Beautiful people. Exotic locations. Long hours.
Here's a look at five epic Hollywood affairs that began with one word: "Action!"
• Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton: Even after almost 50 years, 1963's Cleopatra remains one of the most expensive movies ever made. Its big special effect? The romance that happened off-camera between the queen and her lover. Marriages crumbled. Audiences were scandalized. All the while, Liz and Dick did their thing—fighting, loving, splitting, reuniting and making other classic moviedom romances, Hepburn and Tracy, Bogart and Bacall, included, look like nothing but schoolyard crushes.
• Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie: Jolie met her first husband, Jonny Lee Miller, on Hackers, and her second one, Billy Bob Thornton, on Pushing Tin. Pitt met his serious steadies Juliette Lewis on Kalifornia and Gwyneth Paltrow on Seven (and even shared the same hairstyle with the latter) . So, who would've guessed these two friendly sorts would meet on Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and emerge as the celebrity couple of the 21st century? (Well, apparently not Jennifer Aniston, sadly enough.)
• Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart: Are they? Aren't they? Yes, vampires and their mortals do play hard to get. (See: The surprise wedding of True Blood twosome, Stephen Moyer and Anna Paquin.) Old-fashioned discretion is what elevates this made-in-Twilight couple, and what makes their off-handed, hand-holding moments as steamy as any on-camera bite.
• Meg Ryan and Russell Crowe: These two burned out fast, but they sure scorched a lot of Earth while they were at it. When the actors began work on 2000's Proof of Life, Ryan was an American sweetheart married to Dennis Quaid. Before the movie was even released, the Ryan-Quaid marriage was ended, the Ryan-Crowe affair was over and Ryan's pert-'n'-perky persona was history.
• Warren Beatty and Madonna: Out of all of Beatty's on-set affairs—and there are many, many, many to choose from —why does his circa 1989-1990 Dick Tracy thing with Madonna rank No. 1? Because it seemed so contrived? Because the 21-year age gap seemed so wide? Nope. (Beatty's also 21 years old than wife Annette Bening, by the way, and that doesn't faze us at all.) Because even after 20-plus years, the notion of Beatty and the Truth or Dare-era Madonna as a couple that goes out on dates and stuff still makes us go: Really? Really?