As a people, we love love. Even the most jaded and cynical of TV and film audiences get a little jolt to their cold-dead hearts whenever a couple shows some undeniable chemistry on screen. True chemistry or great acting, whatever you want to call it, is hard to deny. But we can be fooled. There are on-screen couples that look so in love that we actually start to believe it’s real. We watch them and we think to ourselves, is this real life? Like we’re David after Dentist. Now, if you’ve followed any crazy Hollywood love patterns, you would know that, on many occasions, the actors are really falling for each other. But we’re not here to talk about those doers, we’re here to talk about the actors, both the good and the bad.
The good actors are con artists. They’ve tricked us into believing in their chemistry. The very best of these had us buying into the on-screen love story when, behind-the-scenes, the actors hated each other. These off-screen feuds make up just over half our list. The other half are the bad actors or, at least, the bad storylines. These on-screen couples are part of a love story that no one buys into. We haven’t for one second believed that there could be real feelings there. In fact, we’re convinced that these couples hate each other, as the title of this list suggests. They could never work in real life. So, let’s take a closer look at these two groups. Here are 15 TV Couples That Actually Despise Each Other.
15. Mulder and Scully – The X-Files
The sexual relationship between Mulder and Scully always took a backseat in The X-Files. It’s part of what made the show so refreshing and fun to watch at times. Even still, the chemistry between the two actors, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, was undeniable, regardless of whether their relationship was platonic or not. Yet, while these two stars looked so comfortable with each other on-screen, it wasn’t always as pleasant when the cameras were off. It wasn’t always bad either, but Duchovny tells that there were long periods during filming that the two hated each other, saying, “Familiarity breeds contempt… We used to argue about nothing. We couldn’t stand the sight of each other.” Damn. If you’re like us, you probably wish you didn’t read that. We want to believe.
14. Ryan and Marissa – The OC
Early on, Ryan and Marissa’s story was arguably the most interesting in The O.C. Ryan was the new kid on the block from the wrong side of the tracks and Marissa was the rebellious rich kid. It was a match made in TV trope heaven. The problems all started once they got together though. In an effort to keep things unstable and interesting for viewers, the writers turned the couple into something laughably dysfunctional. Marissa was always leaving Ryan for someone badder and crazier and Ryan was always beating these guys up. Then they would get back together and pretend they were star-crossed lovers from the beginning. After a while, these two became so predictable that even the fun we found in their dysfunctionality was stripped away.
13. Brooke and Lucas – One Tree Hill
For a long stretch in One Tee Hill, Brooke Davis (Sophia Bush) and Lucas Scott (Chad Michael Murray) were involved in a turbulent love affair. The on-screen story soon bled into reality as the actors got involved off-screen, first dating, then getting engaged and then marrying. Sadly, the relationship didn’t last long, as rumor has it that Chad cheated on Bush with Paris Hilton while they were filming House of Wax together. Bush must have got wind of the infidelity and filed for divorce. During all this, the two stars had to still pretend to be into each other on screen. Thankfully for them, the One Tree Hill writers found a way to split them up to lighten the awkwardness a touch. When asked about their relationship, Bush said, “my mother once said to me that if you don’t have anything nice to say, not to say anything at all.”
12. Bernadette and Howard – The Big Bang Theory
Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) and Howard (Simon Helberg) on The Big Bang Theory are the worst. Forget them together for a second. Individually, their characters are pretty awful. Howard is a walking cliché. He’s also perverted and generally creepy. Bernadette has a voice that could set off car alarms, but she’s also a bully. Together, they make one of the most dysfunctional couples in TV history. While it all seems to be a joke, Howard appears to be a hostage in the relationship. Now, we don’t want to make it seem like Howard’s an angel, after all his brush-ups with sexual assault, but we wouldn’t be surprised if in one of the next episodes we learn that Bernadette has been abusing Howard the entire time. The worst part is, all the mental abuse that Bernadette dishes out is a joke to the audience. Maybe because she’s pretty and Howard is not, we’re supposed to accept this dynamic as normal, but Bernadette is much more of a mother than a spouse. Add in a baby and it’s a troubling thought.
11. Lorelai and Luke – Gilmore Girls
Most fans of Gilmore Girls wanted Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and Luke (Scott Patterson) to be the ones who were together in the end, but Graham never wanted it this way. Even though neither of the two stars behind this on-screen couple ever explicitly stated that they didn’t get along, people have assumed that Graham had an issue with Patterson because of her comments in a couple of interviews. Basically, she said that they were never intimates and that she wanted her character to end up with Christopher. From this, plus the fact that Patterson has been accused of being a troubling co-star in the past, and the eye-rolling that Graham has given when she was told Patterson had a crush on her during the early seasons, people have drawn the conclusion that Patterson and Graham don’t get along. We buy it.
10. Robin and Ted – How I Met Your Mother
Ted and Robin’s on-again off-again relationship on How I Met Your Mother was one of the most annoying and lingering wrongs of the show. We knew they couldn’t end up together for so many different reasons. First, Robin couldn’t have been the mother because she couldn’t have kids. Second, she was with Barney. They spent the final season dealing with that wedding. Finally, it would be too stupid. It would be a total rip-off of Friends and it would cheapen everything they had worked toward. Well, the series finale came and they did just that: cheapened everything. Simply because the show’s writers were too damn lazy and incompetent to write a series finale based on everything that led up to it, they kept the same finale they probably wrote before filming episode one even started. Robin and Ted, one of the least-compatible couples out there, got back together in the end. Why? Who the hell really knows?
9. Elena and Damon– Vampire Diaries
For a few years, there were a lot of similarities between Nina Dobrev’s and Ian Somehalder’s personal life and their character’s lives on Vampire Diaries. Soon after the show started, rumors started flying about Dobrev and Somerhalder, as fans wanted so desperately to believe that there was a real relationship forming. It turns out there was. For about three years, the couple kept their business private, but fans knew better. So, for a time on the show and off the show, these two were together. It was beautiful until it wasn’t. After they broke up in real life, things got more and more awkward. At first, it was manageable, but, when Somerhalder started dating a mutual friend, Nikki Reed, things got tense. Eventually the writers had the decency to separate the two characters in creative ways, but in the end, they had to come together. In season six, Elena and Damon had to be intimate on screen while not enjoying each other off screen. Watching those scenes while knowing the real-life drama behind them makes it an incredibly uncomfortable viewing experience.
8. Cersei and Jaime – Game of Thrones
Despite the fact that the Targaryens have wed brother and sister for hundreds of years, the Lannisters don’t seem to have the same knack for it. We first learn about Jamie and Cersei’s incestuous relationship early on in Game of Thrones. At first, it appears that these two twins have each other’s back through thick and thin. To hear them, it has always been the two of them against the world, but we knew about as much as Jon Snow did back then. As the series stretched out, the love between the two evolved into something resembling hate. After Jaime r*pes Cersei, all bets were off, but even when we look back, we see that the writing was on the wall. It was only ever about sex for them. There was no passion and no love. There was not even any loyalty, something that we assumed was a given for several seasons. Now, as they approach the final seasons, it seems like a legitimate possibility that Cersei will be killed by the man who was said to be her one true love, Jaime.
7. Jackie and Kelso – That ’70s Show
Now that Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis are married and in a happily ever after, we tend to buy into their whole love story from day one. They starred together and were love birds in That ’70s Show. Kutcher was Kunis’ first kiss. It’s a movie-type scenario. But the story goes that these two not only weren’t in love, but they actually hated each other. Kunis was just a child and Kutcher was a grown man, so it would add up that they clashed a bit. One source close to them stated, “Ashton and Mila were absolutely not friends during much of the making of That ’70s Show. In fact, they couldn’t stand working together…The two were never close on the set. Quite the opposite!” So there goes that dream.
6. Ross and Rachel – Friends
One of the questions many fans of loved TV shows have is, does the cast get along? For many years, the cast of Friends insisted that they were the six best friends that anyone could have, but the real world seems to tell us something completely different. When it came to Ross (David Schwimmer) and Rachel (Jennifer Aniston), their on-screen chemistry was incredible, but their real-life relationship was obviously not very close. Much of the controversy started after Aniston appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman in 2010, and acknowledged that Schwimmer was engaged. When asked to whom, Aniston said she didn’t know. This apparently bothered Schwimmer quite a bit because he had been with this girlfriend for a few years at this point. Then Schwimmer wasn’t invited to Aniston’s wedding to Justin Theroux. Really, this falling out probably happened in the years after filming Friends, but the cynics in us say that it was all just a ruse. They were never really friends, were they? There’s also the question if Ross and Rachel were actually in love. Technically, we could include in both groups on this list.
5. Michael and Julie – Growing Pains
Even though the relationship was only temporary, we wanted to include Julie McCoullough and Kirk Cameron on this list because the on-screen couple on Growing Pains was the complete opposite of the off-screen one. If you’ve ever read about Kirk Cameron, he’s about the most overbearingly religious actor in the business. The entire time his character on Growing Pains was falling for and proposing to his on-screen girlfriend, Julie (McCoullough), Cameron was complaining about McCoullough’s personal past off-screen. You see, McCoullough had posed for Playboy, and Cameron thinks all nudity is Satan’s food. There’s even a rumor that the opinionated star is the reason McCoullough’s character was axed from the show, but McCoullough denies that, saying it was always intended to be short-lived.
4. Cam and Mitchell – Modern Family
Cam and Mitchell on Modern Family, played by actors Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet respectively, are one of the few gay couples on TV, which is amazing. What’s not amazing is that they seem to hate each other in the show. Lots of real-world couples bicker. In fact, it may be true that the longer two people are together, the more they bicker, but there’s usually an intense loyalty and trust in those couples. Between Mitch and Cam, we get plenty of bickering and undermining comments. We also get a lot of shame and embarrassment caused by the other. But worse than that, there are a multitude of secrets that they keep from the other. Most episodes actually revolve around one of the two of them hiding something from the other. If it ever came down to Mitch having to choose between Cam and his family, the choice would be automatic. Cam would be kicked to the curb. We’re not saying it should go one way or the other, but we are saying that true love would at least make a debate of it.
3. Castle and Beckett – Castle
Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion) and Kate Beckett (Stana Katic) were one of the most beloved couples on Castle, one of the many procedural cop dramas on television. The love story between the two leads was the primary overarching theme that tied the show together, so it was important to both fans and plot, but it was all sham. While they hid the truth as best they could, rumors were aplenty that Katic and Fillion hated each other in real life. The biggest rumor is that Katic actually left the show in the end because of her strained relationship with her co-star Fillion. A source close to Katic reportedly said, “Stana Katic and Nathan Fillion completely despise each other… They will not speak when they are off set, and this has been going on for seasons now.” If the cold remarks given by the stars regarding each other is an indication, these reports are almost certainly true.
2. Penny and Leonard – The Big Bang Theory
One of the most despicable relationships on all of TV is that of Penny (Kaley Cuoco) and Leonard (Johnny Galecki) on The Big Bang Theory. What started as kind of cute, as Leonard was a tad embarrassed of his geekiness in front of Penny, became something much worse. The obvious development here would be for Leonard to eventually embrace his nerdiness, the thing that made Penny fall for him in the first place, but that’s not how it happened. It went the opposite way. Obviously, Penny likes the attention Leonard gives her, but she never likes Leonard for who he is. Before they get together, Penny makes it seem like it is his intelligence that she’s afraid of, but then she dates an intelligent guy who is better looking than Leonard, making it painfully obvious that it was simply Leonard’s looks that were the problem. When they do get together, Penny remains the dominant alpha as the whole groups fawns over her. Penny and Leonard can’t even talk to each other without another group member as the intermediary. The ugly truth is this: Leonard loves Penny because she’s the hot popular girl and Penny loves Leonard because, well… Penny doesn’t love Leonard at all, does she?
1. Alice and Ralph – The Honeymooners
It’s not necessarily fair to look back with a contemporary lens on a show from the 50s and judge it, but we’re doing it here with The Honeymooners. By now, everyone has been reminded of how Ralph (Jackie Gleason) would threaten Alice (Audrey Meadows) with physical violence. Ralph waving his fist at Alice was one of the major gags, “to the moon, Alice.” Well, despite the laughs it got, the threat of violence did seem to be grounded in something real. Alice was, in many ways, imprisoned to the home. While it always seemed that Alice had no fear of giving it back to Ralph by way of her sarcastic tongue, Alice’s wit and sarcasm might have been the only thing to protect her against violence, almost reminding Ralph that he was dangerously close to the edge. In one episode, Ralph says to Alice, “I’m gonna put in a new system right now. When I come home, if it isn’t done the way I say, you get one demerit. Do you know what happens to you when you get ten demerits…?” Whether the threat is serious or not, there’s no love in that relationship. It’s a power thing for Ralph and a Stockholm Syndrome thing for Alice.