All the Real-Life Couples We Just Love Seeing Together Onscreen

Not everyone can pull off Santa and Mrs. Claus like Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn, but here are the couples whose onscreen chemistry can warm our cold winter hearts.

By Natalie Finn Mar 17, 2021 10:00 AMTags
Watch: Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell Gush Over Each Other

It hasn't been the easiest of years—do we win a prize for Understatement of 2020 and 2021?—and at times, when the daily grind was a bit much, you've just got to have some proof that everything's going to turn out alright.

No such thing is guaranteed, of course, but there are certain people you can watch, in movies or on TV, who are clinically proven to help you believe in all the good stuff again. You know, things like love, devotion, soul mates—the whole romantic ball of wax.

For instance, there was a reason why viewers were cheering for Netflix's The Christmas Chronicles 2 back in November—and it wasn't just because it meant the Yuletide season was officially in full swing. Rather, it was because Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn play Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus!

The partners of 37 years met on the set of 1984's Swing Shift, and starred in the 1988 rom-com Overboard, but that marked the first time the two had really acted together since. (Hawn as Santa's wife was introduced in a surprise cameo at the end of 2018's The Christmas Chronicles, but that was just an extra little gift to up the holiday cheer.)

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Asked their secret for working well with each other, Russell quipped to E! News, "Do it every 33 years, first of all!" 

It's not as if these two have been in hiding all this time—their tips on relationship longevity in Hollywood are always highly sought after—but it was simply heartwarming to see them doing video interviews side-by-side from home during their stationary press tour, as well as decked out in their North Pole finery onscreen. 

Joe Lederer / fotojo/NETFLIX

But these are far from the only two real-life companions whose chemistry has been captured for posterity on camera.

Films and TV featuring people who were together at least for awhile is practically all the film and TV. But you can re-watch Mr. and Mrs. Smith on your own time. Whether they only worked together once or frequently, whether they have plans to do more or have consciously decided that they should keep their day jobs separate from their private lives, here are a host of enduring real-life couples who've shared screen time:

Emily Blunt & John Krasinski

He returned to direct A Quiet Place Part II, and though there may only be fleeting glimpses of Krasinski on camera after his self-sacrifice in the first film (we should know all the secrets by now, but COVID-19 pushed the sequel's release into 2021), he and Blunt made for a winning team trying to save their family from sound-sensitive blood-thirsty aliens in the 2018 sleeper hit.

Blake Lively & Ryan Reynolds

Green Lantern wasn't great, but Hal Jordan and his true love Carol are what we've got as far as these two in our living rooms.

The parents of three, married since 2012, have insisted that no romance blossomed on the set of the 2010 superhero film, Reynolds still married to Scarlett Johansson at the time and Lively in a relationship with Penn Badgley. But their friendship held fast and, during a double date on which they were paired off with others, the sparks became undeniable.

Kristen Bell & Dax Shepard

If we feel that we know many insider details about their marriage, that's because we do thanks to Shepard's hit podcast, Armchair Expert, and his penchant for unbridled candor. They've also been in several movies together, most recently the 2017 comedy Chips, but we're probably going to have to chalk up that feeling that they could totally be our friends should our paths ever cross to all that podcasting.

Mary Steenburgen & Ted Danson

Since meeting on the set of the 1994 romance Pontiac Moon and tying the knot the following year, they've worked together occasionally—such as when Steenburgen guest-starred on Bored to Death as the irresistible voice coach who teaches Danson's playboy magazine editor a thing or two—and every time it's delightful.

Lisa Rinna & Harry Hamlin

People's 1987 Sexiest Man Alive may have joked about calling a divorce lawyer when his wife joined The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, but these two, married since 1997 and parents of two daughters, remain hopelessly devoted. (And, Rinna often points out, very much still hot for each other.)

Needless to say, it's a soap-operatic hoot when they show up on TV as extra versions of themselves (and not just RHOBH-caliber extra), such as when they played Logan's parents on Veronica Mars.

Annette Bening & Warren Beatty

After several prolific decades of movie stardom, Beatty has made only a handful of films since 1991's Bugsy—but that's the one you want to see if you want to watch Hollywood's most notorious bachelor finally meet his match. After Bening's divorce from her first husband was finalized, she married everybody's ex-boyfriend in 1992 and they have four children together. 

Mila Kunis & Ashton Kutcher

Kunis has said that she basically thought of Kutcher as a big brother during the time they played demanding Jackie and her dim-witted boyfriend Kelso on That '70s Show—but that doesn't change the fact that he was her future husband and, thanks to the Fox sitcom, he was her first-ever kiss.

It may have been part of the script, but it was also fate. 

Melissa McCarthy & Ben Falcone

Wasn't it kinda awesome to find out that McCarthy was married to the buttoned-up air marshal she shamelessly (and successfully!) hit on in Bridesmaids in real life? The parents of two had been married since 2005, in fact, and they've collaborated on and/or behind the camera on numerous projects, including Identity ThiefSpy and Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Keri Russell & Matthew Rhys

Playing a couple of Soviet spies posing as an ordinary-as-apple-pie mom and dad in 1980s-era New York proved to be quite the aphrodisiac. They welcomed a son in May 2016, a little more than midway through The Americans' five-year run, and remain each other's person whom they tell all their secrets to.

Alexis Bledel & Vincent Kartheiser

In other "alright, so they fell in love making this" news, Bledel had a heartbreaking turn on Mad Men as an unstable, unhappily married housewife who has an affair with Kartheiser's endlessly selfish man-of-his-era Pete Campbell. But the lovely part is, the actors themselves have been married since 2014 and have a son.

Katharine Ross & Sam Elliott

Did you even know that the mustachioed actor with one of the deepest, most soothing voices of all time was married to Elaine from The Graduate? Well, he is (since 1984, her fifth husband), and they've also done a few movies together, including the 1978 horror film The Legacy and, more recently, The Hero, playing husband and wife.

Rachel Weisz & Daniel Craig

Dream House, which came out in 2010, is just okay but its stars are really falling in love. They got married the following year.

Eva Mendes & Ryan Gosling

They've been together ever since they made this 2012 film and have two daughters, but getting to watch Gosling and Mendes—who enjoyed her man's shout-outs from home when he worked the La La Land awards season circuit—interact stops and starts with watching The Place Beyond the Pines. The film is a downer, but (spoiler alert) it truly does help to remember that Gosling lives on by Mendes' side in real life.

Penélope Cruz & Javier Bardem

The real king and queen of Spain have worked together a lot over the years, starting with 1992's Jamón, Jamón—18 years before they got married—and most recently in the 2018 kidnapping thriller Everybody Knows. (They were also in separate episodes of Home Movie: The Princess Bride this year, so they presumably assisted each other while tasked with shooting their own footage in quarantine.)

But they're never better than when burning up the screen as exes who just can't stop loving or trying to kill each other in 2008's Vicky Cristina Barcelona, a performance that earned Cruz the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.

Jada Pinkett Smith & Will Smith

Basically spelling out the reason why a lot of couples don't work together, even if that's how they met, Pinkett Smith revealed in 2018 that she was reluctant to audition for the Muhammad Ali biopic Ali, starring her husband of a year as the boxing great, because she doubted people would be able to see the characters behind the famous people.

"I didn't want to audition for this. I did not want to be in this movie with Will," she said on PeopleTV. "I felt like because we were a couple off screen, for people to see us together on the screen in a movie like this, would take people out of the movie, that people would see Will and Jada there—they wouldn't see Ali and Sonji [Ali's first wife]."

Audiences managed, though, and Smith earned his first Oscar nomination.

If you'd prefer Will and Jada as themselves, though, all you need to do is tune into Red Table Talk on Facebook.

Lauren Bacall & Humphrey Bogart

The sort of legendary romance that ends up in song lyrics. Bacall was 19 when she taught Bogart to whistle in To Have and Have Not, her first of four films with the movie star, who was 24 years her senior and married. Let's just say he was married to Bacall (his fourth wife) by the time The Big Sleep came out in 1946.

They had two children together and remained together until his death in 1957.

Joanne Woodward & Paul Newman

They were married for more than 49 years until Newman's death in 1958, and in addition to their legacy as philanthropists and one of the most admired couples in Hollywood, they left behind a slew of cinematic gems, such as The Long, Hot Summer—their first picture together and the one that prompted Newman to end his first marriage.

Rita Wilson & Tom Hanks

Speaking of actors who got it forever-right on their second try... A married Hanks first met Wilson when she guest-starred in 1981 on his sitcom Bosom Buddies. Ships in the night, but as fate would have it, they reunited for the 1985 comedy Volunteers, Hanks got divorced and they married in 1988.

They've worked together multiple times since, including as producers, but never again played a couple after Volunteers—which has the most ridiculous plot (spoiled rich kid joins the Peace Corps to escape his creditors, meets a lovely do-gooder, chaos ensues abroad and a bridge explodes)But, Wilson and Hanks can be seen falling in love, just like their characters Beth and Lawrence Bourne III.

Genevieve Cortese & Jared Padalecki

She became Genevieve Padalecki in 2010, two years after assuming the role of demon Ruby on Supernatural. And while Ruby and Sam Winchester weren't fated to have much of a life together, Genevieve and Jared have been married for 10 years and have three children.

Kelly Ripa & Mark Consuelos

No matter how many twists soap opera life threw Hayley and Mateo's way, they got their happily ever after—as did Ripa and Consuelos, who have remained partners in everything since eloping to Vegas in 1996, barely a year after meeting.

While they still act together here and there, Consuelos having an arc on her sitcom Hope and Faith, and Ripa showing up as his character's mistress on Riverdale, never is their banter more infectiously sparkling than when Consuelos sits in as Ripa's guest co-host on Live and they get to play themselves. Always a surefire way to start the morning off right.

Natalia Dyer & Charlie Heaton

Don't fret for the fate of Nancy and Jonathan on Stranger Things—know that the actors who play them have been keeping each other in the rightside-up since 2016. (Apparently their chemistry test before they were cast as love interests was very telling.)

"It's an interesting thing to work with somebody who you go home with," Dyer told Refinery 29 in 2019. "It's always really fun. We're really comfortable with each other, so we can play and feel more free, and we can talk about it before."

Ginnifer Goodwin & Josh Dallas

Really, it would've just been cruel if Snow White and Prince Charming from Once Upon a Time hadn't lived happily ever after in real life!

This story was originally published on Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020 at 7 a.m. PT.