Mandy Moore's Storied Romantic History: The Reality, the Rumors and One Unforgettable Interview

Like most women, the This Is Us star had to kiss a few frogs before finding her happiest place yet with fiancé Taylor Goldsmith

By Natalie Finn Nov 01, 2017 8:30 PMTags

You know how people have personal soundtracks, the songs that tell their story or influenced their life along the way as if they were written expressly for them?

That notion might carry a little extra weight with Mandy Moore.

The This Is Us star, who recently got engaged to Dawes frontman Taylor Goldsmith, is a singer herself, her role as multiple incarnations of Rebecca Pearson on her hit NBC show allowing her to show off her musical and acting prowess all at once.

And with music being such a constant presence in her life, no wonder she's attracted her fair share of musically inclined gentlemen over the years—and been quite attracted to them right back.

In fact, she was a fan of Dawes before she ever met Goldsmith, who actually reached out to her after she shared a photo of one of the band's album covers on Instagram.

Mandy Moore's Best Roles

She recently opened up about this "very happy time," telling People she's feeling "more grateful than I've ever been in my life" as she basks in her simultaneous career and romantic resurgences.

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Of course it's the rough patches that make the good times all the sweeter and Moore had her share of heartbreak and frustrations.

"I had a few years of just unhappiness," she admitted. "From a career perspective, I felt like I was barely treading water. I was really discouraged and dismayed at the sort of opportunities that weren't presenting themselves any longer. That coincided with my personal life not being in a great place."

But now, she's not only in forever-love onscreen with one of the all-time great, way-too-good-to-be-true TV husbands, Milo Ventimiglia's Jack Pearson, she's found a real-life prince to provide the icing for the top of her scrumptious success cake.

This Is Us Halloween Is Here: Jack and Rebecca Have Got You, Babe

And while fans all have their personal favorites among the roles that got her to This Is Us, be it her doomed good girl who changes Shane West's life in A Walk to Remember, her queen bee Christian in Saved, her spunky Rapunzel in Tangled or her aspiring star in American Dreamz, or maybe just Mandy-as-herself on Entourage, that's not the only road Moore has traveled to get from there to here.

Here's a look at the romantic history that helped inform all of her current gratitude, some of them guys who, even if they couldn't carry a tune, certainly found things to sing about...

Wilmer Valderrama

Testament to her maturity, here's a guy Moore could've sworn off seeing again after he kissed and told all to Howard Stern in 2006—forever forming a bond between Mandy, Lindsay Lohan, Ashlee SimpsonJennifer Love Hewitt and Rosario Dawson.

He was mercilessly egged on of course, and perhaps Wilmer felt pressured to rise to the occasion, but he also cemented his reputation as one of Hollywood's biggest dogs for years.

"She's one of the most beautiful girls I've ever met," Valderrama said about Moore, who's four years younger. Asked how he "got" such beautiful women, he said, "I'll be completely honest with you, I think hopefully maybe you can tell a little bit, but the fact of the matter is, you know, half of this industry is not real..." He was sort of trying to make a point but they directed the conversation back to Moore.

Valderrama recalled meeting her when she was doing a shoot for the cover of Teen magazine. "We were each other's first loves..." and then the room exploded into Howard, Artie Lange and Robin Quivers glomming onto him with the virginity question. 

"You know things don't really work out that way," Valderrama, who you can almost hear blushing, said when Stern presented him with a super-ridiculous scenario of how that went down. "It's not like in the movies, you're like, 'I'm ready.'... Any relationship, period, you know, if it lasted some time...Honestly, I think everyone's going to relate to this, but...I will say this: it is not like warm apple pie...Let's see, how do I put this in the most [politically correct] way possible—it's just really good."  

On their first date, he took her to Ivy at the Shore in Santa Monica for dinner. When he picked her up from the W hotel, he met her mom, who informed in that her daughter had changed her shirt three times—which, he admitted, gave him confidence. They ultimately dated for about a year.

Moore, who may really be a version of her endlessly empathetic character in A Walk to Remember, hung out with Valderrama in 2015 at Universal's Halloween Horror Night and they made sure to snap selfies when they ran into each other in 2016. "We're like very, very close friends," she told Andy Cohen. "He was my first boyfriend when I was 15. We can still be friends."

Brian McFayden

In 2000, fresh off the release of I Wanna Be With You and while hosting her own daily MTV show, the barely 17-year-old star was rumored to be dating MTV VJ Brian McFayden, who's about eight years older.

Moore laughed off the hype, telling, "We're just friends. He's a little old, like 25. Mom and Dad would freak. But we're really good friends. I hang out with him when I'm in New York, and I talk to him on the phone and stuff—but no relationship."

Andy Roddick

After meeting her in Canada when she was shooting How to Deal, the last American tennis player to win the singles at a Grand Slam tournament did so in front of girlfriend Mandy Moore. She was there cheering Roddick on when he won the U.S. Open in 2003. Alas, they split up the following year.

We're cool," Roddick told People in 2006. "We're doing fine now. She's a good girl, and it says a lot about her to come out tonight."

Namely, that Moore was there to up the star ante at her ex's first annual Charity Celebrity Poker Tournament in Hollywood, Fla., despite rumors that he had unceremoniously broken up with her.

"I haven't had too much trauma with love," Moore had said in a 2003 interview. "I'm sure it's coming sometime because you can't escape it. I feel like I've come off unscathed so far.

Zach Braff

Most girls don't want no Scrubs, but sometimes one slips through the vetting process. Moore guest-starred on the NBC sitcom and dated the actor for about a year, during which they attended the 2005 Emmys together. Their breakup inspired a number of the songs on her 2007 album Wild Hope and prompted Moore to open up about her own battle with depression, which she says wasn't caused but was certainly exacerbated by their 2006 breakup.

"The breakup added to what I was going through, but it's not the complete reason," she said in the February 2007 issue of—nostalgia alert!—Jane magazine. "It definitely doesn't help if you're already in that place."

"I wouldn't know what else to write about other than how I really feel," she told Marie Claire UK when Wild Hope came out. "But selfishly or not, I wanted clarity on certain situations and how I was feeling about certain things, and that's what propelled me to write."

"We weren't like a big 'going out' couple," she explained. But breaking up was "a bummer," the icing on a "really bad cake. The burned cake."

They remained friendly (Moore has shown an uncanny ability to stay on speaking terms with her exes), but Braff told Howard Stern years later that their coupling was too high profile for his taste. 

"I don't want to date the super-famous girls," he told Howard in 2013 when the radio host suggested he go out with Taylor Swift. "Remember, I did that once before when I dated Mandy Moore and it was not a good...I didn't like it."


"I've tried dating a bit, and I don't like it," she told Jane. "I know I should be putting myself out there. But I don't really think it's for me. That's not to say I'm ready to jump back into a relationship anytime soon. I'm definitely not looking. But it'd be fun to have a crush."

However, by the time the issue came out in 2007, Moore was already linked to Adam "DJ AM" Goldstein, an artistic pioneer who paved the way for the era of the super-star deejay by being the first to score a $1 million Las Vegas residency.

They only dated for a few months that year but, perhaps sensing he needed her in his life, they remained close. Moore flew to Georgia to visit him in the hospital after he and Travis Barker survived a plane crash that killed everybody else on board. She was among those devastated by his untimely death at 36 of an accidental drug overdose in 2009, and she continued to post tributes to him online.

"This guy. One of a kind," she captioned an old photo of him in 2015. "Been on my mind a lot lately….I can still hear your laugh and oh man, I miss your hugs more than anything. Nearly 6 years and I'm still at a loss…#adam."

Greg Laswell

In 2007 Moore enjoyed spending time with the singer-songwriter, whose music has made for some emotional moments on One Tree HillSmallvilleGrey's AnatomyFriday Night Lights and True Blood

When they met, Laswell was actually coming off a traumatic experience—his wife had suddenly walked out on him, the heartbreak informing his 2006 album Through Toledo. "It certainly didn't start out as, 'OK, this happened to me and I'm going to make an album from it.' Mostly it was just my way to really just kind of get through it," he told NPR in 2006. "It's not really an album about pain—I mean there's a lot about that in it—but I almost view it more as an album about love and about the loss of love."

So he and Moore had things, personally and creatively, in common.

Laswell's most recent album is 2016's Everyone Thinks I Dodged a Bullet.

Ryan Adams

Call the world a little surprised when Moore starting dating the indie singer-songwriter, none more so than Adams himself, who staunchly denied that they were a couple at first. 

"I can't believe you guys would print lies like that. You said Mandy Moore and I were dating!" he told New York mag's Daily Intelligencer in March 2008. "Which we're not. She's single, and I don't know why everyone thinks she has to be in a relationship."

He was protesting way too much. He expounded upon their non-relationship in grand fashion a few months later, releasing a detailed statement. "Mandy is one of those genuinely sweet angelic people you wish to meet your whole life. I am grateful for our friendship and how it allowed us both to grow and learn more." 

The Heartbreaker artist continued: "Unfortunately I am allergic to paparazzi and have found the best antidote to that sort of nonsense is staying behind the guitar and typewriter, staying close to my support group of friends and band mates and not engaging in activities that prevent me from taking care of myself or others."

Love won out, however, and the two were engaged by February 2009 and they tied the knot that March in Savannah, Ga. Music was "definitely a common interest between the two of us," newlywed Moore told in April 2009. "There's always music playing in the house, or being written. It's nice to be able to share that with one another, and share new things that we discover and find. Usually it's him introducing me to something."

The couple were fiercely private and they were left more to their own devices than some celebrity duos. Adams famously hung up on a reporter who dared ask about Moore, later telling Buzzfeed in September 2015, "OK, so I just hung up 'cause I was on the radio getting asked about my wife. I was really nice about it the first time, and I'm sorry, but I won't repeat myself. The deal is this: I'm a private person and I'll be a gentleman and say I'm not talking about my marriage ever. I'll never talk about it. Ever."

In January 2015, however, they announced they were ending their marriage.

Taylor Goldsmith

In August 2016, at the TCA press panel for This Is Us, Moore admitted that things had been "tough" post-divorce. "Life is not easy. I think it's been great to be able to take all of the chapters in my life and be able to pour it into a job like this because it all helps. It's all fuel."

Not knowing her life was about to change forever, she continued, "I think everything happens for a reason. I think I spent a good portion of the last years of my life really pouring all of my energy into my life and relationship, and now that that's sort of not part of my life any more. It's just not a coincidence to me that things sort of opened back up, and I'm able to focus back on myself again."

And now, after meeting cute thanks to social media, Moore is engaged to the Dawes rocker, who's in the band with his brother Griffin Goldsmith, as well as Wylie Gelber and Lee Pardini.

"I feel incredibly understood and supported," Moore told People about her relationship. "I feel incredibly lucky to have somebody who is like, 'I got your back.' I found the right person and I feel like we can handle anything together."

And sure enough, "I'm better equipped to appreciate everything because of what I've gone through. I cannot believe my life and good fortune."

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