In an ideal world, romantic partners would be untethered from issues of power struggles, jealousy, insecurity, and doubt. All couples would live happily ever after in an unconditional-love Utopia eating endless and consequence-free Nutella crepes. Sounds amazing, right? But alas— here on Earth, relationships can be messy affairs that often end in heartbreak (and when that happens, you eat all the crepes you want, you poor thing).
Relationship problems are a universal concept, sure, but finding and keeping true love in Hollywood is a different beast. For some famous couples, one individual’s star power dims just as their partner’s career takes off. No celebrity wants to be the one sitting at home while their significant other films in exotic locales and lands on every magazine cover. And ultimately, not every relationship can survive this type of imbalance. Let’s break down the celebs who got dumped by their partners after their fame faded.
Ashton Kutcher got super famous and allegedly cheated on Demi Moore
Before Demi Moore met Ashton Kutcher in 2003, she was an established, extremely famous movie star, and he was a young actor best known for playing hot idiots. But soon after falling for one another, both actors’ careers were red hot. Moore dropped jaws in Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle by rocking impressive muscles, and the That ’70s Show actor became the host of MTV’s popular prank show, Punk’d.
The smitten stars married in 2005, and their union seemed like a happy one, with Moore’s daughter, Rumer Willis, gushing about Kutcher being a "really great" stepfather. Over the next few years, Kutcher scored lead roles in multiple hit movies and would eventually become one of the highest-paid actors in showbiz, but Moore’s career stalled. The Two and a Half Men star even "famously became the first person to reach 1 million Twitter followers in April 2009," per ABC News.
Sadly, things didn’t work out for the power couple: Moore released a separation statement in 2011, and the divorce was finalized two years later. In her 2019 memoir, Inside Out, the Ghost actor detailed the ups and downs of the relationship, which included a tragic miscarriage and Moore’s substance abuse issues (via Good Morning America). Ultimately, the marriage crumbled due to Kutcher’s alleged infidelity. Of course, it’s impossible to know if Kutcher’s increased fame affected the couple’s dynamic or played a role in their split, but he had undoubtedly become the bigger star by the end of the relationship.
Chris Pratt gained a ripped bod, but lost Anna Faris
If Chris Pratt hadn’t lost that adorable baby fat, would he and Anna Faris still be together? Rhetorical rhyming aside, we’ll never know. What we do know is that when they met in 2007, Faris was a popular actor with roles in several hit movies, while Pratt had appeared on a few television shows, but wasn’t yet a household name. That was about to change.
After their 2009 wedding, Faris continued to work consistently, and Pratt became well-known for his role as Andy Dwyer on Parks and Recreation. In 2013, Pratt shocked the public when he posted a pic while filming the MCU’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Basically? He was ripped. Fans couldn’t get over Pratt’s stunning transformation, and his popularity only increased in 2015 when he appeared in Jurassic World. That same year, Pratt gushed during his Reddit AMA, "Anna and I are meant to be together." However, when Pratt co-starred with Jennifer Lawrence in 2016’s Passengers, their flirty dynamic during the press tour fueled rumors of an affair. Faris wrote in her 2017 memoir, Unqualified (via Access), "Of course it’s hurtful … when people are saying your husband is cheating on you, even if it’s patently untrue."
Pratt’s exponential rise in fame and cheating rumors may have taken a toll on this once blissful marriage, as he and Faris announced their separation in 2017. Pratt married author Katherine Schwarzenegger, Faris got engaged to cinematographer Michael Barrett, and the amicable exes have continued to co-parent their son, Jack.
Jennifer Garner blamed Hollywood for her split with Scott Foley
"Heartbreaker" isn’t the first adjective that comes to mind when thinking of wholesome, dimpled actor Jennifer Garner, but Scott Foley may privately disagree. InStyle reports that Garner met fellow actor Foley when she guest-starred on the television series, Felicity, in 1998, and the couple wed two years later. At the time, Garner was a virtually unknown actress, but Foley was a genuine celebrity due to the massive popularity of the show. That changed when Garner appeared on television screens as Sydney Bristow, a sexy, butt-kicking double agent, on the hit show, Alias.
After Alias premiered in 2001, Garner was cast in Daredevil opposite Hollywood superstar Ben Affleck. By the spring of 2003, her marriage to Foley was over, and Garner went on to briefly date her Alias co-star, Michael Vartan, before eventually marrying (and later divorcing) Affleck. After the separation was announced, Foley told TV Guide (via People), "Jennifer became a huge celebrity. She became a huge star, and she deserved everything she got. There was no other relationship, there was no infidelity, nothing."
Garner shared similar thoughts and once mused (via InStyle) that she and Foley were simply "victims of Hollywood." She added, "Everything is speeded up here — it is a fast-lane life, and if something is not working, it is considered best to end it without much thought. If we lived where I was brought up [in West Virginia], we would probably still be together."
Tom Cruise’s marriage to Mimi Rogers crashed and burned amid his rise to fame
Before Katie Holmes and Nicole Kidman, Tom Cruise was deeply in love with fellow Scientologist Mimi Rogers. By the time the two actors met in 1985, Rogers had worked steadily in Hollywood, but Cruise was in high demand after appearing in films like The Outsiders and Risky Business. One year into dating, Cruise’s star power only grew after Top Gun and The Color of Money. And in 1987, the couple held a small, private wedding ceremony, per People.
During their three-year marriage, the pair maintained a drama-free, low profile. Rogers told the Chicago Tribune in 1988 that despite Cruise’s fame, they had managed to stay out of the tabloids. The relationship seemed rock solid, and Cruise even told Rolling Stone shortly before their separation in 1990, "I care about my wife more than anything in the world. She’s my best friend. I just really like being with her, you know? I love her."
Reports varied on why the couple suddenly split after five years together, with rumors swirling that Cruise left Rogers for his Days of Thunder co-star, Kidman (via InStyle). However, the author of Tom Cruise Unauthorized, Wensley Clarkson, had a different theory, and later told Entertainment Weekly, "I think he outgrew her." Whatever happened, Cruise’s rapidly rising fame couldn’t have been easy for Rogers, as she famously told People (via Entertainment Weekly) in 1995, "[I’m] waiting for the moment when I don’t have to talk about that [blankety-blank] name anymore."
Did Twilight come between Kristen Stewart and Michael Angarano?
Before becoming a huge celebrity, expert lip-biter Kristen Stewart was just a teenager in love with her boyfriend. Stewart, 13 at the time, met then-15-year-old actor Michael Angarano while filming Speak in 2004 (although they didn’t date until a few years later, per Nylon). Angarano had more acting credits to his name than his then-girlfriend, but Stewart’s world was to change dramatically when she was cast as Bella Swan in the 2008 world-wide phenomenon known as Twilight.
Fans of the franchise noticed that Stewart and co-star Robert Pattinson had crazy chemistry on and off screen. Despite the growing rumors, the Adventureland actor denied any romance possibilities to E! in early 2009, and added that Angarano wasn’t bothered by the gossip. That same year, Stewart told Nylon that while the rumors were totally "false," she and Pattinson did share a special bond: "We went through a lot together, so we feel very close. … It’s only natural that we’re sort of leaning on each other, because we’re put in the most … psychotic situations."
As Twilight mania grew to a fever pitch, the pair’s "close" relationship turned romantic, and the couple dated until 2012. Earlier that same year, Twilight‘s director Catherine Hardwicke confirmed to Vulture that while Stewart and Angarano were a "great couple," Stewart eventually broke things off to pursue a relationship with Pattinson. Unfortunately, it seems as though the former pairing didn’t stand a chance against the crazy level of fame that brought Stewart and Pattinson together.
Zayn Malik ditched One Direction and fiancee Perrie Edwards
Zayn Malik and Perrie Edwards were once the stuff of teenage dreams. The then-18-year-old pop singers met on the X Factor back in 2011. Edwards was a member of the group Little Mix (they later won the competition), and Malik performed on the show that year with One Direction. By the following spring, Edwards was the envy of obsessed 1D fans when pictures emerged showing the pair kissing and adorably riding a scooter together (via the Daily Mail).
Things just got cuter after the scooter date: From 2012 to 2014, the pair adopted a puppy together, Malik got his lady’s face inked on his arm, and the lovebirds became engaged. Meanwhile, Malik’s fame skyrocketed as One Direction became one of the most popular boy bands of all time. Everything seemed to be peachy until 2015, when Malik shocked fans by announcing that he was leaving the band to become a solo artist, and media outlets began reporting that he had also left Edwards. Rumors even swirled that Malik callously dumped his fiancée via text message. Yikes.
Malik stayed mum about the split until telling Fader magazine that November that the text message rumor was false, insisting, "I would never end our relationship over four years like that." But Edwards called his bluff in the Little Mix book, Our World, claiming that the experience was "horrible" (via Cosmopolitan). Some fans wondered if Malik’s alleged ego was to blame for his breakups with both One Direction and Edwards.
Reese Witherspoon won an Oscar months before her split from Ryan Phillippe
Reese Witherspoon has a pretty famous (and, in her words, "embarrassing") meet-cute story. The scene was her 21st birthday party, and Ryan Phillippe’s appearance made Witherspoon’s heart skip a beat. She told Jane magazine (via the Mirror), "I don’t know what came over me … but I told him, ‘I think you’re my birthday present.’" The pick-up line was a success: the couple married a few years later in 1999, had two children together, and were married for seven years.
Throughout the relationship, both actors admitted that their marriage wasn’t perfect and required work, per People. Career-wise, Phillippe worked steadily, but Witherspoon became the bigger celebrity after appearing in popular movies like Legally Blonde, Sweet Home Alabama, and Walk the Line (for which she won an Academy Award). When Witherspoon accepted the Oscar in 2006, she thanked her "wonderful husband" but by that October, the couple had announced their separation.
Witherspoon and Phillippe never explicitly stated the reason for the divorce, but rumors swirled that Phillippe had cheated on his wife with his co-star, Abbie Cornish (via the Mirror). Phillippe denied cheating, and the exes appeared to stay on good terms. While some have wondered if Witherspoon’s enormous fame put a strain on the marriage, Phillippe simply told Larry King in 2015, "I think it can create issues with two people in this industry, because there’s so much noise that goes along with it."
Channing Tatum’s career stepped up while Jenna Dewan’s fame dwindled
The 2006 film, Step Up, launched the careers of dancers/actors Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan. It also marked the beginning of the couple’s romance, and they wed three years later. After the wedding, Tatum was clearly on cloud nine, telling People that their relationship was "perfect." Although they kept their personal lives fairly private, both actors gushed about one another in interviews throughout their marriage, and welcomed their daughter, Everly.
After the success of Step Up, Dewan booked smaller roles in TV and film, but failed to reach leading lady status. Tatum, on the other hand, became Hollywood’s new "It" guy after starring in The Vow, 21 Jump Street, and Magic Mike. By 2018, the couple seemed to be going strong, but in hindsight, Dewan’s statement to Health could have been a case of subconscious foreshadowing, as she told the magazine, "When people say you guys have such a perfect life, I want to scream … we have days where we don’t really like each other."
The pair announced their separation later that year. Neither party came forward with specific reasons for the split, but Dewan later wrote in her wellness book, Gracefully You: How to Live Your Best Life Every Day, that the couple’s "dynamic … had moved into hurting" (via People). But at least one anonymous source alleged to Page Six that Tatum’s celebrity status was an issue in the marriage, claiming, "She is troubled by his success … and they were fighting a lot."