The world of filmmaking revolves around beauty as well as talent. Actors bring to the work their personality and charm, and the skills to make the viewers believe in the characters they are playing. Filmmaking also calls for actors to work closely with each other, spending long hours and engaging in frequent travel. It’s no surprise that actors find romantic attachments with others in the industry; fellow actors are like-minded souls, after all. With multiple demands on a performer’s time — the extensive shooting schedules, the promotional responsibilities, the press appearances — it all leaves limited opportunities to be with people outside the field.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is no different, although it takes a superior level of acting ability and movie magic for actors to believably play heroes, superbeings, aliens, even demigods. But in the MCU, there are plenty of stars who have maneuvered around the obstacles and found love — sometimes fleeting, sometimes lasting, sometimes seriously enough to lead to a proposal. We look at 15 examples of MCU stars who found romance with other talented thespians and musicians who are stars in their own right. These matchups between people who have multiple qualities, including beauty, talent, recognition and success.
15. LUPITA NYONG’O
Lupita Nyong’o, named People magazine’s “World’s Most Beautiful Woman” in 2014, gave an electrifying performance as Patsey in 12 Years a Slave, winning the 2014 Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. According to the New York Post’s Page Six column, Nyong’o also briefly won the heart of star Chiwetel Ejiofor. Ejiofor anchored the film as Solomon Northrop, a man who was kidnapped from Washington, D.C., and spent 12 years seeking his freedom from plantations in Louisiana. However, Ejiofor and Nyong’o didn’t stay together long. “The love match fizzled once the movie wrapped,” Page Six said.
Ejiofor later co-starred in 2016’s Doctor Strange as Mordo, Strange’s mentor turned antagonist, reuniting with Benedict Cumberbatch, who also appeared in 12 Years. Nyong’o will co-star in the upcoming Black Panther, slated for a February 2018 release.
14. EMILY VANCAMP
The 2002-2006 CW drama Everwood, created by Arrowverse producer Greg Berlanti, told the story of a widowed doctor who moves to the fictional Colorado town with his two children. His son soon develops an attachment with local girl Amy Abbott, played by Emily VanCamp. Amy’s older brother, Bright, was played by future Guardians of the Galaxy star Chris Pratt.
Although they were siblings on the air, Pratt and VanCamp were a couple through the run of the series. “Every once in a while we get that one person that’s like, ‘That’s really creepy. You just kissed your sister,'” Pratt said. They broke up in 2007. Pratt went on to be Star-Lord in the two Guardians of the Galaxy films and VanCamp became S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent 13/Sharon Carter in the Captain America movies.
13. JARED LETO
The Black Widow and The Joker haven’t met on screen or in the comics, but actors Scarlett Johansson and Jared Leto were a couple for a while in 2004. They didn’t declare that they were, but were frequently seen out and about in New York and Los Angeles. This includes a moment in which Johansson has both arms around Leto, kissing him … and he’s texting on his phone. Things ended after a year.
Johansson spoke to Cosmopolitan in May 2016 about hitting “rock bottom” while in a relationship with someone who was “forever unavailable … but, like, so attractively unavailable.” Still, the pair was seen together being friendly at the Democratic National Convention in 2012. In recent months, Johansson has been seen with Colin Jost of Saturday Night Live‘s “Weekend Update.”
12. PETER FACINELLI
Peter Facinelli, who had a recurring role on TV’s Supergirl as evil business mogul Maxwell Lord, had a romance with Jaimie Alexander. Alexander, who was the Lady Sif in the first and second Thor movies and on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., started dating Facinelli in November 2102 when they worked on the film Loosies.
Facinelli threw a surprise 30th birthday party for Alexander in 2014. He also went in for the grand gesture when he proposed to her in March 2015. Facinelli took her to the Empire State Building, so she could see the plane he had rented with a banner popping the question. Alexander nearly missed the moment, Facinelli told People.com, because she went inside to get out of the cold and wind. Citing their busy schedules, Facinelli and Alexander broke off their engagement in February 2016.
11. LIV TYLER
Doctor Strange star Benedict Cumberbatch tried to make the attention disappear when he and actress Liv Tyler — Betty Ross in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk — attended a post-Emmy party in West Hollywood in September 2012. Unfortunately, Cumberbatch lost the award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie to Kevin Costner that night. But he had a good time with Tyler — although they were careful to leave separately. But two days later, they were photographed leaving a Los Angeles movie theater.
Cumberbatch’s publicist issued a terse statement: “They are not dating.” But the ring Tyler sported on her finger that week, after she was spotted slipping out of the back from an L.A. restaurant, didn’t tamp down any speculation. At the time, Cumberbatch was out of a 10-year relationship with actress Olivia Poulet.
10. SARAH JESSICA PARKER
The rock of the Marvel Comics Universe, Iron Man star Robert Downey Jr. had a seven-year relationship with Sex and the City star Sarah Jessica Parker in the 1980s. It was the early days of their careers, when Downey was playing in a lot of teen comedies like Weird Science and Parker was acting in lots of TV movies. The two met while making 1984’s Firstborn. But things came to an end in 1991.
Downey told Parade in 2008, “I liked to drink, and I had a drug problem, and that didn’t jibe with Sarah Jessica, because it is the furthest thing from what she is. … She tried to help me. She was so miffed when I didn’t get my act together.” Downey and Parker made amends in 2015, and were seated together at the 2017 People’s Choice Awards.
9. JENNY SLATE
Comic actress Jenny Slate met Captain America star Chris Evans in May 2016 on the set of Gifted, a drama about a man fighting his mother for custody of his niece, a child prodigy. They met during the chemistry read, and she told Vulture.com that he told her, “You’re going to be one of my closest friends.” At the time, Slate was separated from husband Dean Fleischer-Camp, and was thrown that Evans was interested in her, after his dalliances with Minka Kelly and Jessica Biel.
Still, a romance between Slate and Evans didn’t begin until after Gifted wrapped. It ended after nine months — awkwardly, about when it was time to promote the film. However, there are signs in recent weeks that the two got back together; they’ve been seen in Atlanta and in Washington, D.C.
8. BRADLEY COOPER
Guardians of the Galaxy star Zoë Saldana had come off a string of high-profile roles in 2011 — including Avatar, Star Trek, Columbiana and The Losers — when she shifted gears to a smaller-scale drama, The Words. There, she clicked with co-star Bradley Cooper, although they were coy about the relationship that developed that December. Things between the two went hot and cold over the next several months with breakups and reconciliations.
However, the New York Post’s Page Six noticed they were on different continents when New Year’s 2013 rolled around. Saldana bounced back pretty quickly, getting married to artist Marco Perego in June 2013. She and Cooper were all smiles at the Guardians of the Galaxy premiere; after all, he lends his voice to Rocket, while she plays Gamora.
7. TAYLOR SWIFT
Tom Hiddleston — Loki in Thor: Ragnarok, the previous two Thor films and The Avengers — had a whirlwind romance with pop chanteuse Taylor Swift in the spring of 2016. The two met at the Met Gala in New York that May, and a video of them in a dance-off to T.I.’s “Bring ‘Em Out” went viral. Swift was winding down her relationship with Calvin Harris, and Hiddleston went from being a dance partner to a romantic partner.
The duo jet-set around the country and the world, to Rhode Island, New York, England, Australia — where Hiddleston worked on a new Thor film — and the Vatican, although they were dogged by rumors that it was just for the cameras. Three months later, it was over, although there are different stories as to who ended it.
Idris Elba, Heimdall in the Thor films, is a perpetually popular bachelor. But there was lots of buzz in October 2016 when music icon Madonna made an Instagram post of Elba in the boxing ring. Elba trained to be a kickboxer for the documentary series Idris Elba: Fighter, and Madonna cheered him on from ringside at his debut bout.
She posted a clip of Elba with the caption “Idris Elba Smashes it at York Hall!” After the match, the two went to the M Restaurant in London, and The Sun reported they spent the evening canoodling. A source said, “There was nothing subtle about it, no attempt to hide. It was very blatant.” When the news blew up, Elba moved to shut it down with a tweet: “Am I sleeping with Madonna? No motherf*****s… Don’t believe the hype.”
5. JOSH GROBAN
Multiplatinum-selling singer-songwriter Josh Groban made beautiful music with actress Kat Dennings, co-star in the first and second Thor movies as scientist Darcy Lewis. They were introduced by Beth Behrs, Dennings’ co-star on the CBS sitcom 2 Broke Girls, and first made a public splash in October 2014 at Carousel of Hope Ball in Beverly Hills. Groban performed, which was the first time Dennings had heard him sing.
Behrs said the two are “nerds at heart,” but they split in August 2016. A friend told E! News that “it’s not the right time for them as a couple” but that Groban and Dennings would remain friends. Before Groban, Dennings dated Nick Zano, who made a few guest appearances on 2 Broke Girls and now is on DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.
4. JENNIFER ANISTON
Ant-Man star Paul Rudd hooked up with Jennifer Aniston in 1988, when they were working on the film The Object of My Affection, a romantic comedy about a woman who falls for her gay best friend after she gets pregnant by her boyfriend. Aniston and Rudd were together for about a year, and after the movie finished filming, he even had a recurring role on Friends, as the boyfriend (and, later, husband) of Rachel’s pal Phoebe.
After their breakup, Rudd and Aniston remained friends; years later, they co-starred in the 2012 film Wanderlust. At a press conference promoting the film, Aniston was glad to reunite with her screen partner, reported Collider: “It was heaven! We were so happy. It felt like no time had passed.”
3. HAYDEN CHRISTENSEN
Oscar-winner Natalie Portman upgraded the character of Jane Foster in the first and second Thor movies, turning her from the mousy nurse on the printed page to an astrophysicist on the big screen. But before that, when Portman was in another big franchise — the Star Wars movies — she connected with Hayden Christensen, her co-star in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones and Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.
Portman and Christensen connected even before that, back in 2000, as Portman juggled moviemaking in Australia for Attack of the Clones with studies at Harvard University. Their off-screen passion didn’t translate to on-screen fireworks, ranking No. 1 for “worst screen chemistry” in a 2007 poll of 3,000 moviegoers by movie advertising firm Pearl & Dean.
2. BRAD PITT
As the ever-efficient Pepper Potts in the Iron Man films, Gwyneth Paltrow was the love interest for Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark. But before that, Paltrow was half of one of Hollywood’s golden couples, together with Brad Pitt. They met each other while making the 1994 crime thriller Seven and got engaged in 1996. By 1997, however, things went sour, and they split.
In a 2003 interview with Diane Sawyer, Paltrow said, “I’m so lucky that I spent time with Brad, somebody who was such a good person! Especially when I was, like, such a mess.” Paltrow said the breakup hurt for five years, but that she stayed friends with Pitt. He went on to marry and divorce Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie. Paltrow married musician Chris Martin of Coldplay, but they are “consciously uncoupled.”
1. HEATHER GRAHAM
Actor/director Jon Favreau is a utility player in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He directed the first two Iron Man films, was an executive producer on all three and the Avengers movies. He also played Happy Hogan in the Iron Man films and in 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming, mentoring the rookie superhero Peter Parker.
Earlier in his career, Favreau spent time in the independent film trenches and TV roles. There he connected with Heather Graham, who had a small but key part as his love interest in the 1996 cult favorite film Swingers. Favreau and Graham were a couple for about a year. Afterward, Graham’s star began to rise with her appearance as Rollergirl in 1997’s Boogie Nights, going on to Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, Bowfinger and other roles.
Who is your favorite superhero celebrity couple? Let us know in the comments!
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