Iconic Movies That Impacted High-Profile Hollywood Marriages
Maintaining a long-term, healthy, and completely not-traumatizing relationship can be a challenge even for those of us with simple lives. Hollywood stars have it even worse. Movie sets have been the backdrops of many a painful breakup or divorce. Whether it's the intimacy of working together or a fit of jealousy, some Hollywood marriages have seen the worst of the worst thanks to these iconic films.
The 1961 film had actors Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton opposite each other. At first, directors thought they made a mistake because the pair couldn't stand each other. That was, until their first on-screen kiss.
A Short-Lived Fling
When they locked lips, they had to be forced to stop. Both were married, but by the end of the filming, they couldn't hide their true feelings. They married in 1964 and divorced in 1974. Then remarried in 1975, before divorcing for the final time in 1976.
Famed playwright Arthur Miller and actress Marilyn Monroe had been married for five years when they began production on this dramatic film. It was supposed to be a way for the couple to work together, but it ended in disaster.
True Colors Come Out
Miller was domineering and sexist on set, giving Monroe harsh feedback and rewriting the script constantly. The movie ended their marriage, and was the last movie Monroe ever acted in. She passed away one year after the release.
Mr. and Mrs. Smith
When this movie premiered across the world, watchers thought the acting was a little too good. They were right. This steamy spy flick starring Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie created rumors regarding infidelity on Brad's part.
At the time of filming, Brad Pitt was married to actress Jennifer Aniston for five years. Not long after the release of the movie, Brad and Angelina confirmed their romance and Aniston filed for divorce. Branjelina were together for 12 years before splitting in 2016.
Days of Thunder
Before he met his future wife on set of this 1990 racing movie, Tom Cruise was married to Mimi Rogers. There were already rumors about Tom cheating, and when he met Nicole Kidman on set, their divorce was filed.
One Door Closes, Another Opens
It was love at first sight for these costars as Kidman describes her "jaw dropping" when she first saw Cruise. They married less than a year after meeting on set and enjoyed 11 years of marriage before their divorce in 2001.
Today, Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively are one of the internet's favorite couples. However, when the actors met on the set of Green Lantern in 2011, Reynolds was married to Scarlet Johansson. It didn't take long for that to change.
Finding True Love
Shortly after the release of the movie, Lively broke up with her Gossip Girl costar Penn Bagley and Reynolds ended his marriage to Johansson. Reynolds and Lively married in 2012 and are proud parents to three children.
To Have and Have Not
When Humphrey Bogart began working on To Have and Have Not, he was married to Mayo Methot. They had a complicated and sometimes violent relationship. In fact, she'd even stabbed him in the past.
Moving On To Better Things
That's probably part of the reason he fell so hard for his young costar, Lauren Bacall. Even with a 25 year age difference, a flirtatious romance blossomed on set. After the cameras stopped rolling, Bogart divorced Methot and married Bacall. They had two children.
When Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner met on the set of this 2001 superhero movie, she was married to Scott Foley, and he was engaged to Jennifer Lopez. The costars got to know each other and soon their chemistry couldn't be ignored.
All For Naught
After filming the movie, Garner filed for divorce from Foley and Affleck ended his engagement to J.Lo. Garner and Affleck married in 2005 and separated in 2015 amidst rumors of Affleck cheating. They have three kids and share custody.
The Outlaw Josey Wales
Clint Eastwood had been married to his wife Maggie Johnson for 30 years when he met Sondra Locke on the set of this western film. The two began an open affair, which resulted in Eastwood's divorce from Johnson.
Rough Waters Ahead
Locke and Eastwood ended up moving in together, but their love wasn't meant to last forever. They ended up having quite a volatile and negative relationship that left Locke filled with resentment. He was known for his philandering ways.
Rachel Weisz's director fiance was probably nervous when he found out she would be filming a movie with James Bond himself, Daniel Craig. His anxieties would've been justified, even though Craig was in a relationship as well.
More Than A Fling
Wesz confirmed the Bond charm when she fell for Craig. The couple went public not long after the film premiered, though they are careful about saying when exactly they fell in love. They married in 2011 and are still going strong.
Actors Billy Crudup and Mary Louise Parker had been together for eight years when he started filming Stage Beauty with a young Claire Danes. When Crudup fell for Danes, the situation couldn't have been worse for Parker.
Mary Louise Parker was seven months pregnant when Crudup left her for Danes. In response years later, Danes comments on the events saying, "I was just in love, and I was 24...I didn’t quite know what those consequences would be." But not all Hollywood marriages are doomed to end in failure. Some, like Meryl Streep's, have withstood the test of time. But there's a reason behind her success with love that most people can't wrap their heads around.
Maybe The Greatest
Undoubtedly an actress destined to be regarded as one of the all-time greats, Streep has been a permanent fixture of the big screen for over four decades. Over the course of her amazing career, she has been nominated an unprecedented 21 times for acting Academy Awards. This is streets ahead of the closest challengers, Jack Nicholson and Katharine Hepburn, who have earned 12 nominations each.
You Can Have It All
When it comes to her own career, her marriage and her family, Streep has always proved that it is possible to have it all. In 2008 she told Good Housekeeping magazine, “Motherhood, marriage, it’s a balancing act. Especially when you have a job that you consider rewarding. It’s a challenge, but the best kind of challenge.”
Memorable movies would continue to be synonymous with Streep over the next few decades. She took on challenging roles in films including Sophie’s Choice, Out of Africa and The Bridges of Madison County. Then, in the 2000s, she began pursuing more comedic and romantic projects such as The Devil Wears Prada, Mamma Mia! and It’s Complicated.
By the time Streep received her 17th Oscar nomination, and third win, in 2012 for playing British politician Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady, she amusingly addressed her ubiquity in her acceptance speech. She joked, “When they called my name, I had this feeling that I could hear half of America going, ‘Oh no! Oh, come on, why her? Again!’”
She's Still Got It
Streep’s passion for acting, for the Academy Awards and for the recognition of her peers has never dimmed, though. She said, “I was a kid when I won this, like, 30 years ago. Two of the nominees were not even conceived.” She later added, “I thought I was so old and jaded, but they call your name and you just go into a sort of white light.”
By contrast, Streep’s husband has mostly eschewed the limelight over the course of his career. Gummer is a professional sculptor, who studied his trade at several prestigious institutions. Originally hailing from Indianapolis, he told Town Vibe, “I went to the Herron Art Institute there, then to the Boston Museum School, where I majored in sculpture and got my BFA.”
Streep And Cazale
But how did the future Oscar-winner and acclaimed sculptor meet? To answer that question, it is necessary to travel back to 1976 and to Streep’s whirlwind romance with actor John Cazale. They became infatuated with each other after meeting during an audition for New York’s Shakespeare in the Park theater program.
Cazale was an incredible character actor who had already played Fredo Corleone in The Godfather and its sequel. He also had a supporting role in The Conversation. He then portrayed Sal, a bank robber helping his friend Sonny steal money to pay for his trans partner’s medical procedures, in 1975’s Dog Day Afternoon. Incredibly, all four films were nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards.
Losing Her Love
Tragically, however, Streep would lose Cazale to cancer within two years of their love affair beginning. According to the biography Her Again: Becoming Meryl Streep, when he died in his hospital bed, she pounded on his chest and cried for him to wake up. He opened his eyes one last time and told her she would be okay, then he passed on.
Streep escaped from her pain by staying with a friend in Canada for a period. A year after Cazale’s passing, she told People magazine, “The death is still very much with me. It has forced me to confront my own mortality, and once you do that, you look at things differently.” When she finally came back to New York, she was evicted from the loft she had lived in with Cazale.
In emotional turmoil and now facing an unexpected move, Streep’s brother Harry came to town to help his sister. His friend Gummer arrived with him and took on an important job in Streep’s new pad. As he told Town Vibe, “It was in 1978, through her brother – who was a good friend of mine – I got this little job of soundproofing the loft Meryl had.”
A Slow Start
Biographer Michael Schulman asserted that, though Streep and Gummer’s relationship didn’t constitute love at first sight, it didn’t take long for romance to develop. They kept in contact while Gummer went traveling by writing letters to each other. Streep realized that her brother’s friend wanted much more than a simple friendship with her.
In September 1978 Streep married Gummer in the back garden of her parents’ house. The wedding came a mere six months after Cazale’s death, and some people close to the couple questioned whether Streep was rushing into marriage with a rebound relationship. According to Schulman, Streep’s mother said, “What is she thinking about?”
A Good Long Marriage
Any worries about the validity of their relationship have been put to bed over the course of the marriage, though, as it is still going strong today. This means that, unlike many Hollywood contemporaries, Streep has remained married to the same person over the course of her career. As previously mentioned they have four children together, all of whom are now grown-up.
He Is The Linchpin
In a 2019 interview with magazine The New Australian Women’s Weekly Streep said that Gummer was the linchpin of her life. She added, “Our marriage and our children, and their wellbeing, inform all the decisions we make.” In fact, her real-life role as a parent informed Streep’s part in HBO’s hit TV series Big Little Lies.
Influencing Her Work
“I’m playing someone who is dealing with whatever the deficits of her parenting were and the mysteries in that,” explained Streep, “and how you can’t go back in time and fix something. All those issues, that was interesting to me. And it felt real, honest, honestly investigated. I felt like I had something to give to this piece.”
Interestingly, all four of Streep and Gummer’s children work in the arts. Their oldest, Henry Wolfe, is a singer-songwriter. Daughters Mamie and Grace both followed their mother’s path by becoming actresses. Mamie can be seen as the title character in Emily Owens, M.D., while Grace had supporting roles in Mr. Robot and Extant. Youngest daughter Louisa is a model.
Henry spoke to the Daily News about trying to make it on your own when you have a famous parent. He said, “It’s not what I would necessarily choose but it is something I have to accept. There are a certain amount of assumptions that go along with that, which tend to not be fair, like the recognition somehow helps me.”
Nervous For Her Daughters
Henry believes the reality is quite the opposite. He said, “But it also hurts because people start to think that I don’t work hard, and they don’t take me seriously.” From Streep’s perspective, she expressed a level of nervousness about her daughters following her into acting when she spoke to The Talks website in 2011.
Streep said, “I am proud that my daughters want to do this. But I am also frightened for them too. Because when criticism comes your way as an actor, they are not criticizing your writing or your painting or your piece, they are criticizing you! It is hard to put that away in a place where you are not hurt by it and that is my fear for them.”
Kept Out Of The Press
In 2016 Mamie was interviewed by British newspaper The Independent and gave some insight into growing up with a famous mother and an artist father. Aside from one occasion in which Mamie, as a baby, appeared in Streep’s 1986 film Heartburn, the children were kept out of the public eye. Until they hit college, any acting pursued by Mamie and Grace was at an amateur level.
Protecting Her Kids
Streep told Good Housekeeping that she heeded advice from Robert Redford, her Out Of Africa co-star, regarding her children’s place in the public eye. He taught her that her children were not her props to be paraded before the cameras. She added, “I really admired the way he protected his family. It’s something I consciously emulated.”
Streep went to great pains to keep her celebrity from affecting the children’s home lives as well. Mamie revealed, “Her priority was being our mother, not being a celebrity, and it certainly wasn’t like we had Warren Beatty to the house every Thursday. One of the smartest things my parents did was to move to the country when we were small.”
Getting Away From L.A.
“The country” was the town of Salisbury, Connecticut, which is a two-and-a-half-hour drive away from New York. Mamie explained that her parents, who had lived in Los Angeles with the children for five years prior to moving to Connecticut, had grown frustrated with the city. It was too close to the movie industry and Streep didn’t want her family playing the fame game anymore.
Not Good For The Soul
“The film industry’s influence can be overpowering,” explained Mamie, “and Mom wanted us to know that being famous isn’t the most important thing in life. I’m grateful that we grew up before things got so out of hand with the paparazzi and the selfie-taking and the obsession with celebrities and images.” Mamie tried L.A. again as an adult, but admitted, “Living as an actress in West Hollywood is not great for the soul.”
Like Father, Like Son
When asked if her father ever gets upset that none of his children chose to follow his lead and go into sculpting, she laughed, “No, he doesn’t. I wouldn’t feel bad for him.” Interestingly, she did draw a parallel between her father and brother, though. She said, “My brother is more like my dad, though. More solitary. He’ll go into his studio and write music all day.”
Secret To Success
This solitary nature is perhaps why Gummer is rarely interviewed and Streep also rarely talks about their marriage. In a 2002 Vogue magazine interview, she admitted, “He hates to be written about in my movie stuff.” Then, when asked about her secret to such a long, successful marriage, Streep replied, “Goodwill and willingness to bend – and to shut up every once in a while.”
Red Carpet Date
Despite any perceived aversion to the limelight, however, Gummer has been at Streep’s side for many notable Hollywood events over the course of their 40-year marriage. He accompanied her to the Academy Awards in 1979, 1983, 1989, 2007 and 2018. He also attended the premieres of Kramer vs. Kramer, The Bridges of Madison County, The Hours and Mamma Mia!.
In 2012 when Streep was on stage at the Oscars accepting her Best Actress statue for Julie & Julia, she began her speech with a heartfelt tribute to Gummer. She said, “First, I’m going to thank Don because when you thank your husband at the end of the speech, they play him out with the music. And I want him to know that everything I value most in our lives, you’ve given me.”
Marathon Of Glitz
Attending the Oscars, with all the glitz and glamour associated with it, would surely be an exciting proposition. Although, by this point, one could forgive Gummer for being less-than-enthused about it, as he has been to so many of them over the years. Keep in mind, the experience can be exhausting for attendees as the red carpet and afterparty events can make it something of a marathon.
Losing It's Luster
Newspaper The New York Daily News asked Gummer about this very subject, wondering if he had ever become sick of her achievements and accompanying her to events. He replied, “Not sick, I just don’t get excited. She just always hates asking people or having people asked to come support her. She gets tired of it. After a while, what can they say?”
This willingness to always be there for Streep is one example of just how dedicated Gummer is to his wife and her career. But, he did tell the Daily News that he never marvels at being married to an icon like Streep. As he said, they’re a regular couple who still debate over which one of them will “wash the dishes or put them in the dishwasher.”