10 Things I Hate About You Director Recalls Julia Stiles and Joseph Gordon-Levitt's Secret Romance

In a recent interview, 10 Things I Hate About You filmmaker Gil Junger reminisced about Julia Stiles and Joseph Gordon-Levitt secretly falling for each other while making the beloved film.

By Ryan Gajewski May 05, 2021 5:11 AMTags
Watch: "10 Things I Hate About You" With Heath Ledger: E! News Rewind

Julia Stiles shares legendary on-screen chemistry with Heath Ledger in the 1999 teen classic 10 Things I Hate About You, but it was a different co-star who was the subject of her real-life adoration. 

Director Gil Junger was a recent guest on YouTube chat series Mirá a Quién Encontré (Look Who I Found). During the chat, he reminisced about Julia and Joseph Gordon-Levitt having strong feelings for each other throughout the shoot, which led to them briefly dating. 

In discussing the scene in which Julia's character, Kat, reads her "10 Things" poem during class, Gil said it only took Julia a single take to shoot it, and that the director himself was "crying so hard" by the end of her performance. 

"That was maybe one of the most moving performances I've ever seen, and I've seen plenty," he recalled. "It just killed me. It was so raw, and it was so honest, and it was so vulnerable. I even asked her—I said, 'Where did that come from?' And she told me, 'I was just thinking about'—that person's name that she was deeply in love with at the time."

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They Dated? Surprising Star Couples

Although there has been speculation that Julia and Heath were a real-life item, Gil maintained this wasn't the case by sharing about the object of her affection, "It wasn't me, certainly, but it wasn't Heath either."

When the interviewer asked to clarify that the Save the Last Dance performer indeed didn't have feelings for Heath, Gil was firm that this was just a rumor. "She, for a minute or 10, went out with Joseph Gordon-Levitt," he said. "They were very, very attracted to each other, which was cool."

Buena Vista Pictures/Entertainment Pictures/ZUMAPRESS.com, Buena Vista Pictures/Entertainment Pictures/ZUMAPRESS.com

After the reporter pointed out that Julia and Joe, who are now both 40, don't share many scenes in the film, the filmmaker agreed. "I know, right? Isn't that funny? She's, like, professing her love to Heath, and she's in love with the guy who's waiting in his trailer to shoot the next scene," Gil marveled. "Yeah, but watching them, it was beautiful how much they enjoyed each other."

This romance is likely one that most fans have completely forgotten about, and neither star has yet to comment on Gil's interview. But Julia herself addressed the relationship in her 2001 Rolling Stone profile, which pointed out that she and Joe were both living on the same floor of their Columbia University dorm at the time, although the sparks had fizzled out by then. 

The Rolling Stone writer referred to the 3rd Rock From the Sun alum as the star's "old boyfriend," and Julia herself explained, "We're friends." The actress added, "We say hello to each other." 

Any romantic feelings are clearly in the distant past. Julia married Preston J. Cook in September 2017, and they welcomed son Strummer the following month. Meanwhile, Joe wed Tasha McCauley in December 2014, and they have since welcomed two boys

But who else now wants to rewatch 10 Things immediately to pick up any clues about the surreptitious pairing? 

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