9 Iconic TV Couples Who Couldn’t Stand Each Other On Set

Lauren Graham & Scott Patterson - 'Gilmore Girls'

Hating another actor on set is one thing, but hating the person who plays your on-screen partner? It’s actually more impressive these iconic TV romances were able to deliver such great performances knowing how sick their TV partner was making them. At least one of these relationships did eventually turn around in a big way, so it’s not all doom and gloom!

All cherished TV twosomes give their best impression of being happy, lovey-dovey partners. While there are some TV couples who got together in real life, there are plenty of other actors who hated each other in reality. Many people look to television for entertainment and escapism, so it’s easy to forget the actors you’re watching are actually working – and not every job, work environment, or colleague is going to be pleasant.

9. Shelley Long & Ted Danson – ‘Cheers’

Shelley Long & Ted Danson - 'Cheers'

Ah, those good ol’ “creative differences.” They were thought to be one of the main reasons Shelley Long left her role as Diane Chambers on Cheers. It was widely reported that she and Ted Danson were not getting along, resulting in Diane leaving Danson’s Sam Malone at the altar in the Season 5 finale.

What exactly defines a creative difference? Is it a simple disagreement on how to play a scene? Or is it an overwhelming desire to scratch your co-star’s eyes out? No one knows the answer, but Long, acknowledging some friction between Danson and herself, insists they really got along well

8. Patti LuPone & Bill Smitrovich – ‘Life Goes On’

Patti LuPone & Bill Smitrovich - 'Life Goes On'

Life Goes On was one of those shows that felt revolutionary at the time, but somehow wasn’t remembered kindly years after it aired. When it debuted in 1989, the weekly drama chronicled the life of the Thatcher family in the Chicago suburbs: mother Libby (Tony-winner Patty LuPone), father Drew (Bill Smitrovich), daughters Becca and Paige, and son Corky.

Corky, portrayed by Chris Burke, had Down syndrome and many early plots revolved around him; a principal character (and actor) with Down syndrome in a major television show was a first at the time, and it’s unfortunately still pretty rare. As the show went on, the focus shifted to Becca and her relationship with an HIV-positive classmate, another pioneering move during that time period.

But the two actors who presided over the Thatcher family couldn’t stand one another. In her self-titled autobiography, LuPone describes she and Smitrovich as “oil and water…from the very beginning,” calling him a “self-absorbed bully.”

“If only he had been a talented or generous actor, his behavior might have been justified,” she writes. As the show went on, the two stopped speaking altogether outside of their on-camera dialogue. LuPone summed up the animosity with her typical candor:

We played love scenes, we played parenting scenes, we kissed, we hugged, and when the director yelled “Cut,” we never even looked at each other. That’s acting. (On my part. He just stunk.)

7. Nina Dobrev & Ian Somerhalder – ‘The Vampire Diaries’

Nina Dobrev & Ian Somerhalder - 'The Vampire Diaries'

The swoon-worthy stars of The Vampire Diaries dated for three years during the show’s run. Their breakup was rumored to be ugly, but Nina Dobrev’s Elena and Ian Somerhalder’s Damon were also a couple on the show. This made for some extremely difficult and more-than-a-little awkward tension on-set.

Eventually, Dobrev left the series. She seemed to take it all in stride, looking back. “Yes, we’re professional and that’s fine,” she said in 2015 of her rocky relationship with Somerhalder. “We were friends long before we dated and we still are now.”

6. Jean Hagen & Danny Thomas – ‘Make Room For Daddy’

Jean Hagen & Danny Thomas - 'Make Room For Daddy'

During the first three seasons of the classic sitcom Make Room for Daddy, Danny Thomas’s character, Danny Williams, was married to Jean Hagen’s character, Margaret. Plotlines often revolved around Margaret managing the household and raising the kids while Danny was out earning a living to support the family. At the time, it was a novel concept that proved successful, due in no small part to Thomas and Hagen’s chemistry.

Yet not everything was perfect in classic-sitcom land. Thomas and Hagen reportedly clashed on the set and didn’t care that much for one another. Hagen tired of the show and of Thomas, and left at the end of the third season. Thomas was apparently so incensed at her leaving that he demanded the writers kill off the character.

5. Gillian Anderson & David Duchovny – ‘The X-Files’

Gillian Anderson & David Duchovny - 'The X-Files'

Not the much-loved Scully and Mulder?!? Yes, it’s true. Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny of The X-Files have kept the truth out there: as co-workers, they’ve had their share of ups and downs. “There were periods when we hated each other,” said Anderson, who, tellingly, neglected to thank her co-star in her Emmy acceptance speech. Duchovny has also confirmed the two had no real relationship off the set.

It’s also important to point out that both appear to have been professional despite their differences, and they continue to work together in various X-Files incarnations in the 21st century. According to Duchovny, they now “have a successful working relationship and that’s the best way to go about this job.”

4. Vivian Vance & William Frawley – ‘I Love Lucy’

Vivian Vance & William Frawley - 'I Love Lucy'

Perhaps the most famous and beloved TV couple sidekicks in history, I Love Lucy‘s Fred (William Frawley) and Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance) were arguably just as popular as Lucy and Ricky Ricardo. But Frawley and Vance detested one another.

It all started when Vance, who was 22 years younger than Frawley, started voicing her displeasure about their age difference (“No one will believe I’m married to that old coot!”), and about Frawley being mean and crotchety. And by all accounts, he was something of a crank, saying Vance looked like “an old sack of doorknobs.”

Years later, Vance was dining at a restaurant when she heard Frawley had died. She ordered celebratory champagne for the entire place. Needless to say, the two never made peace, despite their pitch-perfect chemistry and comedic timing.

3. Lauren Graham & Scott Patterson – ‘Gilmore Girls’

Lauren Graham & Scott Patterson - 'Gilmore Girls'

Stars Hollow’s favorite couple, Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and Luke (Scott Patterson), may not have been as star-crossed as viewers hoped. Though both Graham and Patterson have worked hard to deny any friction between them, rumors persist that the two Gilmore Girls stars weren’t exactly the best of friends. Or friends at all, really.

When asked in an interview if she and Patterson were friends off the set, Graham replied with what appeared to be an emphatic, “No.” The two did post an all-smiles selfie when Gilmore Girls wrapped its new batch of episodes, but were they just happy because they didn’t have to see each other anymore? Fans may never know.

2. Stana Katic & Nathan Fillion – ‘Castle’

Stana Katic & Nathan Fillion - 'Castle'

The stars of Castle were once said to “completely despise each other.” Rumor has it that Stana Katic, who played Kate Beckett, and Nathan Fillion, who played Richard Castle, refused to speak to one another when they were not in front of the camera. But things on the set apparently got so bad that Katic was breaking down in tears because of Fillion’s behavior, and producers forced the two actors into actual couples counseling.

Both actors have handled the reputed discord with professionalism: Katic has never publicly acknowledged any tension between Fillion and herself, and Fillion has tweeted his support of Katic.

1. Mila Kunis & Ashton Kutcher – ‘That ’70s Show’

Mila Kunis & Ashton Kutcher - 'That '70s Show'

Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher are happily married now, but their relationship wasn’t always so sunny. When they met on the set of That ’70s Show, where they portrayed Jackie and Kelso, the two actors couldn’t stand one another. For all their scenes, Kunis and Kutcher had to pretend to really like each other when they actually despised one another. 

It could be chalked up to a maturity issue or even a generation gap: Kunis was just 15 when That ’70s Show started, and Kutcher was 20. Costars were a bit surprised the two ended up together in real life, and Kutcher even became Kunis’s first kiss – in character as Kelso and Jackie, of course.