There's that advice you get from everyone after a breakup about how, when you find the right one, it'll just be easy. None of those crummy problems that have plagued you while dating all those Mr. or Ms. Wrongs. You'll just know and you won't have to question the choices you're making.
And that sounds great, except for when that's totally not the case.
It isn't just in movies where a misunderstanding is eventually remedied by the truth revealing itself or a guy coming to his senses just in time to keep the girl from boarding that plane to take her dream job in another city or leaving town forever on a bus.
Real-life people have also made a mess of their relationships and then, just when the part about forgetting that other person because he sucks is supposed to come into play... one or both of them reconsider, they get back together and then everything works out.
Of course, these real folks may have stolen that move from the movies, because a lot of them seem to be in showbiz.
Sometimes a breakup is just what the doctor ordered, because there are some famous couples who weathered quite the rough patch (or several), only to rebound—Big and Carrie style—and become the poster stars for couple goals.
They're the ones who've prolonged the getting-over-it process for everybody else by making the possibility of a reconciliation all too real, proving that sometimes you're not supposed to wash your hands of the relationship.
But in honor of Valentine's Day, we celebrate them all the same, because there's always something to be said for maturely being able to work through your issues and come out stronger on the other side. Here are seven couples who went from shaky ground to rock solid:
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Justin Timberlakeand Jessica Bieldated for almost four years before breaking up in 2011—amid rumors that it might have even had something to do with J.T.'s Friends With Benefits co-star Mila Kunis. Not true, but if not her, than someone, the tabloids suspected
A source close to the actors shot down cheating speculation, telling People, "It really was mutual. There really wasn't a final straw. They're just two people who realized they wanted different things in life and were headed in different directions." Another insider added, "It's never easy when a relationship ends, but she knows this needed to happen and she's moving on with her life.
But four lefts make a circle, and within months, they were back together. Perhaps Timberlake's June 2011 interview with Vanity Fair, given after the breakup, helped change Biel's mind.
"She is the single-handedly most significant person in my life," the "SexyBack" singer told the magazine. "In my 30 years, she is the most special person, OK? So I protect it, and until somebody shows me what would be more fulfilling at this point, that's what I have to do...I would rather not talk about her, because it's hurtful for me. It's unfortunate that even though you make the effort to say something, which I tried on for size, people do what they want to do."
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But while that was nice and all, we mean this part: "As little as six months ago, I wouldn't have even thought about [starting a family], but now it feels like a closer planet orbiting around."
Sure enough, he popped the question in December 2011 and they married the following October in Italy. Despite the general persistence of so-called sources who are always crying foul on celebrity relationships, Biel and Timberlake persevered, welcomed son Silas in 2015 (probably right after another round of split rumors) and have looked happier than ever lately in public.
As J.T. himself said in 2011, "I think the mistake is that people commit to who that person is right then and not the person they're going to become. That's the art of staying together, is changing together. When you say it like that, it seems damn near impossible, right?"
Thanks for proving it isn't, Justin!
Oh, if only Kate Middleton would give a tell-all interview about her university-era courtship with Prince William, which—while steadier than some when the lovebirds are so young—hit a memorable, if brief, snag in 2007 (four years after they started dating, just like Jess and J.T.).
William ended it because, well, he is just a bloke after all, and Kate—who was understandably put off by the endless scrutiny and the paparazzi escort that came with dating an heir to the throne—ended up stuck with the nickname Waity Katy for (why, exactly? For not running off with some non-prince?) sticking it out. But they never lost touch and Will realized the error of his ways within a few months.
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And if you ask us, it turned out pretty well for the both of them in the end.
"I think at the time I wasn't very happy about it, but actually it made me a stronger person," Kate recalled the breakup in a 2010 joint interview she and William gave to the U.K. Press Association. "You find out things about yourself that maybe you hadn't realized...You can get quite consumed by a relationship when you are younger and I really valued that time for me as well—although I didn't think it at the time."
Identify much, commoners?
William popped the question while they were on holiday in Kenya in 2010, telling reporters, "I didn't really plan it that far in advance. I just knew I wanted it to feel comfortable where I did it and I wanted it to mean something, other than just the act of getting engaged."
They married in April 2011 in front of the entire world and have since become parents to Prince George and Princess Charlotte, and if their marriage ever takes a turn for the worse, we will be downright devastated.
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Megan Foxand Brian Austin Green: Now they've got some history.
They started dating when she was barely 18 and he was 30, so the fact that their first engagement, which lasted three years, didn't take. They broke up in 2009 after almost five years together. They were engaged again, however, by early 2010 and they quietly tied the knot in Hawaii on June 24, 2010.
Son Noah was born in September 2012, so no one can claim these two rushed into that part (Green was already dad to son Kassius with ex Vanessa Marcil).
"We've had obstacles, and we've overcome them," Fox told Cosmopolitan in 2012. "I truly feel like he's my soul mate. I don't want to sound corny or cliché, but I do believe we are destined to live this part of our lives together."
She and Green welcomed son Bodhi in February 2014. Months later Fox told Men's Health about marriage, "You will go through phases where you're just not getting along. You're not communicating well. That's going to happen, and it's going to feel impossible to you sometimes. It might not even make sense to you sometimes. Arguments are normal. You have to be patient and sit through that and remember that this is a part of human communication and interaction. You're going to have these conflicts with anyone. It's not necessarily just that person."
They vacationed in Hawaii, their favorite getaway spot, in January 2015, but by June they had separated and, a couple of days after the news broke, Fox filed for divorce.
The longtime couple didn't stick to that plan, however, and instead took the opportunity to recapture the romance, work on their issues and, ultimately, reconcile. Regardless of what order they did all that in, Fox turned up pregnant in April 2016 and they welcomed son Journey River—a heavily symbolic little boy's name if there ever was one—in August.
Green and Fox have tested the strength of their bond multiple times over the years, at different ages and stages, and they seem to keep discovering that there's no one they'd rather work on a relationship with than each other.
Is any famous family more ridiculously adorable than Nick and Vanessa Lachey's?
Well, it wasn't obvious from the start that things would turn out so happily ever after for the parents of three, including son Phoenix, who was just born in December.
Vanessa starred in Nick's "What's Left of Me" video, his musical summation of the aftermath of his divorce from Jessica Simpson, and they started dating in 2006. They broke up, however, in June 2009, possibly after Nick did something dumb, but the split didn't take.
"We're trying to figure things out," Nick told Us Weekly that September. "I don't pretend to know what the future holds, but everything's good. Vanessa's a good girl, and I care about her a lot."
In October, he said on Good Day Philadelphia, "I was single for a minute there, and then we've kind of patched things up." "Kind of" eventually turned into definitively and they got engaged a year later, marrying on July 15, 2011, on Sir Richard Branson's private Necker Island.
Considering how devoted Adam Levine is to Behati Prinsloo—and now to their little girl, Dusty Rose—it's easy to forget that the Maroon 5frontman didn't have it all figured out when he first met her.
He dated model Anne Vyalitsyna for about two years and, not long after they broke up in 2012, he met Prinsloo (a pal of Anne V's) and they started dating, making it red carpet official that October.
Levine must have gotten all freaked out about his feelings or whatever, though, because they broke up the following spring and he was spotted out and about with Nina Agdal. But by June 2013, he and Prinsloo had reunited and were engaged by July.
"You know, I still don't think you have to get married, unless you meet someone that makes you want to marry them. And then you marry them and it's wonderful," Levine said on The Tonight Show in October 2013. They tied the knot in July 2014, defiantly celebrate their one-year anniversary in the face of split rumors ("That's so mean. We're so happy, why would you do that?" Levine wondered aloud on Late Night With Seth Meyers in 2015) and welcomed their daughter in September.
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Pink and Carey Hartknow the drill when it comes to split rumors—though usually they've been triggered by the rambunctious, proudly unorthodox couple themselves.
The singer met the motocross rider in 2001 at the X Games when she was, like, 22, and after dating off and on, she proposed to him in 2005, writing "Will you marry me? I'm serious!" on a pit board during a race.
They got married in Costa Rica in January 2006, but separated in 2008. However, Hart than appeared in Pink's "So What" video (you know, "my ex'll start a fight" and whatnot), so their status got a little confusing.
"This break up is not about cheating, anger, or fighting..." Pink wrote on her website. "He is a good man, so please support him as well. One never knows the future, but mine and Carey's just might involve beach babies and sunshine one day."
Sure enough, they went on to never actually divorce, and in November 2010 Pink announced on Ellen that she was pregnant; daughter Willow was born in June 2011.
Pink later told Redbook about how she and Carey reconciled before Willow was born, revealing, "Eleven months after we broke up, he asked me to fly to Las Vegas to perform on New Year's Eve at his club. I wanted to see him. And I looked hot. There's something about breaking up with someone—you just look hotter than you ever did before.
"I will never look as good as I did those six months after we broke up. Never! Anyway, after sound check I told him that he needed to come to my room. I had made him a photo album of all the cards he had ever given me, of all the photos of our entire relationship.
"I spent months on this album. On the last page, I pasted a photo of me from a really bad movie I made years ago with my neck slit and blood everywhere. Next to it I wrote, 'This is me without you.' On the next page, there was a picture of a baby. And I wrote: 'The rest is unwritten.' The divorce papers that we never signed were behind that page. I was like, 'The rest is up to you.' And I did all of this in his favorite bra and panties."
And despite her joke to Ellen DeGeneres last May that she and Carey were due for their third breakup in 10 years (they apparently had two before Willow arrived), they opted for expanding their family with son Jameson Moon instead.
We're starting to suspect these kindred spirits belong together.
And how about these two?! Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth's engagement seemed headed for the dustbin full of young-Hollywood romances that never stood a chance after they broke up in 2013, right after Miley burst out of her shell with a vengeance at the VMAs.
They had dated, already off and on, for four years, spending the last year engaged.
But distance—geographical and emotional—really did make the heart grow fonder. After both took some time to sow their wild oats, Miley's oats seemingly proving just a tad wilder than Liam's, they had reunited by the end of 2015, just in time to dazzle the Hemsworth family Christmas party with ugly sweaters, and were back to being engaged by January 2016.
Because the couple that literally lights up a room together, might just belong together.
Seriously, anything could still happen with these two twentysomethings, but the fact that they weathered a two-year breakup and came back looking ready to commit (and actually like an involved couple with stuff in common this time around) suggests that they could be the real deal.
"Of course it was hard, man," Hemsworth told GQ last summer. "But at the time we were going in different directions and it's just what needed to happen. We were both super young and it was a good decision at the time—we both needed that."
Listen to the wise 27-year-old. He knows of which he speaks.