Maybe it’s the nature of the business that causes celebrity couples to burn white hot before blinking out of existence and fading from public memory. When you’re a really, really, ridiculously good looking actor, work often requires you to lay your emotions bare to an equally beautiful co-star. It’s understandable that many stars would find themselves unable to keep their paws off of one another in real life after pretending to do so for hours at a time on the job.
At one time, these now-forgotten duos were head-over-heals, and their escapades were the talk of the town. Not every couple on this list met on set, but most have since been in a more high profile or significant relationship. At times, it can feel like high school, with the constant intermingling and swapping. But when you think about it, you have to kiss a lot of super sexy frogs before finding the true love (that you will later divorce). In some cases, even though both parties were equally successful at the time of their union, only one of them has sustained their grade, or graduated to the A-List. In other cases, they remained equally famous, but had other celebrity waters to traverse.
Whatever the case, take a trip down memory lane with these 18 Celebrity Couples You Completely Forgot About.
18 Benicio del Toro and Scarlett Johansson
This one is a bit of a Hollywood legend. The unlikely pair didn’t so much date as allegedly hooked up in the elevator of the Chateau Marmont hotel after the 2004 Oscars. 37-year old Benecio del Toro had been celebrating his nomination for Best Supporting Actor in 21 Grams. 20-year-old Scar-Jo, meanwhile, may have downed a little too much liquid courage in order to present the Best Makeup award.
Johansson has since tried to brush it off as a joke. But for his part, Del Toro has all but confirmed their tryst with this statement: “Did I ever have sex in an elevator with Scarlett Johansson after an awards show? I kind of like, you know, I, well. I don’t know. Let’s leave that to somebody’s imagination. Let’s not promote it. I’m sure it has happened before. It might not be the last time either.”
17 Heath Ledger and Heather Graham
Between 2000 and 2001, Heath Ledger and Heather Graham carried on a 9-month fling while the two of them were on location in Prague. He was filming A Knight’s Tale and she was donning a red wig for her part as a Ripper victim in From Hell. The 22-year-old Aussie had just broken up with his civilian girlfriend, and 31-year-old Graham had ended her 2-year relationship with actor/director Ed Burns. It was serious enough for Graham to travel down under to meet Ledger’s parents. It’s rumored that they even discussed marriage.
But in the blink of an eye, it was all over. Ledger went on to have a daughter with long-term girlfriend Michelle Williams before his untimely death in 2008. Graham, meanwhile, had a few more high-profile hookups - including Benicio Del Toro (who apparently has a thing for blondes) - before settling down with actor Yaniv Raz in 2008.
16 Juliette Lewis and Brad Pitt
Before Brangelina or even Braniston, there was Brad and Juliette. The gorgeous young up-and-comers were the picture of romantic '90s hipster bliss, making regular public appearances and starring together in the pre-Natural Born Killers serial killer road trip movie, Kalifornia. 30-year-old Brad and 20-year-old Juliette sizzled in the tabloids for four years amid rumors of drug-addled escapades.
Recently, Lewis enjoyed reminiscing about her first love saying, “I was in my high school years and it was a wonderful, loving relationship with a fun, smart guy. Then it was over and he went on to become incredibly famous.” Though not quite at Pitt-level, Lewis has also enjoyed a successful career as an actress and musician. After Brad, she was seen stepping out with Johnny Depp and even dated Tom Sizemore for a spell.
15 Gwyneth Paltrow and Ben Affleck
Prior to Ben Affleck’s back-to-back Jennifer betrothals (Lopez and Garner), and Gwyneth Paltrow’s conscious coupling with musician Chris Martin, Ben and Gwynie were the hot item of the late '90s. Though they were together for 3 years, Paltrow later admitted that Ben had not really been relationship material. At the time, she told Good Morning America that he loved “anything that serves cold beer in a bikini,” and later reflected that, “he was not in a good place in his life to have a girlfriend."
The pair called it quits not long after playing love interests in the 2000 drama Bounce. Perhaps aware of his troublemaking tendencies, Paltrow recalls that her parents rejoiced in their split. "They loved him, but they were okay with us not being together."
14 Matt Damon and Minnie Driver
You'll likely recall Matt Damon’s 1997 star-making vehicle, Good Will Hunting, but you probably forgot that Damon and his co-star Minnie Driver re-enacted their characters’ love affair in real life - minus the happy ending. Driver’s character, Skylar, is based on Damon’s actual Harvard girlfriend, who dumped him for Metallica’s Lars Ulrich shortly before production began. After Matt and Minnie had been together for over a year, Damon appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, and when asked about his relationship status, he declared himself single.
Apparently, this was news to Driver, who described her heartbreak to the L.A. Times in a classic British understatement. “It’s unfortunate that Matt went on 'Oprah'. It seemed like a good forum for him to announce to the world that we were no longer together, which I found fantastically inappropriate. Of course, he was busy declaring his love for me on 'David Letterman' a month previously.” It’s safe to assume that she didn’t like them apples after all.
13 Winona Ryder and Matt Damon
We can perhaps, in part, blame the aforementioned Gwyneth Paltrow for Minnie Driver’s broken heart. Paltrow, who was still dating Ben Affleck at the time, was the one who introduced Damon to his next girlfriend. Matt and Winona Ryder may have even hooked up before he officially ended things with Driver. Ryder and Damon were outed as a couple when she accompanied him to a pre-Oscar party in March of 1998. (He took his mom to the actual ceremony.)
Press hounded them for much of their almost two-year relationship. Though they still seemed lovey dovey at the 2000 Golden Globes, they split for good just one month later. Matt began dating Penelope Cruz, his co-star in All the Pretty Horses, while Ryder rebounded with SNL-era Jimmy Fallon. In 2009, Winona told Black Book magazine that she and Damon are still friends and that he “couldn't be a greater, nicer guy."
12 Jessica Biel and Chris Evans
Chris Evans and Jessica Biel fell in love in 2001, just before his breakout role in Not Another Teen Movie while Biel was trying to break out of her straight-laced Christian image cultivated on 7th Heaven. They spent five romantic years together, cohabitating and going skydiving on Valentine’s Day. They worked together on two films: the crime thriller Cellular and the gritty indie drama London.
Despite terrific on-screen chemistry, they couldn’t make it work for real. They split in 2006, shortly after London premiered. But no bitterness remains between them. In fact, Evans has developed a rep as a dream ex-boyfriend, saying of his past loves, “If you're ever fortunate enough to love someone and have them love you back, it's worth protecting that…It's rare that someone can truly know you. And if you've broken through that kind of wall, I think it's important to value that." Le swoon.
11 Michael Keaton and Courtney Cox
Did you see The One Where Monica Dated Beetlejuice? Shortly after Michael Keaton’s first marriage ended, the 39-year-old Batman star courted 26-year-old Courtney Cox, whose biggest claim to fame at the time was a recurring role on Family Ties. The pair met through a mutual friend after the actress had gushed about Keaton’s performance in the film Clean and Sober. They got serious quite quickly and were together for over 5 years. Months after their split, Cox still referred to their union as, “the most important relationship I’ve ever had,” and went on to call Keaton, “the most wonderful person I’ve ever met”.
Keaton never remarried, but Cox later got hitched to actor David Arquette and subsequently engaged to a member of Snow Patrol. After her 2015 wedding plans were scrapped, rumors surfaced that Cox and Keaton had attempted to rekindle their romance, but the story remains uncorroborated.
10 Kirsten Dunst and Jake Gyllenhaal
Kiki and Jake were one of Hollywood’s hottest couples from 2002 to 2004. 22-year-old Dunst had just displayed mad upside-down smooching skills in Spider-Man, and 23-year-old Gyllenhaal’s star continued to rise through his work in indie fare like The Good Girl and Moonlight Mile. They were often photographed out and about, smiling at each other like goons and reportedly having sex in public restrooms. The pair even shared a $1.7 million L.A. home and adopted a puppy called Atticus together.
But Kirsten later stated that she always saw the expiration date on their union. Apparently, she was the M.C. Skat Cat to his Paula Abdul, wanting to party all night while he just wanted to Netflix and chill. Jake later told Howard Stern that he’s been in love twice in his life. Though he didn’t specify, it’s widely speculated that Kirsten was one of the women to whom he was referring.
9 Amanda Bynes and Seth MacFarlane
Before Amanda Bynes' career came to be known as a train wreck of Thomas the Tank Engine proportions, she was a fun-loving, buzz-worthy comedic actress, known for her work on Nickelodeon sketch shows and the network sitcom, What I Like About You. In 2008, the 22-year-old met Seth MacFarlane (35) when she was hired for voice work on his animated sitcom, Family Guy. For the next 6 months, they were often spotted in public cavorting and canoodling. The “confirmation” of their union came when Bynes accompanied MacFarlane to a Fox Summer Preview event, where she stood alongside MacFarlane as he gave an interview on the red carpet.
But when Bynes grew impatient and wandered away, Seth cut the interview short, apologizing that he had to chase after his “date”. Things petered out not long afterward.
8 Cameron Diaz and Matt Dillon
Cameron Diaz met Matt Dillon circa 1995, after The Mask elevated the 23-year-old actress to star status. Dillon, then 31, was already an established Hollywood heartthrob, having girded America’s loins in films like The Outsiders, The Flamingo Kid, and Drugstore Cowboy. They remained exclusive for nearly 4 years, breaking up in 1998 shortly after co-starring in There's Something About Mary.
In July 2006, Dillon recalled the breakup in Parade magazine. "It's a very powerful thing when you feel that way about somebody. Cameron was a muse for me. I hadn't been in any [prior] deep emotional relationships." Dillon also suggested that they parted ways because of opposing relationship goals. (He wanted kids and she didn’t.) Today, Diaz is blissfully wedded to Benji Madden of the band Good Charlotte, while Dillon has been involved with Italian actress Roberta Mastromichele since 2014.
7 Liam Neeson and Helen Mirren
These two esteemed Hollywood legends of the British Isles were, in their youth, a smoking hot couple. Liam Neeson and Helen Mirren swept each other off their feet amidst the chivalrous set of the 1980 costume drama, Excalibur. They soon became inseparable and shared a home for nearly 5 years before moving on.
Both Neeson and Mirren have fond memories of their time together. Now married to producer Taylor Hackford, Mirren said of Neeson, “We loved each other. It was difficult to let go.” Neeson has an even more romantic recollection of their union, saying, “I fell in love with Helen Mirren. Oh my god. Can you imagine riding horses in shiny suits of armor, having sword fights and stuff, and you’re falling in love with Helen Mirren? It doesn’t get any better than that.” Years later, the tragic death of actress Natasha Richardson left Neeson a widower and single father. These days, he makes time with British publicist, Freya St Johnston.
6 Gary Oldman and Isabella Rossallini
Isabella Rossallini is most famously linked with directors David Lynch and Martin Scorsese. But for 2 years in the early '90s, she was all about Gary Oldman. Both were well-established actors when they connected on the set of 1994’s Immortal Beloved, where Rossellini fell for her co-star while playing one of Beethoven’s paramours. According to Beloved’s director, Bernard Rose, Oldman was smitten before they even met. “I told [Gary] I was going to meet [Isabella] for lunch. 'That's the kind of woman I want to marry,' he said. I know that the first time they kissed in the film is the first time they kissed."
At one point, the pair were even set to walk down the aisle, but Oldman wanted to get sober before starting their new life together. Unfortunately for Rossallini, Oldman decided he’d rather start his new life with a woman he met in rehab.
5 Sarah Jessica Parker and Robert Downey Jr.
From 1984 to 1991, Robert Downey Jr. and Sarah Jessica Parker were committed enough to share a home and a cat. Unfortunately, this was also during Downey’s, ahem, wild period. In 2016, RDJ reminisced about their time together, telling Howard Stern, "…she was normal and I was out of my mind…I did the best I could."
They met on the set of the film Firstborn, and dated for seven years before throwing in the towel. Despite their hardships, Parker doesn’t have any regrets, saying the relationship, “taught me how I love.” They’ve both since found stability in love - Parker with Matthew Broderick, and Downey with producer Susan Levin. When asked why she stayed with the troubled future Iron Man for so long, Parker answered, “I loved him. I felt that if I left, he might die. I believed I was the person holding him together.”
4 Sandra Bullock and Matthew McConaughey
33-year-old Sandra Bullock fell for her A Time to Kill co-star while filming in late 1996. Though they were clearly close and engaged in PDA during their year-long escapade, they wouldn’t admit to being a couple until after the fact. Bullock said that McConaughey had “become a powerful force in my life” and that “we have fabulous chemistry together,” but insisted that they were only friends. Bullock has since referred to McConaughey as an ex.
The two remain close and share a great deal of admiration for one another. McConaughey later confirmed their romance as well, telling Playboy, “We dated for a while after 'A Time to Kill', and we’re still friends. She and I have another version of our relationship to put on film, and we’re looking for something. She’s not a little girl. She’s a woman. She could run a country.” Bullock/McConaughey 2020!
3 Sandra Bullock and Ryan Gosling
Sandy has another lifelong admirer in Baby Goose. In a 2011 interview with a London newspaper, Ryan Gosling referred to Bullock as one of the “greatest girlfriends of all time. I haven't met anybody who could top them.” (Rachel McAdams was the other one). Bullock got the Hot Gos from 2002-2003, after meeting on the set of Murder by Numbers. Though some blamed their 16-year age difference for their eventual breakup, Gosling has a more chivalrous and poetic answer. “When both people are in show business it's too much show business. It takes all of the light, so nothing else can grow.”
Interestingly, it seems that Chris Evans may have competition for World’s Greatest Ex-Boyfriend. Bullock also has fond memories of her time with Gosling, saying he helped her, "to chill. I live my life at a manic pace, and he's taught me to disregard all that isn't important. He's like a little Buddha.”
2 Julia Roberts and Matthew Perry
Back when most movie stars wouldn’t be caught dead on a TV sitcom, Julia Roberts slummed it for a highly publicized guest spot on the massive hit show Friends. In the episode, “The One After the Superbowl”, Roberts played Chandler’s childhood frenemy, Suzie Underpants, who used her Hot Grownup Powers to get revenge on him for coining the nickname. Roberts and Matthew Perry decided to continue rehearsing their make out scene in private, long after the episode was in the can. They were also seen stepping out together for several steamy months between 1995 and 1996.
But it wasn’t all wine and roses for the unlikely couple. They reportedly struggled to find things in common, and the affair ultimately ended because they just couldn’t stop bickering.
1 Tom Cruise and Penelope Cruz
Tom Cruise met Penelope Cruz in 2000, when they starred together in Vanilla Sky. They began dating shortly after production and the tabloids lost their minds over their equivalent hotness and the synchronicity of their surnames. Though neither jumped on any couches about it, Tom and Penelope were reportedly smitten throughout their 3-year relationship. But Cruz, a devout Buddhist, never bought into Scientology, and eventually dumped Cruise because he kept pushing indoctrination.
Later, rumors surfaced that Penelope was only the first in a series of women unknowingly “auditioning” to become Tom’s First Lady of Scientology. According to reports, Cruz would have fit the bill perfectly, if only she’d agreed to conversion. Said a source, “Tom had very specific demands about the type of woman he was interested in, including long dark hair, olive complexion and preferably an actress.” Cruz eventually found love with Javier Bardem, while Tom hasn't been seriously linked to anyone since Katie Holmes served him divorce papers in 2012.
What other hot Hollywood couples have we forgotten about? Let us know in the comments!