One of the essential elements between characters on a TV series is onscreen chemistry. Usually depicted between two would-be lovers on a show, the “will they, won’t they” dynamic of a couple’s potential romance adds to the appeal for the audience.
Although viewers tune in for the possibility of their favorites getting together, they also tend to transfer those hopes to the actors and actresses themselves. On occasion, we become so engrossed in our love for two TV characters that we hope the actual stars become an item as well. Some long-time co-stars may develop a natural chemistry between them and eventually start dating or marry in real life. For others, though, depicted as the perfect couple, their behind-the-scenes relationship may have soured considerably.
Stories of on-set feuds and hatred sometimes add to the appeal of the show. However, in some cases, the tension becomes too great and either a character is removed or the show is canceled altogether. We’re exploring some onscreen TV couples that found love and hate on their respective sets.
From walking down the aisle to walking off the set for goobed, here are 8 TV Couples Who Dated In Real Life (And 8 Who Despised Each Other).
16. Dated: Blake Lively and Penn Badgley — Gossip Girl
The tumultuous relationship between Gossip Girl characters Serena van der Woodsen and Dan Humphrey ran the entire course of the series. Though faced with a bevy of issues, which included becoming step-siblings and Dan impossibly actually being Gossip Girl, the two managed to face it all and still end up together.
However, in the course of the onscreen relationship, these two costars found love in real life. Blake Lively and Penn Badgley began dating back in 2007 and stayed together until 2010.
The crew did not find out about their breakup until the filming of the season 2 finale. Though the two stars did not get the happy ending that their fictional counterparts did, fans found some joy in knowing the love between Serena and Dan transferred into real life, even if only briefly.
15. Despised: Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny – The X-Files
The dynamic between Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny on The X-Files helped to catapult the success of both the show and their individual careers. The exploits of FBI special agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully became ever more interesting with another layer of romantic tension between them.
Many fans of the show believed the two stars began dating in real life too. Not only did the two stars not share a romance, but they harbored resentment toward each other.
Anderson shared with The Washington Post: “Did David and I hate each other? At times yes like any brother and sister, husband and wife, co-worker and co-worker forced to spend that much time together under such strenuous circumstances.”
14. Dated: Adam Brody and Rachel Bilson – The OC
Though initially intended to be a small supporting character, Summer Roberts soon became a fan favorite and an essential part of The O.C. Her original role, the crush of Seth Cohen, soon expanded and she eventually became his girlfriend and wife in later seasons.
Although Summer took several seasons to realize her feelings for the lovable geek, Rachel Bilson fell for co-star Adam Brody in season 1. They initially denied any romantic connections, but their relationship soon became public knowledge thanks to the tabloids. Rumors about an engagement bounced around for some time but were proven untrue.
In 2006, People Magazine broke the news that the couple had ended their relationship after three years. Fittingly enough, Brody is now married to another former teen soap star: Leighton Meester, who played Blair on Gossip Girl.
13. Despised: Mark Salling and Naya Rivera – Glee
Glee fans watched the different pairings of their favorite students on the hit musical show. Although some onscreen couples became fan favorites, others just became too problematic to support.
The relationship between Noah “Puck” Puckerman and Santana Lopez could not have gone any worse. Unfortunately, their onscreen personas reflected their real-life struggles in their relationship. +
Mark Salling and Naya Rivera dated on and off again for three years while on Glee. However, their relationship took a turn for the worse when Salling began seeing multiple women on the side. Rivera got her revenge by covering his car with “bird seed, dogfood, and eggs.”
12. Dated: Alexis Bledel and Milo Ventimiglia – Gilmore Girls
When newcomer and bad boy Jess Mariano moved Stars Hollow, fans of Gilmore Girls witnessed a love triangle develop for Rory. Being one of the few residents to accept him, she eventually developed feelings for him. After Dean broke up with her, Jess and Rory finally get together, although the relationship did not last very long.
Though Jess was the main love interest for only two seasons, the real-life romance between the two stars continued considerably longer. Alexis Bledel and Milo Ventimiglia began dating in 2002, one year after Jess joined the Season 2 cast. Their relationship grew very serious, with them considering marriage one day.
11. Despised: Jason Alexander and Heidi Swedberg – Seinfeld
Seinfeld fans could never forget how George Costanza truly disliked his fiancée Susan Ross. Not only did he try to avoid committing to her in their relationship but he found every possible excuse to delay their marriage as well. Tragically (and quite humorously), Susan died from licking the glue on cheap envelopes for their wedding invitations. Thanks to George’s frugality, he managed to “off” his future wife indirectly.
However, actor Jason Alexander revealed that his working relationship with actress Heidi Swedberg became just as poisoned as their characters’. Time Magazine reported that “the catalyst for her death was himself, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Jerry Seinfeld complaining to creator Larry David about having to work with her.” Wow.
10. Dated: Emily VanCamp and Josh Bowman – Revenge
The plot of the ABC drama Revenge revolved around a vengeance plan by Amanda Clarke (under the alias Emily Thorne). As part of her elaborate scheme, she managed to make the son of two of her targets, Daniel Grayson, fall in love with and marry her. Although their marriage became part of her overall plan, these two co-stars did not know their onscreen lives would transfer to real life.
Emily VanCamp and Josh Bowman began dating in 2011, the same year the show started airing on TV. Although Revenge came to an end in 2014, the couple remained together after its conclusion. In fact, their very private romance just hit a new milestone with a very public announcement. VanCamp shared a picture of herself wearing an engagement ring on Instagram on May 11, 2017.
9. Despised: Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd – Moonlighting
Centering around the Blue Moon Detective Agency, Moonlighting became one of the first successful comedy-dramas of the 1980s.
Starring Hollywood heavyweights Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd, the show helped to make Willis a household name and reignited Shepherd’s career. Although the two stars had great chemistry together on the show, the truth behind their relationship behind the scenes revealed a darker secret. Simply put: they could not stand each other!
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly in 2005, Shepard admitted “It’s hard to do a show and keep your relationships with everybody. I remember at one point in the show, it had gotten to where we just hated each other. It was a very volatile.” Wow. Imagine having to work with someone you hated for four long years.
8. Dated: Ben McKenzie and Morena Baccarin – Gotham
The love story between Ben McKenzie and Morena Baccarin could be described as a complicated journey. Though the two first met on the set of The O.C. years ago, they did not find love until they both starred in Gotham.
Playing onscreen couple Jim Gordon and Dr. Leslie Thompkins, the attraction between the actor and the actress translated to more than just onscreen chemistry. No one knew about their relationship until Baccarin made a public statement about her ongoing divorce from Austin Chick. Though her divorce was not finalized until 2016, she announced in September 2015 that she intended to marry her co-star when the proceedings officially concluded. In addition, she also shared that she was pregnant with their first child!
7. Despised: Chad Michael Murray and Sophia Bush – One Tree Hill
Many onscreen couples found themselves dealing with the fallout from their real-life relationship. Typically, a bad breakup made things hard to deal with on the set. However, for One Tree Hill’s Chad Michael Murray and Sophia Bush, their broken marriage became an issue for the show.
The two stars fell into a whirlwind relationship while filming the teen drama, getting engaged and married within its first two years. However, after five short months, the young couple filed for divorce. To add to the on-set tensions, both stars began dating other co-stars and extras on the show. And you thought the relationship between their characters Brooke Davis and Lucas Scott was messy!
6. Dated: Kit Harington and Rose Leslie — Game of Thrones
Given its high bodycount, bloody brawls and brutal storylines, the HBO fantasy drama Game of Thrones does not seem like the best setting to find a future mate. However, two of its co-stars, Kit Harington and Rose Leslie, stumbled onto something genuine in their onscreen time together.
First meeting in 2012, the future couple became close while filming their scenes together. Their onscreen personas, Jon Snow and Ygritte, meet unexpectedly and share a brief romance. However, the sparks between Harington and Leslie led to their eventual romance. Though they separated briefly, the couple reunited and revealed their relationship in 2016 and got engaged the following year.
5. Despised: Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic– Castle
The announcement of lead actress Stana Katic’s departure from the hit dramedy Castle shocked her fans tremendously. Playing Detective Kate Beckett, she starred for eight seasons as the partner and love interest for Richard Castle (played by Nathan Fillion). Although the two maintained a lovable dynamic throughout the course of the series, their behind-the-scenes feud became too much for the cast and crew to handle.
According to US Weekly, the co-stars experience significant tension and dislike for many years on the show. The magazine reported that “Stana Katic and Nathan Fillion completely despise each other…They will not speak when they are off set, and this has been going on for seasons now.” Several sources cited Fillion as the problem in their working relationship revealing that “Nathan has been nasty to Stana for a long time.” Yikes.
4. Dated: Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer – True Blood
Over the seven seasons that True Blood was on the air, fans watched as Sookie Stackhouse kept a revolving door of relationships on the show. However, the first season set Sookie up with an improbable match: the vampire Bill Compton. Coming from two completely different worlds, this future couple experienced an instant attraction to one another.
In a strange twist of fate, the same immediate attraction happened between the two co-stars as well. Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer began dating just days into production of the first season of the show.
According to People, Moyer stated, “By day three or four – oh, this is going to sound so syrupy – but I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. It was within seconds, really, and it just became a thing.” The couple wed in 2010 and have two children together.
3. Despised: Charlie Sheen and Selma Blair – Anger Management
Anger Management served as the television comeback for Charlie Sheen after his disastrous departure from Two and a Half Men. His character Charlie Goodson maintained a “friends with benefits” relationship with his former therapist Dr. Kate Wales (played by Selma Blair).
Ironically, the two co-stars could have benefited from several therapy sessions since their working relationship became toxic over time.
E! Online revealed that “The feud between Sheen and Blair ‘went down very fast,’ our source says, adding that the former Two and a Half Men star ‘went full throttle into getting her off the show immediately’ when he learned that she had complained about his tardiness and work ethic.”
Blair left the show in 2013 at the demand of Sheen. Soon after, a new character replaced Kate as Charlie’s therapist. However, the unnecessary drama and waning viewership led to the show’s cancellation after only two years on-air.
2. Dated: Josh Dallas and Ginnifer Goodwin — Once Upon a Time
What could be more perfect than the thought of Snow White and her Prince Charming finally being together? The fantasy drama Once Upon A Time brought this fairytale to life in its first season, reuniting the couple by season’s end.
The romantic tale of these two fictional characters became ever more real when their respective stars fell for each other in real life. Josh Dallas and Ginnifer Goodwin began their real-life fairytale romance in 2011 during the first season of the show.
After two years of dating, they became engaged in 2013 and officially married in 2014. In the same year, they welcomed their first child, Oliver, and a second son, Hugo, in 2016.
1. Despised: Julie McCullough and Kirk Cameron – Growing Pains
The ’80s sitcom Growing Pains provide clean, wholesome entertainment for families across the country. Following the lives of the Seaver family, the show helped to launch the careers of several of its stars (including a young Leonardo DiCaprio). The young characters grew up over the years and began reaching new milestones in their lives.
Characters Mike (Kirk Cameron) and Julie Costello (Julie McCullough) eventually fell in love, got engaged and headed down the aisle. However, their happily ever after turned soured when Kirk Cameron (a born-again Christian) found out about McCullough’s Playboy centerfold past. He reportedly pressured producers to fire her from the show to preserve their wholesome demeanor.
Given his status as one of the biggest stars on the show, producers caved and eventually wrote Julie off of the show after only eight episodes.
Which of these TV couples were your favorite? Let us know in the comments!
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