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Awkward: 15 Actors Who Had To Film Romantic Scenes With Their Exes

Just the thought of meeting your ex after a traumatizing breakup sounds like a nightmare. Imagine having to work with them. Imagine pretending to be in love with them! It’s a pretty small world and our Hollywood is even tinier. It’s righteous to never date your co-worker because things can turn awkward and ugly when you have to face them again. Some of our favorite A-listers of Hollywood had the blow of collaborating with their exes on screen and creating steamy romantic moments.

We’re only humans and falling in love is what makes us alive. Take a look at 16 awkward instances when celebrity exes played love interests in TV shows and movies:

1. Liev Schreiber and Naomi Watts ceased their 11-year relationship in 2016, then played spouses in Chuck the following year

2. Justin Timberlake and Cameron Diaz dated from 2003–2007. In 2011 for their film Bad Teacher, the duo played each other’s love interests as Scott Delacorte and Elizabeth Halsey. 

In an interview with Us Magazine, Cameron said, “Justin and I have always had a good laugh together, and to make a movie where we get to have a laugh together, and there really was no one else who was more perfect for this part.”

3. Nina Dobrev and Ian Somerhalder fell in love on the sets of The Vampire Diaries. They dated for 3 years before splitting up. Around season 6, Nina made an exit from the show only to see her character ending up together with Ian when she returned for Season 8. The duo is also the recipient of the People’s Choice Award for Favorite On-Screen Chemistry.

4. Amanda Seyfried and Dominic Cooper fell in love on the set of Mamma Mia! in 2007. They dated for 4 years and split in 2011. However, fate brought them together 10 years later as they shared screen for Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again in 2018

5. Jennifer Aniston and Tate Donovan dated from 1995–1998. However, just when they were in the process of breaking up, Tate signed a five-episode Friends arc as Rachel’s boyfriend, Joshua.

6. Michael Vartan and Jennifer Garner who starred together in the thriller Alias dated for about six months in 2003. Garner was pregnant in 2005 during her marriage to Ben Affleck. However, the script depicted her pregnancy as Sydney Bristow and Michael Vaughn having a baby

7. Sophia Bush and her One Tree Hill co-star Chad Michael Murray got engaged in 2003. 2 years later they got married which lasted for barely 5 months. However, they played each other’s love interest on screen till 2012

8. Fate got Kyle MacLachlan and Laura Dern romancing each other on-screen 28 years after their marriage split in 1989 for Twin Peaks: The Return.

9. In 2007, Drew Barrymore and Justin Long started dating soon after they met on the set of He’s Just Not That Into You. They split in 2008 but patched up on the set of Going the Distance before breaking up for good in 2010.

10.The Kissing Booth stars Joey King and Jacob Elordi inevitably got together after their steamy romance in the film. However, when it was time to film the sequel the duo had already split.

On the podcast Mood with Lauren Elizabeth, Joey said, “I’m a fan with how [the film] resonated with the world, it resonated with me. So going back and doing that and making the sacrifice of what, obviously, everyone is thinking about — outwardly addressing, but what I’m kind of on the sly addressing, making those sacrifices was totally worth it.”

11. Kaley Cuoco and Johnny Galecki secretly dated for 2 years during the initial seasons of The Big Bang Theory. The duo continued playing Penny and Leonard through 12 seasons.

12. Lili Reinhart and Cole Sprouse started dating after they met on the Riverdale set in 2017. The duo split in 2020 but continued in their roles as Betty Cooper and Jughead Jones.

13. Lea Michele and Matthew Morrison dated each other before they were on Glee together. Lea’s character, Rachel Berry, had a crush on Matthew’s character, Will Schuester, in Season 1.

14. The O.C. costars Rachel Bilson and Adam Brody dated for 3 years from the time their show premiered. Their relationship of 3 years ended but they continued playing Summer and Seth until the show ended a year later.

Rachel told Nylon, “It was definitely a unique experience, and I don’t think anyone else could have really understood it had they not been in it, so for that reason, it was super helpful and supportive, and I have total gratitude for the whole experience.”

15. Blake Lively and Penn Badgley who play Serena and Dan on Gossip Girl dated from 2007–2010. However, the duo continued their on-screen romance for 2 more years until the show ended.

Blake told Elle in an interview, “I remember there was one point where we were just afraid of how our personal lives overlapping our work life could be perceived by our bosses…[But then] we were like, ‘Oh no, that’s exactly what they want.’ They wanted us all to date…because then it fed their whole narrative.”



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