11 Beloved TV Couples Who Dated then Split IRL
Is there anything worse than having to work with your ex? Well, maybe having to keep kissing him while the cameras are rolling. See how these 11 costars-turned-lovers-turned-exes handled the awkwardness
Lili Reinhart & Cole Sprouse
Riverdale's "Bughead" have sadly split after two years of dating. The costars, who play love interests Betty Cooper and Jughead Jones on CW's twist on the Archie Comics, first sparked romance rumors in May 2017 but tried to keep their relationship private. However, the stars began to seemingly confirm their relationship through a series of public hints: posting sweet moments on social media, vacationing in Hawaii, spending Thanksgiving and walking the 2018 and 2019 Met Gala red carpets together.
Days before the breakup was reported, the duo was seated next to each other during the show's Comic-Con panel over the weekend. Reinhart appeared to joke about the situation on Instagram.
"Please don't put me between these two ever again," she captioned a photo of her, Sprouse and Apa on Instagram.
Penn Badgley & Blake Lively
The Gossip Girl stars' onscreen relationship mirrored their real-life one when they started dating during the first few seasons of the show. The former couple, who played Serena van der Woodsen and Dan Humphrey, first became romantically linked back in 2007, and although they denied their relationship at first, the two went public a year later before breaking up in October 2010.
A 2017 Vanity Fair feature revealed that the actors hid their split from the cast and crew while filming the show. "The shocking thing was, I found out on the set of the Season 2 finale that Blake and Penn had broken up months before," Gossip Girl's executive producer and writer Joshua Safran told the outlet. "They kept the breakup hidden from the crew, which you could never do now. I don't even know how they did it. They kept it from everybody which is a testament to how good they are as actors. Because they did not want their personal drama to relate to the show."
When asked about how they worked together after their split, Badgley said, "We were constantly professional, to be honest, and we should both pat ourselves on the back because anything is complicated in that way … and we handled it."
Rachel Bilson and Adam Brody
The actors, who fell in love playing "It Couple" Summer Roberts and Seth Cohen on The O.C., broke up in December 2006 after three years of dating. "It was a typical romance and they just grew apart," a source close to the pair told PEOPLE during the time of their split.
"One of the all time greats!" Brody wrote in his Reddit AMA of working with Bilson on the show. Although they didn't reach the altar in real life, their O.C. characters ended up getting married at the end of the cult-classic series.
Sophia Bush & Chad Michael Murray
The One Tree Hill stars, whose onscreen chemistry turned into a real-life romance in 2003, called off their marriage of five months in September 2005. Their divorce was later finalized in December 2006.
The split was particularly ugly (Bush filed to have it annulled) but she says she attempted to keep it cordial on set. "[It] was like, 'This is my integrity, this is my job, I will not falter for one second or one minute ever on this set. I will be the most f—— professional person anyone has ever seen'."
She said the network made it difficult for her to keep that commitment, though, when they exploited the split for ratings. Producers were "really deeply inappropriate to both of us" about the breakup, she said: "They ran TV ads about it. It was really ugly."
Sophia Bush & Jesse Lee Soffer
Bush also dated her Chicago P.D. costar (and onscreen partner and potential love interest) Soffer for about a year before calling it quits in June 2015, Just Jared reported.
"Sophia and Jesse just didn't work out," a source told the outlet. "They dated for about a year and then grew apart. They're still friends though!"
In 2017, Bush quit the show; Soffer told TV Line he was "sad" to see her go, but Bush said she left because "I was really, really unhappy."
Nina Dobrev & Ian Somerhalder
The Vampire Diaries costars split after three years of dating in May 2013, but their characters Elena and Damon remained romantically entwined. That post-breakup intimacy might be why Dobrev insists it's not "weird" that she's still friends with ex Somerhalder and that she occasionally grabs dinner with him and his now-wife Nikki Reed.
"I don't think that's weird at all. I think that's great," Dobrev said on an episode of Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen when asked if it was strange to spend time with her ex. "Why can't everyone be friends? I think they have a beautiful baby, and they are happy and so am I. What's bad about that? I don't see any problem with that."
Milo Ventimiglia & Alexis Bledel
The two played Gilmore Girl's on-again-off-again couple Rory and Jess, while they kept their real-life relationship mostly under wraps, dating for for three-and-a-half years before breaking up in July 2006.
Bledel revealed to PEOPLE that the two were serious enough to discuss marriage: "I think everybody who has been dating for more than a couple of years probably talks about it at some point. It's a fun thing for us to talk about, but that's it."
Bledel is now a mom and married to Mad Men costar and love interest Vincent Kartheiser, while Ventimiglia has been last linked to marketing coordinator Kelly Egarian.
Michael C. Hall & Jennifer Carpenter
The Dexter costars, who played brother and sister on the show, got married on New Years Eve in 2009 and got divorced, citing irreconcilable differences, two years later. Even though their marriage didn't work out, they seemed to keep a positive relationship within the years that followed.
"He is and always will be one of my best friends in the world. Just because the marriage ended doesn't mean the love isn't still there," Carpenter told Today in October 2011. "We take very good care of each other … we always have. I'm just really lucky."
Though things seemed super amicable when the two were spotted cuddled up in 2012, they didn't rekindle their romance, and the two have both since remarried.
Jennifer Morrison & Jesse Spencer
Despite calling off their engagement in August 2007, the House costars had to remain romantically entangled on screen. They got around the awkwardness by only kissing when the cameras were running, instead of at rehearsals. "Out of respect, I saved it for the take,'' she said. "There's a different intensity now, but I think it really works,'' he added.
The two, who met in 2004 while filming the pilot for the series, got engaged in Paris over the holidays back in 2007. Awkwardly, before calling off their engagement, the two had covered InStyle Weddings, where Spencer revealed that his planned proposal took six months to actually execute.
Joshua Jackson & Katie Holmes
Dawson's Creek fans fell for Pacey Witter and Joey Potter, the characters fell for each other and actors Jackson and Holmes fell for each other in real life. Without addressing him by name, Holmes told Rolling Stone in 1998 that they shared a love that was "incredible and indescribable," adding, "I feel so fortunate because he's now one of my best friends. It's weird, it's almost like a Dawson-and-Joey type thing now."
Though they went their separate ways, Jackson revealed that Holmes called him up in 2012, after her split from Tom Cruise. "Like any old friend, it was like, 'Oh, hi how are ya? What's going on?'" he said. "It was very nice, actually."
Kaley Cuoco & Johnny Galecki
The Big Bang Theory costars dated for almost two years before they ended things in 2010 - but stayed together on screen long after their split, even celebrating a wedding onscreen.
Luckily, the two remained very close friends, to the point where fans were questioning if they had gotten back together. Cuoco defended their close relationship after rumors that he played a role in her divorce from Ryan Sweeting by saying, "So sorry to disappoint, but no home wreckers or secret flings going on here ... Me and @sanctionedjohnnygalecki are just the best of buds- Leonard and Penny will just have to suffice!!! 💗💗❤️❤️."