From the very first time television broadcast a program about a happy couple, select audience members around the world have aspired to achieve the exact same sort of bliss as their favorite characters. In fact, the trend may have well begun with a show recognized as America’s first true sitcom, Mary Kay and Johnny, which starred real-life husband and wife Mary Kay and Johnny Stearns. What viewers at home don’t always take into consideration is that the couples on television are scripted by talented writers, and thus, the pure romance that exists between them isn’t always possible in real life.
Sure, some couples on TV actually do like or even love one another, such as the aforementioned Stearns family. Others, however, couldn’t even stand to be in the same room together, completely shattering the idea the two were in love when cameras stopped rolling. In most cases, TV couples can at least get along after filming is over, but unfortunately for producers, this isn’t always the case.
Whether or not some of the duos we’re about to discuss truly despised one another or merely disliked their TV partner is occasionally up to debate, as Hollywood is known for stretching the truth about celebrity couples to craft a clever headline. That said, it’s been documented that at least half of each couple said something pretty awful about the other, and, in most cases, the feelings are openly reciprocated.
It’s also worth noting these actors generally had to do romantic scenes together, often kissing or even going further, despite how much they disliked one another, which is exponentially awkward when varying levels of enmity are involved. Keep reading to learn about 15 seemingly perfect TV couples that actually hated one another in real life.
15. Castle and Kate (Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic) From Castle
In the real world, it’s pretty rare for someone to fall in love with a person whom they hated the first time they met. For whatever reason, though, this seems to happen all the time on TV, and Castle wasted no time in having its main characters go from enemies to lovers. Of course, the only reason Detective Kate Beckett initially hated author Richard Castle seems to be his profession, as she feels that a mystery novelist doesn’t have much insight to offer the NYPD. Once they get to know one another better and she sees his personality, they slowly come to understand one another and, in time, even fall in love. In contrast to this gradually developing love story, by the time Castle was nearing a close, Stana Katic apparently couldn’t stand to be near Nathan Fillion. Well, that’s what the tabloids want people to believe, anyway. All we really know for sure is that Katic was prepared to leave the show after season eight, whether ABC renewed it or not, while Fillion was happy to stay on board, and most insiders believed her departure was due to mounting tensions between the two.
14. Lucas and Brooke (Chad Michael Murray and Sophia Bush) From One Tree Hill
Like most high school-based dramas taking place on The WB/CW and other networks targeted to teenagers, the love lives of Lucas Scott and Brooke Davis as seen on One Tree Hill are intensely complicated. Though about five years older than the characters they portrayed (also commonplace amongst shows of this ilk), Chad Michael Murray and Sophia Bush were likewise immature and unprepared in their youthful relationship with one another, which started out quite positively not long after the show began. In fact, the two were on such good terms onscreen and off that they were married in 2005, just as the show was beginning its second season. As quickly as that romance blossomed, however, it irreparably fell apart, and the two divorced in real life by the time they filmed season three, largely due to Murray’s repeat infidelities. One Tree Hill lasted another six seasons from there, and their characters remained regularly entwined, which must have led to the most awkward make-out scenes in TV history.
13. Mike and Julie (Kirk Cameron and Julie McCullough) From Growing Pains
The 1980s saw a new breed of family sitcoms featuring clean-cut families living shiny happy lives, and none were more whitewashed than the Seaver family, the focus of ABC’s Growing Pains — except, of course, cool, cocky Mike Seaver, who was played by Kirk Cameron and who managed to find a number of wild girlfriends throughout the course of the show. Most notable amongst these is probably Chelsea Noble’s Kate MacDonald, as the actress would later become Cameron’s real-life wife. Before they found one another, though, producers wanted Mike to pursue a role with Julie McCullough‘s Julie Costello, a move Cameron was strongly against from the word “go.” Before he even met McCullough, Cameron’s strong fundamentalist Christian beliefs were seriously at odds with her past as a Playboy model, and he didn’t want to work with her at all. McCullough has thus long believed Cameron campaigned to get her fired from the show, though he counters her character was never meant to last in the first place — sure, not with one of the main stars of the show constantly complaining about it.
12. George and Susan (Jason Alexander and Heidi Swedberg) From Seinfeld
If nothing else, George Costanza and Susan Ross were perfect for one another solely because Susan was the only woman alive who could actually put up with George for more than a few minutes. Of course, that’s nowhere near good enough for George, as he constantly attempted to get out of the relationship by any means necessary, only to somehow keep accidentally advancing things to the point of almost marrying her. Behind the scenes, Jason Alexander was doing the exact opposite with Heidi Swedberg’s career, constantly complaining to costars Jerry Seinfeld and Julia Louis-Dreyfus about her wooden acting. Once they started sharing scenes with Swedberg, Seinfeld and Louis-Dreyfus started to understand what Alexander meant, leading to Julia off-handedly joking to producer Larry David that they wanted to kill her. Naturally, David took things to heart and killed off Swedberg’s character in ridiculous fashion, by licking too many poisoned envelopes.
11. Puck and Santana (Mark Salling and Naya Rivera) From Glee
Woody Allen once wrote that when one is in love, one may find the temptation to sing, followed by the warning that this must be avoided at all costs. Despite bucking the advice of an industry legend, the producers of Glee somehow managed to create a huge hit out of their wacky comedy about a group of high school students who feel emotions so loudly they have to sing them. In the beginning, two of the strongest feelers were Puck and Santana, who had the definition of a whirlwind romance, hooking up in one episode and breaking up the next. Of course, that’s pretty normal for high schoolers, as was Puck’s lame excuse that he was into older women after Santana broke his little teenage heart. In a seriously dark turn, it would appear the reality was always that Santana was too old for him, as the actor behind the role, Mark Salling, would later be convicted of possessing child p———y. This was way after Glee had ended, but Rivera was so cold as to say she “wasn’t shocked” to discover what a scumbag Salling was, having experienced his evil firsthand when they worked together.
10. \Martin and Gina (Martin Lawrence and Tisha Campbell) From Martin
While all of the couples on this list hated one another, only Tisha Campbell was unlucky enough to genuinely fear for her life whenever her TV husband was on set. On TV, Gina and Martin was an odd couple that nonetheless had a strong foundation of love between them. In real life, they were still a bit of a mishmash, but there was absolutely no love lost when it came to Campbell’s true feelings about Martin Lawrence. Tensions between them were so bad by Martin’s last season that Campbell actually filed a restraining order against Lawrence, citing constant sexual harassment in addition to verbal and physical abuse. Amazingly, after Campbell had won the lawsuit, producers of the show were nonetheless able to come up with an agreement that saw her occasionally appear in the season finale. The catch was that Martin and Gina were never seen together again, as Lawrence wasn’t legally allowed on set when Campbell’s scenes were being filmed.
9. Charlie and Kate (Charlie Sheen and Selma Blair) From Anger Management
Quite frankly, there should be absolutely no surprises at this point in the fact Charlie Sheen has trouble getting along with his co-stars. After getting strung out on tiger blood, the once-respected comic actor infamously got fired from Two and a Half Men after problems with the show’s producers. Somehow, he rebounded with a lesser-watched show called Anger Management on FX, and though the ratings were lower, the drama behind the scenes was just as high. Selma Blair, who portrayed Sheen’s occasional love interest on the show, was especially vocal about how he would constantly show up to set late, drunk, high, or all three, which were criticisms the total bitchin’ rock star from Mars wouldn’t hear. In response, Sheen refused to show up on set if Blair was there, then demanded she get fired lest he quit in a rage. Bizarrely, Sheen got his way, and Blair was gone halfway through the series.
8. Fox and Scully (David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson) From The X-Files
The X-Files always warned viewers the truth was out there, but they never said discovering it would be such a blow to fans’ emotions. The relationship between Fox and Scully was never the main focus of the show, and for the first several seasons, the two are merely two people working together in a particularly tense field. Over time, however, emotions gradually cropped up, and the two fell in love well before they shared their first kiss in season seven. As it would turn out, actors David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson were experiencing the exact opposite sort of slow burn behind the scenes, gradually coming to hate one another rather than falling in love. The main culprit seems to be the ridiculously long hours the two were forced to share on set. It’s easy to see why, as anyone could become impatient after having worked for 16 hours and knowing they’re just waiting on the other actor to get their lines/makeup/delivery/etc. in order so they can wrap things up for the day.
7. Daniel and Kim (James Franco and Busy Philipps) From Freaks and Geeks
Okay, so Daniel Desario and Kim Kelly were far from a “perfect couple” in the traditional sense of the term. They most certainly made for perfect entertainment, though, and in some respects, the two really did belong together—no one else would be willing to put up with the other’s nonsense. Sorry to shatter the dreams of Freaks and Geeks fans everywhere who still look to the landmark program as a utopia for all involved, but one black mark on the production was the fact James Franco and Busy Philipps very openly hated one another as they played the often-fighting couple. Apparently, their shouting matches would extend to real life as well, with Philipps once claiming Franco had “shoved [her] to the ground once.” Surprisingly, despite how bitter the feud between them clearly was, the two have since become friends, looking back on their past problems as the actions of immature teenagers and not the people they would become.
6. Pat and Gina Neely From Down Home With The Neelys
At this point, we hope everyone’s aware of the fact “reality” shows aren’t always 100% on the up and up, so we shouldn’t have to explain how one could show up on this list. Perhaps, that disclaimer wasn’t even needed anyway, as Down Home with the Neelys was the unique brand of reality program known as the home-cooking show, featuring real-life husband and wife Pat and Gina Neely cooking up Southern-friend classics on the Food Network. The couple also made several appearances on the earlier Food Network show Road Tasted. While a big selling point of these programs was Pat and Gina’s friendly back and forth as they whipped up recipes, which the couple and show producers attributed to their decade-plus marriage, behind the scenes, things between the Neelys were rapidly deteriorating. The two ultimately filed for divorce in 2014, with Gina later claiming she knew things were starting to fall apart almost immediately after their show had begun in 2008. She even tried divorcing him five times while the show was still airing but eventually changed her mind for whatever reason.
5. Blake and Alexis (John Forsythe and Joan Collins) From Dynasty
Being a primetime soap opera, the entire point of Dynasty was drama of the highest form. We’re talking impeccably dressed men and women snidely making exasperated remarks to one another, and oh yeah, a whole lot of slapping. One of the best slappers on set was Joan Collins’s character Alexis Colby, and the most frequent recipient of her wit and hand was probably her ex-husband, Blake Carrington, portrayed by John Forsythe. Colby was introduced as Carrington’s ex in season two, meaning they had plenty of reasons to hate one another from the word go, though, at times, they did reconcile and show some signs of the old flame when the situation called for it. In contrast to all the drama, behind the scenes, Collins and Forsythe didn’t quite hate one another, but they certainly didn’t care about each other either. According to Collins, a full year went by that Forsythe didn’t say a single word to her, which is typically the sort of treatment coworkers only give to people they truly dislike.
4. Danny and Margaret (Danny Thomas and Jean Hagen) From Make Room For Daddy
Back in the 1950s, few TV couples were allowed to sleep in the same bed together, and for Danny and Margaret Williams of Make Room For Daddy, this was the least of their problems. Like most couples of the era, the two were traditional in every sense of the word, never once experiencing any sort of onscreen drama while raising their idyllically old-fashioned family. Unfortunately, things weren’t the same behind the scenes, as Jean Hagen actually hated series star Danny Thomas for reasons that aren’t exactly clear. All we know is that these tensions were so bad she quit the show, a move that seriously upset Thomas despite their past animosity, as he believed she was nonetheless integral to its success. As it would turn out, that wasn’t quite the case, as Danny Williams simply moved on with a new wife played by Marjorie Lord. There was a slight catch, however, in that Danny and Margaret couldn’t exactly divorce on screen, as audiences of the day would find that far too shocking. Instead, they killed her off, a move that made Margaret Williams the first female regular character to die on TV.
3. Drew and Libby (Bill Smitrovich and Patti LuPone) From Life Goes On
Raising a child with disabilities places an extra toll on any parent, real or fictional. This isn’t to say they would love their challenged baby any differently, but the struggles are nonetheless harder with a child who can’t always understand them. All that said, Libby and Drew Thatcher seem to do just fine with their son Corky, who suffers from Down syndrome, as does their other child, a daughter named “Becca.” Removed from these problems, Patti LuPone and Bill Smitrovich were but two actors, and that alone was enough for them to hate one another’s guts. Well, LuPone seriously hated Smitrovich anyway, as we’re not entirely sure how he felt about the matter, having never discussed it. Based on what LuPone says about her TV husband, though, it can’t possibly good, as she’s complained about everything from his alleged bullying behavior to his flat-out bad acting. Tensions were so bad at points that she wanted to leave the show, though producers always talked her out of it by simply lowering her role.
2. Frasier and Diane (Kelsey Grammer and Shelley Long) From Cheers/Frasier
By and large, when fans of Cheers think about romances on the series, the first two names to come to mind are “Sam” and “Diane.” Well, unless they prefer the later years of the show, in which case Sam and Rebecca’s romance might come to mind first. Of course, those with a more sardonic sense of humor would prefer Frasier and Lilith, and for believers in true love, there’s Norm and Vera. Just kidding. Anyway, the point is that the short-lived relationship between Frasier and Diane rarely gets brought up, despite the fact Frasier would go on to become one of the longest-lasting live-action sitcom characters in history. This could be because Kelsey Grammer and Shelley Long didn’t get along backstage, with Grammer later claiming she had constantly attempted to get his scenes and lines cut for reasons he didn’t understand. Long claims it was never vindictive, but the fact that almost everyone else on the Cheers set had one complaint about her or another, chances are, she was at least a little bit responsible for his negative perception.
1. Fred and Ethel (William Frawley and Vivian Vance) From I Love Lucy
To this day, no one sitcom has done more for the medium of television than I Love Lucy. One of the true hit comedies of the small screen, Lucille Ball’s zany antics were always guaranteed to make audiences laugh. Don’t worry, old timers, because as fans of the show probably know, Lucy and Ricky/Desi Arnaz were indeed married during production, and though they later divorced, remained friends for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, things weren’t so loving for the Ricardo’s wacky neighbors, Fred and Ethel Mertz. It has been said the longstanding animosity between Vivian Vance and William Frawley began at the very beginning of Lucy’s run, when Frawley overheard Vance complaining to producers about the huge age gap in their characters. Vance, in her 40s, didn’t believe it was realistic she’d date a 64-year-old like Frawley, something he took grave offense with and never forgave her for. The hate grew so strong that after Lucy had ended its run, CBS offered Frawley and Vance a spin-off series called Fred and Ethel, but Vance turned it down solely because she never wanted to work with Frawley again.
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