A movie starring two famous actors who happen to be married in real-life: On paper, it sounds like it should be a sure-fire win. In reality? It’s not that simple.
It’s no wonder that famous couples might be hesitant to collaborate in a movie, even if it was guaranteed to smash the box office: Working with your spouse is hard, and it wouldn’t make it any easier to know that throngs of people would be examining the final product, looking for all possible glimpses into your personal life.
Occasionally, some famous couples have considered that possibility and decided, “Nah, let’s do it anyway,” like these star pairs:
1. John Krasinski and Emily Blunt in A Quiet Place
The actor is set to star alongside and direct his wife of seven years in the upcoming thriller A Quiet Place. “I would love to direct Emily,” he previously told E! News in 2016. “I don’t know, I would rather act with Emily than direct. I don’t know if I need that responsibility. She’s so good and I’d be so scared to screw it up. But happy to be in scenes with her because that would be really fun. We’re always up for doing something, it’s just gotta be the right thing.”
As one of Hollywood’s cutest couples, Bell and Shepard have provided fans with aww-worthy moments that can only be described as the epitome of relationship goals. So it was no surprise when Bell signed on to star in her husband’s movie CHiPs — which he directs and also stars in — and really committed to the role. “I was like, ‘My craft deserves it. I gotta do it. I’m a serious actor,’ ” Bell told Seth Meyers on Late Night. “I was breastfeeding at the time. I wanted my character to have an aggressive boob job, like it’s the only thing you can think about when you see someone.”
“So I didn’t pump for a full day,” explained the Veronica Mars alum. “And I said to the kids, ‘Daddy’s making a movie, go to the fridge, the food truck is closed.’ ”
3. Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman in Far and Away
After meeting on the set of Days of Thunder, Cruise and Kidman married in 1990. Far and Away, a 1992 epic about Irish immigrants trying to find a new life in the United States, was their first project together. It received middling reviews and performed just so-so at the box office. Cruise and Kidman starred together again in 1999 in Eyes Wide Shut, which performed better, but the couple split in 2001.
To put it politely, the film did not prove to be as successful as anyone involved would have hoped (including producer George Harrison). Released in 1986, a year after Madonna’s wedding to Sean Penn, Shanghai Surprise was unanimously panned, and despite the high-profile relationship of its stars, it made only $2 million at the box office – a fraction of the cost of making the film. Penn and Madonna split in 1989.
5. Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
After starring together in the 1963 production of Cleopatra, Taylor and Burton married in 1964 – then divorced in 1974, then remarried in 1975 and finally divorced again in 1976. Over that span they starred in a handful of movies together, and perhaps the most-acclaimed of them was 1966’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, in which they played a feuding married couple. The film won five Academy Awards.
6. Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith in Ali
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith were married in 1997 and then both appeared in the 2001 Muhammad Ali biopic Ali. Two major differences from the majority of entries on this list? For one, these two are still married. For another, while Smith was the star, Pinkett Smith only played Ali’s first wife and therefore had a much smaller role. Perhaps minimal shared screen time is the secret to staying married after co-starring in a movie together?
7. Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh in Much Ado About Nothing
The couple married in 1989, and starred in not only Much Ado but also Dead Again and Peter’s Friends. They ended up splitting in 1995, but still co-starred together in 2009’s Pirate Radio.
8. Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart in The Big Sleep
Bogart and Bacall met on the set of their 1944 film To Have and Have Not and married in 1945. They subsequently starred in three more films: The Big Sleep, Dark Passage and Key Largo. Today they’re remembered as one of the best screen couples ever, and the two remained married until Bogart’s death in 1957. The lesson to be learned here? Some famous couples just work well together both onscreen and off.
9. Annette Bening and Warren Beatty in Love Affair
A remake of 1957’s An Affair to Remember, which itself was a remake of 1939’s Love Affair, this film featured Bening and Beatty as airplane passengers who fall in love while they’re both engaged to other people. Released in 1994, two years after Bening and Beatty married, the film did dismally at the box office and is little remembered today. The couple, however, is at 23 years and counting.
10. Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger in The Getaway
After marrying in 1993, Baldwin and Basinger starred in this 1994 crime caper, which promptly flopped at the box office. But do you know what’s perhaps even more of an undertaking than starring opposite your spouse in a movie? Hosting Saturday Night Live opposite your spouse, which Baldwin and Basinger also did in 1994 – specifically to promote The Getaway. The couple split in 2002.
11. Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor in Zoolander
Not only did Taylor play opposite Stiller in 2001’s Zoolander, just a year after they married, she did so again in 2004 in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story. They’re still together. Maybe it helps to be able to make each other laugh?
12. Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward in Mr. and Mrs. Bridge
In terms of putting out multiple well-received movies and also staying married, Newman and Woodward may be the most successful married actors in the history of Hollywood. In addition to the Oscar-nominated Mr. and Mrs. Bridge in 1990, they’d previously acted opposite each other in 1984’s Harry and Son, 1975’s The Drowning Pool, 1969’s Winning, 1963’s A New Kind of Love and 1960’s From the Terrace. The pair had married in 1958, after starring together in The Long, Hot Summer.
13. Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn in Overboard
Yes, we realize we broke our own rule: Russell and Hawn never actually married. However, we’re declaring an exception because they’ve been together, marriage license or not, since 1985, and that’s a lot longer than most actor couples who actually did make it to the altar. The couple scored a modest hit with 1987’s Overboard, after which they apparently decided not to star in any further films together. Hey – they’re still together, right?
14. Chris Pratt and Anna Faris in Movie 43
Pratt and Faris married in 2009, and while they co-starred in 2011’s Take Me Home Tonight, that movie was filmed in 2007. In fact, it was on its set that they first met. And Pratt only played a minor role in Faris’ 2011 film, What’s Your Number? That makes the 2013 gross-out bomb Movie 43 the only film they’ve truly starred opposite each other since their marriage. In it, the couple stars in a segment that is essentially one big poop joke. Hey, it’s only uphill from there!
15. Courteney Cox and David Arquette in Scream 4
An unusual case, the Scream movies are what brought Cox and Arquette together. They met while playing love interests in the first movie, and they married before the release of the third. The fourth film, released in 2011, features their characters married as well, though less than happily – and then Cox and Arquette split in real life a year later. We’d like to think that Gale Weathers and Deputy Dewey are still going strong, however.