You’ll be surprised to find out how many filmmakers and leading actors had the hots for each other on-set. Producers, directors, and film executives have been falling head-over-heels for these famous film stars. And luckily for them, their romantic feelings were reciprocated.
From classic actresses of the Golden Age to young movie stars of 2020, it seems everyone is at risk of falling under a film executive’s spell. At Popular Everything, we’re taking a look at behind-the-scenes romances and the effects they had on everyone around them. Some of them are truly revealing.
Jennifer Lawrence Made the First Move With Darren Aronofsky
People didn’t see it coming when actress Jennifer Lawrence started dating the esteemed Hollywood director Darren Aronofsky. He rose through the Hollywood ranks with hit films like Black Swan and Requiem for a Dream before casting the gorgeous Jennifer in his ambitious psychological horror film Mother! While the movie caused quite a stir for its controversial metaphors, many have said their relationship was only a matter of time.
Jennifer has been known to have a thing for older men, and she’s admitted that it was her who made the first move: “I had energy for him. I don’t know how he felt about me.” Ultimately, however, their 22 year age gap relationship failed to stand the test of time. Apparently, Darren was obsessed with people’s negative reaction to Mother! and it drove Jen away.
James Cameron Played With Linda Hamilton’s Heart
Director James Cameron finds it hard to stay faithful when working with the most beautiful women in Hollywood. Just ask his ex-wife director Kathryn Bigelow, who he left to date actress Linda Hamilton (pictured.) James had cast Linda in Terminator 2: Judgement Day in 1991 before having an affair with her. Unfortunately for Linda, her relationship with James was pretty much doomed from the start.
James directed actress Suzy Amis for the 1997 movie Titanic, and naturally began his affair with his new leading lady. Despite his infidelity, James and Linda actually married that same year, only for him to cheat on her once more with Suzy. He ended up leaving Linda for Suzy and marrying her in 2000. It’s his fifth marriage, so he’s really been trying to make this one work.
Rosario Dawson and Danny Boyle Mixed Work With Pleasure
Director Danny Boyle learned the hard way that it was best not to mix work with your personal life. He cast actress Rosario Dawson as the lead in his 2013 thriller Trance. It quickly became a romantic relationship that no one saw coming, and it lasted throughout their filming months.
But by the time the film came out, Danny and Rosario had already split up. And the timing couldn’t be worse – they still had to attend several press junkets together for weeks on end. According to journalists who interviewed the pair, there was a lot of awkward tension. And the former couple could barely bring themselves to talk to one another.
Rupert Sanders and Kristen Stewart Were Caught Cheating on Camera
Director Rupert Sanders and Actress Kristen Stewart were at the center of a cheating scandal back in 2012. Kristen was dating international heartthrob and actor Robert Pattinson, while Rupert was married to model Liberty Ross and raising three kids. The paparazzi caught them kissing in a park, which Rupert would call his “momentary lapse” of judgment.
Needless to say, Liberty quickly filed for divorce from Rupert while Kristen tried to patch things up on her end. She released a public statement to Robert: “I’m deeply sorry for the hurt and embarrassment I’ve caused… This momentary indiscretion has jeopardized the most important thing in my life, the person I love and respect the most, Rob. I love him, I love him, I’m so sorry.” But Rob never gave her that second chance.
Aaron Johnson Was a Step-Dad To Samantha Taylor’s Teen Daughter
Director Samantha Taylor cast teen actor Aaron Johnson to star as John Lennon in the biopic movie Nowhere Boy. It was 2009 and, despite their 24 year age difference, it turned out to be the perfect setting for a long-term romance. She was 42 at the time, and Aaron was only 18. They shocked the world with their unlikely love story, only to get engaged that very same year.
Most shocking of all was how well Aaron adopted the father role to Sam’s two daughters from a previous marriage. While only a teenager himself he would drive to pick up the girls, then ages 13 and four, from school. And very quickly started having kids of his own with Sam. “I knew instantly with Sam that I’d found my soulmate. I knew instantly that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with this person,” he admits.
Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw’s Happy Ending
Director Steven Spielberg has been married to actress Kate Capshaw since 1991. They had both been married once before (we’ll get more into that later) and met while filming for 1984’s Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. The only thing was, Steven was still a married man.
But it was all for the best. It’s been over 20 years for the couple, in which they’ve raised five beautiful kids. And rather touchingly, he said in a 2008 interview: “The prettiest thing that came out of that film was my future wife. I met Kate, my leading lady. My leading lady is still my leading lady.”
Brigitte Bardot Wasn’t Ready to Commit To Roger Vadim
Director Roger Vadim has the reputation of being a ladies’ man back in the 50s, but that didn’t deter actress Brigitte Bardot. His first film …And God Created Woman, starred the French teenager, who he had already married when she was 18. But according to Roger, Brigitte had wandering eyes.
Roger claimed Brigitte had been sleeping with two other men and divorced her after five years as husband and wife. They remained friends and colleagues, moving on with no hard feelings. Roger would go on to marry four more times throughout his life, while Brigitte remarried three times.
Ben Stiller Finally Settled Down With Christine Taylor
Actor and director Ben Stiller is best known for his work in front of studio cameras. And back in the 90s, he was known for having a string of famous ex-girlfriends. But he’s dabbled in directing over the years, and in 1999 he cast actress Christine Taylor in Heat Vision and Jack, a TV comedy. It wasn’t long before the couple fell in love off-set and married in Hawaii just a year later.
Things worked out for a long time, and they went on to have two kids together. But in 2017, the pair announced they were separating after 17 years of marriage. But in the last few months, rumors have been surfacing about them reconciling their relationship. They’re yet to say anything publicly, but time will tell.
Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter Were Hollywood’s Most Eccentric Couple
Director Tim Burton had a string of romantic relationships with actresses throughout the 80s and 90s. But when he met and cast actress Helena Bonham Carter for 2001’s Planet of the Apes, cupid drew his bow once more. They went on to have a long relationship where they raised two children together.
To everyone’s surprise, Helena and Tim announced that they had separated in 2014. Not much is really known about why they split or if they were even married over the 13 years they spent together. But we do know Tim’s first words to Helena were: “I can really see you in an ape mask.”
Judy Garland’s Famous Marriage To Vincente Minnelli
Actress Judy Garland was swept off of her feet by stage and film director Vincente Minnelli in 1944. They fell in love while filming for Meet Me in St. Louis and quickly divorced their other partners to be together. Their union was hugely famous, and they would go on to have a daughter – actress, singer, and dancer Liza Minnelli.
However, their marriage would only last six years, as Judy’s addiction would prove to be too much of a strain on them. But they did work together on two more movies during their relationship; The Clock and The Pirate. And to this day, Vincente is credited for reviving Judy’s career and reinventing her public image.
Frances McDormand and Joel Coen’s 30-Year Marriage
Director Joel Coen and actress Frances McDormand’s romance begun right at the beginning of Joel’s film career. She auditioned for Joel’s first movie, Blood Simple, in 1984, and he knew straight away that she had to star in it. Unfortunately, Frances was seeing someone else at the time.
She didn’t even turn up to her callback for the role because she wanted to watch her then-boyfriend’s soap-opera debut on television. But she was cast all the same. They soon started dating and have now been married for more than 30 years. They have one adopted son together and are still happily married.
Paul Verhoeven’s Love/Hate Relationship With Sharon Stone
Director Paul Verhoeven was married when he fell madly in love with actress Sharon Stone during the filming of Basic Instinct. He told The San Francisco Chronicle that: “I hated her as much as I loved her. And I really loved her.” But it’s not 100% verified that the feelings were mutual.
We basically only have his word for it. Paul claims that Sharon felt the same way towards him, and they mutually decided not to act on their feelings. Either way, the pair aren’t on good terms today. Sharon claims that Paul didn’t get her consent for that famous leg-crossing scene, and he claims she is lying.
Peter Bogdanovich Seduced Teenage Cybill Shepherd
Actor and director Peter Bogdanovich knew he had to cast actress Cybill Shepherd after seeing her on the front cover of Glamour Magazine. He got her to star in 1971s The Last Picture Show, where they began their long relationship. She had been dating none other than Elvis Presley but chose to be with Peter instead.
Apparently, she couldn’t handle Elvis’ narcotics dependency. Once, she even agreed to a date with actor Jack Nicholson just to make Peter jealous but turned it down at the last minute. Cybill was only 19 when she started dating the then-married 30-year-old Peter. But somehow, it didn’t seem to affect his career or public reputation whatsoever.
Michelle Williams and Thomas Kail Had Bumpy Beginnings
Actress Michelle Williams was thrown into the public eye when actor Heath Ledger tragically died in 2008. They weren’t together at the time, but feelings still ran deep, and they had been raising their daughter together. When she stepped out with theatre director Thomas Kail in 2020, it took the public by surprise.
She had only recently married singer-songwriter Phil Elverum in 2018, but they divorced a few months later. Michelle and Thomas met when she starred in his biographical miniseries Fosse/Verdon in 2019, and the rest was history. It was a bit of a bumpy start, though, as both of them were still officially married to their previous partners at the time…
Ingrid Bergman and Roberto Rossellini Had a Scandalous Affair
Actress Ingrid Bergman sacrificed more than most when she worked with director Roberto Rossellini. She fell madly in love with him, and they had a baby together, all before her divorce from Friedel Pia Lindstrom was finalized. They worked together in 1950 on Stromboli and attracted a great deal of publicity for their scandalous affair. It was especially hard on Ingrid.
A senator from Colorado called Ingrid “a powerful influence for evil” and accused her of having “perpetrated an assault upon the institution of marriage.” Of course, no such criticism was given to Roberto. Ultimately, however, their romance didn’t last. She later cheated on him before they divorced in 1957.
Kate Beckinsale and Len Wiseman Left Their Partners To Be Together
Director Len Wiseman didn’t know that hiring actress Kate Beckinsale to star in Underworld would result in him falling in love with her. He was married to a kindergarten teacher at the time, and Kate had been dating actor Michael Sheen for eight years. In only a few months, they both left their respective partners to be with each other instead.
They married in 2004, and their relationship lasted more than a decade, with Len casting Kate in his movies throughout the years. They divorced in 2016 due to “irreconcilable differences,” and Kate seems all the happier for it. She started dating comedian Pete Davidson as soon as the divorce was finalized.
Steven Spielberg’s Unstable First Marriage to Amy Irving
Director Steven Spielberg met actress Amy Irving in an audition for Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It was 1976, and Steven couldn’t get Amy out of his mind. He told co-producer Julia Phillips that he “met a real heartbreaker last night” but decided she was too young for the part.
Nonetheless, Steven managed to get in Amy’s good books and started dated her soon after. Before long, they were living together but split up three years later. And it still didn’t stop there. They reconciled in 1984, married, had a son, and divorced before the 90s. And their divorce made history as the most expensive financial divorce settlement ever.
Sam Mendes May Have Cheated on Kate Winslet
Actress Kate Winslet started catching feelings for film and stage director Sam Mendes in 2001. He had approached her about starring in an upcoming play, and things moved quickly from then on. Only two years down the line, the couple would be married with a child, Joe, born at the end of 2003.
After seven years of marriage, the couple split up, and most people think they know the real reason why. It has long been suspected that Sam cheated on Kate with actress Rebecca Hall, as they came out as dating soon after the divorce. Ultimately, however, Kate and Sam went on to marry other people in time.
Helen Mirren Didn’t Want Kids With Taylor Hackford
Actress Helen Mirren took her time to settle down with director Taylor Hackford. They met on the set of the 1985 movie White Nights and have been together ever since. But they only agreed to tie the knot after 12 long years of dating. But there are excellent reasons why.
Firstly, Helen wasn’t looking for your typical “marriage with kids” situation. She has publicly stated that she has “no maternal instinct whatsoever,” and Taylor himself already had children from his previous marriages. Secondly, the couple only made it official for practical reasons. Lastly, Helen thought that their families secretly wanted them to go through with it.
Stanley Kubrick Enduring Love For Christiane Harlan
Director Stanley Kubrick was beside himself when he met German actress Christiane Susanne Harlan. He almost immediately cast her in the final scene of his World War I drama Paths of Glory while their relationship was still new. Little did they know their love would stand the test of time.
It wasn’t long after the film came out in 1957 that the couple got married, and they remained together until he died in 1999. In over 40 years of marriage, they had two children together. Stanley was a workaholic and a recluse but always by Christiane’s side.
Robert Rodriguez Was Crazy Jealous Over Rose McGowan
Director Robert Rodriguez had been highly praised for his movies From Dusk Till Dawn and Sin City. But in 2007, he worked on the movie Planet Terror and cast actress Rose McGowan as the lead. She played the part of Cherry, a zombie-fighting go-go dancer, and Robert just found her irresistible.
Their relationship lasted for two years, and everything seemed amicable between them. But in recent years, Rose has revealed that Robert has a jealous side to him. According to her accounts, he once made her take a lie detector test to prove she wasn’t in love with director Quentin Tarantino.
Paul W.S. Anderson’s on-Again-off-Again Romance with Milla Jovovich
Director Paul W.S. Anderson became a household name for his Resident Evil movie franchise. But it was more significant to him for another reason – it introduced him to his future wife, actress Milla Jovovich. She had actually been married before to another director, Luc Besson cast her in the cult movie The Fifth Element.
They fell in love on the set of 2002’s first Resident Evil movie. While they did get engaged soon after, it wasn’t the right time for them. They later rekindled their romance and fell pregnant with a baby girl, Ever Gabo. Finally, they tied the knot in 2009 before going on to have two more children together.
Ridley Scott Waited 15 Years To Tie the Knot With Giannina Facio
Director Ridley Scott has a serious case of nepotism when it comes to his wife, Costa Rican actress Giannina Facio. He has cast her in ten of his movies, including Kingdom of Heaven, Robin Hood, and Black Hawk Down. Basically, that’s almost every film he’s ever made since they met at the turn of the century.
Despite their ever-so-happy love life, they only married in 2015. They had been dating since 2000, so we really wonder why they waited so long to officially tie the knot. Ridley has three children from his previous relationships, and Giannina’s happy being their step-mom.
Adrienne Barbeau Worked In Horror and Sci-Fi With Husband John Carpenter
Director John Carpenter is most famous for his contribution to the horror movie genre and sci-fi cult classics. He directed Someones Watching Me! in 1978 before he broke Hollywood, which didn’t bring him a great deal of success. But it did introduce him to his future wife, actress Adrienne Barbeau.
Adrienne already achieved success in her role as Carole on the 70s sitcom Maude. She and John were married by 1979, only to divorce five years later in 1984. Despite their short time as husband and wife, they worked together on the movies The Fog and Escape from New York.
Mimi Leder and Gary Werntz Were Both Work and Life Partners
Film and television director Mimi Leder hooked up with actor Gary Werntz sometime in the 80s. They went on to have a long and loving marriage for over 30 years, which you don’t often see in Hollywood. Gary had been a longtime character on one of Mimi’s shows when they fell in love on-set.
Gary has appeared in Mimi’s television work China Beach, John Doe, and The Leftovers and starred in her movies Deep Impact and Pay It Forward. Obviously, they make excellent partners both at work and in life. Pictured above, they pose with their daughter, actress Hannah Leder.
Maya Rudolph and Paul Thomas Anderson Don’t Want Us Prying
Actress Maya Rudolph has been dating film director Paul Thomas Anderson since the early 2000s. But they’ve both separately become successful in their own genre and rarely cross paths career-wise. He is known for movies such as There Will Be Blood and The Phantom Thread, whereas Maya is a comedic actress from Bridesmaids.
They like to be low-key about their relationship and keep as many details private as possible. But it’s been long suspected that they met on Saturday Night Live when Paul was directing, and she was starring. Four children later, the couple couldn’t be happier. “Paul’s an incredible director, probably my favorite,” Maya jokingly told Variety in an interview.
Illeana Douglas Dated Her Childhood Icon’s Ex, Martin Scorsese
Director Martin Scorsese had a thing for actresses, as he was already married to Isabella Rossellini when he started seeing actress Illeana Douglas. They met on the set of New York Stories and had a long relationship for several years but never tied the knot together.
Interestingly, Illeana’s childhood icon was actress and singer Liza Minnelli. And Martin had previously been in a relationship with the iconic performer. “For a movie lover like me, how could it get any better? …To me, it just said that he had good taste,” Illeana once admitted in an interview.
Sydney Pollack and Claire Griswold’s Surprisingly Long Hollywood Marriage
Director and actor Sydney Pollack was a humble drama teacher in a local community theater before making it big in Hollywood. He’d had a difficult childhood and certainly wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He met aspiring actress Claire Griswold when she became one of his students.
By 1958, the couple had tied the knot, and they remained married until 2008 when Sydney passed away. Claire was a star back in her heyday, appearing on popular shows like The Dupont Show, Perry Mason, and The Twilight Zone. But she ended up leaving her career altogether to raise their three children.
Kathryn Reed Didn’t Have To Work With Robert Altman
Film director Robert Altman is an icon in cinema thanks to his movies like Gosford Park, Nashville, and Short Cuts. But before he made a name for himself on the silver screen, he was directing TV shows. In 1957 he worked on the adventure series Whirlybirds, where he met actress Kathryn Reed.
Kathryn wasn’t an established actress yet and was only credited as “nurse” on the show. Robert allegedly asked her, “How are your morals?” to which she answered, “A little shaky.” Romance bloomed; she left behind her acting career and married Robert. As she put it, “After our first date, I never had to work again.”