It must be hard to work with your ex — that’s why you often see actors leave their TV series after a breakup with a co-star. Remember when Crystal Reed & Daniel Sharman both left Teen Wolf shortly after their real-life split? Or how about Torrey DeVitto‘s lack of return to The Vampire Diaries following her divorce from Paul Wesley? Oh, and let’s not forget about Nina Dobrev‘s exit from TVD. (She announced her departure three months after Ian Somerhalder‘s engagement to Nikki Reed made headlines.)
There are some that manage to power through, though, in the name of professionalism; professional to the point that they’re even willing to pretend to marry their ex on the small screen. It’s rare, but it happens. Here are six such celebrity couples that put a ring on it on their respective television series after calling it quits in real life:
Nina Dobrev & Ian Somerhalder
Nian's real-life relationship will forever resonate with fans of The Vampire Diaries, despite the fact that it ended four years ago. That's why when their characters ended up together on the series finale of the show, fanatics were overjoyed.
According to TVD's executive producer, Kevin Williamson, "There was a moment in the show where [Damon] proposed and [Elena] responded after medical school. And the whole point of that moment was just to show that she became a doctor. And so we thought, 'Oh, we'll just put her in scrubs and we can cut that piece.'"
"I think they got married right after Elena's studies," creator Julie Plec said separately, "but they did not wait so long before they had children! It was Jeremy who brought his older sister to the altar at their wedding and that he probably made a finger of honor to Damon at the same time! *laughs*"
Nevertheless, the two characters do end up spending the rest of their (human!) lives together, even though Nina and Ian don't plan to do so IRL.
Penn Badgley & Blake Lively
After Gossip Girl came to an end in 2012, Penn opened up about his feelings about the show, as well as his ex-girlfriend, Blake.
"I don't know if I can distill it into a sentence, or even articulate it," he explained to Elle magazine. 'We were very much caught up in the show, which itself was a six-year endurance test."
"Our relationship was a part of that and helped us through it," he added. "I mean, like anything valuable, it was good and it was bad and it was a learning experience."
The relationship came to an end in 2010 after over three years together. Awkwardly, though, the two were forced to fake marry each other for the series finale. Even more awkwardly? Blake married now-husband Ryan Reynolds a few short months before it aired.
Kaley Cuoco & Johnny Galecki
Over two years wasn't enough to keep Kaley and Johnny together for the long haul. In early 2010, the pair from The Big Bang Theory called it quits in real life.
On the show, however, their characters, Penny and Leonard, walked down the aisle... TWICE. First, the two became engaged and were married at the start of Season 9 on "The Matrimonial Momentum" in 2015. The second time was on the premiere of Season 10, "The Conjugal Conjecture," in 2016.
Rachel Bilson & Adam Brody
From December 2003 to March 2006, Rachel and Adam appeared to be inseparable. But, as they say, all good things must come to an end.
Thankfully, at least their characters got to have a happy ending on The O.C. We got to witness the wedding of Seth Cohen and Summer Roberts on the series finale, "The End's Not Near, It's Here," in February 2007.
Jennifer Garner & Michael Vartan
Before Jennifer married Ben Affleck and gave birth to three babies, she and her Alias co-star, Michael Vartan, were an item on- and off-screen, and got married and had children of their own... on their TV series.
The two reportedly dated from August 2003 to March 2004. Despite their real-life blunder, their characters, Sydney Bristow and Michael Vaughn, found a happy ending. By the May 2006 series finale — a year after Bennifer 2.0 got hitched — the audience learns that the pair are married with two kids.
Zach Braff & Sarah Chalke
Zach and Sarah's real-life relationship did not mirror their Scrubs characters'. The stars reportedly started dating before the comedy premiered, and ended two years later. J.D. and Elliott, however, were on and off from the beginning. By the time Season 9 came around, the characters were married and expecting their first child.