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Image / Living / Culture

15 romantic movies where the actors fell in love on screen and in real life


By Lauren Heskin
19th Mar 2022
15 romantic movies where the actors fell in love on screen and in real life

There is nothing sweeter about watching onscreen chemistry and knowing it translated to real life.

I am a sucker for a movie where the lead actors playing the romantic leads also fall in love. Not only does it make for lots of extra, on-the-side chemistry, but it also gives films an extra dimension – you get the warm fuzzies knowing that you’re basically watching this couple is actually falling in love in real time. Who doesn’t want that?

Now I’m using the term “romantic movies” here very loosely. Essentially, all of the couples listed below fell in love playing each other’s love interests on-screen… all bar one couple, who we’ll get to.

Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling
The Notebook

Fun fact: These two actually hated each other while filming The Notebook, to the point that Gosling even tried to get McAdams replaced as the female lead. However, somewhere towards the end of filming passionate hate turned to passionate love and the rest is MTV Best Kiss history.

Brad Pitt and Angelina
Mr and Mrs Smith

A controversial one because Brad was still married to Jen Ani at the time, however, i think it’s widely accepted that Pitt and Jolie go together on the set of Mr and Mrs Smith, in no small part because Angie said that they fell in love on set. Awks.

Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan
Step Up

Probably the most iconic example of a couple falling in love onset, Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan had amazing chemistry from their very first audition tape as Tyler and Nora. However, the couple didn’t officially get together until after filming and married three years later. They have since split but parent their little girl Everly together.

Marion Cotillard and Guilleme Canet
Love Me if You Dare

Okay, this is a complicated one, so stay with me. French actor Canet was married to actress Diane Kruger when he starred as Marion Cotillard’s young love interest in the 2003 film, Love Me if You Dare. Canet and Kruger divorced in 2006 (both since swearing never to marry again) and he began dating Cotillard soon after but they kept it under wraps until 2009. The couple are still together and have two children together.

Anna Kendrick and Bill Hader
Noelle

This shocked the world when gossip Instagram account Deuxmoi revealed that not only were Anna Kendrick and Bill Hader were a couple, but actually quite a serious one. Supposedly, they’ve been dating since their turn in the 2019 Christmas film Noelle, in which they play siblings. Therefore, they didn’t technically play a couple onscreen but still, the fact that they’re dating blows my little mind so I had to include.

Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander
The Light Between Oceans

While the duo supposed met a year before on the dance floor at the Toronto Film Festival where they had a “boogie” (Vikander’s words), but the Irish actor and Swedish dancer-turned-actress only began dating in 2014 while they were filming this romance in remote parts of New Zealand and Australia. The pair have remained very private about their relationship, marrying in 2017 in Ibiza and welcoming a little girl in 2021.

Dominic Cooper and Amanda Seyfried
Mamma Mia!

Amanda Seyfried admitted it was easy to fall for her Mamma Mia co-star, Brit actor Dominic Cooper during filming. Shooting in beautiful Greece, “you have to make out with each other. – it’s easy for things to get carried away,” she said. The pair dated from 2008 until 2011 before calling it quits, though they didn’t reunite on screen ten years later for the third film. Seyfried, now married with two children, said that filming with Cooper was easy because they had remained friendly since they split. 

Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth
The Last Song

Yes another Nicholas Sparks’ couple who made it official in real life, Miley Cyrus said the first scene she ever filmed with Liam Hemsworth was when they’re The Last Song characters frolic in the water kissing. The film isn’t great but the leads’ chemistry clearly is, as they went on to remain a couple for nearly a decade, even getting married before announcing their split in 2019.

Rachel Bilson and Hayden Christenson
Jumper

Post-The OC and break-up from co-star Adam Brody (not included here as we’re only doing movie couples in this list), Rachel Bilson met the Star Wars actor on set of their film Jumper in 2008. They got engaged soon after, then un-engaged, and then re-engaged before welcoming a daughter, Briar Rose, in 2017 before announcing their split for good.

Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone
The Amazing Spiderman

All the Spiderman movie romances actually burgeoned in real life, with Kristen Dunst and Tobey Maguire dating during their first movie, Garfield and Stone meeting during their iteration and dating for about four years before they split in 2015 and now Tom Holland and Zendaya taking up the crown. However, we opted for Garfield and Stone here because the film was really a launching pad for both actors and despite both moving on since then, the duo clearly remain close, with Stone deeply unimpressed that *spoiler* Garfield lied and told her he did not appear in the latest Spidey flick.

Jenifer Anniston and Vince Vaughn
The Break-Up

The couple might be breaking up in this sad comedy, but Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn were doing the exact opposite on the 2005 set. Filming began not long after the demise of her marriage to Pitt and the duo supposedly became close during filming, staying together for about a year before eventually breaking up. However, it doesn’t look like the end of the relationship was as messy as their characters and the two remain close friends. Aniston even told Vogue that she considers the romance with Vaughn as her “defibrillator – he brought me back to life” after her divorce.

Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes
The Place Beyond the Pines

Ryan Gosling makes it onto this list twice, and who could blame either McAdams or Mendes for falling for them. Playing a former couple who share a small child, the duo had known each other for years prior to filming and Gosling campaigned for Mendes to get the part after the director thought she might be too sexy to play a down-and-out waitress from Schenectady, New York. The two have remained notoriously private about their relationship and have since welcomed two little girls. 

Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillipe
Cruel Intentions

I know I said earlier that Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan are the original couple who fell in love on screen, but I take it back. It’s got to be Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillipe in Cruel Intentions. Okay, maybe it’s actually Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in Cleopatra (when they were both still married to other people), but I digress. 

Witherspoon and Phillipe didn’t meet on the set of the cult classic though, they actually met a few months before casting for the film began, when Phillipe crashed Witherspoon’s 21st birthday party. After some flirtation, the two exchanged numbers and remained in touch, with Phillipe giving Witherspoon the script for Cruel Intentions so she could audition for it. They married in 1999, the year the movie was released and had two children together before going their separate ways in 2006. 


Dev Patel and Frieda Pinto

Slumdog Millionaire

Another couple who very much kept their relationship on the lowdown, Patel and Pinto met on the set of Slumdog Millionaire in 2009, dating for six years before breaking up. During their relationship they remained very quiet about their relationship, the public only knew it was happening thanks to a handful of red carpet experiences, but since it ended they have both been very complimentary to each other and the wild experience they shared as newcomers to the world stage.

Jennifer Lawrence and Nicholas Hoult

X-Men: First Class

Meeting on the set of the superhero franchise, just before Lawrence was launched into superstardom as Katniss Everdeen in the Hunger Games franchise, the goofy couple remained together until 2015 before eventually calling it quits due to conflicting schedules. However, they remain friendly, with Lawrence specifically shouting out Nick as a “good boyfriend”. She has since married art gallerist Cooke Maloney and they recently welcomed a child, while Hoult has been dating model Bryana Holly since 2017, welcoming their first child in 2018.