Famous Hollywood Couples Who Started As Secret Affairs

Not every star’s Hollywood romance is love at first sight. Sometimes, romance starts behind the scenes, and we don’t mean on set. Some of the most famous celebrity couples started in the shadows as affairs. From Blake Shelton’s hidden love for Miranda Lambert to Meg Ryan’s secret romance with Russell Crowe, some happy endings came from rocky beginnings. These are our favorite celebrity couples whose romances blossomed while they were seeing other people!

LeAnn Rimes And Eddie Cibrian Fell For Each Other On A Movie Set

cibrian
Steve Granitz/WireImage
Steve Granitz/WireImage

It was 2008 when LeAnn Rimes met Eddie Cibrian on the film set of the Lifetime Channel original movie Northern Lights. Sparks flew between the pair and they had instant chemistry. The only problem was both were already married.

Two messy divorces later and the couple was able to make their love public. Rimes addressed the controversy, telling People, “I take responsibility for everything I’ve done. I hate that people got hurt… But I don’t regret the outcome.”

Swizz Beatz Was Married When He Started Dating Alicia Keys

alicia keys
Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic
Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic

Music producer Swizz Beatz and songstress Alicia Keys were childhood acquaintances growing up. At that age, Keys said, “I didn’t really like him that much. I thought he was too ostentatious. Everything with him is really over the top. I used to see him and think, ‘He is so annoying.'”

Years later, Swizz Beatz was married and the two began a professional relationship. That, of course, turned romantic, and Beatz divorced his wife so he could marry Keys.

Blake Shelton Fell For Miranda Lambert On The Voice

blake shelton
Kevin Mazur/WireImage
Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Blake Shelton was married to Kaynette Williams when he first spotted Miranda Lambert as a judge on The Voice. It was game over for him when the pair sang “You’re The Reason God Made Oklahoma” together on the show.

Lambert knew Shelton was married, but still couldn’t resist his charm, “I knew better, like, ‘this is off-limits.’ My parents are private investigators, for God’s sake. I’ve seen this my whole life—affairs, and of all people to know better, I know better than this.”

Blake Shelton And Gwen Stefani Were Both Married

blake shelton wife
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Gwen Stefani was married to Gavin Rossdale when she began working on The Voice with Blake Shelton. He was married to Miranda Lambert. The chemistry between Stefani and Shelton was undeniable though and it became a real romance when both couples got divorced.

Whether they were seeing each other in secret before the divorces were finalized isn’t clear. But we do know that they came out publicly as a couple shortly after all legal proceedings were finalized.

Prince Charles Met Camilla Parker At A Polo Match

camilla parker bowles
David M. Benett/Dave Benett/WireImage
David M. Benett/Dave Benett/WireImage

It was 1970 when Prince Charles met Camilla Parker for the first time. The two instantly hit it off but were forced to keep their love for each other under wraps. During his marriage to Princess Diana, it was this adultery that ended up causing the divorce.

The prince tried to save his marriage but ultimately failed. In 2005, Parker and the prince were married, and have stayed happily together ever since.

Russell Crowe Got In Between Meg Ryan And Dennis Quaid

russell crowe
Brian Rasic/Getty Images
Brian Rasic/Getty Images

In the ’90s, Meg Ryan and Dennis Quaid were an “it” couple. Everyone loved them and thought that they loved each other as well. Then news came out that Ryan was seeing Gladiator actor Russell Crowe behind her husband’s back.

Ryan and Quaid divorced, with her explaining years later, “I felt the effect like I was the bad guy or whatever the story was… But I remember letting go of needing to correct anybody. Divorce is hard. Love is hard. All those things were so personal. They weren’t for mass consumption.”

Kelsey Grammer And Kayte Walsh’s Love Was Exposed On TV

kayte walsh
Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic
Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Kelsey Grammer’s love life has always been just a little bit dramatic. He was married to his third wife, Camille Grammer, when he fell in love with Kayte Walsh. The drama made waves when it was publicly aired on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

In a later interview, Kayte admitted to being ashamed of how her romance with Grammer began. Today, the couple is happily married, despite the relationship’s rocky beginning.

Antonio Banderas And Melanie Griffith Thought It Was Just Infatuation

antonio banderas
Jim Spellman/WireImage
Jim Spellman/WireImage

Antonio Banderas was married to Ana Lenz while Melanie Griffith was married to Don Johnson when they met filming Two Much. The pair grew close, and told themselves it was just a simple infatuation.

Antonio Banderas revealed, “We just thought this may be one of those, you know, infatuation moments that we have when we shoot movies because we got to play together a couple, so let’s just go home.” They never went home and ended up being married together for 20 years.

Britney Spears And Kevin Federline Led A Whirlwind Romance

kevin federline
Jason Merritt/FilmMagic
Jason Merritt/FilmMagic

Kevin Federline and Britney Spears got engaged after dating for only three months, and that’s not even the most dramatic part about their whirlwind romance. Federline met Spears while his then-girlfriend was pregnant.

The marriage between Federline and Spears, unsurprisingly, didn’t last. After two years together, Spears filed for divorce. A lengthy and messy custody battle for their two children then followed, with Federline being granted sole custody of their two sons.

Claire Danes Didn’t Understand Her Actions Would Have Consequences With Billy Crudup

billy crudup
Chance Yeh /Patrick McMullan via Getty Images
Chance Yeh /Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Claire Danes was just 24-years-old when she started her affair with Billy Crudup. The actor was married to Mary Louise-Parker at the time and left her to be with Danes. When it came to her understanding the situation, the young actress didn’t the consequences her actions would have:

“I was just in love with him. And needed to explore that and I was 24… I didn’t quite know what those consequences would be.”

Billy Bob Thornton Married Angeline Jolie While He Was Dating Laura Dern

billy bob thornton
Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images
Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Billy Bob Thornton was dating Laura Dern when he began filming Pushing Tin with Angelina Jolie. The on-set chemistry was too much to handle, and he and Jolie wound up falling in love and getting married.

The only hold up was that Thornton never broke up with Dern. As she explained it, “I left our home to work on a movie, and while I was away, my boyfriend got married, and I’ve never heard from him again.”

Brad Pitt Left Jennifer Aniston For Angelina Jolie

angelina jolie pitt
Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic
Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

Laura Dern wasn’t the only woman Angelina Jolie stole a partner from. Brad Pitt was married to Jennifer Aniston in 2005 when he starred alongside Jolie in Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Pitt fell in love with Jolie during the shoot, left Aniston, and married Jolie.

Pitt and Jolie stayed married until 2016, when they divorced, citing “irreconcilable differences.” Today, they continue to co-parent their children together. As for Aniston, she and Pitt found a way to remain friends, even sparking rumors in 2020 they might get back together.

Justin Theroux Ended His 14-Year Marriage For Jennifer Aniston

jennifer aniston with a boyfriend
Michael Tran/FilmMagic
Michael Tran/FilmMagic

Justin Theroux had been married to Heidi Bivens for 14 years when he met Jennifer Aniston filming the movie Wanderlust. The pair fell hard for each other, and Theroux filed for divorce so that he could be with the Friends actress.

Theroux and Aniston got married in 2015 and stayed together until 2018 when they got divorced. Don’t cry, though, just like she’s still friends with Brad Pitt, Aniston is still close with Theroux today.

Johnny Cash Was Married When He Met June Carter

june carter cash
Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns
Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns

Johnny Cash and June Carter are one of music’s most beloved couples. Did you know their romance started as an affair? Johnny was married to Vivian Liberto when he fell head over heels for June Carter.

Cash’s daughter with Liberto reflected on growing up with two moms in an interview with People. “It seemed inevitable, though it was so painful for my mom. I had two really good examples from women in my life. My mom gave me this powerful sense of discipline, family, mothering and detail orientation. And June gave me this sense of expansiveness and how to live life as a performer.”

Julia Roberts Fell For Her Cameraman

daniel moder
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for CORE Gala
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for CORE Gala

Julia Roberts when filming The Mexican and dating Benjamin Bratt when she fell in love with cameraman Daniel Moder. And would you believe Moder was married? After six years of marriage to makeup artist Vera Steimberg, Daniel filed for divorce so he could be with Roberts.

Once the divorce was finalized, the new couple went public. In 2020, they celebrated their 18th year of marriage. The couple has three children together.

Katharine Hepburn And Spencer Tracy Hid Their Love For 26 Years

Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy in Woman of the Year
Betmann/Getty Images
Betmann/Getty Images

Spencer Tracy met Katharine Hepburn in 1941 while filming Woman of the Year. What followed what a 26-year-long affair that lasted until his passing. Tracy was married to Louise Tracy and had no plans to get a divorce to be with Hepburn.

The couple’s romance was an open secret in Hollywood, with Angela Lansbury even saying once, “We all knew, but nobody ever said anything. In those days it wasn’t discussed.”

Debra Messing Dumped Her Husband For Her Co-Star

will chase
Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images
Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

Debra Messing married Daniel Zelman in 2016. She was a star on Will and Grace at the time and was one of the hottest names on television. The couple got divorced in 2016, one year before NBC revived the classic sitcom.

Messing was starring in Smash and fell in love with Will Chase, one of her co-stars. When Messing’s divorce with Zelman was finalized, she was able to take her new relationship with Chase public. The new couple lasted two years before calling it quits.

Bruce Springsteen And Pattie Scialfa

bruce springsteen
Walter McBride/WireImage
Walter McBride/WireImage

Bruce Springsteen met Pattie Scialfa in the early ’80s and asked her to join him on tour. The chemistry between the two was instant, but Springsteen had his eyes on someone else – Julianne Phillips.

The iconic musician married Phillips, only to realize it wasn’t her he was in love with. After going on another tour with Scialfa, the “Boss” divorced Phillips and made his love for his friend official. The pair got married in 1991 and have stayed together ever since.

Humphrey Bogart And Lauren Bacall Married Shortly After His Third Divorce

Bogart And Bacall lounging with a dog
John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images
John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images

Humphrey Bogart was in the middle of his third marriage when he first engaged with Lauren Bacall on the set of To Have And Have Not. As the story goes with so many couples on this list, Bogart fell in love and divorced Mayo Methot in 1945 so he could be with Bacall.

For the next 12 years, the couple was happily married. Bogart passed away in 1957. In 1961, Bacall would marry Jason Robards.

Jason Aldean And Brittney Kerr Got Caught

aldean and kerr
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

The reveal that Jason Aldean was enjoying alone time with Britney Kerr couldn’t have happened at a worse moment. Aldean was married to Jessica Ussery when he was caught kissing the former American Idol contestant at a bar.

Try as he might to save his marriage, getting caught in the act made sure that wasn’t possible. Ussery filed for divorce in 2013. Two years later, Aldean married Kerr and the happy couple has two children together.

Jessica Sklar And Jerry Seinfeld Met At The Gym

jessica sklar
Sylvain Gaboury/FilmMagic
Sylvain Gaboury/FilmMagic

Jessica Sklar had just come back from her honeymoon with Broadway mogul Eric Nederlander in 1998 when she had a chance encounter with Jerry Seinfeld at the gym. Nederlander and Sklar were in couples therapy despite being newlyweds, and the gym incident ended up being the final nail in the coffin.

Sklar filed for divorce and then turned around and married Seinfeld in 1999, who later insisted, “The true story of what happened has never been printed, No. 1, because it’s not nearly as interesting as the gossip, and No. 2, because my wife, to her great credit in my opinion, doesn’t have much interest in setting the tabloid record straight.”

Jennifer Lopez Was Engaged To Ben Affleck When She Fell For Marc Anthony

marc anthony
Kevin Mazur/WireImage for Samsung
Kevin Mazur/WireImage for Samsung

Both Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez were in committed relationships with other people when they fell in love. Anthony was married to Dayanara Torres and Lopez was engaged to actor Ben Affleck. You can guess what happened next.

Lopez called off her engagement and Anthony filed for divorce. Four days after the divorce was finalized, the couple got married. They stayed together for seven years and have two children. Today, Lopez is dating MLB slugger Alex Rodriguez.

Kim Kardashian’s Ex Called Her And Kanye Out

kanye west
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Nordstrom
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Nordstrom

Before marrying and starting a family with Kanye West, Kim Kardashian was married to NBA star Kris Humphries. The ill-fated marriage lasted only 72 days before the couple got divorced, leaving Humphries with a sour taste in his mouth.

Shortly after Kim and Kanye took their romance public, Humphries called out his ex-wife for starting the affair while they were still together. Kanye and Kim didn’t let the anger get in the way of their love. They are still married today and have four children.

Ethan Hawke And Ryan Shawhughes Never Denied Their Affair

ethan hawke
Bruce Glikas/WireImage
Bruce Glikas/WireImage

When Ethan Hawke fell in love with his nanny, rumors were bound to circulate. He was estranged from Uma Thurman at the time he reportedly starting dating Ryan Shawhughes, and refuses to confirm or deny an affair took place:

“My relationship with my present wife is thrilling to me and I’m committed to it. But neither she nor I know what shape the future will come in… fidelity can’t be the whole thing you hang your relationship on. If you really love somebody you want them to grow, but you don’t get to define how that happens. They do.”

It’s Not Complicated With Megan Fox And Machine Gun Kelly

machine gun kelly
P & P/MEGA/GC Images
P & P/MEGA/GC Images

Megan Fox was married to actor Brian Austin Green for ten years before a new lover got in the way. Shortly after filing for divorce from Green, Fox revealed she was in a relationship with musician Machine Gun Kelly.

Green didn’t take too kindly to the news, posting a picture online of his three sons, two of which he had with Fox. This came after Fox posted a picture declaring her love for Kelly.

Ingrid Bergman’s Love With Roberto Rossellini Got Her Exiled From Hollywood

Ingrid Bergman and roberto rossellini
ullstein bild/ullstein bild via Getty Images
ullstein bild/ullstein bild via Getty Images

Ingrid Bergan always admired the work of director Roberto Rossellini, so it was no surprise when she fell in love with him on the set of Stromboli. Bergman was already married to Peter Lindstrom, and the affair and subsequent divorce got her exiled from Hollywood.

And that’s not overstating it! Bergman created such massive headlines that she was denounced on the floor of the Senate, which one senator remarking that she, “had perpetrated an assault upon the institution of marriage.” Bergman’s banishment lasted seven years until she was cast in Anastasia

Harry Hamlin Took His Grievances Against Nicolette Sheridan And Michael Bolton To Twitter

nioclette sheridan
Jason Merritt/FilmMagic
Jason Merritt/FilmMagic

In 1991, actress and model Nicolette Sheridan married actor Harry Hamlin. In 1992, she was introduced to musician Michael Bolton, and he took her breath away. A divorce followed, allowing the relationship to go public.

In 2019, Hamlin took to Twitter to air his ex’s dirty laundry, “Re Fake News! What’s it called when your wife of one year suddenly goes to bed with a pop singer?” Hamlin doesn’t sound bitter at all…

Frank Sinatra And Ava Gardner Were Doomed From The Start

frank sinatra
AFP/AFP via Getty Images
AFP/AFP via Getty Images

Frank Sinatra had a reputation as a lady’s man, so it came as no surprise during his marriage with Nancy Barbato that he struggled to remain faithful. The affair that finally ended the marriage was with Ava Gardner.

Gardner and Sinatra stayed together until 1954 when Gardner fell in love with Luis Miguel Dominguin. The divorce was finalized in 1957, and while the relationship may have ended, their friendship remained strong.

Jack Nicolson Was Having A Child With Rebecca Broussard

rebecca broussard
Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images
Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

For 17 years, Jack Nicholson was involved with actress Angelica Houston before he finally called it off. The reason for ending the relationship? Nicholson was expecting a child with Rebecca Broussard.

Houston didn’t take kindly to the news, recalling in her memoir, “He was coming out of the bathroom when I attacked him… He was ducking and bending, and I was going at him like a prizefighter, raining a vast array of direct punches.”

Mel Gibson Left His Wife Of 30 Years For Oksana Grigorieva

oksana and me gibson
Angela Weiss/Getty Images
Angela Weiss/Getty Images

In 2009, after 30 years of being married to Mel Gibson, Robyn Moore filed for the divorce. Anyone who had been following the tabloids wasn’t surprised. Gibson had started seeing Oksana Grigorieva while still married and was expecting a child with her.

After one year together, Gibson and Grigoviera parted ways. The separation led to legal troubles for Gibson than ended with him having to publicly defend his character while settling with his ex out of court.