever worked with.”
MacLaine was asked about Hopkins’ remarks during an interview with the New York Post, and it was clear from her response that the feeling was mutual. “I didn’t like him either, but he was on the wagon at that time and it was hard on him,” she said (that would jibe with comments from Hopkins, who has publicly acknowledged his alcoholism and quit drinking in the late 1970s).
Of course, Hopkins was not the first man to have been rubbed the wrong way by MacLaine. Don Siegel, who directed her in the Clint Eastwood western Two Mules for Sister Sarah, once complained (via The Independent) that he found it “hard to feel much warmth for her,” feeling she was “too unfeminine and has too much balls. She’s very, very hard.”
Lena Headey had ‘genuine hate’ for Jerome Flynn
Lena Headey played Game of Thrones‘ devious Cersei Lannister, while Jerome Flynn portrayed hired mercenary “sellsword” Bronn. What viewers may not have realized, however, is that the two actors were reportedly once a couple, and things apparently did not end well. “Jerome and Lena aren’t on speaking terms any more and they are never in the same room at the same time,” a crew member told The Telegraph. “It’s a pity because they appeared to have patched things up for awhile, but now the word is they should be kept apart at all costs.”
The pair reportedly met on the set of Flynn’s 1990s British series Soldier Soldier and dated in the early 2000s. “They kept the full extent of it secret but it was a very turbulent relationship and it has been very awkward on set,” an insider told The Sun. “She appears to have a genuine hate towards him.”
Flynn, however, has denied any problems with Headey. “We were actually in the same scene together,” said Flynn of Headey when asked about the rumors during a fan convention, reported The Independent. “And the last time I saw Lena we were speaking, so I wouldn’t believe everything you read and… [the media] can get pretty desperate for stories.”
Lauren Graham and Scott Patterson denied friction on Gilmore Girls
In a 2005 interview with TV Guide, Gilmore Girls star Lauren Graham was asked about comments she made indicating she’d prefer her character to wind up with Christopher (David Sutcliffe), the father of Lorelai’s daughter Rory (Alexis Bledel), and not grumpy restaurateur Luke (Scott Patterson). Specifically, she was asked if that preference was because “you and Scott don’t get along.”
She said that wasn’t the case, claiming she was speaking of what she felt would work best for the characters. Asked about her relationship with Patterson, Graham insisted, “It’s fine… we’re not intimates. We talk kind of how we talk [on the show]. We work well together,” she said. “But you’re not best friends?” the interviewer continued. “No,” she replied, pointing out that she’s on set “an average of 50 hours a week, so there isn’t a lot of socializing for any of us.”
In a subsequent TV Guide interview, Patterson was questioned about the speculation of “rocky times” for him and Graham. “No, I think it’s not accurate. I think it’s really inaccurate,” he said. “And I think people thrive on rumor and innuendo; that sells papers, gets people to click on websites… All of that stuff is just overblown.”
Joan Crawford required stiches thanks to Bette Davis
What can you say about a Hollywood feud so legendary that an entire TV miniseries was made about it? FX’s Feud: Bette and Joan dramatized the epic battle between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford when they co-starred in the “hagsploitation” hit What Ever Happened to Baby Jane. In a 1987 interview, reported the Daily Mail, Davis revealed the key issue at the heart of their venomous dispute: Crawford stole the love of Davis’ life, actor Franchot Tone, who became her second husband. “She took him from me,” Davis said after Crawford’s death. “She did it coldly, deliberately and with complete ruthlessness. I have never forgiven her for that and never will.”
The stars’ antipathy toward each other while shooting Baby Jane boiled over in what’s become an iconic piece of Hollywood lore. According to an account in Harper’s Bazaar, Crawford insisted that a body double stand in for her in scenes involving fights, fearing that Davis would physically harm her. When a closeup didn’t enable a body double to be used in a scene where Davis’ character strikes Crawford’s character in the head, Davis reportedly bashed Crawford so hard that she required stitches. “[I] barely touched her,” Davis reportedly claimed.
Stacy London unfollowed What Not to Wear co-star Clinton Kelly on social media
For 10 years, Clinton Kelly and Stacy London bantered their way through countless fashion disasters on TLC’s What Not to Wear. While it may have appeared to viewers that the two were bickering best buds, that was far from the reality behind the scenes. Details of what actually went down between the two are somewhat murky, but a clue can be found in Kelly’s 2017 memoir I Hate Everyone, Except You. In the book, he asked, “Why did I love and loathe Stacy?” The answer, he conceded was that “maybe there was some jealousy on my part.”
A few months after the book came out, reported Page Six, Kelly tweeted a screenshot (since deleted) indicating London had blocked him on Twitter. “Allllll righty then,” he wrote. In a subsequent tweet (also deleted), he addressed fans’ speculation she was retaliating for the comments in his book. “Don’t go spreading out-of-context bulls**t,” he wrote. “You obviously didn’t read the book.”
Two months later, London issued a cryptic Instagram post featuring a screenshot of the “block” feature. Admitting that “when I’m hurt I can hold a grudge,” London said she’d come to realize that “blocking people in order to feel some sense of control over other’s actions is a waste of my time.” However, she added that “forgiveness doesn’t mean things are reparable.”
America Ferrera was reportedly ‘mean’ to Ugly Betty guest star Lindsay Lohan
Back in 2008, Lindsay Lohan guest-starred on ABC comedy Ugly Betty, playing the high school nemesis of the show’s titular Betty (America Ferrera). According to a report in the New York Post (via HuffPost), Lohan’s guest-starring arc was initially planned to extend for six episodes but was cut back to just four because Ferrera and Lohan didn’t get along.
“It was a mess,” a source told the Post. “Lindsay would show up every day with an entourage of people. She smoked 24/7, and after she left, they had to repaint her dressing room it was such a mess.”
However, a “Lohan pal” told a different story, claiming that Lohan’s “entourage” was actually “her sober companion with her, as well as her manager, assistant, and [then-girlfriend] Samantha Ronson.” This source claimed that it was Ferrera who was the problem, griping that “America was mean to Lindsay.” Lohan didn’t appear in those two episodes, the “pal” added, “because America didn’t like her and got her kicked off.” A rep for Ferrera diplomatically told the Post: “America is grateful to have had her on the show and thinks everyone should tune in to see how great the episodes are.”