Love works in mysterious ways. Many times, we think we’ve found the one with whom we’re meant to be. We date them for years and expect things will work out. Perhaps we even get engaged, or married. Then, for whatever reason, things fall through, and we’re left picking up the pieces, no matter who was the one to walk away.
That’s where rebounds come in.
They happen to the best of us, and sometimes serve as a much-needed balm for our heartache. In the camera-heavy world of Hollywood, there’s only so much time you can spend cooped up at home before you want to show your ex that you’re living your best life, right? Occasionally, these rebounds get serious. Rather than a quick fling to get their groove back, certain celebs will go all in, and actually get married with their newfound partner! This doesn’t always work out, and the marriages are usually quickly ended, the result of rash thinking. However, on other occasions, things do turn out for the best. For those celebrity couples, finding someone on the rebound was just what they needed, as they’re now in the midst of their “happily ever after”!
Like we said, love works in mysterious ways! Here are 20 celebrity couples who started out as rebounds.
20 Kaley Cuoco & Ryan Sweeting
The Big Bang Theory actress Kaley Cuoco has a bit of a habit of jumping from relationship to relationship. Prior to briefly dating Superman star Henry Cavill for a mere two weeks, Cuoco had been involved with musician Bret Bollinger. However, the media scrutiny of her relationship with Cavill led to things ending prematurely – but it didn’t stop the actress from finding love again!
Cuoco took up with tennis player Ryan Sweeting and, after only three months together, the couple announced that they were engaged. As Fame10 reports, in an interview with Cosmopolitan, Cuoco described her wedding as “the eighth wonder of the world, the greatest wedding of all time.” Alas, the rebound romance didn’t last and the two finalized their divorce in 2016.
19 Johnny Depp & Amber Heard
Johnny Depp had been involved with French actress and model Vanessa Paradis for over a decade when he met actress Amber Heard on the set of The Rum Diary. Depp and Paradis shared two children together and lived in France, but had never married. The pair unexpectedly split and stories started surfacing that Depp had pulled the plug in order to take up with his much-younger co-star.
Well, take up with her he did, and he ended up walking down the aisle with Heard in 2015. However, trouble in paradise began almost from the get-go, and Heard filed for divorce just 15 months after their nuptials, amid many distressing instances of Depp’s behaviour.
18 Renee Zellweger & Kenny Chesney
Remember when Renee Zellweger married country musician Kenny Chesney on a beach, seemingly out of nowhere? Yeah, the 2000s were a crazy time!
Zellweger had already exhibited a taste for musicians when she got involved with another odd choice, White Stripes frontman Jack White, whom she met while filming 2003’s Cold Mountain. After a couple of years together, the two parted ways and the actress found herself in the arms of Chesney. Quickly, they tied the knot on a beach but, just four months later, the rebound romance had fizzled, and the couple filed for an annulment, citing, “miscommunication of the objective of their marriage,” whatever that means.
17 Naya Rivera & Ryan Dorsey
Sometimes teenage romance lasts and sometimes, it totally falls apart. Glee actress Naya Rivera did things a little differently when, after splitting from rapper Big Sean amid a cancelled engagement, she decided to fall into the arms of longtime friend Ryan Dorsey. Or, maybe she just really wanted to get married!
In the summer of 2014, Rivera made it very clear that she wasn’t over Big Sean because she and Dorsey decided to tie the knot on the exact same day she and the former were supposed to get married! The couple did manage to stick things out for a few years, and even got a baby out of it, but split for good in 2018.
16 Britney Spears & Kevin Federline
The mid-to late-2000s were not a good few years for Britney Spears. While many think that, at the time, she had never fully recovered from her massively public split from Justin Timberlake, Spears was dating all over town, getting cozy with the likes of Colin Farrell and Fred Durst, as well as marrying her childhood friend for about 48 hours. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly who qualifies as the reason for her rebound, but the subject of it – and her eventual husband – was backup dancer Kevin Federline.
The two divorced and sent Spears into a mental health spiral but, years later, she has more clarity, explaining in a 2008 documentary, as Fame10 reports,“I think I married for the wrong reasons….I just did it for the idea of everything.”
15 Stacy Keibler & Jared Pobre
How do you follow up dating the guy who swore he would be a bachelor forever? Former WWE wrestler Stacy Keibler had a very high-profile romance with actor George Clooney from July 2011 to July 2013.
A few months later, in the fall of the same year, Keibler began seeing Jared Pobre, a tech entrepreneur whom she had known for several years. By March 2014, they were married! Since then, the couple has had two children – a son and a daughter – and by all accounts seem quite happy together (and way more low-key than her previous A-list coupling)! Hey, sometimes rebound relationships can totally work!
14 Joel Madden & Nicole Richie
In a case of weird serendipity, both Joel Madden and Nicole Richie were rebounding with each other when they got together! Richie had split from DJ Adam “AM” Goldstein in May 2006 after being on and off for a couple years. Madden had been previously involved with Hilary Duff for years, and split with her just two weeks before getting together with Richie in December 2006.
While they seem like a bit of an odd couple, these two have managed to make it last, and tied the knot in 2010, after having two children together: daughter Harlow, born in 2008, and son Sparrow in 2009.
13 Katy Perry & Russell Brand
Before Katy Perry really hit it big, she was paying her dues and also dating Gym Class Heroes frontman Travie McCoy. From 2007 to 2009, the two were involved, but things ended badly, with both parties trading barbs in song. (Perry in particular referenced McCoy’s substances issues in the song “Circle the Drain.”)
By September 2009, Perry’s heart had mended and she found herself in the arms of British comedian Russell Brand, whom she’d met at the MTV VMAs. Three months after making things public, they wed in India in a New Year’s Eve ceremony. Alas, just 14 months later, things ended unceremoniously, with Brand sending a text to Perry calling it quits.
12 Jessica Simpson & Eric Johnson
After splitting with her husband and Newlyweds co-star Nick Lachey, Jessica Simpson spent a lot of time riding the rebound rollercoaster. She had high-profile romances with Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine, John Mayer and NFL player Tony Romo (the latter of which got her the distinction of being a “jinx” at his games).
After Romo unceremoniously dumped Simpson on the eve of her 29th birthday, Simpson realized that she deserved better, and set her sights on another NFL star, this time former tight end Eric Johnson. In November 2010, the two announced their engagement, and later married in July 2014. They’ve since welcomed two children and are expecting a third!
11 Nick Lachey & Vanessa Minnillo
The other half of the Newlyweds pair, Nick Lachey, also found love again on the rebound, although he didn’t have to do quite as much searching to do it. (He did have brief flings with Kristin Cavallari and Kim Kardashian, before she rocketed to fame.)
In 2006, Vanessa Minnillo was cast in Lachey’s music video “What’s Left Of Me” (ironically about ex Jessica Simpson) and the two began seeing each other shortly afterwards. They, too, announced their engagement at the same time as Simpson and Johnson, and married in a televised ceremony in July 2011. They have since welcomed three children, proving that sometimes you find the perfect person on the rebound!
10 Jennifer Lopez & Marc Anthony
A serial monogamist to the core, Jennifer Lopez has a laundry list of famous men she’s been involved with, including three marriages, in her decades-long career.
It was actually after her very public split from Ben Affleck that she sought solace in the arms of Marc Anthony, whom she had known for years. The thing is, even Lopez admits that Anthony was a rebound! As Fame10 reports, in her book True Love, the actress/singer writes,
“Marc came back into my life three days after I should have been at the altar saying ‘I do’ to another man. Thinking back, maybe I knew this was a Band-Aid on the cut, that my wound hadn’t been stitched or healed.”
9 Katie Holmes & Tom Cruise
Katie Holmes was a girl-next-door cutie pie who had been dating the equally adorable actor Chris Klein for five years. The two seemed like endgame, when they unexpectedly split. Klein was pretty sensible about the whole thing, explaining, quite simply, that they had grown up, as Glamour reports.
The following month, tabloid photos confirmed that Holmes had become the newest lady love for mega-star Tom Cruise, and their extremely public relationship began, full of Vespa rides on the red carpet, PDA sessions, couch-jumping and a textbook proposal at the top of the Eiffel Tower. The pair wed in Italy in 2006, welcomed a daughter and split up a few years later.
8 Justin Timberlake & Jessica Biel
Few couplings are as emblematic of the 2000s power couple as Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake. For years after their split, people have reminisced about them and questioned whether one was truly over the other. However, that’s not the rebound relationship in question here! After Spears, Timberlake dated Cameron Diaz for three whole years! They split in December 2006 but by January 2007, the singer was back on his feet, and began romancing actress Jessica Biel.
It wasn’t always smooth sailing for the pair, who briefly parted ways, before they got engaged in December 2011 and married the following year. They have since had one child together.
7 Ashton Kutcher & Mila Kunis
Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis were pretty much meant to be, but before they finally found their way back to one another, years after co-starring as a couple on That '70s Show, they were both first involved in some serious relationships.
From 2002 to 2011, Kunis dated actor Macaulay Culkin while Kutcher was married to Demi Moore from 2005 to 2012. In January 2012, just a couple weeks after his divorce had been finalized (Moore had filed in 2011), Kutcher and Kunis began dating. They exchanged “I do”s in July 2015 and have become parents to two beautiful children, daughter Wyatt and son Dimitri.
6 Nikki Reed & Ian Somerhalder
It seems that Ian Somerhalder has a bit of a thing for girls who’ve played vampires! After dating co-star Nina Dobrev from The Vampire Diaries for years, he found love with Twilight actress Nikki Reed – but he wasn’t the one who was on the rebound.
Reed had been married to musician Paul McDonald since October 2011, but announced their impending divorce in 2014. Shortly afterwards, she began seeing Somerhalder, but the real cherry on top was that the two announced their engagement just one month after her divorce to McDonald had been finalized! Call it what you want, but it’s managed to work for the couple, who are happily married and have since had a daughter together.
5 Zoe Saldana & Marco Perego
Zoe Saldana has had an interesting time of things when it comes to relationships. From June 2010 to November 2011, she was engaged to longtime boyfriend Keith Britton, with whom she had been for 11 years. After that split, she began seeing Bradley Cooper for a couple of years, but things ran hot and cold between them. Seeing that her rebound would be just a rebound, Saldana looked elsewhere and found the rebound for her rebound!
Artist Marco Perego began dating the star in March 2013 and married her in a super-secret ceremony just five months later. The two have three children together and Saldana has no issues keeping an ex and ax, as Fame10 reports her saying, “There’s a reason why I called you an ex. I crossed you off my list.”
4 Adam Levine & Behati Prinsloo
It’s a bit of a cliché, but Adam Levine is a rockstar who can’t help but find himself in the arms of many a gorgeous model. For a couple of years, he was involved with Anne Vyalitsyna (or Anne V), but when she dumped him in 2012, he found solace in the arms of Victoria’s Secret model Behati Prinsloo.
Things didn’t work out from the get-go however, and the couple went on a break, when during that time, Levine was around Nina Agdal. The pair couldn’t stay away from each other, however, and reconciled. Fast-forward to now and they have been married since 2014 and are the proud parents of two daughters!
3 Reese Witherspoon & Jim Toth
It’s easy to remember that Reese Witherspoon was married to Ryan Phillippe, since the couple share two doppelgänger children and were rising through the ranks of young Hollywood when they tied the knot. However, it’s less easy to remember that, after their divorce, she dated Jake Gyllenhaal for two years, and even lived with him! He was who she was rebounding from when she met agent Jim Toth at a wedding - he rescued her from an inebriated guest.
A year after her split from Gyllenhaal, Witherspoon was engaged to Toth and, in March 2011, they wed. They have since welcomed a son named Tennessee together to join their blended brood.
2 Kim Kardashian & Kanye West
Once upon a time, Kim Kardashian was married to an NBA player and, 72 days later, filed for divorce. By most accounts, Kris Humphries was not the right man for the role, and that might explain Kardashian’s rush to find someone new.
That person just so happened to be Kanye West, a guy who had long adored Kardashian from afar. Two months after her split from Humphries, the couple were seeing one another and, before her divorce was even finalized, the businesswoman and reality TV star found herself pregnant.
The couple married in a lavish ceremony and now has three children together, with a fourth on the way!
1 Blake Lively & Ryan Reynolds
Before Blake Lively bagged Ryan Reynolds, she was more or less biding her time. After her split from Gossip Girl co-star Penn Badgley, she moved on with Leonardo DiCaprio. At the time, Reynolds was still married to Scarlett Johansson. However, once Reynolds and Johansson officially divorced, Lively dumped DiCaprio and swept Reynolds up!
The former Green Lantern co-stars became serious quickly, going public in October 2011 and marrying in September 2012. They have two daughters together and seem happier than ever, always willing to trade jokes and poke fun at one another online.