Celebs Who Broke Up With Their Partners Right After Making It Big

The road to success in Hollywood is always challenging, but having someone by your side is always better. It's challenging to get far without a supportive partner who believes in your talent before the entire world knows your name. For instance, "Black Panther" director Ryan Coogler credits his wife for helping him get his start in writing movies. In an interview with "HOT 97," he revealed his wife, Zinzi Evans, splurged on a special software for him to write scripts on. That's one gift both Coogler and Marvel fans are grateful for. The beginning wasn't glamorous, but now they walk hand in hand on red carpets for his blockbuster films. 

While some stars have stuck with the partners who have been there from the beginning, others have quickly walked out the door the minute their big moment came knocking. They say fame changes you. For these celebrities, when the fame arrived, so did the demise of their relationships. Let's take a look at the stars who called it quits right after making it big.

John Lennon's first wife was kept a secret

For John Lennon, "Beatles Mania" changed a lot in his life. Before he and his bandmates topped the music charts, he was unknown and in a committed relationship with a woman named Cynthia Powell. According to NPR, the two met as art school students in 1957 and tied the knot five years later. It was shortly after Powell became Mrs. Lennon, The Beatles released their debut record "Love Me Do" – – which later went #1 in the United States. As her husband gained notoriety, Cynthia was soon forced into the shadows in fear of breaking the hearts of his female fans. 

She not only denied the two were married but also hid her pregnancy from the public. "If ... the main man in the group, John, was found to be married, then it might take away from that particular success," Cynthia told Fresh Air's Terry Gross in 1985 (via NPR). "I'd wear very big, blousy clothes. In fact, I was asked many times if I was John's wife, and I had to refuse and say, 'No, no. I'm somebody else.'" 

Cynthia remained home raising their son Julian, while John blissfully toured the world for his adoring fans. Lennon soon fell in love with Yoko Ono, and in 1968, he divorced Cynthia. "If I'd known as a teenager what falling for John Lennon would lead to, I would have turned 'round right then and walked away," she wrote in her 2005 book "John" (via The New York Times).

Kristen Stewart dumped her boyfriend after Twilight

Kristen Stewart's relationships have always made headlines. Though her relationship with Robert Pattinson had a scandalous ending, her relationship pre-"Twilight" fame ended quietly in similar fashion. Michael Angarano and Stewart began dating after meeting on the set of their movie "Speak" in 2005. In fact, the two were still going strong when Stewart landed the coveted role of Bella Swan for "Twilight," in 2008. Filming took place in Vancouver, and Angarano would frequently visit his girlfriend during the shoot. However, once the blockbuster teen romance film was released, the media began buzzing about the chemistry between Stewart and her leading man, Pattinson. 

At the time, Stewart shut down the dating rumors, claiming that she and Angarano laughed off the headlines. While filming the highly-anticipated sequel, eyebrows were raised when the co-stars were spotted holding hands, despite the fact that she was reportedly still dating Angarano. They later split in 2009, and soon Stewart and Pattinson officially debuted as a couple. 

Though Angarano never spoke about the split publicly, one person who was heartbroken over their breakup was the "Twilight" director, Catherine Hardwicke. "[Angarano] is a wonderful actor. He was in 'Dogtown,' one of my favorites, so I felt pretty bad because I love him and they were such a great couple," she told Vulture in 2012.

Jennifer Lopez's first husband says fame led them to divorce

Despite "Bennifer" being Jennifer Lopez's most famous relationship, Ben Affleck wasn't her first love. In 1997, the singer and actor married Ojani Noa. Noa was working as a waiter at Gloria Estefan's restaurant in Miami when he first spotted her. According to him, there was an instant attraction. "She later told me she knew that first night she was going to marry me," Noa recalled to the Daily Mail. Their whirlwind romance was soon put to the test when Lopez landed the lead role in the "Selena" biopic. Noa proposed during the wrap party and had hopes for a blissful marriage. But as her star grew, their marriage crumbled. "She went from Jen to being J. Lo, this big business bringing in millions," Noa explained. "She had all these new people around her, all wanting to make money off her. I would call and an assistant would say, "Sorry, she's not available." 

At the time, Lopez was working on an album and flooded with press, which left Noa feeling insecure. The two put on brave faces in public and pretended to be happy, but behind the scenes, Noa saw his wife pressured into prioritizing her career first. "For many years I felt burned, bruised. I think if she hadn't had all those people around her then we might still be together," he revealed. 

The two split in 1998, and Noa received a $50,000 settlement.

Frieda Pinto's big break ended her engagement

The 2008 film, "Slumdog Millionaire," captured audiences with a feel-good story about an orphan who was given a chance to win it all and change his life. When the film was released, the leading stars had their lives changed as well. Dev Patel and Frieda Pinto soon became household names, while the film ended up winning numerous awards. Despite the success, there was one person who wasn't too happy for Pinto — her ex-fiancé Rohan Antao. 

Antao blames the film for ruining their relationship. While promoting the film, Antao claims his then-fiancé was forced to keep their engagement a secret from the press and her peers. He was later left shocked and heartbroken when Pinto called him to break things off. "She said she wanted us to be friends. But how can I when she has destroyed my faith in love?" he told News of the World in 2009 (via Daily Mail). 

To make matters worse, Pinto was then rumored to be dating her co-star, Dev Patel. Antao claims Pinto initially denied having feelings for her co-star, but refused to spend less time with him at his request. "I hate the film. It wrecked my relationship. As soon as it became a success and she started spending all her time with Dev, she ended it," he told News of the World, per the Hindustan Times. Heartbreakingly, Antao revealed the hardest part was seeing the billboards for the film.

Post Malone rockstar lifestyle ruined his relationship

Long before his music video for "Rockstar" went #1 and hit one billion views, Post Malone was a rapper on the rise hoping to make his mark on the industry. He wasn't headlining sold-out arena shows just yet and actually needed help landing some gigs. One of the first people to believe in him was his ex-girlfriend Ashlen Diaz. The two began dating in 2015, and Diaz, who worked as a show promoter, reportedly helped him book shows in Dallas before he made his big break. 

While dating, the rapper didn't shy away from declaring his love for her. During an interview on "The Breakfast Club," the two spoke about their relationship. When host Charlamagne Tha God suggested he would soon dump Diaz once he got more famous, Malone promised he wouldn't. Diaz claimed she wasn't worried about the fame affecting them but revealed she would forgive him if he ever cheated on her.

In 2018, TMZ spotted Malone kissing a girl on a yacht, leaving many to wonder if it was Diaz or a new woman in his life. It was then confirmed the two ended their three-year relationship and sources close to Diaz revealed she was left devastated. One cause for the breakup might be the rapper's wild lifestyle. "Post loves Ashlen and cares about her but lives his life as though he's a rock star. He's still so young," a source told Us Weekly.

The Fresh Prince dumped his first princess

When Will Smith was crowned "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" in 1990, no one had an idea how big of a star he'd soon become. Two years after landing the starring role of his own hit series, Smith married his girlfriend Sheree Zampino and welcome a son. The couple first met on the set of "A Different World," and soon hit it off. However, their marriage only lasted for only three years. Smith took the divorce hard and even blamed himself. "We had a new son, and my career was taking off," he told People. "There was a lot of pressure that didn't allow the marriage to blossom." 

In a 2020 episode of "Red Table Talk," Smith described the divorce as the "ultimate failure" of his life. "I've been hurt a lot in my adult life, but I don't think anything touches the failure of getting divorced from my two-year-old son's mother," he said. While filming "Fresh Prince," the actor met Jada Pinkett and the two began dating before his divorce from Zampino was finalized. 

In an episode of "Red Table Talk" Pinkett-Smith and Zampino had an honest conversation about the past tension between them. Pinkett-Smith revealed she got involved with Smith too soon during his divorce from Zampino. "I did not understand marriage, I didn't understand divorce," she explained. "I will say I probably should've fell back."

Steve Harvey quit his day job and ended his marriage

Before Steve Harvey became a triple threat in Hollywood as an actor, comedian, and television host, he was just an insurance salesman with dreams of making people laugh. Back in 1981, the "Family Feud" host was starting his own family with his first wife, Marcia. In 1985, the insurance salesman competed in an amateur comedy competition and surprisingly won. It was then he realized he had a future in comedy. The Ohio native soon quit his day job and decided to pursue comedy full-time. In 1994, his 14-year-long marriage with Marcia hit a rough patch. 

According to Parade, Harvey always traveling on the road caused a strain on his marriage. The couple later divorced in 1994, just two years before he landed his own hit sitcom "The Steve Harvey Show." However, before his divorce was finalized, Harvey allegedly began dating Mary Shackelford. Shackelford and Harvey married in 1996, but later divorced in 2005. The comedian is currently married to Marjorie Harvey, whom he met while performing on stage.

Lance Armstrong's ex-wife lost her independence

Lance Armstrong is a former athlete with plenty of wins and controversy to his name. His doping scandal drastically damaged his reputation and left the athlete without the glory he had for so long in his career. Long before being banned from competing in his sport, Armstrong was a family man married to Kristin Richard. The couple met at an event hosted by his cancer foundation. "He had just finished up his chemotherapy," she told Oprah.com. "He was bald and cute, and it was a business relationship at first that evolved into a friendship." The couple married in 1998 and Richard supported him through his testicular cancer diagnosis. However, after just five years of marriage, the couple announced their divorce.

Richard described their marriage as a time when she lost sight of who she was. She described becoming a people pleaser who no longer was an independent woman. "It wasn't Lance saying, 'You should be like this' or 'Do this,'" she explained. "It wasn't him making a mandate and me being a mouse. It was me trying to emulate whatever I thought would be the perfect wife or the perfect mother." 

After their divorce, Armstrong began dating singer Sheryl Crow. Richard didn't seem to mind that he moved on to someone famous so soon. "His new life has nothing to do with me. Being famous or hanging around with famous people, I don't think that ever did it for me," she told The New York Times.

Austin Butler and Vanessa Hudgens split after Elvis

In Hollywood, relationships usually don't last long. That's partly why many were shocked that Vanessa Hudgens and Austin Butler's relationship lasted over eight years. The couple was first linked together in 2011. For years, fans have seen the two adorably pose on the red carpet and make a yearly appearance at Coachella. In 2020, just six months after Butler was cast in the Elvis biopic, People reported the two had split. A source later told the outlet that their careers were to blame. "They really loved each other and have been through some of their toughest life moments together," the source said. "Busy work schedules and travel definitely put a strain on the relationship." Just prior to their breakup, the couple was discussing a possible engagement.

Butler's breakout role in "Elvis" partly came to be because of Hudgens. In 2019, Hudgens told a story on  "Live with Kelly and Ryan" of her suggesting Butler go out for the role of Elvis, just a month before Baz Luhrmann's project was announced. In 2023, during The Hollywood Reporter's Actor's Roundtable, Butler retold the same story but referred to Hudgens as an unnamed friend. 

Butler later gave credit to his ex-girlfriend in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. "We'd been together for so long and she had this sort of clairvoyant moment and so I really, I owe her a lot for believing in me," he said when asked about her.

Chris Pratt and Anna Faris were too competitive

For almost a decade, Anna Faris and Chris Pratt were Hollywood's adorable funny couple. In 2018, the actors shocked fans when they announced they split. "Anna and I are sad to announce we are legally separating. We tried hard for a long time, and we're really disappointed. Our son has two parents who love him very much and for his sake we want to keep this situation as private as possible moving forward," Pratt wrote on his Facebook page. Though the couple didn't give an official reason for why they split, Faris has opened up about it on her podcast, "Anna Faris Is Unqualified."

During one episode featuring actor Gwyneth Paltrow, Faris spoke about the troubles that occur in a marriage with two people in the same profession. "I've been married twice ... My two other marriages were with actors, and I don't think we did a great job of eliminating competitiveness," she told Paltrow. "Or at least I didn't, being a proud person, and not wanting to reveal vulnerability." 

At the start of their marriage, Faris was the bigger movie star while Pratt had his stint on "Parks and Recreation." His career took off in 2014 when he landed a role in "Guardians of the Galaxy," and followed it up with "Jurassic World" and "Passengers" in 2015 and 2016. The drastic switch in their popularity seemed to have caused tension between the two. 

Kevin Hart's first marriage ended in drama

Longtime fans of Kevin Hart might know about his first wife, Torrei Hart. Like most comedians, Hart used his personal life in his work. His first marriage was a frequent topic in his earlier stand-up specials as he joked about the troubles they went through. Kevin and Torrei got married in 2003 and had two children together before splitting in 2011.

In an interview on Netflix's "Chelsea," the comedian took blame for the marriage ending. "I got married at the age of 22. I was still all over the place. I didn't really understand the definition of marriage. I wasn't ready for it, so I take responsibility. I can say I messed my first marriage up. I'm man enough to say that," he explained. "At the same time, that was when I was in the prime of my sexy, so don't blame me."

At the time of their divorce, the actor and comedian was becoming an A-list star with movies taking over the box office. This weighed heavily on Torrei who felt embarrassed about the divorce being so public and her ex moving on with a woman he allegedly cheated on her with. "Most people when they go through divorce they don't have to see it in their face every day. This was when Kevin was at the height of his career," Torrei explained on "The Real." "Imagine, I'm seeing it on the TV, I'm seeing it [in] movies ... played out on the internet."