Ever since the great Thomas Edison discovered the light bulb and motion picture camera, moviegoers have felt the desire and necessity to have a kiss in a movie. His first attempts to what’s believed to be the first kiss on screen is captured in an 1896 clip, which shows all the difficulties of capturing that magic on screen: shadows, planes and pure disinterest. Luckily for movie audiences, directors found a way to film a kiss in on the silver screen and with it, igniting moviegoers passions as well as the actors themselves.
Before Brangelina, Hollywood’s first super-couple was Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford. Both actors met while married to other people and fell head-over-heels in love with each other. After divorcing their partners, the couple got married in 1920 and honeymooned in Europe where they were mobbed by press and fans. Upon returning to Hollywood, they bought a lavish house in Beverly Hills and named it “Pickfair,” and it was THE place to party for the most famous and glamorous set. But beneath the fun and boisterous exterior was a growing heartache for Mary, where she felt she was being controlled by her husband. After 16 years of marriage, she divorced Fairbanks and called him "a little boy who never grew up."
Hollywood has a long and checkered history of favorite on-screen repeat couples: from Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor to Joanne Woodword and Paul Newman, both of which resulted in marriage to each other in real life, although with vastly different endings. Some on-screen romances are best left where they started, on screen, while others were so powerful, they had no chance of remaining two-dimensional. Here are history's ten most amazing on-screen repeat couples.
10 Al Pacino and Michelle Pfeiffer
When these two took to the big screen for Scarface in 1983, it was the first major part for the beauty queen-turned-actress Michelle Pfeiffer, with Al Pacino already one of Hollywood’s biggest leading men, known for his intensity and class as an actor. No one could have predicted the extremely brutal movie written by Oliver Stone and directed by Brian de Palma would be one of the most iconic films ever to hit the silver screen, receiving an “XXX” rating for its sheer violence. It has become a huge influence to rappers who used the story’s “American Dream” story as a storyline for their lyrics. The two would reunite eight years later for a more down-to-earth comedy Frankie and Johnny.
9 Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy
She described herself as one of Hollywood’s “giant ladies” and seemed to tower over both women and most men with her 5’7 ½ frame and 4 inch high heels. Her relationships with Leland Hayward and Howard Hughes were heavily publicized in the press. Spencer Tracy was six years older than Katharine Hepburn and had his own relationships making headlines. Yet when the two met ahead of filming Woman of the Year, they knew they’d met each other’s matches, both on screen and off. Their romance was often written about as one of Hollywood’s greatest ever. They were in a total of 9 movies together, including Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner, with Hepburn winning the Academy Award for Best Actress.
8 Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers
One of Hollywood’s greatest couples, they made ten movies together, including Top Hat, Swing Time, and The Gay Divorcee. The two actually worked together as supporting actors in Flying Down to Rio in 1933. But soon Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers flit footed their way to box office success, their acting chemistry beaten only by their dance floor chemistry. Their joint names became synonymous for high-quality entertainment and when they filmed their last ever dance scene for the movie Vernon and Irene Castle in 1939 in Missouri, crowds of people gathered including many from their film studio RKO and other studios. The two would both go on to have successful solo careers but reunited in 1949 for the Technicolor smash The Barkleys of Broadway.
7 Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey
With their blond locks, blue eyes and tanned and toned bodies, they seemed more like brother and sister than lovers on screen for the hilarious How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. In it, they play a couple who tries to get the other to break up with them for bets they make with each of their friends. Their on-screen antics including a scene where Kate Hudson reveals a book to Matthew McConaughey of what their children would look like after they got married, entertained audiences around the world. When they weren’t fighting, they seemed like the perfect couple and their on-screen love scenes were difficult to turn away from. This formula for success reunited them for Fool’s Gold, with Hudson in 2014 saying she would love to work with her repeat co-star again.
6 Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet
Their love spanned a generation, and seemingly not time, icebergs and nor even death could keep them apart – on screen. Titanic broke box office records and hearts when it was released. The love story between Leonardo’s Jack and Kate’s Rose were at the heart of the epic fail of the world’s first transatlantic passenger cruise liner. Scenes from that movie including Kate posing for Jack while he paints a nude portrait of her, her sweaty hand on the steamed window of the car they’d just made love in and of course the “Jack I’m flying” scene with the couple on the ship’s deck. DiCaprio and Winslet reunited for the heartbreaking Revolutionary Road, where their romance was wilting, not thriving. Equally moving yet not as commercially successful as the powerhouse Titanic, hopefully these two will reunite for a third time?
5 Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson
The music mogul couple in Empire reunited these actors for what is surely one of television’s most outrageous and sensational delicious and devious duos. Taraji Henson's Cookie Lyon was voted the #1 Most Influential Character for 2015 by Time magazine. With her sassy wardrobe and behavior, and even fiercer sayings, it seems Cookie is the one who wears the pants in this on-screen relationship. Rewind to 2005 and Henson was just a mere ho to Terrence Howard’s pimp in Hustle and Flow. The hazel-eyed actor was a hustler-turned-rapper who spat that it was “Hard Out Here for a Pimp.” Their amazing on-screen chemistry in that film was what urged Henson to urge writer/creator of Empire, Lee Daniels, to tap Howard to play the series’ patriarch Lucious Lyon when she got the coveted part.
4 Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence
They are more than a decade apart but Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence sizzled on-screen in Silver Linings Playbook, where Lawrence won an Oscar for Best Actress. The two were reunited again by director David O. Russell for the seventies’ American Hustle, but the two didn’t have any roles together. Now, the beautiful couple will reunite again for the third time in the upcoming Joy, which tells the story of a single mom who became a billionaire with the supermop on QVC, along with other household products. Cooper’s seemingly boy-next-door charm and looks teamed with Lawrence’s down-to-earth, funny girl personality make the two a perfect match on screen and for many fans, they hope someday off screen too.
3 Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan
“I just took her hand and I knew,” said Tom Hanks’ character in Sleepless in Seattle, and that’s exactly what happens when he appears on screen with girl-next-door and rom-com favorite Meg Ryan. Hanks’ plays his everyman character with conviction that captures the hearts of both Ryan and the audience in two other films, Joe Versus the Volcano and You’ve Got Mail. In Sleepless, the two spent most of the time looking for each other, yet their individual quirks made them the perfect couple on screen. Hanks continues to dominate the silver screen in projects both in front of and behind the camera while Ryan has seemingly disappeared from acting altogether, especially since a botched plastic surgery changed her face. Let’s hope these two will make it to the big screen for a fourth time.
2 Julia Roberts and Richard Gere
On The Today Show’s special 25th anniversary of Pretty Woman, Richard Gere admitted he wasn’t keen on doing the now legendary rom-com. So director Garry Marshall sent then-unknown actress Julia Roberts to court the veteran An Officer & Gentleman actor. His gamble paid off. With her infectious smile and persuasive personality, Roberts charmed her way to Gere’s heart. That off-screen chemistry was carried on in what is now Hollywood’s most successful romantic comedy of all-time. It was so successful they reunited again with the same director for Runaway Bride. Although not as big a runaway success as their first film together, it was enough to make more than $152 million at the box office.
1 Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt
It seems everything Brangelina does makes for tabloid fodder. Their globetrotting, multi-ethnic family was even the subject of a Vogue fashion shoot for their movie By the Sea, which Angelina Jolie wrote and directed. Most people know the story by now of how these two met on set of their blockbuster smash hit Mr. and Mrs. Smith, playing a spiteful and warring married couple. But their on-screen romance seemed a little too real for some. Brad Pitt was married to Jennifer Aniston at the time and the two divorced shortly after the release of the movie. Pitt and Jolie were then seen galavanting around the world together on many of Jolie’s UN humanitarian missions. Now they are without a doubt Hollywood’s biggest couple and finally got married in 2014. Their honeymoon was filming By the Sea, about an unhappy couple. Well, this is Hollywood after all!
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