The 18 Most Secretive Celebrity Couples of the Past 40 Years
These stars dated (sometimes seriously) and then broke up—without any of us being the wiser.
Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez—there are plenty of celebrity couples out there who are more than happy to share their love with the world on social media and on the red carpet. But not everyone wants all eyes on their relationship, especially when they're feeling things out with someone new. Even in Hollywood, there have been plenty of celebrity couples who were so low-key about dating each other (and breaking up with each other) that you may not have even realized they were ever together. Read on to hear more about these secretive pairs.
Katie Holmes and Jamie Foxx
Though Jamie Foxx and Katie Holmes never officially confirmed their romance, they reportedly dated on and off for six years before they went their separate ways for good in 2019—just months after they posed together for a photo at the Met Gala, one of their only public outings together as a couple.
Tiffani Thiessen and Mario Lopez
Given that Saved By the Bell's main cast was made up of teenagers, it would be more surprising if none of them had gotten together in real life. But still, none of their fans had any idea that co-stars Mario Lopez and Tiffani Thiessen had been a thing until many years later.
"It's funny, 'cause I went to regular high school and she used to wear my letterman's jacket from my real high school and stuff," Lopez said during a 2019 episode of The Kelly Clarkson Show. "But now, she's my dear friend and it's funny 'cause our kids actually play together. So, we'll get together, our kids play together and stuff."
Madonna and Tupac
Yes, two of the biggest legends in music actually dated—and a lot of people have no idea it ever happened. Madonna and Tupac dated for over a year until the late rapper ended things with a letter written from prison in 1995 that later went public when it went up for auction.
"First and foremost, I must apologize to you because, like you said, I haven't been the kind of friend I know I am capable of being," Tupac wrote in the letter, via Vogue. "An interview where you said 'I'm off to rehabilitate all the rappers & basketball players' or something to that effect those words cut me deep seeing how I had never known you to be with any rappers besides myself. It was at this moment out of hurt & and natural instinct to strike back and defend my heart & ego that I said a lot of things."
Kaley Cuoco and Johnny Galecki
In other co-star relationships, The Big Bang Theory leads Kaley Cuoco and Johnny Galecki also dated in secret behind the scenes. Cuoco revealed that they were together for two years, from 2007 to 2009, in an interview with CBS Watch (via New York Daily News) in 2010.
"It was a wonderful relationship but we never spoke a word about it and never went anywhere together," she said at the time. "We were so protective of ourselves and the show and didn't want anything to ruin that."
Lizzy Caplan and Matthew Perry
Once upon a time, Matthew Perry seriously dated Mean Girls star Lizzy Caplan—and it wasn't a brief thing. Their six-year relationship was so secretive that news of their split didn't break until 2013, over a year after it actually happened.
RELATED: 27 Celebrity Couples With Huge Age Gaps.
Renee Zellweger and Bradley Cooper
Bradley Cooper has been in a few high-profile Hollywood relationships, but the one he had with Renee Zellweger wasn't one of them. Back in 2009, they dated after filming Case 39 together, and though they never publicly discussed their relationship, they were spotted together by paparazzi. By 2011, the New York Daily News was reporting that they'd ended the relationship that they never confirmed in the first place.
Helen Mirren and Liam Neeson
Helen Mirren and Liam Neeson first met when filming Excalibur in the early '80s, and—you may be surprised to hear—they spent almost five years together. Years later, they both seem to have nothing but nice things to say about each other.
"We didn't 'date,' we lived together for four years," Mirren said when she and Neeson both appeared on The Graham Norton Show in 2018. "We were a serious item for a while. Lucky me!"
Rashida Jones and Mark Ronson
Back in the early '00s, not only did Rashida Jones and DJ/producer Mark Ronson date, they were even engaged. Why didn't things work out? According to the Parks and Recreation star, Ronson was a "workaholic."
"We were too young to be engaged, and we both were very nervous about it; it felt like a very big, adult step," she told Elle in 2011. "Neither of us were ready, and we didn't really deal with it face-to-face, and the relationship deteriorated."
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Julie Bowen and David Spade
Another early '00s couple who managed to fly under the radar: future Modern Family star Julie Bowen and SNL comic David Spade, who stayed together for about a year in 2002. Now that almost 20 years have passed since they were a couple, Bowen has spoken freely about why their relationship didn't work out.
"I love him, and I talk to him a lot, and I will say this to his face: He's a lovely person and a good friend, not a great boyfriend," she said on the podcast Life is Short With Justin Long.
Sandra Bullock and Ryan Gosling
Sandra Bullock and Ryan Gosling sound like they'd be a true Hollywood power couple, so how did they manage to date without most of us catching on? In 2002, the pair dated for a little over a year after filming Murder By Numbers together. They never confirmed their relationship while it was happening, but in 2011, Gosling told The Times (via PopSugar) that Bullock was one of his "greatest girlfriends" ever.
Emma Stone and Kieran Culkin
Long before she was married to Dave McCary, Emma Stone dated Succession star Kieran Culkin. They played an on-screen couple in Paper Man and dated off-screen, too. They were quiet about their relationship as they dated for over a year, and it wasn't long after they ended things that rumors about Stone and Andrew Garfield started cropping up.
Kristen Johnston and Ryan Reynolds
Before he was so famously married to Blake Lively, Ryan Reynolds was in some much more private relationships, including one with 3rd Rock From the Sun star Kristen Johnson. They dated in the '90s, and Johnson called Reynolds a "lovely person" during a 2020 appearance on Watch What Happens Live.
"It was so long ago I forgot, but literally, so nice, great guy, lovely," she said.
Minka Kelly and Donald Faison
In 2004, Friday Night Lights star Minka Kelly and Scrubs star Donald Faison were an item, though they only stayed together for about a year. They did pose together for red carpet photos, but neither of them ever spoke publicly about their relationship.
Anne Hathaway and Topher Grace
Anne Hathaway and Topher Grace co-starred in Valentine's Day in 2010, years after they dated in real life. Reportedly, they were together from 1999 to 2001, but because this was before she got her big break in The Princess Diaries, they were easily able to keep their relationship under wraps.
Nicole Kidman and Lenny Kravitz
There was buzz about a relationship between Nicole Kidman and Lenny Kravitz in the early '00s, but fans didn't know until recently how serious it actually was. In a 2017 interview with Porter, Kidman revealed that she and Kravitz had actually been engaged at one point.
"Well, I knew Zoë because I was engaged to her father," she said of working with Zoë Kravitz on Big Little Lies. "It's all in the family! I love Lenny; he's a great guy."
Cher and Tom Cruise
In the '80s, Tom Cruise and Cher had a secret relationship of their own—something that, years later, the singer seems to look back on fondly.
"A bunch of people who were dyslexic were invited to the White House, and Tom and I are both dyslexic," she told The Daily Mail in 2018. "We didn't go out till way later, but there definitely was a connection there."
Aubrey Plaza and Michael Cera
After filming Scott Pilgrim vs. The World together, Aubrey Plaza and Michael Cera struck up a romance, but it's something that Plaza didn't open up about until after they'd broken up. In a 2016 episode of RuPaul's podcast, What's The Tee, Plaza revealed that they'd dated for more than a year.
"We love each other, and we're still really good friends," she said. "He's just a weird little freak, and we speak the same language."
Tyra Banks and Seal
Even by '90s standards, Seal and Tyra Banks kept their one-year relationship pretty quiet, only attending one red carpet event together. His later marriage to Heidi Klum would be much more high-profile.