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32 Actors Who Had To Pretend To Be In Love With Their Ex On Screen

Talk about awkward!

There's a reason so many people have a rule against dating their coworkers — hardly anybody wants to see their ex every time they clock in. However, when you work in Hollywood, your ex could very well end up being your onscreen love interest.

NBC / Via giphy.com

Here are 16 times celebrity exes played love interests in TV shows and movies:

1. Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber ended their 11-year relationship in 2016, then played spouses in Chuck the following year.

they played boxer Chuck Wepner and his wife Linda
IFC Films / Via youtube.com

Liev told People that the first time he saw Naomi in costume, he "just knew it was going to be fun.”

2. Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake dated from 2003–2007, and they reunited to play Elizabeth Halsey and Scott Delacorte in Bad Teacher in 2011.

Elizabeth catches up with Scott in the hallway
Sony Pictures Releasing / Via youtube.com

Cameron told Us Magazine, "Justin and I have always had a good laugh together, and to make a movie where we get to have a laugh together, and there really was no one else who was more perfect for this part."

3. Nina Dobrev and Ian Somerhalder, who played Elena and Damon on The Vampire Diaries, dated from 2010–2013, and, while Nina left the show in 2015 after Season 6, their characters ended up together when she returned for Season 8.

Elena and Damon talk at Bonnie's wedding
The CW / Via Netflix

They're still friends, and Nina is friends with Ian's wife, Nikki Reed, as well. On Watch What Happens Live, she said, "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."

4. Amanda Seyfried and Dominic Cooper met on the set of Mamma Mia! and dated from 2007–2011. They reprised their roles as Sophie and Sky in Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again in 2018.

Sky twirls Sophie around
Universal Pictures / Via youtube.com

He told Entertainment Tonight, "It was always going to be okay. You just have to be delicate with those situations."

5. Jennifer Aniston and Tate Donovan dated from 1995–1998, but they were in the process of breaking up as he began a five-episode Friends arc as Rachel's boyfriend, Joshua.

Rachel hugs Joshua in the middle of Central Perk
NBC / Via youtube.com

Tate told Us Weekly that it was tricky to "act like we are just meeting each other, and falling in love, or whatever, interested in each other, when we’re sort of breaking up."

6. Alias costars Michael Vartan and Jennifer Garner dated for about six months in 2003, and Jennifer's 2005 pregnancy was written in as Sydney Bristow and Michael Vaughn having a baby.

Sydney tells Michael they need to to talk about the baby
ABC / Via youtube.com

At the time, she was married to Ben Affleck.

7. Sophia Bush and Chad Michael Murray got engaged a few months after One Tree Hill premiered, divorced after five months of marriage in 2006, and continued to play Lucas and Brooke until the show ended in 2012.

Lucas and Brooke gaze at each other lovingly
The CW / Via youtube.com

On Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, Sophia said, "For me, at the end of the day, my job is my priority, and so I think at the end of it, it really let me just let go of it."

8. Kyle MacLachlan and Laura Dern dated from 1985–1989, and they played love interests Dale Cooper and Diane Evans on Twin Peaks: The Return in 2017.

they drive to the Other Side
Showtime / Via youtube.com

On The Ellen Show, Kyle joked that filming their love scene felt like "Welcome back, 25 years later."

9. Justin Long and Drew Barrymore started dating after meeting on the set of He's Just Not That Into You in 2007, broke up in 2008, and reunited on the set of Going the Distance before breaking up for good in 2010.

they played Erin and Garrett in "Going the Distance"
Warner Bros. Pictures / Via youtube.com

They're still good friends, and Drew made an Instagram appreciation post for him in 2020.

10. In 2017, Joey King and Jacob Elordi got together on the set of The Kissing Booth, but they broke up before reprising their roles as Elle and Noah in The Kissing Booth 2 in 2019.

Netflix / Via Netflix

On the podcast Mood with Lauren Elizabeth, Joey said, "I'm a fan with how [the film] resonated with the world, it resonated with me. So going back and doing that and making the sacrifice of what, obviously, everyone is thinking about — outwardly addressing, but what I'm kind of on the sly addressing, making those sacrifices was totally worth it."

11. Kaley Cuoco and Johnny Galecki secretly dated for two years during the early seasons of The Big Bang Theory, and they continued to play Penny and Leonard through 12 seasons.

Penny and Leonard elope
CBS / Via youtube.com

On Dax Shepard's Armchair Expert podcast, Kaley said, "Luckily, Johnny and I came out of it so brilliantly, and we’re closer today than we ever were."

12. Cole Sprouse and Lili Reinhart started dating after they met on the Riverdale set in 2017, and they've continued in their roles as Jughead Jones and Betty Cooper after their 2020 breakup.

Jughead watches Betty tell a story
The CW / Via youtube.com

Confirming their breakup on Instagram, Cole wrote, "What an incredible experience I had, I’ll always feel lucky and cherish that I had the chance to fall in love."

13. Lea Michele dated Matthew Morrison "for a Broadway beat" before they were on Glee together, and her character, Rachel Berry, had an unrequited crush on his character, Will Schuester, in Season 1.

Rachel brings Mr Shue a present
Fox / Via Netflix

In her book, Brunette Ambition, Lea wrote, "Matt had been a friend of mine for years, and in fact we’d actually dated back in the day."

14. The O.C. costars Rachel Bilson and Adam Brody dated from 2003–2006, and they continued to play Summer and Seth until the show ended a year later.

Seth and Summer's wedding
Fox / Via youtube.com

Rachel told Nylon, “It was definitely a unique experience, and I don’t think anyone else could have really understood it had they not been in it, so for that reason, it was super helpful and supportive, and I have total gratitude for the whole experience.”

15. Gossip Girl costars Blake Lively and Penn Badgley dated from 2007–2010, and they continued to play Serena and Dan until the show ended two years later.

Dan and Serena get married in the finale
The CW / Via youtube.com

Blake told Elle, "I remember there was one point where we were just afraid of how our personal lives overlapping our work life could be perceived by our bosses...[But then] we were like, ‘Oh no, that’s exactly what they want.’ They wanted us all to date...because then it fed their whole narrative."

16. And finally, Crystal Reed and Daniel Sharman, who played Allison and Isaac on Teen Wolf, dated from 2012–2013, and their characters stayed together until Allison died in Season 3.

Allison pulls away from Isaac
MTV / Via youtube.com

Crystal took a solo trip to Paris after their breakup. She told Us Weekly, "It was something that just jumpstarted my singleness...I was lucky enough to meet the most incredible people."

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