Making movies is a risky business, and as the entertainment industry attempts to minimize its chances of failure, studios will go through great lengths to secure huge stars, invest in their chemistry together, and make them as comfortable as possible on set in order for their performances to shine.
But playing pretend sometimes can get confusing, which leads to the incredibly common practice of actors falling for one another during the filming of a particular movie. Sometimes those relationships last for a long time, and sometimes they end as soon as the director says “that’s a wrap.” Some of those relationships start in the middle of other relationships, and some have quite sad endings.
But what many of these behind-the-scenes romances have in common is that they end up ruining movies that should have had nothing to do with Hollywood love drama. Professional relationships become personal, and as the personal side subsequently fades, there is sometimes no longer any desire for the actors to act professionally alongside one another. Sometimes it's not possible audiences to enjoy these films without taking into consideration the very public backlash that tends to follow a celebrity break-up.
These are 15 Disastrous Behind-The-Scenes Romances That Ruined Movies.
15 JOHNNY DEPP & AMBER HEARD (PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES)
Johnny Depp and Amber Heard met during the production of 2011’s The Rum Diary, getting caught up in a relationship that would last five years and end terribly.
In May of 2016, Amber Heard was granted a restraining order against Johnny Depp after reporting that he had repeatedly abused her physically and verbally. There is even a video the actress secretly filmed (and posted online) in which a deranged and probably intoxicated Depp is seen acting abusively towards her.
Johnny Depp’s public image became increasingly problematic after this incident, and additional media reports were released citing that the actor had punched a wall during a fight with Amber Heard while he was filming Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. After his injury, filming had to be delayed for two weeks while Depp received medical treatment.
Unsurprisingly, this fifth installment in series received the lowest score of the franchise on Rotten Tomatoes (a 29%) and far underperformed at the box office in comparison to At World’s End and On Stranger Tides.
14 JENNIFER LAWRENCE & DARREN ARONOFSKY (MOTHER!)
Written and directed by Darren Aronofsky, the creative mind behind Requiem for a Dream and Black Swan, it seems that mother! took a different turn in the director’s attempt to capture the best performance an actor can give – because he began to date Jennifer Lawrence, who is the lead actress in the film.
The physical and emotional toll on Jennifer Lawrence has been widely reported. Physically, she tore her diaphragm after hyperventilating on set, and emotionally, J-Law discussed mental exhaustion from having to be on Darren Aronofsky’s side as he reacted to the widely negative criticisms toward mother!.
Then, there’s also wide speculation that the script for mother! was based on the director’s previous relationship with actress Rachel Weisz, with whom he has a child, and that the screenplay for mother! revolves around a relationship between a middle-aged man and his much younger wife.
Aronofsky and Lawrence broke up shortly after the promotional tour for mother!, which has been considered by critics and general audiences as one of the biggest movie disappointments of 2017.
13 ANGELINA JOLIE & BRAD PITT (BY THE SEA)
The world-famous “Brangelina” couple started when actors Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie met during the filming of 2005’s Mr. & Mrs. Smith, where they played husband and wife. Though Pitt was married to Friends star Jennifer Aniston at the time, his chemistry with Jolie was apparently undeniable, which led to a 12-year relationship and six children.
But by the time 2015’s By The Sea film was released, starring both Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, it was clear that their marriage had hit a rocky path, with some tabloids even alluding to the possibility that Pitt was having an affair with his Allied co-star Marion Cotillard.
As it sank in behind-the-scenes controversy, By The Sea received mixed reviews from critics and went on to make less than a million dollars at the domestic box office.
12 BEN AFFLECK & JENNIFER LOPEZ (GIGLI)
Gigli was supposed to be a dark romance between Larry Gigli (played by Ben Affleck) and Ricki (played by Jennifer Lopez). But as the two co-stars became romantically involved in a very public way and test audiences reacted negatively to the film’s dark tone (they wanted to see “Bennifer” have fun on the screen!), producers decided to take the Pretty Woman route and turn what was meant to be a movie with depth and deaths into a generic romantic comedy.
Over time, Gigli has gone on to be considered one of the worst movies of all time. On Rotten Tomatoes, it has a score of 7%. The “Bennifer” couple only lasted for a year and a half, citing the overwhelming media coverage as one of the reasons for the break-up.
11 KRISTEN STEWART & RUPERT SANDERS (SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN)
After years of dealing with the unnecessary media frenzy over her relationship with Twilight co-star Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart saw herself in the middle of a different romantic affair (and scandal) behind the scenes of a movie production.
During the filming of 2012’s Snow White and the Huntsman, the actress was caught by paparazzi getting all cuddly with Rupert Sanders. Aside from being the movie’s director, Sanders was a very married man – he had been with model Liberty Ross for ten years, with whom he has two children.
Besides ruining the Sanders/Ross marriage, this disastrous behind-the-scenes romance also didn’t bode well for the Snow White and the Huntsman movie, which has a 48% score on Rotten Tomatoes and went on to become a very forgettable - if profitable - project involving A-list actors such as Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron.
10 OWEN WILSON & KATE HUDSON (YOU, ME & DUPREE)
2006’s You, Me & Dupree was a light-hearted romantic comedy directed by the Russo brothers, who are currently better known for their work in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War films.
But it was also in You, Me & Dupree when Owen Wilson and Kate Hudson met and started to date. Things took a turn one year later, as the couple broke up and Owen Wilson reportedly tried to commit suicide, entering a disheartening state of depression that forced him to withdraw from Tropic Thunder.
In 2008, one year after Owen Wilson’s attempted suicide, the actor rekindled with Kate Hudson, and the couple dated for about another year before finally putting the relationship to rest for good.
9 GUY RITCHIE & MADONNA (SWEPT AWAY)
Madonna, mostly known as a pop star, had several very public and very brief affairs with Hollywood men, but her marriage to director Guy Ritchie was undoubtedly the longest and most serious of them all.
Two years after their marriage, Madonna was cast as the protagonist to Guy Ritchie’s new film, 2002’s Swept Away, which was overwhelmingly knocked by critics and to this day holds up a 5% score on Rotten Tomatoes. The consensus on the website reads, “Swept Away offers further proof that Madonna can’t act.”
The critical general consensus in regards to Swept Away is that Madonna didn’t have to be cast in it, and it was her relationship with Guy Ritchie that made them think that this casting choice would’ve been a good idea, to the serious detriment of the film.
8 JENNIFER ANISTON & VINCE VAUGHN (THE BREAK-UP)
There is definitely some irony to it, but actor Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston were actually dating in real life during the production of 2006’s The Break-Up. Shortly after the filming of that movie ended, they broke up.
What was supposed to be a light-hearted romantic comedy about a couple going through a rough patch and trying to make amends became a very meta and quasi-true story as Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston were actually going through similar things off screen as well. Knowing the relationship that was happening behind-the-scenes, it becomes tough to watch The Break-Up without cringing a little bit.
Since 2010, Vince Vaughn has been married to Canadian realtor Kyla Weber, with whom he has two children. Jennifer Aniston found love a year later, in 2011, as she met actor and screenwriter Justin Theroux, who she married in 2015.
7 NICOLE KIDMAN & TOM CRUISE (EYES WIDE SHUT)
Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise met in 1990’s Days of Thunder and formed a couple of the highest profile for many years. They also went on to work together in Far and Away (1992) and Eyes Wide Shut (1999).
But it was during Eyes Wide Shut that things began to go sour, prompting Tom Cruise to abruptly file for divorce in 2001 as the couple had encountered “irreconcilable differences.” Many speculate that Cruise’s involvement with Scientology is what fueled his divorce with Nicole Kidman. Though the actor had been involved with this faith since the early 1990s, it was later in that decade that his commitment became really visible, allegedly without Kidman’s full support.
Iconic director Stanley Kubrick reportedly put the young couple through the ringer while filming Eyes Wide Shut, sowing real discord between them by preying on their insecurities in order to get the performances he wanted. Eyes Wide Shut is now remembered for being the last glimpse at this behind-the-scenes Hollywood romance that ended on a disastrous note.
6 COURTENEY COX & DAVID ARQUETTE (SCREAM 4)
Scream co-stars Courteney Cox and David Arquette met during the production of the first film of the series, but only got married in 1999, after they both returned for Scream 2.
After more than 10 years of marriage (and a Scream 3) later, the couple announced that they were going to get separated in 2010, which made things undoubtedly awkward for the release of 2011’s Scream 4. The couple worked on finalizing their divorce between 2010 and 2012, so a movie release in the middle of it probably didn’t make things go smoother.
Friends die-hards remember how Courteney Cox infamously changed her professional name to Courteney Cox-Arquette during her marriage to David, and their separation definitely didn’t help the marketing surrounding Scream 4. In the film, their characters' relationship is going through similar strain - an unnecessary note in an already crowded film that could've believably stemmed from a real life desire not to share too many scenes.
5 JUDE LAW & SIENNA MILLER (ALFIE)
Jude Law and Sienna Miller met during the filming of the 2004 remake of Alfie, in which Law played the title character. By Christmas of that year, the couple had become engaged. Then, in 2005, the actor released a public statement confessing that he had cheated on Miller with the nanny of the children he has with ex-wife Sadie Frost.
Jude Law did not pursue a further relationship with the nanny. He and Sienna Miller broke up a year later, but had a brief rekindling between 2009 and 2011 after the two coincidentally starred in separate shows on Broadway.
The 2004 remake of Alfie went on to be remembered for this behind-the-scenes drama more than anything else. On Rotten Tomatoes, the movie has a score of 49%.
4 UMA THURMAN & ETHAN HAWKE (GATTACA)
Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman met while filming the 1997 science fiction movie Gattaca, which crashed at the box office but was received well by critics. The couple went on two have two children, but in 2003, they filed for divorce amid allegations that Hawke had cheated on Thurman.
Three years later, Ethan Hawke married to Ryan Shawhughes, who had previously worked as a nanny for his children with Uma Thurman. Though the actor has repeatedly denied that Shawhughes was the cause of his divorce with Thurman, many in the media have speculated that, in simple terms, Ethan Hawke left his wife for their nanny.
In interviews, the actor has expressed negative thoughts about monogamy, and in regards to Uma Thurman, he has said the following: “I had no business taking vows that would last more than two weeks.”
3 RYAN PHILLIPPE & ABBIE CORNISH (STOP-LOSS)
Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe’s relationship became of public interest when the couple starred together in 1999’s Cruel Intentions, which was a huge success at the time. They got married and had children together, but in 2006, the couple began a divorce process that took about two years to be finalized.
In 2007, in the midst of this ugly and very public divorce with Reese Witherspoon, Ryan Phillippe went on to shoot Stop-Loss and began to date co-star Abbie Cornish. Needless to say, the entire conversation surrounding that movie became about Ryan Phillippe “cheating” / moving on rather quickly from Witherspoon, who undoubtedly held the title of America’s Sweetheart well into the 2000s.
Stop-Loss grossed less than half of its budget at the box office. A serious film about PTSD and the Iraq war crumbled under the weight of tabloid fodder.
2 RICHARD BURTON & ELIZABETH TAYLOR (CLEOPATRA)
One of the most classically disastrous behind-the-scenes romances of all time was between Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton during the 1963 remake of Cleopatra. At the time, both Taylor and Burton were married to other people, but began an adulterous affair on set that became public and affected their personal lives in enormous ways.
Cleopatra had a production value of a blockbuster in 1963. The film was budgeted at $5 million (the highest budget ever at the time), and Elizabeth Taylor was given a record-setting $1 million to be in it. During filming, the actress became sick for four months, and an estimated $7 million was spent just to make ten minutes of the movie.
Despite the public backlash, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton made their union official in 1964, and only truly broke up 12 years later, in 1976.
1 ANGELINA JOLIE & BILLY BOB THORNTON (PUSHING TIN)
Even though the most best remembered behind-the-scenes romance story involving Angelina Jolie is her relationship with Brad Pitt, some remember that, before Pitt, there was another disastrous affair the actress went through.
Billy Bob Thornton was engaged to actress Laura Dern between 1997 and 1999, but as he met Angelina Jolie behind-the-scenes on the set of 1999’s Pushing Tin, the engagement was suddenly broken off and a new couple was formed. Pushing Tin did not make a lot of money at the box office, and is now mostly remembered for this particular Hollywood drama.
The Billy Bob Thornton/Angelina Jolie relationship only lasted until 2002, when Jolie adopted her first child as a single parent and the couple called quits. Thornton went on to date Connie Angland in 2003, and they are still together.
Are there other dramatic behind-the-scenes movie couples? Share them in the comments!