Televised incest has been on everyone’s minds lately, since Game Of Thrones finally brought Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen together for a night of icey, firey passion… even though they are (unknowingly) aunt and nephew. Of course, this isn’t the first time that the show has featured a familial romance – the first season introduced us to twin-lovers Cersei and Jaime Lannister, as well as established that the Targaryen family used to intermarry as a matter of keeping bloodlines “pure”. Of course, Game of Thrones isn’t the first show to feature a family-on-family storyline, it’s just the most recent to hit the mainstream.
Of course, these storylines are usually played by actors who aren’t actually related – but there have been times where real-life siblings have played on-screen love interests in the past. Yes, you read that correctly: real brothers and sisters have portrayed characters who want to do the nasty with each other, and several have even included full-blown make outs or steamy bedroom scenes. A few other sibling team-ups have included some less eyebrow-raising romantic sub-plots; unrequited crushes, husband and wife scenes without any physical contact, or dates that don’t go anywhere. And whether you find it shrug-worthy or shocking, we’ve got 15 of the most egregious sibling-on-sibling subplots from TV and movies.
15. Alfie and Lily Allen (Game of Thrones)
While we’re talking Game Of Thrones, back in 2014, singer Lily Allen claimed that she’d been offered the role of Yara Greyjoy, but turned it down because it would involve being groped by her real-life brother. The incestuous scene takes place when Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) returns to the Iron Islands and doesn’t recognize his sister at first. Thinking that she’s just a comely wench, he hits on her (hard), before Yara finally reveals who she is to Theon’s immediate disgust.
For what it’s worth, Alfie quickly shot down the claims, saying that Gemma Whalen was always the first choice for the role. Turns out that Ms. Allen was trying to drum up a little extra publicity for her latest album, and told the fib to make headlines (which worked, unsurprisingly).
14. Jason & Justine Bateman (Arrested Development)
Arrested Development was very much aware of the incest angle when the show cast Jason Bateman’s sister Justine for an episode titled “Family Ties” (wink wink). In the episode, Bateman’s character, Michael Bluth, believes that he’s found his long-lost sister Nellie, played by real-life sister Justine. However, Nellie is actually a prostitute, and the two have an intimate dinner together which ends with Nellie confessing an attraction to Michael!
Turns out, the whole thing is a set-up, Nellie isn’t Michael’s sister, and the only thing he ends up giving her is a job offer. Definitely the most wholesome entry on this list, the entire episode was poking fun at itself and the idea of the brother/sister attraction.
13. Michael and LaToya Jackson (Say, Say, Say)
The music video for Michael Jackson’s “Say, Say, Say” involved an appearance by his sister La Toya that certainly raised a few eyebrows.
As Michael (and Paul McCartney) sing their sweet love song, the video tells the story of a group of charlatans who con townsfolk out of money to give to orphanages. In it, La Toya appears as a girl in a saloon that Michael is struck by – he runs back to her as they smile at each other, meet-cute style, before performing his act. At the end of the act, the duo runs out of the tavern, followed by La Toya, who is presented with flowers by Michael as he sings to her of his ‘real love’ before riding out of town.
12. Kazimir and Francoise Sas (Parallax)
Parallax, a short lived (one season) Australian fantasy/adventure TV show about a young boy who discovers a portal to alternate dimensions, involves plenty of fantastical elements – and one vaguely incestuous one. Brother and sister Kazimir and Francois Sas both play characters in the series, Martin Dunkly and Melinda Bruce. Friends of the main characters, Ben and Katharine, these two appear across several of the different worlds in the show, and have some kind of romantic connection in more than one of them.
Thankfully, however, they are unrequited ones, as Martin continually (and largely unsuccessfully) pursues Melinda. Both are also pre-teens, which would limit any requited romances to the PG, but we’re still happy that Melinda kept knocking Martin back, in any case.
11. Stephanie and Shane McMahon (WWE)
Another potentially incestuous storyline that (thankfully) never came to fruition would have played out in the world of WWE, when wrestling royalty Stephanie McMahon was pregnant. In the DVD McMahon, all about the life of Vince McMahon (Stephanie’s father), it was revealed that he had wanted to involve her pregnancy in her on-screen storylines… with an incest angle.
Vince actually pitched two different potential incest storylines (because he apparently really wanted to do this). The first was that Vince himself would pretend to be her baby’s father, while the second (after she shot down that concept) was that her brother Shane would appear as ‘baby daddy’ instead.
Obviously, Stephanie’s issue with the original concept was the ‘incest’ part, not who she would be involved in a fictional incestuous relationship with, and the second option was also promptly turned down.
10. Jane and Peter Fonda (Spirits of the Dead)
In the ‘60s, Jane and Peter Fonda appeared alongside each other in the horror anthology film Spirits of the Dead. The two star in the first of three segments, titled “Metzengerstein”, about a cruel and debaucherous noblewoman who falls in love with her cousin. It’s a pretty weird tale, all-around.
The fictional Countess Frederique meets her cousin for the first time when he rescues her in the forest, and quickly falls for her dashing relative. When he turns her down, however, refusing to be corrupted by her pleasure-seeking ways, she burns down his stables as revenge, killing him. He (as a black stallion) then haunts her till her own death in a fire – karmic revenge for her wanton lifestyle and the obsession with her cousin that eventually killed him.
9. Sophie and Eloise Lovell Anderson (The Bastard Executioner)
Disturbing as it may be, there’s a long-accepted male fantasy that involves bedding twin sisters – either separately, or at the same time. For most, it’s something that stays firmly in the fantasy realm, or is pulled out for a sitcom punch-line. However, real-life twin sisters Sophie and Eloise Lovell Anderson brought that fantasy to life in The Bastard Executioner, where the two play twin prostitutes.
The scheming Clara and Ramona decided to use their sexy similarities to seduce a target into having a threesome with them. The scene wasn’t just implied, either, but a graphic sex sequence that includes both girls naked in bed with their conquest, and making out not just with the man, but with each other as well.
9. Dick and Joyce Van Patten (Diagnosis Murder)
Brother and sister Dick and Joyce Van Patten appeared together as (divorced) husband and wife in a single episode of Diagnosis Murder, “Murder At The Telethon’”. The two play Monty and Sarah Emerson, ex-performers who now write jokes for the TV presenter hosting the titular telethon… and although they are introduced as ‘happily divorced’, it is slowly revealed that the two have rekindled their romance over the course of the episode.
When Dr Sloan (Dick Van Dyke) comes to question them for the host’s murder, he sees the two working on rehearsing their old double act at the piano, and when he asks for their alibi at the time of the murder, they sing their response: that they were “making whoopie“.
8. Harry and Daisy Earles (Freaks)
This controversial ‘30s film about a troupe of circus freaks has plenty of disturbing elements to it – including some fame as the birth of the oft-parodied chant “one of us, one of us“. The film stars Harry Earles as Hans, a circus freak who falls for the gorgeous (and ‘normal’) trapeze artist, Cleopatra (Olga Baclanova). Cleopatra only wants him for his inheritance money, however, and comes to a black end.
A final ‘happy ending’ scene was added to the film to make it more palatable, where Hans gets back together with his true love, Frieda (Daisy Earles), and they live in a mansion together as husband and wife – although the romance is downplayed for the real-life brother and sister to act it out, with affection and comfort, rather than sexual energy.
7. Pepi and Ruth Hermine (Putney Swope)
This satirical black comedy about the advertising business, racism, and corporate corruption was an arthouse hit when it was released in 1969 – but it includes one particularly incestuous scene where siblings aren’t just portraying a married couple, but share a loving kiss in bed.
Putney Swope’s President of the United States was portrayed by Pepi Hermine, while his (nameless) First Lady was played by his own sister, Ruth Hermine. One of their scenes involved the two getting into bed and kissing each other with real gusto, and leaving the rest to the audience’s imagination. Director Robert Downey Sr. revealed that he didn’t realize that the two were brother and sister when he cast them, but said that when he found out “it made it twice as funny”.
6. Joan and John Cusack (Grosse Pointe Blank)
The Cusacks are the definition of a Hollywood family; not only was father Richard Cusack an actor, but all five (count ‘em) of his children followed him into the business, with varying degrees of success. Several of the Cusacks have appeared alongside each other in film, as well, including John and Joan Cusack, who have worked together in ten different movies.
One of their more well-known efforts, Grosse Pointe Blank, stars John as hitman who ends up at his high school reunion, along with his high school sweetheart. Joan appears as his secretary, Marcella, who seems to have something of a thing for her employer. She’s not the love interest in this rom-com, and no romance is explicitly stated between the two, but there’s certainly something that could be read as the classic trope of the secretary who desires the boss.
5. Kristen and Eddie Alderson (One Life To Live)
Siblings Kristen and Eddie Alderson both had long-standing roles on the soap opera One Life To Live, as Starr Manning and Matthew Buchanan. For most of their time on the series, the two characters were friends, and have never been related on the show, or had their relationship blossom into more than friendship.
However, when the series ended, Kristen did reveal that she was grossed out by a brief storyline where Matthew had a crush on Starr for about a month. According to her: “He was like, ‘Gross! Why would they do that?’ It only lasted a month, but it was a little weird”. It certainly would be a little weird spending a month of work pretending to moon after your big sis, although thankfully, that crush remained unrequited.
3. Meret and Ben Becker (The Harmonists)
Meret and Ben Becker may not be as well known as some of the other Hollywood families on this list, but these siblings share one of the steamiest love scenes of any real-life relatives on the big screen.
The two starred opposite each other in The Harmonists, a semi-fictional film about the rise and fall of a popular vocal group in Germany in the 1930s. Ben Becker stars as Robert Biberti, one third of a love triangle completed by another Harmonist, Harry, and Meret Becker’s Erna Eggstein. Both men fall in love with Erna, and although she begins the movie in love with Harry (and the two even consummate their romance), he cannot commit to her. Robert, his confident friend, ends up wooing her instead, and the two have a secret affair, including a passionate on-screen kiss… between a real-life brother and sister.
2. Garry and Penny Marshal (Hocus Pocus)
In the beloved Halloween classic, siblings Garry and Penny Marshall appear as husband and wife – although there’s actually no physical contact between them, and they actually spend their appearance bickering, rather than being affectionate at all.
Gerry plays a man dressed up as the Devil to hand out Halloween candy, who the Sanderson Sisters mistake for the real thing. Meanwhile Penny, his put-upon wife, comes downstairs to find her husband dancing with three women who call him ‘Master’, and think that she is Medusa (because of the curlers in her hair). She’s distinctly unimpressed, and kicks them back out onto the street. The real-life sibling duo have a rip-roaring fight, unsurprisingly, and that’s all we see of this unhappy couple.
1. Chyler Leigh and Christopher Khayman Lee (Kickboxing Academy)
Sorry folks, but we have indeed shared the worst for last. Forgive us.
Chyler Leigh may have made a name for herself in great shows like Grey’s Anatomy and Supergirl, but she’s also been in a couple pretty awful things as well – and topping the list of bad movies has to be Kickboxing Academy. This ‘90s teen rip-off of The Karate Kid stars Leigh as Cindy, a student at (you guessed it) Kickboxing Academy, a school preparing to take on their rival martial arts academy.
Also appearing in the film is her real-life brother, Christopher Khayman Lee, who plays ex-kickboxer Danny… and his own sister’s romantic lead. (You might recognize him from his days as the Red Ranger Andros from Power Rangers In Space.) Throughout the film, the two have several make-out sessions, at a time when she was only fifteen, and he was nineteen – and in a role that clearly should have been given to someone less… related… to the star.
We’re hoping that you don’t know of any more onscreen sibling romances, but if you do, feel free to drop em in the comments.
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