Many movies can attribute their critical and commercial success to the onscreen chemistry of their lead actors. Because let’s face it—you can only go so far with a good script, fantastic directing, and amazing cinematography. It all boils down to the acting and chemistry.
Some actors sizzle together when they’re onscreen and they eventually realize that the feelings are real and get together in real-life. The likes of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise, and Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner met on-set and eventually got married. Very romantic, yet not surprising.
But what about actors who were successfully able to portray couples madly in love with each other? We get so caught up in their movie’s love story and when we realize that it’s just a movie and they’re actually not in a relationship in real life, we feel a tinge of surprise and disappointment. These actors were amazing together onscreen, but never actually got together in reality. Some are in relationships with other people, others are actually great friends, and the occasional few, surprisingly, don’t really like each other.
10 Nicole Kidman & Ewan McGregor
It was Moulin Rouge that set the trend for bringing musicals back to the big screen after a decades-long hiatus. And apart from its extravagant sets and costumes, quirky renditions of popular songs, and a very simple script, the reason for its success was its lead characters’ tragic love story. The roles of Satine and Christian were played with much aplomb by Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor, making us swoon with their romantic scenes and duets, especially when they sang the original song, “Come What May.” Because of Kidman and McGregor’s incredible chemistry, Satine and Christian’s love story is forever imprinted in fans’ hearts.
9 Ethan Hawke & Julie Delpy
Before Sunrise received much critical acclaim for its very simple, romantic story. It was so successful that the producers went on to make two more sequels, both making nine-year time jumps from where the previous movie left of. But despite this love story spanning 18 years and seeing how Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy had aged, the film franchise is still very much loved by the fans who fell in love with the original movie and Hawke and Delpy’s characters.
8 Cary Elwes & Robin Wright
Though it only fared moderately at the box office, The Princess Bride has since become a cult classic. And even though a big reason why the film is so endearing is its bevy of hilarious supporting characters, fans fell in love with Westley and Buttercup, played beautifully by Cary Elwes and Robin Wright. The couple’s youthful and spirited portrayal of the star-crossed lovers was so memorable and fans will always remember Wesley telling his Buttercup, “As you wish.”
7 Jennifer Aniston & David Schwimmer
The creators of the hit comedy series, Friends once said that they hadn’t meant for Rachel and Ross to be the main romantic couple of the show. But since Jennifer Aniston and David Schwimmer’s chemistry was so palpable, audiences fell in love with the Ross-Rachel tandem and the pair inadvertently became central to the story. Sure, it was frustrating to watch the couple make up and break up a million times throughout the ten-season duration of the show. But the writers gave the fans what they wanted and finally made Ross and Rachel end up together in the end.
6 Richard Gere & Julia Roberts
There’s a reason why actors are sometimes paired together in more than one movie. It’s because they meshed so well together in the first movie that it’s almost mandatory for them to star together again in another movie. Such was the case for Richard Gere and Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, the movie that put Roberts on the map as an A-lister. It was apparent that Gere and Roberts’ chemistry worked well in romantic comedies so they had to work together a second time, in Runaway Bride—and it was another runaway success.
5 Patrick Swayze & Jennifer Grey
It’s gone down as one of the romantic cult classics, with Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey’s famous dance scene to the song, “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life.” Dirty Dancing was the vehicle that launched both actors to instant stardom with their sex appeal and insane chemistry, which was most apparent during their dance scenes. And what an irony it was that the pairing was so successful, given Swayze and Grey didn’t get along previously. But they managed to put their differences aside and give audiences from decade to decade something to swoon about.
4 Tom Cruise & Renee Zellweger
Ever wonder why some movie lines become so ingrained in our memory? It’s because they’re uttered by an actor who is so convincingly in love with the person he’s saying it to. Such is the case for the famous line, “You complete me,” declared amorously by Tom Cruise’s Jerry Maguire to his onscreen wife, Dorothy, played beautifully by Renee Zellweger. And suffice to say, Jerry Maguire has become one of the most beloved films of all time, thanks to Cruise and Zellweger.
3 Kate Winslet & Leonardo DiCaprio
They’re the best of friends in real life, so it was no surprise that Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio captured our hearts to the core as Rose and Jack in Titanic. How many of us watched the movie multiple times just so we could swoon and weep at the tragic love story of the ill-fated lovers at sea? Their comfort level around each other was likely the result of their friendship and they didn’t hesitate to work together again in the critically-acclaimed film, Revolutionary Road.
2 Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson
Who didn’t think Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson were such a cute couple as Ben and Andie in How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days? The fans were so sold on their onscreen pairing that both actors felt compelled to star together in another romantic comedy, Fool’s Gold. Though the film received mostly negative reviews, it still faired moderately well at the box office. But one thing was undeniable in both films: the potent chemistry between its two stars.
1 Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper
They’ve worked together in two films with a third one to be shown later in 2014. If playing love interests in two out of three films together doesn’t spell chemistry, who knows what does! Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper first starred together as Tiffany and Pat respectively in the critically-acclaimed film, Silver Linings Playbook, for which both got plenty of awards recognitions. After appearing together for the second time in American Hustle, they will be starring in a third movie together called Serena, where they will play husband and wife. It’s sure to be another work of art by two incredible actors whose chemistry is so intense, that rumors even flew that they were a couple in real life.