Since the advent of modern entertainment, fans have only gotten moore obsessed with the romantic lives of the actors who brought their favorite stories to life. The prospect of real romance blossoming out of fairy tales makes the fairy tales seem all the more tantalizingly real. The entire tabloid industry would probably fold without the massive numbers of fans constantly on the lookout for news regarding who's canoodling with whom.
Teen shows, with their tendency toward the uber-romantic, are flashpoints for this kind of gossip. They almost always feature gorgeous young people with melodramatic relationship issues that inspire some of the most intensely passionate fanbases in existence. When actors on the same show -- or even better -- those portraying a couple even look like they might be dating in real life, it's generally enough to set the internet afire for at least a few days. Given the sheer amount of speculation that surrounds shows like the teen soaps that populate the CW, it's no surprise people will speculate about any potential pairing, even if there's nothing there to speculate about.
There are enough genuine couples and genuine friendships born out of shows on the CW that we thought we'd make a guide to who has actually dated and who are just buddies.
Here are 10 CW Stars Who Are Dating In Real Life (And 9 Who Are Just Friends).
19 COLE SPROUSE AND LILI REINHART - DATED
Every once in a blue moon, audiences are blessed with the perfect couple and actors who make it all the more real by falling in love themselves. Cole Sprouse and Lili Reinhart are Riverdale's real life fairy tale just now come true. After months of fan speculation fueled by cryptic Instagram posts not to mention a picture of the two kissing appeared in April, "Bughead" fans have confirmation that their favorite ship has bled into reality.
The two stars didn't directly confirm it themselves – their co-star Marisol Nichols was the first person to break it to the world that the two were a couple via Twitter.
Now that the cat’s out of the bag officially, especially since they just attended the 2018 Met Ball together, it gives Sprouse’s comments to People magazine back in November of 2017 a little more context: "Lili and I are constantly talked about in the public eye, and for me I think that it is being deeply informed by the love of the characters and wanting to see us together. I think that in many ways it’s offensive and an invasion of privacy, but it’s also a badge of honor because it means you’re creating a chemistry onscreen that is so understandable that people want to see it in real life, which is flattering from a professional perspective."
Let's keep our fingers crossed that they’re still able to keep their relationship private enough that they can enjoy it along with their fans.
18 CHYLER LEIGH AND FLORIANA LIMA - JUST FRIENDS
One of the most frustrating things to happen on any supernatural or genre show is when a beloved couple breaks apart due to a decidedly human reason. You’d think people who regularly dealt with potentially world-ending threats wouldn’t fall victim to the same relationship issue we see on more mainstream shows. But that’s exactly what happened to Alex and Maggie on Supergirl.
When Alex Danvers met Maggie Sawyer, the relationship between the two blossomed into something romantic despite Danvers having never being with a woman before. At first Maggie wasn’t spectacularly interested a woman who was so new to dating other women, but the two couldn’t deny their feelings for each other and went on get engaged - only to break up when Maggie revealed she didn’t want children.
It was a heartbreaking end to such a lovely story, and it was hard on the actors as well.
While Chyler Leigh and Floriana Lima have never been linked romantically, they’ve clearly bonded over this shared experience.
Leigh explained to Collider: "It’s a heavy episode. I mean there’s no way around that, and just say what it is. It is a breakup. And honestly, in a lot of ways, it felt like a genuine breakup. I love Floriana to pieces. She’s amazing. What we were able to do together for the community, but also for just like our friendship and being able to establish such strong characters, that goes beyond how many episodes we do together, you know?”
17 SEBASTIAN STAN AND LEIGHTON MEESTER - DATED
Long before he was Bucky Barnes, The Winter Soldier, or Captain America's best friend, Sebastian Stan was Carter Blaizen on Gossip Girl.
While on the show, his character was a romantic interest of Blake Lively’s Serena Van der Woodsen, but Stan started dating her GG co-star Leighton Meester in real life.
The relationship was hardly a fling and lasted about three years.
Unfortunately the two eventually broke up, and now Meester is happily (and adorably) married to Adam Brody. That hasn’t stopped speculation that her break-up with Stan wasn’t a little dramatic, as break-ups so often are.
After the release of her album Heartstrings in 2014, she's quoted in an US Weekly piece promoting the album that the album’s eponymous single had been initially written about the end of a relationship : "It used to be about some stupid breakup that I had when I was 25 or earlier," she confessed. "But it was stupid, and I was like, 'I have to write a song about this!' Now, it really does have more meaning. At the time it was like, 'Screw you, I don't care about you anymore, and it's not going to happen! Joker.'"
She’s never publicly said the song was written about Stan, but the timing is a little too perfect for us not to wonder.
16 CHAD MICHAEL MURRAY AND HILARIE BURTON - JUST FRIENDS
We’ll forever be indebted to Chad Micheal Murray and Hilarie Burton for giving us One Tree Hill’s most iconic couple. Lucas Scott and Peyton Sawyer may have taken a few detours on their way to forever love, but eventually they got the happy ending they deserved. To make matters even better, they both left the show at the same time, ensuring the couple wouldn’t be diluted by one of them remaining on the show and forced to get involved with another character.
That said, fans of the couple were denied their ultimate fantasy in at least one aspect – Murray and Burton never dated in real life. Murray was famously preoccupied with Sophia Bush and on top of that, Burton claimed the two didn’t have instant chemistry, as she mentioned when the two appeared together at the 2015 Return to Tree Hill fan convention: “Here is the deal, Chad and I, we’re both alpha animals and we are both always right, naturally.”
The stars managed to get out of their own way and create not only an on-screen relationship that was truly special, but an off-screen friendship of their own.
Murray had this to say at the same convention in 2015: "The one amazing thing about Hilarie is that she can see everyone for who they really are and she appreciates everyone in their own special way. She got me from day one. She knew who I was and she knew how to handle me."
15 JARED PADALECKI AND GENEVIEVE CORTESE - DATED
Be prepared to jettison whatever fairy tale fantasy you’ve been using as your relationship goals, because Jared Padalecki and Genevieve Cortese are about to put them all to shame. This couple met on the set of Supernatural and have gone on to get married and welcome four children. Plus, their meet-cute story detailed in PopSugar is adorably relatable.
Padalecki said: "I was a single dude, and she was a pretty girl... I was very excited to meet her. Meanwhile, I think she was like, 'Who is this long-haired A-hole who thinks he can come talk to me while I'm reading a book?' I interrupted her while she was reading a book and I think she got kind of fussy about it."
Seriously, gents. Always let a reading girl lie. Luckily she wasn’t so put off by his first attempt to get to know her better, and the two have officially become the poster children for CW’s real-life happily ever after.
Their happy marriage is also all the more important given how dark and tragic Supernatural has been for over a decade now.
If they ever break up, fans might need counseling. If Supernatural ever ends, these two should seriously consider a reality spin-off of some kind.
14 GRANT GUSTIN AND CANDICE PATTON - JUST FRIENDS
Iris West has been Barry Allen’s main love interest since The Flash’s Silver Age debut in 1956. Traditionally a news reporter, she’s had a long and storied comics backstory, living on to become the mother and aunt of later Flash iterations in the modern age. That hasn’t changed on the CW’s The Flash, and the Barry and Iris have become a fan favorite-couple.
Even more popular than their on-screen pairing might be actors Grant Gustin and Candice Patton’s off-screen friendship.
The two aren’t dating, but they are adorably good buddies. They’re hugely supportive of each other on social media and in the press, which only fuels fan adoration of their relationship. Their clear affection for one another acts as an added bonus that serves to bolster one of the few interracial ships on the CW.
Patton spoken candidly on Nerdist's Fangirling about the importance of Iris’ relationship with Barry and how she feels it supports diversity: "I love that we have an interracial relationship on the show, and that it’s not questioned, and that it’s healthy and normal, and functional… the great thing about our show is how diverse we are with our casting [and] storylines, and it’s a show I wish I had when I was younger, to be quite honest."
13 MELISSA BENOIST AND CHRIS WOOD - DATED
Supergirl's Melissa Benoist and Chris Wood have been officially dating since March of 2017. At this point, their relationship appears to be thankfully more stable than Kara and Mon-El’s.
As things currently stand on Supergirl, Mon-El is in an arranged marriage to fellow extraterrestrial royal Imra Ardeen, and despite how much he may wish to rekindle things with Kara now that the two are finally back on better terms, it’s highly unlikely that’ll happen with another woman in the picture, no matter how arranged.
Luckily for Wood and Benoist, previous marriages didn’t stand in the way of the two co-stars getting together.
After Benoist’s marriage to fellow Glee co-star Blake Jenner ended in 2016, she and Wood started dating in the months after. The two are incredibly supportive of one another, as evidenced in Benoist’s support of Woods’ mental illness awareness campaign “I Don’t Mind” and his affectionate response to via Instagram her appearing in an IDM sweatshirt representing her own struggle with depression: "This brilliant woman is a light. Her heart has remained open and full despite the many difficulties she has faced, and her generous spirit fills the world with more love. I continue to be in awe of her."
Whatever happens between Kara and Mon-El, we’re glad these two have each other.
12 COLTON HAYNES AND EMILY BETT RICKARDS - JUST FRIENDS
These two actually don’t actually interact much on Arrow, but that hasn’t stopped them from becoming serious besties.
Emily Bett Rickards and Colton Haynes have cultivated one of the most adorable friendships CW fans have ever seen. They’ve traveled together, celebrated holidays together, and Rickards was in attendance at Haynes’ wedding to celebrity florist Jeff Leatham in 2017.
If you’re still in doubt about how much these two care about each other, you need only check out the adorably mushy Instagram tributes they’ve sent each other.
Rickards posted this to Haynes’ feed for his birthday: "To more smooches and devoting hikes to secrets. To beef and to Nelly. To dark bars and more cabs. To rainstorms and honeymoons. To windy roads and album tears. To interpretive dance and face glue. And most of all to you! Happy day my friend. Thank you. I'm missing you and squeezing you with all my brain cells. Love you so so much!"
Then, of course, there’s Haynes' to Rickards: "Happy Birthday my partner in crime @emilybett . Cheers to many more adventures. It's rare when someone comes in to ur life that just gets you and adds endless joy. To many more trips around the world, therapy hikes, life changing encounters, "London":), & to seeing every cat there is in existence together"
Anyone else desperate to know why London’s in quotes?
11 NINA DOBREV AND IAN SOMERHALDER - DATED
Call us crazy, but is there something in the water on vampire shows and movies? Anna Paquin met husband Stephen Moyer on the set of True Blood, Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson began their tragic love affair on the set of Twilight, and Nina Dobrev and Ian Somerhalder were one of several couples to spring up on The Vampire Diaries.
The celeb supercouple fascinated fans for two years by bringing their onscreen passion to real life offscreen, but they flamed out after two years.
Many sources cited their age difference as a reason for their break-up, but the two have never spoken publicly about the reason for their split. Things appear to have remained amicable between the two considering recent photos taken of Dobrev with Somerhalder’s wife (and Twilight alum) Nikki Reed.
Ironically, before she started dating Somerhalder, Dobrev had pretty strong opinions about dating co-stars, They weren’t exactly positive, according to an interview she gave Seventeen: I think it could definitely get sticky if you dated your costar. To be completely honest, dating an actor is very complicated. There's a lot of vanity involved. And they're in their head, and they're kind of crazy. And you're always surrounded by beautiful people. I would prefer not to date an actor."
10 KJ APA AND CAMILA MENDES - JUST FRIENDS
The stars of Riverdale can officially categorize themselves as heartthrobs. The gorgeous and talented cast of the edgy (for Archie) teen drama are the newest subjects of fan romance speculation.
Lili Reinhart and Cole Sprouse led the pack by deliberately fueling rumors that they were dating - pretty much just by doing what people do when they date, like pop up on each other’s social media and touch in public. That, of course, had people speculating about the show’s other supercouple, KJ Apa and Camila Mendes.
Archie and Veronica are officially an item on Riverdale, and KJ Apa and Camila Mendes’ close friendship has fueled speculation that they might also be an item.
However, there’s precious little hard evidence beyond the two sharing dinner with Apa’s parents on his Instagram. The two are obviously friends, but as yet, nothing seems to point to them actually being romantic with each other.
Speaking to Teen Vogue, Apa probably broke a few fan hearts by calling her a “mate": Me and Cami are really good mates and I think the writers keep giving us more and more cool stuff to work on... I think [the storylines] kind of make [Archie and Veronica] even closer than what they were. [That closeness is] not really something we need to work on. We're pretty much there [already] when we're on set."
9 ANNALYNNE MCCORD AND KELLAN LUTZ - DATED
These 90210 stars had dated on and off for several years before finally ending things in 2010. AnnaLynne McCord and Kellan Lutz actually met on an Abercrombie & Fitch modeling shoot years before either would meet again on the set of Twilight.
The two took ages to even admit they were dating, and it would be less than a year after McCord finally admitted to the relationship publicly before they broke up.
Given the frequency with which actors shed relationships - especially when couple with the frequency with which twenty-somethings shed relationships - the split didn’t come as a huge surprise to anyone.
In September of 2016, McCord revealed that a previous assault was actually at the root of the break-up. US Weekly detailed her candid remarks at a charity brunch, regarding how her assault had derailed several previous relationships, including her romance with Lutz: "I could have had some better relationships. I mean, quite frankly, if we're going to get really honest, I didn't trust anybody. I was with someone not long after this happened who I was on and off with for a couple years — Kellan Lutz. I was with Kellan Lutz, and I never trusted that he actually loved me. And he loved me so much."
Fortunately, it seems both have moved past whatever animosity might have remained as a result and are now friends.
8 CAITY LOTZ AND JES MACALLAN - JUST FRIENDS
Sarah Lance’s complicated history on Arrow has blossomed into a fascinating story that’s spilled over onto Legends of Tomorrow. The dearly departed sister of Laurel Lance and erstwhile lover of Oliver Queen returned from her watery grave after spending five years with Ra's al Ghul’s League of Assassins.
Despite having only had male romantic relationships in the past, she fell in love with Nyssa, Ra's’ daughter, though the two would later part ways.
Thank goodness, because otherwise we wouldn’t Sara’s relationship with the 12th AVA clone. Things started out a little rocky, but the two finally shared their first date on Legends of Tomorrow. With Jes Macallan now upped to series regular as of April, fans can expect this romance to be anything but fleeting, a change of pace for the single AF time traveler. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, executive producer Phil Klemmer pointed out that it was high time for Sara to settle down, but they wanted to find someone worthy of her love – enter Ava.
A cursory search of Lotz and Macallan’s social media - not to mention an epic behind-the-scenes video of them doing a robot dance- will provide more than enough evidence that these two get along wonderfully.
They’re often shown goofing off on set together and in general having fun. Prime example of squad goals, these two.
7 JAMES LAFFERTY AND SOPHIA BUSH - DATED
After Chad Michael Murray and Sophia Bush ended their marriage, but still worked together on One Tree Hill, the news of Bush’s new relationship with other OTH co-star James Lafferty would’ve had the world ready for serious drama, if not for one important fact: it was Chad Michael Murray himself who broke the news.
While on the surface a marriage that lasted five months would’ve indicated a volatile, emotional relationship, OTH actors kept things professional on set, as Murray detailed to a local CW news affiliate and reported by E!: "I think [Sophia and I] are both professional and mature enough to get through it. And now it's just easy. We're just friends. And she's got James, and James and I are friends. It's just a little tight group in Wilmington."
The co-stars came together to support one another once again after a large number of female employees accused Mark Schwann of egregious harassment on the set of the CW show.
In November of 2017, Lafferty tweeted his support of Sophia Bush, Hilarie Leyton and Bethany Joy Lenz who’d written an open letter to Schwann in the wake of the #metoo movement. Despite the romantic travails of its cast members, it appears as if Murray’s comments about their “tight little group” in Wilmington were accurate.
6 TOM WELLING & ERICA DURANCE - JUST FRIENDS
It only took ten years, but Smallville finally gave us the superhero and super-romance we were all waiting for. In the series finale, Clark Kent finally manifests his destiny and becomes the Superman we always knew was within him, finally managing to master the power of flight, saving the world and getting a job at the Daily Planet with true love Lois Lane.
Despite fans' adoration for Kent's pairing with Kristen Kreuk’s Lana Lang in a teen angst romance for the ages, Smallville managed steal their affection. Once Lois Lane came on the scene, audiences knew it was only a matter of time before she’d be the only woman in Clark Kent’s life. While the two don’t actually get married in the finale, they do remain together seven years in the future.
While Tom Welling and Erica Durance never followed in their characters’ footsteps, they still clearly got along.
In a TVGuide interview after the finale, Welling credits that friendship with informing their onscreen work: "We have a lot of fun when we work — I think that's what comes through. We've sort of developed this really crazy idea that our characters would actually enjoy each other. The fact that he's an idiot, that's what she embraces about him."
5 TORREY DEVITTO AND PAUL WESLEY - DATED
These two Vampire Diaries stars actually met on the set of a horror satire film, and then luckily DeVitto got cast as a series regular on Wesley’s soon after they married, making it so the couple could live in the same town as opposed to 2000 miles apart on opposite coasts.
Proximity wasn’t enough to keep their spark alive and the two wound up getting divorced after only two years of marriage.
Considering how painful and emotional such a break-up can be, DeVitto and Wesley should be praised for how well they handled such a potentially catastrophic situation.
They’d signed a pre-nup so their division of assets was handled without massive drama, and it probably helped that DeVitto exited The Vampire Diaries at the end of season 4, just before the two called it quits.
In a move almost out of a soap opera, Wesley then began dating his former Vampire Diaries co-star (and current The Originals star) Phoebe Tonkin shortly after his divorce, which might have made things awkward if his ex-wife had remained on the show for the fifth season.
Tonkin and Wesley wound up splitting in 2017, so if anyone’s looking, Stefan’s a free agent again!
4 DAVID HULL AND PETE GARDNER - JUST FRIENDS
A sleeper hit within a sleeper hit, the relationship between Darryl Whitefeather and White Josh on the CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has become a surprising fan favorite. Completely unexpected in both its impact and its existence, the relationship between the two men was conducted with the sensitivity, insight, and humor that have become hallmarks of Rachel Bloom and Ali Brosh McKenna’s brainchild.
Interestingly, like the Alex and Maggie on Supergirl, Darryl (Pete Gardner) and White Josh’s (David Hull) relationship jumped so many hurdles – age difference, income disparity, separate friend groups – only to be felled by something that breaks apart even the strongest couples: disagreement about whether or not to have kids.
The ever-romantic Darryl desperately wants to have another baby with his new love, but White Josh isn’t interested, and the two part ways. It was a break-up that was as grounded in realism as the relationship itself, which is why it worked so well and made all of us so, so sad.
The two actors themselves are obviously on great terms and, according to Pete Gardner in an interview with Buzzfeed, very thankful they’ve gotten to take part in such a quietly groundbreaking story: "I’ve gotten letters from [bi] friends that have written to me, and said that actually, when I kissed White Josh, they were holding their breath because they were just waiting for me to go, ‘Nope! Not gay!' [It’s] like a joke, their orientation. And that’s just not what it is [with Darryl], and that’s what’s so nice about it."
3 MILO VENTIMIGLIA AND ALEXIS BLEDEL - DATED
If you watched Gilmore Girls, you probably had an opinion about who Rory should’ve ended up with – sweet first love Dean, mercurial bad boy Jess, or charismatic rich kid Logan. Jess has remained one of Rory’s most enduring love interests (at least in the eyes of fans) and the new Netflix episodes did nothing to dim their allure. Jess still clearly held a torch for Rory, even if Rory was too preoccupied with failing at life a little to see it.
At least while they were younger, actors Alexis Bledel and Milo Ventimiglia shared some of Rory and Jess' chemistry.
While they were exceptionally good at keeping it under wraps, the two dated for three and a half years between 2002 and 2006. By all accounts they split on amicable terms, especially if their scenes in the revival were any indication. Both are pretty private about their romantic lives in general - Bledel actually managed to keep her first child with husband Vincent Kartheiser a secret for months - so they’ve said precious little about their relationship in the press.
Depsite the fact that Ventimiglia and Bledel moved on long ago from anything romantic, they still have undeniable chemistry onscreen that has us salivating for at least one more Netflix season that sees Rory and Jess finally get together and co-parent Rory’s baby.
2 GINA RODRIGUEZ AND JUSTIN BALDONI - JUST FRIENDS
Jane and Rafael have had a whirlwind romance on Jane the Virgin worthy of the telenovelas the show is based upon. Rafael was Jane’s high school crush and the accidental father of her son Matteo. That doesn’t even scratch the surface of the trials and tribulations that have faced this “couple” during the show’s four seasons.
Actors Justin Baldoni and Gina Rodriguez have a far more stable relationship off-screen than they do on the show.
This was evidenced in a particularly touching way in an Instagram post made by Baldoni in tribute to his co-star's valiant struggle with Hashimoto’s disease, a condition that cause the immune system to attack the thyroid.
Baldoni said: "This is a special gratitude post for my... acting partner and friend, who I've witnessed time and time again over the last 3 years put everything she has into our show. Who is in almost every scene, and usually ends up working 14 hour days every day. Who seems to have an endless supply of energy despite publicly fighting #Hashimotos...which I'm pretty sure no one even notices or remembers because she a warrior and never shows how tired her body probably really is ... I can write this because I've seen it firsthand, over and over again... and I know that to show up the way she does every day takes nothing short of a superhero."
We should all be so lucky to have a buddy like Baldoni in our corner.
1 BLAKE LIVELY AND PENN BADGLEY - DATED
Dan and Serena’s relationship remains one of the more controversial couples on Gossip Girl. Dan did, after all, serve as the one and only Gossip Girl, effectively spying on his own friends and supposed love of his life for years. Yeah, it was weird, but whatever, they got their happy ending. We’re sure they’re fine in fantasy land.
Unfortunately, their portrayers’ relationship wasn’t so lucky. Theey dated for three years before breaking up in 2010, and they actually managed to keep everything pretty hush-hush despite the massive amounts of attention the show garnered in its capacity as cultural phenomenon.
Lively’s always been one to protect her privacy, but she was also worried about what the higher-ups on the show would think. That fear, at least, would prove to be naïve according to a Vanity Fair article in celebration of the show's ten-year anniversary: "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. [But then] we were like, ‘Oh no, that’s exactly what they want.’ They wanted us all to date. They wanted us all to wear the same clothes that we’re wearing on the show. They wanted that, because then it fed their whole narrative."
We thank Lively and Badgley for their sacrifice for the sake of our fantasy world.
Did we miss any real couples behind the scenes of CW shows? Let us know in the comments!