Skip to content

Linda Hamilton Says It Wasn't James Cameron's On-Set Affair That Ended Their Marriage

"Work and women go hand in hand for Jimbo, and I should know," the Terminator star said.

James Cameron is a famous name for being the filmmaker behind such hit movies as Titanic, The Terminator, and Avatar, but his real life is pretty intriguing, too. The director has been married five times, and there is a pattern of him meeting his future wives through work. In 2010, Cameron's fourth wife, Linda Hamilton, opened up about their relationship, the woman he moved on to after her, and his complicated relationship history.

Hamilton, who starred in the Terminator movies, was in a relationship with Cameron throughout the '90s. When their relationship ended, Cameron married Titanic actor Suzy Amis, who played Rose's granddaughter in the present-day scenes. But, according to Hamilton, it wasn't an affair with Amis that ended their relationship. Instead, in 2010 interviews, she said that she saw herself as "the one who got away" and the person who Amis would always have to think about, and she also blamed something else for their split. Read on to find out more.

RELATED: Ali MacGraw "Knew" She'd Have Affair With Co-Star Steve McQueen: "I Was Obsessed."

Cameron and Hamilton met making The Terminator.

Eddie Furlong, Robert Patrick, Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Cameron and Linda Hamilton at the 1992 MTV Movie Awards
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc via Getty Images

Hamilton starred as Sarah Connor in Cameron's 1984 sci-fi movie The Terminator. But, this was years before they got together. Cameron's first wife was Sharon Williams, to whom he was married from 1978 to 1984. The director then married Terminator producer and co-writer Gale Anne Hurd in 1985. They divorced in 1989, at which point Cameron married fellow filmmaker Kathryn Bigelow—they began a relationship when he was working on a movie she was making. They divorced in 1991.

This brings us to Hamilton. She and Cameron began their relationship around the time of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, which was released in 1991. Their daughter, Josephine Cameron, was born in 1993. They got married in 1997, but this was after Cameron began a relationship with Amis—for the first time.

RELATED: Halle Berry Had a "Breakdown" After Eric Benét Admitted Affairs With Multiple Women.

Hamilton said she and Cameron were separated when he fell for Amis.

James Cameron and Suzy Amis at the American Cinematheque Award in 1998
Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

In a 2010 interview with the Daily Mail, Hamilton said that she and Cameron were taking a break in their relationship when he began dating Amis, who had a role in 1997's Titanic.

"Titanic was the most painful thing in the world," Hamilton said. "But this wasn't because Jim was cheating on me. Jim went off with Suzy because we were taking a break from each other and he was free to go with her."

She explained, "It was a painful time because we'd had a relationship where I'd push him away, then he'd push me away. Frankly, most of our relationship was us taking a big break."

Cameron left Amis to go back to Hamilton.

James Cameron and Linda Hamilton at the 1998 Screen Actors Guild Awards
Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock

After beginning a relationship with Amis, Cameron left her to go back to Hamilton. They got married in 1997, and their divorce was finalized in 1999. He married Amis in 2000.

"Then when he got together with Suzy I changed my mind and he came back to me and we got married," Hamilton shared of the complicated situation. "Then he felt terrible about what he'd done to her and went back to her. Yes, there was a period when he did sort of cross over because he was confused."

Hamilton said she was fine with how her relationship with Cameron finally ended. "It's interesting because while he was making Titanic, Suzy at that time was the gargoyle on the end of my bed, waiting to swoop in," she said. "Now I'm the gargoyle on her bed because for Jim, the one who doesn't end up with him is always the one he wants. I'm the one who got away, and she has to live with that." She said elsewhere in the interview, "One does want to win, of course, but I've known for many years that this was the very best way to work it."

The actor also explained of her ex, "The woman he can't get is always his dream girl. Work and women go hand in hand for Jimbo, and I should know."

She considered Titanic the true affair.

James Cameron holding two Oscars at the 1998 Academy Awards
Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock

Around the same time as the Daily Mail interview, Hamilton also spoke to The Sun about her ex. She said that it was his hit movie that he left her for, not Amis.

"Titanic was the mistress he left me for," she said (via Digital Spy). "He was the kind of man who really would rather be at work with the mistress than at home with the wife. That was hard to come to terms with." She said that Cameron was obsessed with the film. "The success of that film was so huge but he couldn't stop talking about how successful it was," Hamilton claimed.

RELATED: Shania Twain's Husband Cheated With Her BFF, But She Got the Best Revenge.

Cameron and Hamilton collaborated again.

Linda Hamilton and James Cameron at the Directors Guild of America Awards in 1998
Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock

Years after their split, Cameron and Hamilton ended up working together again on 2019's Terminator: Dark Fate, in which she reprised her role as Sarah Connor, and he was a producer. Ahead of the release of the film, Hamilton was profiled by The New York Times.

"That relationship was a mystery to all of us— even Jim and myself—because we are terribly mismatched," Hamilton said, looking back on their time together. "I used to say we fit together like a puzzle: Everywhere he's convex, I'm concave." She added, "I think what happened there is that he really fell in love with Sarah Connor, and I did, too."

"I fell in love with her initially because I thought she was a little closer to Sarah than she actually is, but that doesn't mean that much once you get to know somebody," Cameron told the newspaper. "I think we were just in this high-velocity spiral around each other for a long time. We were fascinated by each other."

Today, Cameron is still married to Amis and they have three children. Cameron was Hamilton's second husband; she was previously married to actor Bruce Abbott from 1982 to 1989, with whom she also has a child.

For more celebrity news delivered right to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
Filed Under