Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images
by Natalie Finn | Thu., Nov. 17, 2016 4:00 AM
Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images
Yikes, it's true.
Han and Leia fans had certainly glamorized the idea of Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford being an item together in real life, as avid co-star shippers have continued to do for the past 40 years (and probably did since the dawn of cinema). But there was no proof that the then-19-year-old Fisher and 34-year-old Ford, who was married when Star Wars was shot, had ever gotten romantic during the making of the 1977 classic.
And there still isn't any proof, technically, but Fisher is saying it happened, and that's about as close to a photograph as you're gonna get.
So, this other woman aside (other, as in Ford's first wife, Mary Marquardt, whom he could have been estranged from in 1977, two years before they divorced in 1979, you never know), Han and Leia were gloriously hooking up in real life.
It sounds so romantic, the co-stars' love-hate passion onscreen translating behind the scenes, not to mention it being the culmination of the dreams of so many Star Wars fans—especially the way Fisher describes it. But on the flip side...
Even if the unfaithful go on to wed each other, boosting the "we're sorry it happened this way, it was just meant to be" argument, there's at least one person on the other side of that triangle, if not two as in the case of the dual spurned exes of LeAnn Rimes and Eddie Cibrian, who met while making the Lifetime movie Northern Lights.
Dan Power/Lifetime Networks
Not that LeAnn and Eddie, who've now been married for five and a half years, broke any sort of mold when they embarked on an affair (Rimes confirmed as much in 2010, a year after her and Cibrian's respective divorces, telling People, "I take responsibility for everything I've done. I hate that people got hurt, but I don't regret the outcome.")
Nor did Ford and Fisher for that matter. Actors who showed up on set one day only to find themselves drawn to their co-stars and unable to deny their feelings (or the consummation) is a tale as old as Hollywood.
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Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall may have been a couple for the ages (whether she liked it or not later in life), but Bogie had to divorce his third wife before he could marry Bacall, who was barely 20 when she met the 45-year-old actor on the set of 1944's To Have and Have Not.
And Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn may or may not have already been seeing each other when they made their first of nine films together, the 1942 comedy Woman of the Year, but either way, Tracy was married. And not believing in divorce, he stayed married throughout his storied partnership with Hepburn that lasted till his death in 1967.
While you may need to look up the names of Bogart and Tracy's unlucky spouses, Debbie Reynolds (Carrie Fisher's mother, of course) was a huge star when Eddie Fisher (Carrie's father) left her for Elizabeth Taylor—not after he met her on set, however, but after her husband Michael Todd was killed in a plane crash and Fisher swooped in to console her, the lot of them having been friends beforehand.
20th Century Fox/ZUMA
So Reynolds had a particularly interesting vantage point when Taylor went off to shoot Cleopatra and fell right smack in love with her married co-star Richard Burton, a legendary affair that would result in two rocky marriages and an Oscar for Taylor when she and Burton starred as a most unhappily married couple in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?.
Interestingly, they didn't have children together, but Burton adopted Taylor's daughter, Liza Todd, as well as a child she had been in the process of adopting before they met, their daughter Maria Burton.
The illicit start of Burton and Taylor's romance also—stop us if you've heard this one—made them tabloid darlings, with a paparazzi photo of the two on a yacht "confirming" in the first place that they were having an affair.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images
And stop us if you've heard this one, but while Debbie Reynolds went on to marry two more times and continued to have a perfectly glorious career, she never quite shook being the good girl whose husband abandoned her for the sultry, tempestuous, violet-eyed Liz Taylor.
Even Reynolds compared herself to Jennifer Aniston!
"If Angelina wants someone, then that is that. Certain women have that power. What chance did I have against Elizabeth, a woman of great womanly experience, when I had no experience at all?"
Next step is for Aniston and Jolie to be friends, the way Reynolds and Taylor were later in life. Taylor, who stayed devoted to her jewels through eight marriages, even left the Singin' in the Rain star a sapphire bracelet, necklace and earrings when she died.
But Fisher, who was Taylor's fifth husband, ultimately found himself on the receiving end of another couple's whimsy, just as he once caused that pain for Reynolds. And don't think the snickering members of Team Jen didn't send a few karma-police cruisers wailing toward Brad and Angelina's chateau when they learned the couple were divorcing.
Moreover, it's the way in which Brangelina began—facts remain sparse but Jolie has since acknowledged falling on love during the making of Mr. and Mrs. Smith—that had folks so ready to believe that Pitt had just done the same thing with his Allied co-star Marion Cotillard.
DANIEL SMITH/PARAMOUNT; 20th Century Fox
The movie is even about married spies, one of whom might be a double agent—and if so, her devoted husband has to kill her!
But Cotillard, pregnant with her second child and understandably wanting to remove herself from the conversation, spoke out fairly quickly, insisting she was very happy with her longtime partner and wishing Angelina and Brad "peace in this very tumultuous moment."
In English and in French, thank you very much.
Yet obviously stranger things have happened than two co-stars, particularly two halves of a steamy onscreen couple, taking their chemistry off-camera, even while involved with other people in real life.
Billy Crudup took up with Stage Beauty co-star Claire Danes in 2003, leaving a 7-months-pregnant Mary-Louise Parker in the process. Asked in 2015 about making the questionable choice to embark on that relationship, a now happily married (to Hugh Dancy) Danes told Howard Stern, "That was a scary thing. That was really hard. I didn't know how to not do that."
"I was just in love with him," the Homeland star added. "And needed to explore that and I was 24... I didn't quite know what those consequences would be."
For Danes, really, the consequences were few, the scandal having occurred years before Team Parker had the option to rip her apart on Twitter.
And yet rom-com sweetheart Meg Ryan, who did the least romantic thing ever by leaving husband Dennis Quaid for her Proof of Life co-star Russell Crowe in 2000, did suffer career-wise. She made Kate & Leopold after that, but the cinematic spell may have been broken when she proved all too human in real life.
Like Brad Pitt, who would later clarify that he hadn't been that happy in his personal life when he met Angelina Jolie in 2004, Ryan may have been looking for a way out of her marriage to Quaid. But it was a crushing blow to the then seemingly solid ranks of devoted Hollywood couples at the time.
Oh, how we would learn.
And speaking of celebs who had to face Twitter's wrath after straying, Ryan played Kristen Stewart's mother in the 2007 dramedy In the Land of Women—five years before K.Stew would crush Twihard hearts when she was caught stepping out on Robert Pattinson with her Snow White and the Huntsman director Rupert Sanders (whose marriage to Liberty Ross subsequently ended).
I wasn't convinced even at the time, long before Stewart had fallen in love with a woman, that she and Pattinson were that much more than incredibly close friends, thrown together in this phenomenon called The Twilight Saga, who perhaps sometimes got romantic. No question they were devoted to and protective of each other, but… long-term potential? Nah. More like flesh-and-blood fantasy fulfillment for rabid Team Edward fans.
But yes, it isn't just the co-star who might prove a draw, but the director, too. Peter Bogdanovich divorced his wife, Polly Platt, after falling for 21-year-old Cybill Shepherd while directing her in his 1971 drama The Last Picture Show—and he and Cybill stayed together for six years and remained friends for years after that.
Ingrid Bergman was married to Peter Lindström when, one, she had an affair with Gregory Peck during the making of 1945's Spellbound, and still was when she had an affair with her Strombolli director Roberto Rossellini and got pregnant with the first of their three children together. Like Taylor and Burton, the couple were denounced by entire governments for their scandalous ways, and it did cost Bergman a few roles—but she won her second Best Actress Oscar for her big Hollywood comeback, 1956's Anastasia. She and Rossellini married in 1950 and divorced in 1957.
Helena Bonham Carter had an affair with Emma Thompson's then-husband Kenneth Branagh when he directed and co-starred with her in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. When asked about it years later, Thompson (who's been married to Sense and Sensibility's Willoughby since 2003, so there) acknowledged to the U.K.'s Telegraph that she and Bonham Carter, who dated Branagh for five years (and later fell madly in love with director Tim Burton, fancy that), could be considered similar.
"Being slightly mad and a bit fashion-challenged. Perhaps that's why Ken loved us both… Helena and I made our peace years and years ago," Thompson said.
Debbie and Liz, Emma and Helena… Perhaps there's hope for Jen and Angie down the road yet!
The only problem with these tales, of course, even the kind-of-happy ones, is that there's no easy way to comfort the women and men who are married to or dating actors, those whose job it is to go to movie and TV sets and spend long hours with other actors. (And directors, camera people, grips, producers, agents, managers, makeup artists, set designers… the list of suspects goes on.)
That's why they say (you know, the reliable "they") that it is good for actors to date each other, because they alone get what the job requires, and subsequently how to get over what might be difficult for non-actors to understand.
That being said, there's a reason why some couples positively refuse to watch each other's love scenes, at least in some circumstances.
"She doesn't want to watch this," Jamie Dornan told USA Today when asked about whether his wife, Amelia Warner, would be able to sit through 50 Shades of Grey. "She wants to support me and my work. I won't be able to sit there myself. I am not going to put any pressure on her either way. It's her decision. She's well aware that it's pretend, but it's probably not that comfortable to watch."
Or you're Channing Tatum, who has said that he and wife Jenna Dewan Tatum begrudgingly endure each other's love scenes, as part of the overall support they show for their work. "She'll cover my eyes and I'll cover hers," he said.
Or you're Will Smith, who summarized to E! News what his wife Jada Pinkett Smith told him before he shot Focus with Margot Robbie (and subsequently became the target of fling rumors): "'Boy don't embarrass me. Get in shape now. Do not let that girl smash you onscreen.'"
In this business (and, really, in quite a lot of businesses), the temptation is there and it always will be there. Not on every set, but on at least some. In the end, it just depends on the people involved—and how they deal with a litany of unexpected intangibles.
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