A Look at All the Celeb Couples Who Had to Work Together After Breaking Up

Outer Banks stars Chase Stokes and Madelyn Cline filmed season three of their Netflix series after ending their relationship. But they aren't the first famous exes to continue working together.

By Tierney Bricker Mar 11, 2023 2:00 PMTags
Watch: Outer Banks' Chase Stokes & Madelyn Cline on Filming Post-Breakup

Once a Pogue, always a Pogue—even after a break-up.

That's the mindset Chase Stokes and Madelyn Cline had when they filmed the third season of their hit Netflix series Outer Banks after ending their two-year relationship. While E! the couple called it quits in November 2021 and they've both moved on romantically—Stokes recently confirmed he's dating country singer Kelsey Ballerini, while Cline said she's "happily taken" after being linked to musician Jackson Guthy—that didn't prevent them from still bringing the spark with their on-screen counterparts, John B. and Sarah.

Of course, Stokes and Cline are far from the first TV co-stars to continue working together after ending their real-life romances. Adam Brody and Rachel Bilson famously got fictionally married on The O.C. after devastating fans with their split, while Penn Badgley recently opened up about how his relationship with Blake Lively "saved" him during their time on Gossip Girl

All of the Real-Life Couples Who Have Starred in Hallmark Channel Movies Together

Prepare for a stroll down memory lane as we look back on all of the TV co-stars who kept it profesh after splitting IRL: 

Chase Stokes and Madelyn Cline, Outer Banks

Despite their real-life breakup in November 2021, the Netflix stars are still Pogues for life. 

Though Cline admitted that there were "some aspects" of playing Sarah—who is still very much dating Chase's John B on the show—that were different after their split, the actress told People that "at the end of the day, there's always been a safe space with the job."

"We've said from day one, our job is always to leave the show and the season better than when we left it last," Cline explained. "And everybody is still very much a family. Outer Banks has always been a family. And I'm just happy that we are able to remain professional."

As for Stokes, he revealed to Entertainment Weekly that he and Cline "made a promise to each other before we even started dating that the work was always going to come first. No matter what happens in our personal lives, and the ways that life sometimes takes you in different directions, that we're always going to honor the work."

Penn Badgley and Blake Lively, Gossip Girl

Spotted: Lonely Boy and S dating IRL for the first three years of the CW hit series' run before Badley and Lively called it quits in 2010.

"Beyond our relationship," Badgley recently told Variety, "I don't think anybody was going to be interested in me publicly." The You star opened up about how life in the spotlight wasn't always as glamorous as it seemed, describing his six-year run on GG as being both "fun and fast-paced" as well as having a "dark undercurrent that would bottom out in my later 20s."

While he noted that the feeling wasn't related to any substance use, he credited Lively with being a positive influence on him. "To be honest, I never struggled with substance," Badgley explained. "Blake didn't drink, and I think our relationship in some ways saved me from forcing myself to go down that road."

Adam Brody and Rachel Bilson, The O.C.</>

Brody and Bilson's longtime romance was arguably more beloved than their onscreen counterparts' Seth Cohen and Summer Roberts series-spanning relationship. So fans were devastated when they called it quits in 2006 ahead of the Fox drama's fourth and final season. 

But there is no bad blood between the former co-stars, who nearly broke the Internet in 2019 when they documented their unexpected reunion at the airport on social media. "Ran into my ol buddy from JFK to LAX," she shared on Instagram, along with an adorable selfie with Brody, who married Gossip Girl star Leighton Meester in 2014. "#CaliforniaHereWeCome."

Two years later, Rachel told Dax Shepard on the Armchair Expert podcast that she and Brody "still get along really well" after all these years.

"I had so much, and still do, love and respect for Adam," she explained. "We went through so much together, being so young and everything with the show. And I'm so happy for him with his family and his beautiful wife and kids and everything."

Cole Sprouse and Lili Reinhart, Riverdale

Reports of a real-life romance between Jughead and Betty Cooper first spread in July 2017, though the couple make their first red carpet appearance together until the 2018 Met Gala. After three years of dating, the CW stars called it quits, with Sprouse confirming their "permanent" separation in a rare public statement about their relationship.

"What an incredible experience I had, I'll always feel lucky and cherish that I had the chance to fall in love," Sprouse wrote on Instagram in August 2020. "I wish her nothing but the utmost love and happiness moving forward. All I'll say about it, anything else you hear doesn't matter."

Charles Melton and Camila Mendes, Riverdale

There must be something in the milkshakes at Pop's because Sprouse and Reinhart weren't the only co-stars to date in real-life. Mendes and Melton, who play Veronica and Reggie on the teen drama, dated on-and-off for three years before ultimately breaking up in 2021.

Ian Somerhalder and Nina Dobrev, The Vampire Diaries

While their characters Damon and Elena ended up living happily ever after on The CW's hit vampire drama, Dobrev and Somerhalder split in 2013 after dating for three years. Despite Dobrev's early exit from the series after season six, the former couple remained friends and joked about their on-and-off screen romance while accepting the award for Best Chemistry at the People's Choice Awards back in 2014—and even ended their acceptance with a friendly smooch on the cheek.

"I've said this before, that we didn't break up because anything bad happened or because there wasn't love or friendship," Nina told E! News in 2015. "I love him and the friendship is still strong and I think he's great and I care about him. And that didn't change. Yes, we're professional and that's fine. We were friends long before we dated and we still are now."

BJ Novak and Minday Kaling, The Office

The Office co-stars and writers are redefining what it means to be friendly exes in Hollywood, continuing to be BFFs despite their romance in the mid-aughts during the iconic NBC sitcom's run. In fact, Novak is the godfather to both of Kaling's kids and the pair often attend events together.

And when Novak paid tribute to Kaling at the 2023 Producers Guild Awards, where she received the Norman Lear Lifetime Achievement Award, he reflected on their "tumultuous, romantic, toxic, boundaryless mess" relationship.

"We were in love with each other, and we were reckless idiots," Novak noted. "And the two of us would argue about all of these things forever—grinding the writers' room to a halt until we got too upset and we'd go to our respective offices and slam the door, where we'd continue arguing over AOL Instant Messenger. It was 2005." He went on to say, "She cares so much about everything and I care so much about her."

In her acceptance speech, Kaling gushed, "I'm so lucky that my favorite writer is also my best friend. I love you."

Joshua Jackson and Katie Holmes, Dawson’s Creek

Before their iconic characters Pacey and Joey got together on-screen, the Dawson's Creek co-stars date for from 1998 to 1999. "I'm just going to say that I met somebody last year," Holmes coyly told Rolling Stone in 1998. "I fell in love, I had my first love, and it was something so incredible and indescribable that I will treasure it always."

When asked if she was referring to Jackson, the magazine reported the then-19-year-old buried her face in her hands before saying, "I feel so fortunate because he's now one of my best friends. It's weird. It's almost like a Dawson-and-Joey type thing now. He's been in the business so long, and he's really helped me. I respect him as a friend and as a professional."

Remaining true to her word, the pair continued their friendship long after the iconic WB series came to an end in 2003.

Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco, The Big Bang Theory

The Big Bang co-star's relationship early in the CBS sitcom's 12-season run was a big secret on set, with just a few colleagues knowing about their two-year romance at the time. 

"All the scenes up until we actually got together in real life, it was obvious there was always something there," Cuoco recalled of their romance, as quoted in Jessicas Radloff's oral history of the show. "There was chemistry, and we were crushing on each other. That was the whole first season until we actually got together for real."

At Comic-Con, they'd pretend to say goodnight in the hotel lobby with a friendly hug, and then, Cuoco said, "we were like little mice in the night, running back and forth to each other's rooms, trying not to be noticed. I mean, who did we think we were?"

Even though their real-life romance eventually burned out, Penny and Leonard's chemistry wasn't affected in the slightest, thanks to Cuoco and Galecki's enduring affection for one another

"Johnny is actually one of my best friends," Cuoco said on Watch What Happens Live in 2015. "It's a situation that ended well. I understand sometimes it doesn't. It could have gone horrible."

Sophia Bush and Chad Michael Murray, One Tree Hill

Tying the knot in 2005, Bush and Murray separated after just five months of marriage, though their characters continued to have a romantic relationship on the CW drama. 

"There was no space to self-reflect," Bush said in a 2018 episode of Armchair Expert, telling Dax Shepard that the show's producers were "really deeply inappropriate" to both her and Murray after their breakup.

"They ran, like, TV ads about it, it was really ugly," she explained. "They made practice of taking advantage of people's personal lives, and not just for me and for my ex, for other actors on the show who would share as you do when you get close to people. Deeply personal things that were happening in their lives and they would wind up in storylines. It wasn't OK."

"It was opportunistic and ugly," Bush continued. "When you run a show, you're like a parent, you're supposed to protect your flock, and it was the opposite of that. And I imagine that was hard for him as well, you know? It was a very ugly situation on their part. I think they kind of lived for the drama."

Sophia Bush and Jesse Lee Soffer, Chicago PD

Though the NBC procedural pair kept their relationship on the down low for the first few months of their relationship, word eventually got out that they were romantic in 2014.

 "They've been secretly dating for over three months, but only their close friends knew," a source told E! News at the time. "Jesse is super-sweet and they are really cute together."

Bush and Soffer broke up the following year, with the One Tree Hill vet ultimately leaving Chicago PD in 2017 after four seasons. 

Milo Ventimiglia and Hayden Panettiere, Heroes

While they played uncle and niece on NBC's superhero drama, the co-stars quietly dated for a year before breaking up in 2009.

Asked what he learned from the experiene in an interview with MR PORTER's magazine The Journal, Milo said, "Never do it again. There are things that happen to you in your life that shape who you are. Everything I've been through from jobs to friendships to partnerships, everything has built me to who I am. You learn from it. You learn a better way of doing things. It wasn't until my mid to late twenties that the job wears on you, relationships wear on you."

However, the This Is Us star added, "I wouldn't change a thing. When you get knocked over the head in life, it builds your perspective."

Panettiere wasn't the first co-star Ventimiglia dated as he previously was in a relationship with Gilmore Girls' Alexis Bledel for three years.

"Bad idea," Ventimiglia told E! News in October 2022 of dating co-stars. "Don't s--t where you eat."

Get the drama behind the scenes. Sign up for TV Scoop!