Sometimes actors fall in love on movie sets. Other times, they’re playing couples inspired by actual events.
Some of the best romantic comedies, tearjerkers, and Oscar-nominated pictures are based on true stories. Keep reading to see the real couples that have had their stories shared and adapted for the big screen.
Frank Pallotta contributed to a previous version of this story.
Margot Robbie and Leonardo DiCaprio played Naomi and Jordan Belfort in “The Wolf of Wall Street.”
The two meet at a pool party in the Oscar-nominated movie about the stockbroker whose firm was involved with fraud on Wall Street.
In “American Hustle,” Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) has to juggle conning politicians and his wife, Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence).
In the film, Bale and Amy Adams play con artists who get rangled into an FBI sting operation against corrupt politicians. Jennifer Lawrence plays Bale’s unhinged wife.
The real life couple had different names.
Mel Weinberg is the former con artist Christian Bale’s character was based off. He was married to Cynthia Marie Weinberg for 19 years. They were later separated when she died from an apparent suicide in 1982.
Amy Adams’ character was based on a woman Evelyn Knight, who Weinberg started seeing five years after marrying Cynthia. He had homes with both women decorated identically at the same time. Weinberg married Knight in 1982, but the two later divorced.
Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon played Johnny Cash and June Carter in “Walk The Line.”
In the film, Cash meets June Carter on tour while she was married.
Jamie Foxx and Kerry Washington played music together as Ray Charles and Della Bea Robinson in “Ray.”
The Oscar-winning movie follows the musician as he loses his sight at a young age and carries on to become a music legend.
In real life, Ray Charles was married twice and had 12 different children with 10 different women.
AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian
Charles’ love life wasn’t as clear cut as it was in the film.
He was married twice, at 21 to Eileen Williams, and at 25 to Della Beatrice Howard Robinson. The latter is played by Kerry Washington in the movie.
Charles also had 12 children, 21 grandchildren, and 5 great-grandchildren with 10 different women.
In 2012’s “The Vow,” Leo Collins (Channing Tatum) helps his wife Paige (Rachel McAdams) remember their relationship every day after she loses her memories of him.
On the way home from the movies, Paige and Leo’s car gets struck from behind by a truck. Paige had her seatbelt off and she goes through the windshield. She winds up losing memories of the past several years and of Leo.
This really happened to the Carpenters. It just happened a little differently.
Kim and Krickitt Carpenter were driving to see family on Thanksgiving when a car accident caused Krickitt to lose her short-term memory, including meeting and marrying her husband, Kim.
“The nurses asked me what I could remember of my husband, but I told them ‘I’m not married,'” she told the Daily Mail. “I could recall names of some previous boyfriends, but nothing of this man who had apparently not left my bedside for months.”
Krickitt hasn’t regained her memory, but it didn’t stop the two from falling in love with each other again. The two started going on dates to keep their relationship going.
“Eat, Pray, Love” showed Julia Roberts falling in love with Javier Bardem while traveling the world.
The actual Elizabeth Gilbert traveled the world and found herself and love along the way.
Author Elizabeth Gilbert, played by Julia Roberts, felt unhappy with her marriage and subsequent divorce before she went out on her journey that would become her best-selling memoir, “Eat, Pray, Love.”
While meeting different people, eating different things, and reaching different heights of spirituality, Gilbert also met someone named José Nunes (not Felipe as played by Javier Bardem).
The two were married in order to make José an American citizen. Gilbert then wrote about the experiences of her new marriage. The two had a “very amicable” split in July 2016. She then started a relationship with her best friend, Rayya Elias, in September of that year. Elias had been diagnosed with pancreatic and liver cancer and died January 2018.
Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway turned one of history’s most infamous couples into a love story in 1967’s “Bonnie and Clyde.”
The criminals robbed banks together until the law eventually caught up with them and they wound up shot dead.
The real Bonnie and Clyde came to the same bloody end.
According to the FBI, Bonnie and Clyde met in Texas in 1930. By 1932, they were already on one of the biggest crime sprees in the nation’s history.
It didn’t last when the duo were shot by police officers in 1934.
“A Beautiful Mind” tells the story of John Nash (Russell Crowe) and his wife Alicia (Jennifer Connelly).
Alicia sticks by his side as the mathematician struggles with schizophrenia.
The movie tells part of the story. He really did have a wife named Alicia Nash.
“A Beautiful Mind” somewhat romanticized John Nash.
According to The Guardian, Nash had an “illegitimate child, John, by a woman whom he declined to marry, supposedly on the grounds that she was beneath him socially.”
Jennifer Connelly’s Alicia Nash is based upon his wife of the same name. The two were married and died in a car accident in 2015.
In “The Blind Side,” Leigh Anne (Sandra Bullock) and Sean Tuohy (Tim McGraw) take in a student and help him become an NFL player.
The couple take in 17-year-old student Michael Oher who has been in and out of foster care.
“The Blind Side” followed much of the Tuohy’s lives beat for beat.
The real-life Leigh Anne Tuohy met her husband, Sean at the University of Mississippi. The two married and had children of their own before taking in Micheal Oher after seeing him on the street.
The family embraced “The Blind Side” fame, creating the Making It Happen Foundation, which helps children who need homes.
“Loving” tells the story of interracial couple Richard (Joel Edgerton) and Mildred Loving (Ruth Negga) during the 1960s.
Richard falls in love with a family friend, Mildred, while in Virginia. They get married outside the state because interracial marriage was against the law in their state.
The real life Lovings fought to rid of the law prohibiting interracial marriage in Virginia and ultimately won.
After marrying in Washington, D.C. and attempting to move back to Virginia several times, their relationship helped the state Supreme Court rule in 1967 that states laws preventing interracial marriage are unconstitutional in Loving v. Virginia.
The two were married until Richard Loving died in a car accident in 1975. Mildred died in 2008.
“The Theory of Everything” shows the relationship between Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) and his first wife Jane (Felicity Jones) as he’s diagnosed with with the motor neuron disease ALS.
The movie follows some of the earlier events of Hawking’s life as his eventual wife Jane stands by his side during and after his diagnosis. The movie makes it so that they were dating before either of them learned of Hawking’s illness.
At the movie’s end, Stephen leaves Jane for his nurse Elaine.
Jane started dating Stephen Hawking after his diagnosis of ALS, not before.
The movie mostly focuses on Jane’s relationship with Stephen while skimming over his later relationship with his nurse.
Hawking wound up leaving Jane for his nurse Elaine Mason in 1995. Elaine and Hawking were married later that same year. They divorced in 2006.