Actor Couples Who Teamed Up To Play Married Couples On Screen

The chemistry between actors can make or break a movie. When two stars don't connect with one another, whether it's because they were lacking direction or just didn't find that instant spark, it can make a hugely anticipated movie hard to watch. And it makes it very clear that a few stars just shouldn't work together, ever. While "Twilight" grossed over $400 million worldwide after its release, its on-screen couple played by Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson were surprisingly awkward in their performances, especially considering the fact that they were dating in real life at the time. Most fans of Stephanie Meyer's book series would agree that Bella Swan and Edward Cullen's chemistry was intense, but it didn't always translate on the big screen.

Actors have to make the audience believe when it comes to faking a romance in a flick or TV series, but when an actual romantically involved pairing decides to team up to be in love for the camera? It can not only ease that awkward tension, but make filming a breeze. There are several movies in which a real-life married couple plays a married couple in a feature, and it's safe to say the chemistry is unmatched. The stars below decided they were better off filming with their significant other and worried less about unwanted and uncomfortable on-screen moments. 

Jada Pinkett Smith had doubts about working with Will Smith in Ali

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith have been married since 1997 and have established themselves as prominent actors in Hollywood. Despite working together as producers on films like "The Secret Life of Bees" and "After Earth," they don't make a habit of appearing in movies together. However, the couple did team up to star in 2001's "Ali," in which "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" star portrayed the legendary boxer Muhammad Ali while his spouse took the role of Sonji Roy, Ali's first wife. 

Pinkett Smith admitted to People TV (via Digital Spy) that she did not want to take on the role because she did not want to take away from the importance of the characters she and her husband were playing. She shared, "I didn't want to audition for this. I did not want to be in this movie with Will. I felt like because we were a couple off-screen, for people to see us together on the screen in a movie, that people would see Will and Jada there. They wouldn't see Ali and Sonji."

Pinkett Smith would go on to state that she was "so against" working with her husband, but the film's director, Michael Mann, wanted her for the role. Will Smith's work in the film would earn his first Oscar nomination for Best Actor.

Lucille Ball demanded Desi Arnaz star in I Love Lucy

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz were everyone's favorite sitcom duo when they arrived on the small screen as Lucy and Ricky Ricardo in "I Love Lucy." The couple eloped in 1940 and starred in the beloved sitcom together for six seasons when it aired in 1951. In fact, it was Ball's idea to include her Cuban-American husband in the show, even though CBS executives were worried about how Americans would respond to Arnaz, per Biography. However, she would prove them wrong and the series was a major success. 

While they were known as television's darling couple, Darin Strauss, author of "The Queen of Tuesday," wrote in Vanity Fair that their relationship was anything but what audiences saw on TV. In fact, Strauss stated that Ball "demanded" that Arnaz play her husband because "She feared that if she wasn't around him all the time, he'd cheat." Unfortunately, things came crashing down when the tabloid magazine Confidential ran a story claiming Arnaz was unfaithful. Regarding the scandal, the actor reportedly said, "What's she upset about? I don't take out other broads. I just take out hookers." After the world knew of Arnaz's wrongdoing, this popular on-screen couple divorced in 1960

Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas and their fairytale romance

Actors Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas have been happily married since 2014 and have welcomed two children. Their relationship truly is a real-life fairytale: After meeting on the set of ABC series "Once Upon a Time," where Goodwin starred as Snow White and Dallas portrayed Prince Charming for seven seasons, they hit it off. According to Us Weekly, the two made their relationship public in 2012 after stepping out together for a music video red carpet premiere and it's been bliss ever since. 

With their relationship out in the open, Dallas told People that same year about falling head over heels for Goodwin so quickly. "I think falling in love is always a surprise, right? It hit me like a blinding light. I thought, 'I'm in trouble now,'" he stated, adding that he would like to think Goodwin "felt exactly the same way."

In 2020, Dallas said in Us Weekly that transitioning from co-stars to husband and wife while continuing to work together came naturally, jokingly stating, "I think it happened very organically and actors playing opposite each other never fall in love on sets, do they? That never happens in this business. But, two kids later we're still going strong, so it's a great thing." 

Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly filmed Creation together

Jennifer Connelly and Paul Bettany did not start dating until after starring in 2001's "A Beautiful Mind" together, with Connelly telling ET that she thought the "WandaVision" star was "really good" while reading the film's script. And she sure made a good first impression on her future significant other, too. "I've never been this close to someone that beautiful before," Bettany said to the outlet. "I remember thinking, 'I bet every man you ever met has tried to flirt with you.'" Bettany and Connelly tied the knot in 2003 and would end up working together again, but as a married couple. 

The two partnered up to star as Charles Darwin and his wife Emma in the 2009 film "Creation." During an interview with the Boston Herald, Connelly admitted that there were movies that wouldn't allow her or her husband to work together, but they both ended up getting cast in "Creation." The actor shared that she found the roles "appropriate" for both stars because "it's not a young love or romantic comedy nor about their sexuality" and added that the film about the naturalist and his wife "bear no resemblance to our lives. There is nothing that has any bearings on ours." 

In 2015, the couple would work together once again in the film "Shelter," which starred Connelly and was directed by Bettany. Connelly shared with ET, "I feel very creatively aligned with him. We are drawn to similar types of films and filmmaking."

Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony teamed up for El Cantante

Before Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez separated in 2011, they acted alongside one another in the 2006 drama "El Cantante," where Anthony portrayed real-life Puerto Rican singer Héctor Lavoe and Lopez played his wife, Puchi. Before the then-married couple prepared for their roles, Anthony told Fashion Rocks magazine (via Cleveland 19) that people reached out to him about the risks of working with his significant other. "Oh, I got the calls. Just friends, you know, giving me the heads-up about working with your partner," Anthony stated. "I thought it was going to be World War III, when, in fact, it was Club Med." In that same interview, Lopez talked about her chemistry with the "Vivir Mi Vida" singer, sharing, "We have a high standard for each other; I know what he's capable of, and he knows what I'm capable of, even more than we know ourselves."

Unfortunately, just like Lopez's film "Gigli," which starred her former fiancé Ben Affleck and bombed horribly at the box office, the film would receive negative reviews from critics, too. The megastar duo would later file for divorce, deciding it was best that they remain friends and co-parent their two children, Emme and Maximilian, with Lopez telling Kelly Ripa and Jeffrey Dean Morgan on "Live with Kelly" in 2017, "We are like best friends." Is it safe to say Lopez should stay clear of making films with her partner?

John Krasinski and Emily Blunt spent time in a quiet place

It was only a matter of time until John Krasinski and Emily Blunt joined creative forces. The pair teamed up to star in the 2018 epic thriller "A Quiet Place," which was also directed and co-written by Krasinski. The A-list actors have been married since 2010 and have supported one another on their individual projects, and this flick gave the real-life husband and wife duo a chance to play a husband and wife duo on the big screen. A husband and wife who must live in silence to protect their children from deadly creatures who hunt by sound, that is.

Speaking to Hello! about the experience, Krasinski said, "It certainly hit home for us, we had just had our second daughter [Violet] three weeks before I read the first script, so it's been an immensely personal movie." He also said in Vanity Fair that they got on well as coworkers. "The biggest benefit is the support system," he said. "I was emotional every day, and she would stay in the scene she wasn't in. It was terrifying. You don't know what will happen, and if your two processes are going to work together. Some people were like, 'You're going to be divorced by the end of it.' But we quickly learned we work really well together.'"

The couple teamed up again for the movie's sequel, "A Quiet Place Part II," which was released in 2021.

By the Sea was Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt's last-ditch effort

After meeting and falling in love on the set of 2005's "Mr. & Mrs. Smith," Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt decided to appear in another film together, but this time as husband and wife. The actors starred in 2015's "By the Sea" which was directed and written by Jolie and centered around a couple whose 14-year relationship hits a snag after suffering multiple miscarriages. 

It came as a shock when Jolie filed for divorce from Pitt in 2016, just a year after filming together. Speaking candidly to The Hollywood Reporter's "Awards Chatter" podcast, the "Changeling" actor expressed that she wanted to work with her husband again as sort of a last-ditch effort to fix their marriage. "It may not have been a good idea," she shared, adding, "I wanted us to do some serious work together, and I wanted to see him do that kind of work. So I thought it could be a good way for us to communicate. And I think in some ways, it was. And in some ways we learned some things. But there was a heaviness during that situation that carried on." 

Even though the couple split, Jolie admitted that she was glad she made the movie with Pitt because they had the chance to "explore something together."

Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise led the wickedly steamy Eyes Wide Shut

Before Nicole Kidman tied the knot with Keith Urban in 2006, she was married to Tom Cruise for 11 years. The then-couple adopted two children together before calling it quits in 2001. Kidman and Cruise were easily Hollywood's most powerful pair in the '90s, and they took their relationship to the next level by starring in Stanley Kubrick's final film, "Eyes Wide Shut." 

Looking back at the movie — which touches on a number of themes, including infidelity — Kidman told The New York Times Magazine that she and Cruise were at a great place in their relationship at the time. "We were happily married through that," she said. "We would go go-kart racing after those scenes ... I don't know what else to say. Maybe I don't have the ability to look back and dissect it. Or I'm not willing to." 

Kidman did open up to Red magazine (via People) about her long marriage to Cruise, noting that she was "so young" when she and the megastar became husband and wife. When they got hitched, Kidman was only 23, and Cruise was 28. "I look back and I'm like, 'What?' You look at Taylor Swift, I mean, how old is she? She's 26. I had two kids by the time I was 27 and I'd been married four years. But that's what I wanted," she said.

Dax Shepard had doubts when casting Kristen Bell in CHiPs

Actor Dax Shepard had doubts about casting his wife Kristen Bell in his 2017 film "CHiPs" because Bell's character would be anything but the loving spouse she is in real life. The part called for an actor to play a wife who was downright mean, while Shepard's character was a husband trying to save his marriage. Speaking to CinemaBlend about the idea of playing the role, Bell shared, "First of all, I was like, 'I can be unlikeable. Get ready.' And then second of all, he was like, 'We're a couple. I don't want the audience to root for us. We have to put up a firewall to the unbelievable chemistry we have.'"

Bell also shared with "Good Morning America" that the way her character acts towards her estranged husband and her real life marriage to Shepard was in no way related. "It was hard to be mean to him because my character is like his estranged, trophy wife. She's over him because he's not winning trophies anymore. And so I have to be really, really mean to him, and it was difficult because I do really ... he's so endearing, and I like him so much."

In the aforementioned CinemaBlend interview, Bell said she "accomplished" what the script had asked of them, and touchingly added, "I just tried to look at him with the filter of disgust, which of course only lasted between action and cut because I love him so much." 

Jenna Dewan had an 'immediately easy' time filming Channing Tatum

Jenna Dewan and Channing Tatum met on the set of their film "Step Up" and would end up closer than they ever imagined. The pair began a romantic relationship, which led to the two tying the knot in July of 2009. In 2013, the duo welcomed their first child together, but by 2018, the pair shocked fans when they announced they were separating after nine years of marriage on their social media pages.

But before these two stars split, they worked on a second film together in 2011 titled "10 Years," which saw Tatum and Dewan portraying a couple meeting up with friends on their 10-year high school reunion. It was the first time that the pair starred in a movie together as husband and wife, and for Dewan, it was a piece of cake. She told Vulture, "You know, we started working together in 'Step Up.' So we know how to work with each other. I think we were both curious to see how it would be [again]. To our surprise, it was immediately easy. But that's kind of how the shoot was, in general. It was truly, like, a bunch of friends filming in the same hotel, going from hotel bar to a scene."

While the famous couple is no longer together, The Blast reported that they have agreed to split custody of their daughter and are learning to co-parent. 

Warren Beatty and Annette Bening won't chicken out

Actor Warren Beatty has an illustrious career in Hollywood that has spanned over 60 years and throughout that time Beatty was labeled a "playboy" for his many romantic relationships with some of the industries most beautiful stars, including Cher, Julie Christie, and Diane Keaton, per Entertainment Weekly. However, the actor did settle down in 1992 when he married Annette Bening, whom he met on the set of the 1991 film "Bugsy." He told People, "I remember losing interest in the garlic chicken I was eating within 20 seconds. And the garlic chicken had been very good."

Beatty and Bening have starred in four movies together, including 1994's "Love Affair," in which they portrayed star-crossed lovers who happen to be affianced to other people. In a 2020 interview with Extra, Bening said she couldn't pick a favorite out of the four. "Each project represents a different moment in your life, so anytime I think of a project, I think about what else was going on at the time," she shared.

The couple is still married as of this writing, with Bening once telling Us Weekly that there really isn't a special trick to a long-lasting union. "There is no secret as anyone who's been married knows," she said. "We have an incredible family, we have beautiful children. We've been through a lot. It's the center of life. It's the most important thing. It's everything."

Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor starred in 11 movies together

There have been several whirlwind romances in Hollywood, but none have ever been as tumultuous as that of actors Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. The stars met on the set of 1963's "Cleopatra," with Taylor once stating to People, "When I saw him on the set of 'Cleopatra,' I fell in love and I have loved him ever since." Both stars would end their previous marriages after having an affair, which Taylor admitted she "never regretted a moment" of and Taylor would find herself living a life of luxury but was also dealing with Burton's alcoholism and their many private and public fights, per Biography

Taylor and Burton wed in 1964, called it quits in 1975, reconciled and remarried in 1975, just to divorce again, per Vanity Fair. They starred in 11 movies together, and when they were husband and wife, they teamed up to play a volatile couple in Mike Nicholas' 1966 film "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" The movie ended up being nominated for 13 Academy Awards, with Taylor taking home the Oscar for Best Actress

The duo's last movie together would coincidentally be called "Divorce His, Divorce Hers," with the two playing a couple who break up after 18 years of marriage. 

Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward were praised for their performances in Mr. and Mrs. Bridge

Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward were married for 50 years before he died in 2008. The lovebirds acted in several films together, including "The Long, Hot Summer," "From the Terrace," and "Paris Blues." Perhaps their most memorable movie was 1990's "Mr. and Mrs. Bridge," where they played a married couple in the 1940s. The New York Times praised the duo's work in the film, writing, "Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward give the most adventurous, most stringent performances of their careers." The outlet also noted that they were "splendid" to watch on screen, and Woodward was even nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for the film. 

Besides working alongside one another on the big screen, Newman also directed five movies that starred his wife. Some of those films include "The Glass Menagerie," "The Shadow Box," and "Rachel, Rachel," the latter of which earned Woodward her second Academy Award nomination.

Known as "Hollywood's golden couple" because they were able to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary before Newman's death, he was once quoted saying about his successful marriage (via Country Living), "People stay married because they want to, not because the doors are locked. I have steak at home. Why should I go out for hamburger?"

William Daniels and Bonnie Bartlett got married on TV

Those who grew up in the '90s will remember the beloved sitcom "Boy Meets World." One of the most memorable and beloved members of the sitcom's cast was Mr. Feeny, played by actor William Daniels, the schoolteacher who always had the perfect life lessons for his students. The show also included Bonnie Bartlett, Daniels' real-life wife. In later seasons, Bartlett portrayed Dean Bolander, Mr. Feeny's love interest. In Season 6, Daniels' character proposes to Bolander and viewers watched the two tie the knot in the Matthews family's living room.

Daniels and Bartlett, who wed in 1951, had previously worked together as a married couple on the '80s medical drama "St. Elsewhere." Daniels portrayed Dr. Mark Craig while Bartlett played his wife, Ellen. When the two spoke to the Television Academy Foundation about acting alongside one another, Bartlett said, "It was just so easy ... What do they call it? Falling off a log? No effort, whatsoever." 

Being one of the longest married Hollywood couples, Daniels shared their secret to success with Forbes, admitting, "I think our relationship is based on. mutual respect and I think she is smarter than me, a better actor than me, and so I just hang out, you know, and try to get along."