Sometimes the casting director of a movie or a television series does an astonishingly brilliant job. Especially when they cast two actors who have such a blatantly obvious chemistry on-screen that the ‘will they or won’t they’ subplot of the show often overshadows the main storyline and is the principal reason why people stay glued to their TV screens.
But the on-screen relationship often transforms into an off-screen one as well. Countless couples who have acted in love have actually fallen in love in real life as well. But life isn’t a fairy tale, and not all of these whirlwind romances have had happy endings. In fact, sometimes the break up between the actors have had enormous impact, not just on the couple themselves, but also on the shows they were working on. Here is a list, compiled by Ranker, of 15 times when the end of an off-screen relationship resulted in major plot changes of a TV show.
1. Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter – Dexter
Source: Genevieve/flickr/CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0
Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter met on the set of the crime drama series Dexter. Their relationship was one of the most famous and scandalous on-set romances. The couple began dating in 2007, and they eloped in 2008, on New Year’s Eve. In a marriage that lasted two years, Carpenter stayed beside Hall all the way throughout his treatment for cancer. However, afterwards, Hall had a series of affairs which eventually led to a divorce. All the while, on the show, the actors played brother and sister, who even had a brief on-screen dalliance.
2. Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco – The Big Bang Theory
Source: The Big Bang Theory
Big Bang Theory‘s Penny and Leonard had an on-again, off-again relationship for years, but the actors portraying them had a secret romance as well. The reason for the secrecy, according to Galecki, was because of the strain of the on-screen relationship. Unfortunately, things didn’t end happily because of this, as Cuoco and Galecki broke up after two years. The real break up was followed by an on-screen one. However, their characters eventually did get married.
3. Chad Michael Murray and Sophia Bush – One Tree Hill
Source: One Tree Hill
Chad Michael Murray and Sophia Bush couldn’t stay together either on-screen or off it. They met on One Tree Hill, fell in love and got married in 2005. The fans of this seemingly perfect high school couple were left disappointed, when after two years together, Murray and Bush got a divorce, which resulted in the actor leaving the show.
4. Michael Vartan and Jennifer Garner – Alias
Michael Vartan and Jennifer Garner co-starred in action TV series Alias. They played love interests on the show, and they ended up going out in real life as well. Sadly, the fling came to an end after about a year. There were rumors that the couple got close again after the actress’s split from husband Ben Affleck.
5. Adam Brody and Rachel Bilson – The O.C.
Source: One Tree Hill
The chemistry between The O.C.‘s Seth and Summer was just sizzling. It’s no surprise that there was a real attraction there, as actors Adam Brody and Rachel Bilson started a relationship in real life as well. But things didn’t work for either of the romances. Afterwards, Bilson said that dating her co-star had been the cause for a lot of stress both on and off set, and that the relationship ended up being “invasive.”
6. Joshua Jackson and Katie Holmes – Dawson’s Creek
Source: Dawson’s Creek
Katie Holmes and Joshua Jackson fell in love while filming the teen drama Dawson’s Creek. But their characters didn’t get together until after the couple had broken up in real life. Later, Holmes said,”I guess if Pacey [Jackson’s character] and Joey [Holmes’s character] dated the first season, there would be more of a clear indication of what’s going on between us. But it’s just so far from that.”
7. Penn Badgley and Blake Lively – Gossip Girl
Source: Gossip Girl
The stars of Gossip Girl, Badgley and Lively, had a relationship that was quite similar to the one their characters shared, only with a different ending. Both romances followed the on-again, off-again pattern, but the on-screen one ended with a wedding, and the off-screen one with a break up.
8. Ian Somerhalder and Nina Dobrev – The Vampire Diaries
Source: The Vampire Diaries
It’s no wonder the fans were so vocal about Elena ending up with Damon. The connection Nina and Ian shared on-screen had translated outside of the world of TV drama. But unlike their characters who did have a happy ending, things didn’t go so well for the actors. Eventually, they broke up and Nina left the show partly because of that, and later called the experience “challenging in different ways.”
9. Scott Speedman and Keri Russell – Felicity
Keri Russell and Scott Speedman played a couple on the show Felicity, but they were also in a real relationship. It didn’t last, though, as the love triangle between Russell’s Felicity, Speedman’s Ben, and Scott Foley’s Noel wasn’t just an on-screen problem.
10. Jason Behr and Katherine Heigl – Roswell
Jason Behr and Katherine Heigl may have played brother and sister in the sci-fi show Roswell, but they were a couple in real life. The great chemistry the shared on screen contributed to Behr and Heigl becoming a greater part of the show as it went on.
11. Milo Ventimiglia and Alexis Bledel – Gilmore Girls
Source: Gilmore Girls
One of the greatest debates amongst the fans of Gilmore Girls has been who was the perfect match for Bledel’s Rory: Dean, Jess, or Logan. It would seem that Alexis at one point agreed with the Team Jess supporters as she dated Milo Ventimiglia who portrayed his character. The pair went out from 2002-2006, but after Milo’s character moved away, the relationship floundered in real life as well.
12. Mark Salling and Naya Rivera – Glee
Perhaps Naya’s best Glee relationship was the one with Brittany (Heather Morris), in real life the actress started dating Mark Salling. This led to the writers including a relationship between those two characters on the show, but things ended ugly both on and off the screen. Rivera was even accused of egging and keying Salling’s car.
13. Jesse Spencer and Jennifer Morrison – House MD
Spencer and Morrison seemed to be made for each other when they played love interest on medical drama House MD. The pair even got engaged in real life, but they split up after a brief period. The break up didn’t appear to affect their performances, and their characters even got married. But eventually Morrison left the show as rumours of tensions continued.
14. Sebastian Stan and Leighton Meester – Gossip Girl
Source: Gossip Girl
Another Gossip Girl couple that existed both in reality and in fiction. Stan and Meister met on set, and soon after became an item. However, both of the relationships ended at approximately the same time. Coincidence or not?
15. David Annable and Emily VanCamp – Brothers & Sisters
Source: Brothers & Sisters
Annable and VanCamp played brother and sister on Brothers & Sisters, but things were quite different in real life. They became a couple, and their on-screen chemistry led the writers to put a paternity scandal in the script which allowed them to be a couple on the show as well. Sadly, neither relationships had a happy ending.