It's a tried and true Hollywood cliché: falling for your director. Yet stars and their bosses continue to find love in and out of the workplace. Though some relationships that start on set or after production wraps go the distance, others are destined to quickly fall apart. Join Wonderwall.com as we take a look back at some of Hollywood's most notable actor-director couplings, starting with the first new celebrity couple of 2021… In January 2021, photos of "Don't Worry Darling" director Olivia Wilde holding hands with one of her leading men, Harry Styles, at a friend's wedding hit the internet (Page Six has the images). A source confirmed to People magazine that Olivia and the singer-actor had been dating "for a few weeks." Keep reading for more stars who've fallen for their directors…
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"Mother!" director Darren Aronofsky and his film's leading lady, Jennifer Lawrence, were first linked in October 2016. The Oscar-winning actress later opened up about their year-long romance in the September 2017 issue of Vogue, explaining how comfortable she was with Darren despite his being 22 years her senior. "I've been in relationships before where I am just confused. And I'm never confused with him," she said. They split later that year. But J-Law wasn't the first actress to be romanced by the director…
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Darren Aronofsky and Rachel Weisz were an item for nearly a decade before they called it quits in 2010. The duo got together in 2001, got engaged in 2005 and welcomed a son, Henry, the following year. In the midst of that, Darren directed his real-life leading lady in the 2006 sci-fi love story "The Fountain."
Actress Michelle Williams fell for her "Fosse/Verdon" director, Thomas Kail. Not long before the couple went public with their romance at the 2020 Golden Globes, Michelle split from her husband of less than a year, musician Phil Elverum, and Thomas — the Tony-winning director of Broadway's "Hamilton" — ended his marriage to singer-actress Angela Christian. Just months after their public debut, Michelle and Thomas married and welcomed a child together.
Director Sam Mendes met Kate Winslet in the early '00s when he tried (and failed) to convince her to sign on to a play he was directing in London. Though she rebuffed his professional advances, they hit it off personally and married in 2003. Sam later directed Kate alongside her old "Titanic" co-star, Leonardo DiCaprio, in the 2008 film "Revolutionary Road." Two years later, the couple announced their divorce.
Director Sam Taylor-Johnson met her future husband, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, on the set of "Nowhere Boy" in 2009. While she was directing him in the musical drama that chronicled John Lennon's adolescence, the two fell in love. At the time, Aaron was 19 and Sam was 42. But the age difference didn't matter to the couple, who went on to have two daughters together. They both took a hyphenated version of their last names after marrying in 2012.
Helen Mirren and Taylor Hackford hit it off when he directed her in the 1985 drama "White Nights." They tied the knot in 1997 after 11 years together and reunited professionally for 2010's "Love Ranch." This time, Taylor directed his real-life leading lady as one half of the couple who opened the first legal brothel in Nevada. How romantic!
Former Hollywood supercouple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie joined the stars-who've-romanced-their-directors club when Angie directed Brad in "By the Sea" just a few weeks after their 2014 wedding. The two also co-starred in the 2015 film, which hit theaters about a year before their shocking 2016 split.
Director Judd Apatow knew it was love at first sight when he met actress Leslie Mann — and he wasn't even directing the film she was auditioning for! Back in 1996, Leslie tried out for a role in "The Cable Guy," which Judd was producing and co-writing, but it was Ben Stiller, the actual director of that flick, that Leslie had her eye on. Fortunately, Leslie took a chance on Judd, who later ended up directing her in films like "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," "Knocked Up" and "This Is 40," to name just a few. The two wed in 1997 and have two children, daughters Maude and Iris.
Ben Stiller was directing himself in a pilot entitled "Heat Vision and Jack" back in 1999, and even though it never aired, it gave him something even better than a professional win — a wife! It was while working on that project that he met Christine Taylor, whom he married in 2001. The duo went on to star in several comedies together, including "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story," "Zoolander" and "Tropic Thunder." Unfortunately, all those laughs couldn't keep the couple united. They announced their split in June 2017.
Ben Stiller was directing himself in a pilot entitled "Heat Vision and Jack" back in 1999, and even though it never aired, it gave him something even better than a professional win — a wife! It was while working on that project that he met Christine Taylor, whom he married in 2001. The duo went on to star in several comedies together, including "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story," "Zoolander" and "Tropic Thunder." Unfortunately, all those laughs couldn't keep the couple united. They announced their split in June 2017, though appeared to reconcile in 2019.
Kate Beckinsale started to fall for her married director, Len Wiseman, while they were shooting 2003's "Underworld." The actress also had a boyfriend at the time: "Underworld" co-star Michael Sheen, the father of her daughter, Lily. Both she and Len ended their respective relationships and ended up marrying in 2004. They worked together on subsequent "Underworld" installments, but it wouldn't be a perfect Hollywood ending for the couple, who called it quits in late 2016.
According to Us Weekly, Rosario Dawson and Danny Boyle started dating after they wrapped production on their 2013 crime-drama "Trance." But the super-private pair, who met years earlier on a project neither of them ended up doing, were done by the time they started promoting "Trance" at the film's press junket. "It's not like we announced our relationship, so it's not like we're going to announce our breakup," Rosario told Net-A-Porter around the time "Trance" debuted. "I love Danny. He's wonderful and we dated longer than people think we did. … I respect Danny's privacy, so it's not something we really talk about."
This couple had quite the run! Danny DeVito met Rhea Perlman back in 1971 when she attended a play in which he starred. Two years later, she co-wrote a short film he directed called "The Sound Sleeper" — and the rest is history! They tied the knot in 1982 but split in 2012. Though they temporarily reconciled in 2013, by March 2017, things were over for good.
Helena Bonham Carter fell in love with her director, Tim Burton, while they were working together on 2001's "Planet of the Apes." They never married but went on to have two children together during their 13-year relationship. In December 2014, they called it quits.
Rose McGowan and Robert Rodriguez felt a spark when he was directing her in 2007's "Grindhouse." They confirmed their relationship by appearing hand-in-hand during the 2007 Cannes Film Festival and were engaged by October 2007. They never made it to the altar, though: Rose and Robert split in October 2009.
Milla Jovovich met her future husband, director Paul W. S. Anderson, while working on the 2002 film "Resident Evil." A year later, Paul proposed, but they ended up splitting before making it to the altar. Fate had different plans for the couple, though: They reunited and welcomed their first child, daughter Ever, in 2007. They married two years later and welcomed their second daughter, Dashiel, in 2015, and their third, Osian, in 2020.
Frances McDormand starred in 1984's "Blood Simple," which Joel Coen directed. The same year the movie debuted, they tied the knot. Frances has since starred in a number of the Coen brothers' films including "Fargo" (she won an Academy Award for her work in the dark comedy). The two are parents to an adult son, Pedro McDormand Coen.
Kristen Stewart made headlines in 2012 when she got involved with her married "Snow White and the Huntsman" director, Rupert Sanders, while she was still in a relationship with "Twilight" co-star Robert Pattinson. After photos surfaced of the actress kissing the director, K.Stew issued a public apology to Rob, from whom she split and then briefly reconciled before ultimately calling it quits in 2013. Liberty Ross, Rupert's wife and the mother of his two children, filed for divorce in January 2013 and is now married to music mogul Jimmy Iovine.
David Lynch and Isabella Rossellini fell in love in 1985 while he was directing her in the thriller "Blue Velvet." The model-actress wrote in her memoir "Some of Me" that she was "totally brokenhearted" when the auteur broke up with her in 1991.
Jenna Fischer reportedly met director James Gunn through his brother, "Gilmore Girls" actor Sean Gunn. In the midst of their marriage of more than six years, James directed Jenna in the 2006 horror-comedy "Slither." A year after the B-movie debuted, the duo slithered out of their marriage.
Steven Spielberg fell for actress Kate Capshaw after he cast her in 1984's "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom." The duo, who married in 1991, have seven children, including their biological offspring, adopted kids and children from previous marriages.
James Cameron and Linda Hamilton reportedly took their relationship to the next level when they started working together on 1991's "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" — while he was still married to his third wife, Kathryn Bigelow. James and the "Zero Dark Thirty" director divorced in 1991, and the following year, Linda was pregnant. The new couple experienced a major hiccup, though, when James fell for actress Suzy Amis, who had a small role in his 1997 movie "Titanic." He went back to Linda and they were married for eight months in 1999 before he returned to Suzy, whom he wed the following year. "Work and women go hand in hand for Jimbo, and I should know," Linda told Mail Online in 2011.
Peter Bogdanovich cast a then-unknown Cybill Shepherd in his 1971 film "The Last Picture Show" after he saw her on the cover of Glamour magazine in 1969. He was married to producer Polly Platt at the time, but he and the actress embarked on an affair and he ultimately left his wife for her. Though they never married and their relationship eventually ended, the two remain close to this day.
Mia Farrow and Woody Allen started dating in the early '80s, and she went on to star in more than 13 of his films. Although they were never married, Woody adopted two of Mia's previously adopted children, Dylan and Moses, in 1991. In January 1992, Mia said she discovered photos Woody had taken of her other adopted daughter, then-21-year-old Soon-Yi Previn, without clothing. Woody went on to marry Soon-Yi in 1997, and the couple adopted two daughters of their own.
Though Maya Rudolph and Paul Thomas Anderson have been a couple for nearly 20 years, the Oscar nominee has only directed his real-life leading lady once: in 2014's "Inherent Vice." "It was so exciting," the funnywoman told Variety of working with her longtime love and the father of her four children. "Paul's an incredible director, probably my favorite. I love watching him work. It's so exciting to see someone who's so clearly their own and has so much confidence about their own vision. It's beautiful to watch. I recommend him as a director. I hope they'll hire me back."
Roger Vadim romanced many famous actresses during his lifetime, including Brigitte Bardot, who was just 18 when they tied the knot in 1952 — the same year she made her feature film debut. The blonde beauty starred in her husband's directorial debut, 1956's "…And God Created Woman," before their infidelity-plagued union came to an end in 1957. The end of their marriage was not the end of their working relationship, though. They continued making movies together for years after they called it quits.
Though the pair have insisted their relationship has always been purely platonic, it's long been rumored that Uma Thurman and Quentin Tarantino — who directed her in famous flicks like "Pulp Fiction" and the "Kill Bill" franchise — have dated many times over. Uma tried to put the rumors to rest in 2014, telling Vs. Magazine, "I was discussing [the rumors] with Mr. Tarantino last night. He was angry at me for not calling him back because, as he said, 'According to the papers we are practically married!' and he laughed hysterically. So our relationship is pretty much what it's always been; people are just having fun with it."