We know that there have been plenty of occasions when an on-screen couple’s chemistry has led to off-screen romance between the Hollywood actors. This can likely be explained by all the kissing, canoodling and flirting the two actors engage in on a daily basis while playing each other's love interests. When two of the sexiest actors in the world spend months making out all day and choreographing naughty scenes, it’s never surprising when they hook up off set. But how do we explain the more surprising phenomenon of relationships between actors heating up when they're playing out the least sexy relationship onscreen: Brother and sister?
When watching on-screen siblings, it’s naturally difficult to imagine them getting passionately steamy together once the cameras stop rolling. In television, especially, viewers become attached to the characters long-term and often feel a connection with the on-screen family. In this case, it can be particularly shocking to learn that the brother and sister you love watching every week on TV are actually sleeping together - or are even married with children - in real life.
Here are just a few examples of celebrities who really tested their acting chops by playing on-screen siblings with their real-life lovers.
7 Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter
Dexter premiered in 2006, with Hall playing the title character and Carpenter cast as his foul-mouthed detective (adopted) sister, Debra. The two stars met on set and dated for just over a year before eloping in 2008. Unfortunately, it didn't last – Hall filed for divorce just two years later in 2010, after reportedly having been separated “for some time.”
Even more unfortunate for the actors, their hit show outlasted the marriage, and both stars had integral roles that couldn't be cut. Despite going through a difficult divorce (and Hall receiving treatment for cancer), the two actors were forced to keep it professional. They continued their onscreen sibling relationship and described their own off-screen relationship as “nothing but love and respect” for several more years until the show’s finale in 2013.
6 Matthew Broderick and Jennifer Grey
In Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Ferris (Broderick) and Jeanie (Grey) had a somewhat rocky brother-and-sister relationship. In real life, the actors began a secret, passionate romance on the set of the film that ended in tragedy only a year and a half later.
Despite some rumors surrounding the secret couple, Broderick and Grey successfully kept their off-screen romance private until one fateful event in Northern Ireland in 1987. The pair were there vacationing together when Broderick’s rented BMW suddenly crossed into the wrong lane, causing a head-on-collision that resulted in the deaths of the mother and daughter in the other vehicle.
Only five days after the tragedy, Dirty Dancing was released in theaters and Jennifer Grey became America’s sweetheart. However, the accident left her so grief-stricken and traumatized that she ended the relationship with Broderick and turned her back on Hollywood for more than two decades until appearing in 2010 on Dancing With The Stars.
5 Lauren Graham and Peter Krause
Although they met 15 years before the start of their latest hit show, Parenthood, on-screen siblings Adam (Krause) and Sarah (Graham) Braverman began dating during filming in 2010 and have been an inseparable couple ever since. Both actors are in their forties, and the latest rumors about the on-screen siblings turned romantic pairing suggest that wedding bells aren't too far in the future.
4 Chris Pratt and Emily VanCamp
Before Chris Pratt became America’s sweetheart on Parks and Rec and a hard-body heartthrob for his role in Guardians of the Galaxy, he was Bright Abbott in the early 2000’s TV series Everwood. He also fell in love and began dating his co-star, Emily VanCamp, who just happened to play his sister on screen. For two years, the two were inseparable until finally calling it quits in 2006. Shortly after, Chris Pratt began dating comedienne Anna Faris, whom he wed in 2009.
On the other hand, VanCamp continued her habit of falling in love on set. After breaking up with Pratt in 2006, she moved on to her co-star Joseph Morgan in The Originals. Next was Dave Annable, with whom she co-starred Brothers and Sisters, and she is currently in a relationship with her onscreen husband/nemesis in Revenge, Josh Bowman.
3 Maureen McCormick and Barry Williams
On screen, The Brady Bunch depicted an aggressively PG family lifestyle. Offscreen, however, the atmosphere was much different, especially in regards to relationships among cast members.
In addition to taking his onscreen mother, Florence Henderson, on a date when he was only 15 years old (she was 36), Barry Williams had a passionate romance with his onscreen sister, Maureen McCormick. Although she was only 12 years old when they met, they were a hot item by the time she was 16. In addition to make-out sessions on the beach, McCormick revealed in her memoir that she had hoped to lose her virginity to Williams. While it didn't actually happen, the thought that this was the atmosphere behind the scenes of The Brady Bunch puts plenty of our favorite old episodes in an entirely different light.
2 Shannen Doherty and Jason Priestley
There’s been extensive coverage of the famous behind-the-scenes drama that occurred on Beverly Hills 90210, especially regarding Shannen Doherty’s notorious diva behavior. The fact that many of the cast members hooked up over the years also doesn't come as much of a surprise – they were all young, hot, rich and spent countless long hours on set together. But one on-set fling seemed to have slipped through the cracks until very recently, when Jason Priestley revealed to Howard Stern that he and Doherty had hooked up during filming of the first season – in which they portrayed twin brother and sister. Their romance only lasted a couple of months, but they remained on-screen siblings until Doherty’s firing from the show four years later.
1 Ian Somerhalder and Maggie Grace
Sometimes, life imitates art. On the hit series, Lost, Ian Somerhalder portrays overprotective stepbrother “Boone” opposite Maggie Grace’s spoiled rich-girl “Shannon.” In the show, Boone is not-so-secretly in love with his sibling, and Shannon uses his feelings as a way to manipulate him. In real life, the two stars began dating in 2006 – after both of their characters had been written off of the show. They only dated for a year, but at the recent 10-year Lost reunion, Somerhalder hinted that he’s still pining for his ex, and Grace posted a photo of the pair getting cozy to her Instagram account.