Celebs spend so much time getting hot and heavy with costars on-screen, it’s easy for audiences to believe that they actually have something between them IRL. After all, that’s the point, isn’t it? On occasion, celebs do fall in love on set while pretending to be in love. Notable examples include Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes, and Kit Harington and Rose Leslie!
While playing a couple can definitely start the fires burning, love can also spark between actors and those people behind the scenes. These are the people who aren’t on camera, the ones who do the grunt work of writing, directing, choreographing, or producing. They don’t get all the glamour, red carpets, and name recognition as their silver-screen counterparts, but sometimes they do manage to snag the star!
These 20 celebs have been paid to pretend to be in love or in lust, but they weren’t pretending! They managed to fall – hard. Some of these couples were short-lived tabloid fodder, while others managed to make it for a few years before calling it quits. Still others have been together for much longer.
Sometimes what we’re looking for isn’t right in front of us, it’s just behind the camera. Here are 20 celebs who fell in love with people behind the scenes.
20 Kristen Stewart & Rupert Sanders (Director)
When Kristen Stewart and director Rupert Sanders met while filming Snow White and the Huntsman, their brief relationship was no fairytale. At the time, Stewart was still involved with her Twilight costar Robert Pattinson, while Sanders was married to model Liberty Ross, with whom he shares two children.
In 2012, Us Weekly published candid photos of the couple cuddling up, which prompted both Stewart and Sanders to issue public apologies to their fans and their partners for their behavior. The deed was done, though, and Ross chose to divorce Sanders a year later, while Stewart failed to return for the Hunstman sequel.
19 Rose McGowan & Robert Rodriguez (Director)
While some exes have amicable splits, the same cannot be said for actress Rose McGowan and director Robert Rodriguez, who began dating prior to the former appearing in the latter’s film Grindhouse in 2007.
The two became involved while Rodriguez was still married, and later got engaged. Sadly, things didn't work out. However, according to McGowan in her tell-all memoir Brave, Rodriguez was a jealous and erratic partner, once even stepping in for an actor during a kissing scene with the actress, and another time making her take a lie detector test. McGowan also recalled her anger at Rodriguez selling Grindhouse to Harvey Weinstein.
18 Jennifer Lawrence & Darren Aronofsky (Director)
Despite their 22-year age difference, actress Jennifer Lawrence and director Darren Aronofsky’s affection for one another blossomed into a relationship that lasted for about a year after they met on the set of Mother!
Throughout press for the film, the couple kept things under wraps, but in an interview with Vogue Lawrence admitted that she was into him from the beginning, saying, “We had energy. I had energy for him…I’ve been in relationships before where I am just confused. And I’m never confused with him.”
Despite their split, as recently as February 2018 the actress admitted she still had love for Aronofsky, as Elle reports. We wonder what her new fiancé has to say about that!
17 Rachel Weisz & Darren Aronofsky (Director)
Before Darren Aronofsky was involved with Jennifer Lawrence, he was in a relationship with another beautiful leading lady: actress Rachel Weisz. Back in the summer of 2011, the pair began dating and got engaged in 2005. They welcomed a son, Henry, in May 2006.
After being together for nine years, the couple decided to split but said in a statement that they were committed to remaining friends and raising their son together in New York City. Since Aronofsky, Weisz has found love again on-set, this time with Dream House costar Daniel Craig, whom she married in 2011.
16 Helena Bonham Carter & Tim Burton (Director)
Giving hope to outcasts everywhere, Helena Bonham Carter and Tim Burton were a match made in Hot Topic heaven. She was the quirky and offbeat actress while he was the guy who is perhaps best known for A Nightmare Before Christmas and still giving Johnny Depp work.
Bonham Carter and Burton met in 2001 when he was directing the critically-panned reboot Planet of the Apes. Subsequently, the actress was cast in many of the director’s films, including Sweeney Todd, Big Fish, and Alice in Wonderland. They had two children together, son Billy and daughter Nell, before issuing a statement that they had split amicably in 2014.
15 Kate Winslet & Sam Mendes (Director)
Despite rumors of a romantic connection with her Titanic costar Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet prefers men behind the scenes. In 2001, director Sam Mendes offered Winslet a part in a play, which she declined, but she agreed to go out with him instead. By May 2003, they were married and later in the year they became parents to a son named Joe.
The couple divided their time between New York and England, but soon rumors began to swirl that Mendes was becoming involved with actress Rebecca Hall. Ultimately, the rumors (as well as other issues, we’re sure) led to a divorce between the two, which was made official in 2010.
14 Kate Beckinsale & Len Wiseman (Director)
Before Pete Davidson was ever in the picture, actress Kate Beckinsale found herself drawn to a man on the other side of the camera, director Len Wiseman. In 2003, Wiseman was directing Underworld, which starred Beckinsale. She persuaded him to cast her then-partner, Michael Sheen. Of course, as luck would have it, Wiseman and Beckinsale were the ones who fell in love.
The pair married in 2004 until Wiseman filed for divorce in 2016, and now Beckinsale can be seen getting cozy with SNL’s Pete Davidson!
13 Rosario Dawson & Danny Boyle (Director)
She might now be dating US Senator Cory Booker, but for a while Rosario Dawson was dating Trainspotting director Danny Boyle, who she began seeing while filming the movie Trance – although the two had known each other for years! The May-December romance might have struck people as odd, which the actress acknowledged in a 2012 interview with Access Hollywood. She said, “We actually have a lot in common. We’re really similar people.”
While no exact length of time was given for the couple, it was apparently “longer than people think.” Dawson wouldn’t dish more on the relationship, out of respect for Boyle and his need for privacy.
12 Ben Affleck & Lindsay Shookus (Producer)
Major A-lister Ben Affleck went from dating his costars (see: Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Lopez, and Jennifer Garner) to getting involved with a woman behind the scenes: Saturday Night Live producer Lindsay Shookus. Shookus is tasked with booking talent for the show, including hosts, musical guests, and potential cast members.
While the couple initially split after more than a year together in August 2018 amid Affleck’s substance issues, they picked up right where they left off in February 2019. According to People, Affleck and Shookus “have a wonderful, caring relationship and a healthy lifestyle together.”
11 Emma Stone & Dave McCary (Writer)
Another famous face who found love in the crew working behind the scenes at SNL, we have Emma Stone! After a hosting gig in December 2016, Stone met writer Dave McCary, who also directs segments for the sketch show.
Things began to burn slowly, and it wasn’t until the 2019 Golden Globes that they were seen together, this time at an after-party alongside other loved-up couples Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn and Rachel Weisz and Daniel Craig. The above photo was taken less than two weeks later and by the end of the month, they finally made their red carpet debut as a couple at the SAG Awards!
10 Milla Jovovich & Paul W.S. Anderson (Director)
Sometimes we don’t know we belong with someone until we come back to them at a later stage. That was the case for actress Milla Jovovich, who initially met director Paul W.S. Anderson in 2002 on the set of the film Resident Evil, which Anderson wrote and directed.
The couple became engaged in 2003, but separated for a time before coming back together again. They had two children together, daughter Ever in 2007 and daughter Dashiel in 2015. They finally did make it down the aisle in 2009.
This isn’t the first director Jovovich has dated. She also wed The Fifth Element’s Luc Besson in 1997.
9 Emmy Rossum & Sam Esmail (Director)
The role Emmy Rossum is best known for is that of Fiona Gallagher in Shameless but her marriage to Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail is even more noteworthy!
The couple first met on the set of Comet in 2014, which was Esmail’s directorial debut. They kept things under wraps, but went public when the writer and director popped the question with a vintage 1920s ring from Paris after about two years together. Rossum, who is Jewish, and Esmail tied the knot in 2017 at a Reform synagogue in New York City, and both seem to be leaving behind the roles that made them famous: Rossum has left Shameless while Esmail’s Mr. Robot is coming to an end this year.
8 Aaron Taylor-Johnson & Sam Taylor-Johnson (Director)
Their relationship may be an unorthodox one, but to anyone who’s met them, there’s no doubt that Aaron and Sam Taylor-Johnson were meant to be together.
Aaron was only 18 when he was directed by Sam in Nowhere Boy and found himself falling head over heels in love with the woman who was 23 years his senior. Things moved quickly for the couple, who announced their engagement the year they met, in 2009, and married in 2012.
Both decided to combine their names when they wed, changing Sam Taylor-Wood and Aaron Johnson to Sam and Aaron Taylor-Johnson. Despite the naysayers, they’re still happily together with four daughters (two from Sam’s previous marriage).
7 Julia Roberts & Danny Moder (Cinematographer)
Julia Roberts may have been acting across from Brad Pitt in 2000’s The Mexican, but she fell for the guy who was working behind the scenes: cinematographer Danny Moder. (And that’s saying something for a woman who has dated many of her costars in the past, including Kiefer Sutherland, Dylan McDermott, and Matthew Perry.)
At the time the two met, both were involved with other people – Roberts with actor Benjamin Bratt, and Moder with makeup artist and wife Vera Steimberg. Thanks to a $400k payout from Roberts, the divorce between Moder and Steimberg was hurried along and guests were treated to a surprise wedding in 2002. Julia and Danny are still married and have three children together!
6 Maya Rudolph & Paul Thomas Anderson (Director)
Paul Thomas Anderson – not to be confused with Milla Jovovich’s husband Paul W.S. Anderson – may not be married to SNL alum and funny woman Maya Rudolph, but their long-lasting relationship proves that the couple doesn’t need a legal document to cement their love for one another.
Together since 2001, the couple has stayed incredibly low-key, with many not even knowing that they were together until they walked the red carpet for Anderson’s film Phantom Thread in 2018 – even though they have four kids together! Unlike other couples on this list, the couple has only worked together once, in 2014’s Inherent Vice.
5 Samira Wiley & Lauren Morelli (Screenwriter)
Despite once being married to a man, Orange Is The New Black writer Lauren Morelli is firmly a member of the other team (by her own admission) and has since wed OITNB star Samira Wiley!
According to Wiley, it was Morelli’s brain that first attracted her, before she had even met the writer. Speaking to BUST Magazine, the actress described first reading the script and then seeing Morelli on set and “being able to watch her be a boss from afar, telling whatever people to go this way, answering this question. Just literally seeing her be the person in charge was really attractive to me.”
Together for three years before getting engaged, the cute couple has been married since March 2017.
4 Rachel McAdams & Jamie Linden (Screenwriter)
She may have a history of dating her costars (see: Ryan Gosling, Michael Sheen, and Taylor Kitsch), but Rachel McAdams most recently fell for a guy whose best work is done behind the scenes.
Screenwriter Jamie Linden and the actress were first photographed together in 2016, but still have to walk the red carpet together! It seems that McAdams is trying to keep this relationship out of the spotlight, in comparison to her more high-profile romances.
She “just wanted to be with someone creative,” the actress told The Sunday Times. “We live such a gypsy life as actors, so [it’s great] being with someone who can be on the road as well.”
The couple recently welcomed a son together.
3 Reese Witherspoon & Jim Toth (Agent)
Following high-profile relationships with guys like Ryan Phillippe and Jake Gyllenhaal, Reese Witherspoon decided to look for love elsewhere – behind the scenes. The Oscar winner met Hollywood talent agent Jim Toth at a friend’s wedding when he managed to stop an inebriated guest from hitting on her. As it turned out, they ended up hitting it off.
Rumors about the new couple began cropping up in 2010 and just 10 months later, Toth popped the question at dinner! The couple said "I do" at a celebrity-studded ceremony in 2011, welcomed son Tennessee in 2012, and are still together to this day.
2 Leslie Mann & Judd Apatow (Director)
You might not recognize Leslie Mann by name, but you’ve definitely seen her rubbing elbows with husband Judd Apatow’s BFFs in movies like Knocked Up, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, and This Is 40.
Frequent collaborators, Mann and Apatow first met on the set of The Cable Guy back in 1996, when Apatow – one of the film’s producers – ran lines with Mann. In June of 1997, they were wed, and later had two daughters together, Maude and Iris, who frequently appear in the couple’s projects together. One of the strongest – and funniest – long-running couples in Hollywood, the hilarious duo are also bonded by their multiple charitable efforts together.
1 Natalie Portman & Benjamin Millepied (Choreographer)
Natalie Portman was a hard-working woman in Hollywood for ages, but she really showed audiences and critics her skills in Black Swan. Not only did the role of Nina, the anxiety-ridden and delusional protagonist, earn her multiple awards, including an Oscar, but it led her to the love of her life and father of her children, Benjamin Millepied!
Millepied was tasked with being the choreographer for the dance-heavy film, and was thanked by Portman in her Academy Award acceptance speech as the man who had given the actress “the most important role of [her] life.”
While the two are notoriously private, the parents of two have recently worked together for Portman’s newest film Vox Lux.
Sources: Us Weekly, Vogue, Elle, The Sunday Times