“It will probably best be known as the film that sparked a love affair”: Russell Crowe Went Feral Against 1 Director Who Blamed His Affair With Meg Ryan for Ruining Their ‘Mediocre’ Movie

Russell Crowe's altercation with director over scandalous affair with his Proof of Life co-star Meg Ryan.

russell crowe, meg ryan


  • Getting engaged in a scandalous affair with his co-star Meg Ryan, Russell Crowe mirrored the plot of his film in real life.
  • Proof of Life filmmaker Taylor Hackford blamed Russell Crowe and Meg Ryan’s affair for overshadowing his film.
  • Russell Crowe clashed with Hackford over remarks accusing his affair with Ryan as the reason for the film's failure.
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In the world of entertainment, controversies and clashes between actors and directors are not uncommon. Oftentimes, stars engage in squabbles with the crew over creative freedom. However, when it came to Russell Crowe and his Proof of Life director Taylor Hackford, the stakes were raised to a whole new level.

Russell Crowe and Meg Ryan
Russell Crowe and Meg Ryan in Proof of Life (2000) | Castle Rock Entertainment

The tabloid-laden clash involved Russell Crowe going feral against Taylor Hackford, and the catalyst being the actor’s affair with co-star Meg Ryan. Blamed by the filmmaker for overshadowing the 2000 thriller with their scandalous affair, Crowe went raging after Hackford, publicly calling him an “idiot”.

Russell Crowe and Meg Ryan Mirrored Their Onscreen Affair in Real Life

Playing the role of hostage negotiator Terry Thorne, who embarks on a mission to rescue American engineer Peter Bowman, captured by anti-government forces in a Latin American country, Russell Crowe joined forces with Meg Ryan in the 2000 thriller Proof of Life. Directed by Taylor Hackford, the movie narrated the tale of Alice Bowman, who would fall in love with Terry Thorne, while trying to save her husband Peter Bowman, from guerrilla forces.


Surprisingly, the film’s production took an unexpected turn, when Russell Crowe and Meg Ryan mirrored the events from Proof of Life in reality. According to The New York Post, while Crowe and Ryan initially started as co-stars, the two eventually got tangled in a scandalous affair, especially since Ryan was married to fellow actor Dennis Quaid while filming Proof of Life.

Russell Crowe and Meg Ryan | Castle Rock Entertainment
Russell Crowe as Terry Thorne and Meg Ryan as Alice Bowman | Castle Rock Entertainment

Soon, the Sleepless in Seattle actress lost her squeaky-clean image in the industry of being “America’s Sweetheart” when rumors of a romance with Russell Crowe emerged. Thereafter, Meg Ryan and her husband Dennis Quaid issued a statement announcing their separation in June 2000, and a week later the actress was spotted in a PDA-packed situation with Crowe.

Russell Crowe’s Infamous Feud with Proof of Life Director Over His Affair

Despite their offscreen romance going public, the actors never confirmed their relationship with each other. Instead, Russell Crowe and Meg Ryan even refused to do promotional interviews for the film, in order to avoid questions about their relationship. Later on, as per ABC News, the actors declining the film promotion “deeply hurt” director Taylor Hackford.


I am deeply hurt that they couldn’t [do interviews] … and that Proof of Life will probably best be known as the film that sparked a love affair between Russell Crowe and Meg Ryan. Hackford stated.

Taylor Hackford in an interview with DGA Quarterly Magazine
Filmmaker Taylor Hackford in an interview with DGA Quarterly Magazine

But unfortunately, Proof of Life garnered mediocre reviews, and the romance between Russell Crowe and Meg Ryan failed to lure audiences, unlike what Taylor Hackford had imagined. This led the filmmaker to blame his film’s poor performance on Crowe and Ryan’s tabloid-laden scandal attached to the film, during an interview with The Guardian.

It had an indelible and very destructive effect on the release of the film in the US because the real-life story overpowered the film.

Russell Crowe in Proof of Life
Russell Crowe in Proof of Life | Castle Rock Entertainment

Confronted by Taylor Hackford’s remarks from the outlet, Russell Crowe appeared outraged by the director’s criticism. Unwilling to take the blame for the Proof of Life’s lackluster reception, Crowe seemingly unleashed his inner lover boy, and publicly slammed Hackford.

He said that? He’s a fucking idiot. No seriously – what a knob.

Unfortunately, despite the tumultuous journey that Russell Crowe, Meg Ryan, as well as Taylor Hackford, went through, the actors’ relationship ended shortly after wrapping up their work on Proof of Life. Although the timeline of Crowe and Ryan’s affair led people to assume the Gladiator star a homewrecker, Ryan later vindicated Crowe by calling her relationship with her husband “unhealthy”.


Proof of Life is available on Apple TV. 


Written by Krittika Mukherjee

Articles Published: 1706

Krittika is a News Writer at FandomWire with 2 years of prior experience in lifestyle and web content writing. With her previous works available on HubPages and Medium, she has woven over 1600 stories with us, about fan-favorite actors, movies, and shows. Post-graduate in Journalism and Honors-graduate in English Literature, when this art enthusiast isn't crafting your next favorite article, she finds her escapism in coffee, fiction, and the Wizarding World.