Compiled by PTC Dramaturg, Carrie Chapter

Working in film and theatre creates a powerful closeness among its artists. Its insulated playspace, which calls for extreme vulnerability and intimacy, ripens the opportunity for romance. There is the sense of fearlessness associated with the “showmance.” It forever thrives in the present, forsaking any thought of a consequential future once the house lights come up, or the film wraps. Sometimes the showmance matures outside its land of make-believe, turning into a full-fledged relationship. But, the ones best remembered are those pairs who fizzled as quickly as they sizzled.

1.)    Kristen Stewart and Rupert Sanders

Sanders directed Stewart in 2012’s Snow White and the Huntsman; despite a 19-year age difference, the two had instant chemistry during filming. Along with the cast and creative team, the two posed for many press and red carpet pictures together, but it would be one particular photo opp which would make the pair infamous: a paparazzo capturing footage of their secret affair. Stewart had been in a serious relationship with Twilight co-star and heartthrob, Robert Pattinson, and Sanders was married with two children. Both Stewart and Sanders offered a public apology, and ended their fling. After a short separation, Pattinson and Stewart have reignited their showmance by moving in together, but, for Sanders, his wife, British model Liberty Ross, divorced him. Reportedly, Stewart has been ignoring advances from the newly single director in favor of starting over with Pattinson. Que sera, sera!

2.)    Milla Jovovich and Paul W.S. Anderson

In 2002, Anderson directed Jovovich in Resident Evil, a futuristic horror-action thriller that would go on to spawn sequels galore. Aside from the box office gold, the two also found success as a couple. After a brief separation, they reunited and had a daughter. By 2009, they exchanged vows at sunset at their Beverly Hills home. Fingers crossed that this director-actress pair lasts: Jovovich is no stranger to the showmance spell, as is evident by her former marriage to Luc Besson, who directed her in The Fifth Element.

3.)    Kate Beckinsale and Len Wiseman

In another Sci-Fi flick matchup, Wiseman first met Beckinsale when he directed her in 2003’s Underworld. Oddly enough, Beckinsale convinced Wiseman to cast her then-boyfriend (and father of her child), Michael Sheen, in the film; Sheen had been dating Beckinsale for eight years after falling in love with her, showmance style, in a touring production of Chekhov’s The Seagull. Wiseman was married to a kindergarten teacher at the time. However, once filming started, Beckinsale and Wiseman fell in love, and broke up with their respective significant others. The same year, Beckinsale moved in with Wiseman, and married him in 2004. Awkwardly, Michael Sheen is not only featured in the film Underworld, but in its three sequels as well.

4.)    Kate Capshaw and Steven Spielberg

Spielberg cast Capshaw in 1984’s Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, while he was still married to actress Amy Irving. Capshaw and Spielberg grew close during the grueling production process of the film, and remained so after its release. By 1989, though, his marriage to Irving dissolved, or rather, combusted in one of the largest divorce settlements in history (100 million smackeroos!). Spielberg married Capshaw in 1991. The two are still living out their showmance today, with a blended brood of seven children in tow.


5.)    Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter

In 2001, director Tim Burton made a questionable remake of Planet of the Apes. However, during filming, he fell in love with one of his actors, Helena Bonham Carter. Though the two never married, she has been a muse of sorts for the director, as well as a mother to his two children. Aside from sharing a sense of personal style, they have shared a career, with Burton casting her in Big Fish, Corpse Bride, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Alice in Wonderland, and Dark Shadows. In terms of showmance backlash, Burton’s ex-girlfriend, model/actress Lisa Marie, was a former Burton muse in his films as well. When Burton left Lisa Marie to pursue Bonham Carter, she held an auction of his leftover belongings.

6.)    Joel Coen and Frances McDormand

Coen met McDormand through mutual friends (namely, Holly Hunter) as he and his brother, Ethan, began casting their first feature film, Blood Simple, in 1984. Their friendship evolved while shooting the film, and they married the same year. Since Blood Simple, McDormand has been featured in six Coen Brothers films.


7.)    Woody Allen and his leading ladies (Louise Lasser, Diane Keaton, Mia Farrow)

Nobody knows the power of the showmance quite like Woody Allen. He has meta-theatricalized it, in fact, often paralleling his plots with the off-screen romance. Though he married his second wife, actress Louise Lasser, in 1966, she only starred in his films after they divorced. Allen fell for actress Diane Keaton when she was cast in his Broadway play, PLAY IT AGAIN, SAM in 1970, but the love affair ended in a year.  In their split, though, she turned into a real muse in his following films, especially with Annie Hall. With Mia Farrow, who starred in most of his films from 1982 to 1992, Allen did not meet on her on the set but rather after she performed in ROMANTIC COMEDY and was then introduced to her post-show by Michael Caine at Elaine’s in 1979. Farrow had just divorced Andre Previn, and she and Allen were dating by 1980. Their breakup is well-documented in its notoriety; Farrow ended it with Allen after discovering his sexual relationship with her adopted daughter, Soon-Yi Previn, who he then married in 1997.

8.)    Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor

Movie buffs mostly recognize actress Christine Taylor from playing opposite Ben Stiller in the 2001 comedy, Zoolander, but their romance had blossomed some time before. In 1999, Stiller directed Taylor in the unaired pilot episode of a FOX sci-fi comedy with Jack Black and Owen Wilson called “Heat Vision and Jack.” Though the series never came to fruition, sparks flew between the two, and they married in 2000; two kids and numerous films later, they are still going strong after over ten years of marriage.

9.)    Kate Winslet and Sam Mendes

Sam Mendes had just returned to an illustrious career as a theatre director by the time he met actress Kate Winslet in 2001. The acclaimed film director had taken up residence at London’s Donmar Warehouse, and he had called in Winslet to audition for an upcoming production. Soon after, the couple covertly coupled up, marrying and having a baby in 2003. However, by the time Mendes cast Winslet in 2008’s Revolutionary Road, the strain of the marriage became apparent. Winslet would remark later that she felt ill at ease with Mendes directing her in sex scenes with longtime pal and co-star, Leonardo DiCaprio. Though Mendes and Winslet quietly separated in 2010, the divorce went public and was finalized by 2011.

10.) Judd Apatow and Leslie Mann

This showmance couple gained fame and attention for tickling the national funny bone. Director Judd Apatow has directed his wife, actress Leslie Mann, in many of his recent comedic successes, with her star turns in The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, and This Is 40. But, their showmance first began in 1996 during the lukewarm, creepy comedy The Cable Guy, when, as a co-producer, Apatow was sent in to co-write (uncredited) and basically rewrite most of the script, and Leslie was playing the part of Robin in the film. Now, the showmance has become a family affair, as their marriage boasts one of the healthiest and most integrative unions in the industry – they even cast their two daughters in their shared films.

11.) Cate Blanchett and Andrew Upton (Playwright/Screenwriter/Director)

This show biz duo first met in 1996 in different mediums: on the set of the film Thank God He Met Lizzie, and during an Australian production of THE SEAGULL in 1996. Smitten, Upton proposed within two weeks of courting Blanchett. They married in 1997, just as Blanchett international fame exploded with the film, Elizabeth. Until recently, the couple acted as co-Artistic Directors of the Sydney Theatre Company.



12.) Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller (Playwright/Screenwriter)

Playwright Arthur Miller first encountered Monroe on the set of 1951’s As Young as You Feel, and though nothing developed romantically, he could not forget about her. By the time she moved to New York City in the mid-50s, Miller immediately reconnected with her (secretly at first) before marrying her in 1956. According to Monroe’s diaries, she was truly in love with Miller, but ultimately felt betrayed by him. This became clear by 1960; Miller penned the screenplay for The Misfits with his wife in mind, but during filming, the marriage dissolved. While Monroe took up with the Kennedy brothers soon after, Miller fell in love (and subsequently married) with an archivist photographer from the set of The Misfits named Inge Morath.

13.) James Cameron (Screenwriter/Director) and his leading ladies (Linda Hamilton and Suzy Amis)

The famous screenwriter-director-producer James Cameron has been married five times. Known for his control issues and mean streak, it is no surprise that his showmance tendencies are tainted with dysfunction. It all began with the first Terminator film- his big break – in 1984. In that year, he divorced his first wife to pursue producer (and future second wife) Gale Anne Hurd, and he also met actress Linda Hamilton while filming. Hamilton and Cameron remained close throughout their work on the Terminator franchise, and after divorcing his third wife, director Kathryn Bigelow in 1991, he became involved with Hamilton. They married six years later, just as Cameron was directing Titanic. However, the pair divorced by 1999 because Cameron was having an affair with actress Suzy Amis, who had a bit part in Titanic. Amis and Cameron have been married since 2000.

14.) Federico Fellini (Screenwriter/Director) and Giulietta Masina

In wartime Italy, a young scriptwriter named Federico Fellini listened to a university student named Giulietta Masina read a part in a radio serial he had written. Spellbound, he asked her out for a lunch date, and the two wed a year later in 1943. His work as a film auteur cannot be addressed without mentioning Masina, who starred in many of his best films including La Strada and Nights of Cabiria. Fellini saw her as a muse, nicknaming her Lo Spippolo (which means a small thing who inspires much tenderness) and treating her like an adviser. Fellini died around the time of their 50th wedding anniversary, and Masina followed him less than five months later.

15.)  David Mamet (Playwright/Screenwriter/Director) and his leading ladies (Lindsay Crouse and Rebecca Pidgeon)

Rumor has it that playwright David Mamet was crushing on actress Lindsay Crouse after seeing her in the 1977 Paul Newman hockey movie, Slap Shot. In the same year, when Mamet heard Crouse had been cast in his play, REUNION, at Yale Rep, he flew from Chicago to New Haven after reportedly declaring: “I’m going to New Haven to marry Lindsay Crouse.”  He married her within the year. However, in the late 80s, during the London run of his play, SPEED-THE-PLOW, he met actress/singer, Rebecca Pigeon, and started an affair with her while he was still married to Crouse. Mamet and Crouse divorced in 1990, and he married Pigeon, for whom he wrote the play, OLEANNA, in 1991.

16.) Charlie Chaplin (Filmmaker)and Lita Grey

The young actress, Lita Grey, first entered the scene, uncredited, as “Flirtatious Angel” in Chaplin’s 1921 film, The Kid. They then became romantically involved while he prepared to film The Gold Rush. Grey was 16 and Chaplin was 35 when she was impregnated by him in 1924, so they wed secretly in Mexico. Though embattled from the start, the marriage produced two sons. The chaos of their tense divorce, which was finally granted in 1928, was nicknamed “The Lita Grey Affair,” making it one of the costliest divorces of the day (a $825,000 settlement, in addition to the nearly one million dollars in legal fees). The relationship purportedly turned Chaplin’s hair white, and inspired Nabokov’s Lolita.

17.) Anton Chekhov (Playwright/Author/Physician) and Olga Knipper

On her 30th birthday, actress Olga Knipper met 38-year-old playwright Anton Chekhov during rehearsals for his play THE SEAGULL in 1898. The two kept up correspondence in the years following, during which he wrote Three Sisters with Knipper in mind to play Masha, before marrying secretly in 1901. The marriage was sadly cut short when Chekhov died of tuberculosis in 1904, with Knipper by his side. But, she continued her work at the Moscow Art Theatre until her death at age 90.

18.) Eugene O’Neill (Playwright) and Carlotta Monterey

Actress Carlotta Monterey captivated more than the audience when she performed in Eugene O’Neill’s play, THE HAIRY APE, in 1922. O’Neill was dazzled by her and began an affair with her despite his marriage to his second wife, Agnes.  But, after his divorce was settled, they married in 1929, and, despite a sometimes tumultuous marriage, she was at his side when he died in 1953.

19.) Blake Edwards (Screenwriter/Director) and Julie Andrews

Actress Julie Andrews officially met director Blake Edwards in 1968, when Edwards cast her in his film Darling Lili. Its production was such a laborious mess it wasn’t released until 1970 (after the couple married) to tepid reviews. But, their love and their careers only ascended, though, with the films, 10, and Victor/Victoria, and they made it last until Edwards died in 2010.


20.) Neil Simon (Screenwriter/Playwright) and Marsha Mason

The newly widowed playwright initially fell for the actress when she auditioned for Simon’s play, THE GOOD DOCTOR in 1973. After some “showmancing” in the rehearsal room, they married shortly afterwards – a legendary 22-day courtship.  They are best known, in couple-speak, for Simon’s The Goodbye Girl, but marital problems persisted in the following years, and they split up in 1981.

21.) Roman Polanski (Screenwriter/Director) and Emmanuelle Seigner

Controversial auteur Roman Polanski met the young actress Emmanuelle Seigner while filming 1988’s Frantic starring Harrison Ford. This was not Polanski’s first foray into showmance; he also allegedly had an affair with teenage actress, Nastassja Kinski, on the set of his 1979 film, Tess. Though 33 years his junior, Seigner is still married to Polanski and they have two children. Interestingly enough, Polanski directed the film version of VENUS IN FUR, starring his wife as Vanda, which premiered at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.

22.) Amy Brenneman and Brad Silberling (Director)

Actress Amy Brenneman and director Brad Silberling first got to know each other on the set of “NYPD Blue” in 1993, where he was directing several episodes. Sadly, Brenneman met Silberling as he recovered from a broken heart. He was dating the actress Rebecca Schaeffer when she was killed by her stalker in 1989. With new love blossoming, though, the pair married in 1995.



23.) Helen Mirren and Taylor Hackford (Director)

Hardly love at first sight, director Taylor Hackford managed to anger actress Helen Mirren at the casting call for his 1985 film, White Nights, when she berated him for being late for her audition. But, Mirren soon warmed up to him very quickly during filming, and the two started dating. They finally married in 1997 after being together for twelve years.


24.) Julianne Moore and Bart Freundlich (Screenwriter/Director)

In 1996, actress Julianne Moore fell in love with Bart Freundlich during the filming of The Myth of Fingerprints, which Freundlich wrote and directed. Though Moore was ten years his senior and recently divorced from her first husband, the two were an immediate item, marrying in 2003 and going strong with two children.



25.) Peter Bogdanovich (Screenwriter/Director) and Cybill Shepherd

Actress Ellen Barkin met director Sam Levinson while filming 2010’s Operation: Endgame, which Levinson co-wrote. They began quietly dating during this time. In addition to Barkin being 31 years his senior, there is also the small detail of his father, Barry Levinson, who cast Barkin in her film debut in 1982’s Diner; Sam Levinson would not even be born until three years after the film’s opening. However, after three years and with approval from the Levinson brood, the couple now lives together in the same West Village apartment. Last year, it is rumored that Barkin popped the question to Levinson, who accepted.