Hallmark Movie Couples Played By Real-Life Lovers

Hallmark is known for producing swoon-worthy movies that make viewers clutch their hearts and smile in delight. Whether it's a holiday-themed film or a standard rom-com, the network knows its stuff when it comes to romance — so much so that its actors routinely fall in love after working together. While a few couples have gone on to co-star as lovers in Hallmark movies after they met, many romantic relationships started on set, where the connection was solely intended for the big screen but transcended to real life.

For duos like Katie Cassidy and Stephen Huszar, the movie magic sparked the beginnings of a very real relationship off-screen. Even Kevin McGarry and Kayla Wallace, who met while filming Hallmark's hit series "When Calls the Heart," fell in love after being brought together by the media giant — even though they weren't cast as romantic interests. After they began dating, McGarry and Wallace did go on to star in a number of Hallmark movies in which their characters fall in love, much to the delight of their fans. 

These two couples aren't the only ones who've starred as lovers in Hallmark flicks and gone on to have a relationship in real life — the production company might want to expand into matchmaking, with the success rate of their co-stars-turned-companions!

Katie Cassidy and Stephen Huszar

Katie Cassidy and Stephen Huszar hadn't met before collaborating on their 2023 Hallmark movie, "A Royal Christmas Crush." After Cassidy's character Ava starts her dream job at the Royal Ice Hotel, she meets Prince Henry — played by Huszar — and they quickly fall in love. Life imitated art for the two actors, because their real-life relationship was confirmed before "A Royal Christmas Crush" premiered.

In June 2023, a month ahead of the movie's release, a source told People that Cassidy and Huszar are "very much in love." After the outlet publicized their relationship, the "Gossip Girl" alum shared a cozy selfie on Instagram of the two and captioned the shot, "Welp, cat's out of the bag ... Happy Monday!"

Though they're newly a couple, both actors have shared photos on their social media accounts showing them hanging out with friends, attending charity functions together, joining the WGA picket line to advocate for their industry, and even attending an event in Italy. 

Chris McNally and Julie Gonzalo

While eagle-eyed fans had speculated Chris McNally and Julie Gonzalo started dating after meeting on the set of their 2018 second-chance romance flick, "The Sweetest Heart," neither Hallmark star explicitly confirmed their relationship until they dropped some bombshell news in June 2022. Posting a close-up photo on her Instagram account of a tiny baby's hand gripping two adult-sized index fingers — one tagged with her handle and the other with McNally's — Gonzalo wrote, "Our hearts are full ... Welcome baby M." It was certainly one heck of a way to come out as a couple!

Fans first caught wind of a romance between the two actors in 2018 when they both adopted dogs at the same time — and started sharing photos of the same dogs on social media. In January 2019, McNally told My Devotional Thoughts: "My girlfriend and I each adopted a puppy, so I'm looking forward to being home with them when I can." 

The Hallmark star spoke of his unnamed girlfriend again in a May 2019 interview with North Shore News, during which McNally told the outlet he wowed her with the waltz skills he learned while filming "A Winter Princess." He added: "But she's South American so now she wants me to learn to salsa." The informational nugget about Gonzalo's nationality was a big clue for those familiar with the "A Cinderella Story" star, who grew up in Buenos Aires before moving to Miami at 8 years old.

Carlos and Alexa PenaVega

Though they've starred as lovers in several Hallmark movies and a network franchise — as well as two episodes of Nickelodeon's "Big Time Rush" — Carlos and Alexa PenaVega didn't meet on set. In 2012, a year before their on-screen debut in "BTR," the couple were acquainted in the same Bible study group. Alexa was newly divorced from her first husband of two years, but the "Spy Kids" alum and boy band singer hit it off, getting engaged in September 2013 and marrying in January 2014. 

After the arrival of their first child, a son named Ocean, Carlos and Alexa worked on their first joint Hallmark movie, "Love at Sea." The 2016 film even included a few cameos from Ocean, who was a baby at the time. The "Sleepover" star told TV Insider in 2018: "Hallmark is all about family. They knew that Ocean was going to be with us anyway, so they wrote a few little scenes where he would be in there."

The couple co-starred in their second movie with the network, "Enchanted Christmas, in 2017. Two years later in 2019, they welcomed a second son, Kingston, and appeared in the first installment of Hallmark's "Picture Perfect Mysteries" series. The PenaVegas acted alongside each other for two more installments in 2020, then in 2021, Carlos and Alexa's daughter Rio joined the family. The duo hit the screen again for Hallmark's 2022 flick, "Love in the Limelight," and also have the upcoming "Never Too Late to Celebrate."

Shantel VanSanten and Victor Webster

Shantel VanSanten and Victor Webster met on the set of their 2017 Hallmark movie "Love Blossoms." The flick follows VanSanten's character Violet, who has recently lost her father and must take over the family perfume business to finish developing the third fragrance in a mega-successful collection. When she can't find her dad's recipe for the secret formula, and she only has one vial of the scent to copy, Violet enlists the help of a botanist with an expert nose, played by Webster.

According to VanSanten, the pair were just friends while filming together. But by the end of 2017, a real-life romance had developed between them, and the couple occasionally shared photos with one another on Instagram. In February 2021, Webster asked VanSanten to marry him. The "One Tree Hill" alum relayed the proposal for fans, writing on Instagram: "We hiked 2,000 feet to the top of the mountain where @iamvictorwebster told me he loved me for the first time years ago! What happened next still has me in shock ... He told me he wanted to spend forever with me, as he got down on one knee and asked if I would marry him!" (via Us Weekly).

The couple married in August 2021, but less than two years later, Webster filed for divorce from VanSanten in January 2023. After the actor cited irreconcilable differences, VanSanten submitted a filing of her own in June 2023.

Kevin McGarry and Kayla Wallace

Kevin McGarry and Kayla Wallace first appeared on screen together in Hallmark's mega-successful television series, "When Calls the Heart." The two joined the network's longest-running production in 2019, meeting on set like many other Hallmark co-stars-turned-couples. However, McGarry and Wallace weren't cast as lovers in the period drama. 

The couple's first Hallmark project that did see them as romantic interests was 2022's "Feeling Butterflies," in which Wallace's character Emily owns a butterfly farm and McGarry's character Garrett helps her rise above her ruthless business competitor. Their second Hallmark movie, "My Grown-Up Christmas List," was released later that same year. The duo's characters, Taylor and Luke, briefly meet one Christmas but spark a connection that lies dormant until they unexpectedly reunite the following Christmas. 

Before bringing their connection to the big screen, McGarry and Wallace took their relationship from work to romance in 2020, a year after they debuted in "When Calls the Heart." That November, McGarry cheekily announced he and Wallace were dating with an Instagram post captioned: "Photo evidence." A little over two years later, the "Heartland" actor popped the question in December 2022, and the couple announced their engagement just a few days before Christmas with a sweet Instagram video in which Wallace gave a glimpse of her diamond ring before kissing her fiance.

Eric Winter and Roselyn Sánchez

Eric Winter and Roselyn Sánchez first starred alongside one another as lovers in a 2019 Hallmark movie, but they met nearly 15 years earlier. "The Ugly Truth" actor and "Without a Trace" actors were introduced in 2005 at a social gathering in Los Angeles. Winter's marriage to "Coyote Ugly" actor Allison Ford had dissolved a few months before, and Sánchez had parted ways with her first husband three years before 

Despite the "Days of Our Lives" star's recently finalized divorce, he and Sánchez quickly clicked and began dating. Two years later in 2007, Winter proposed to "The Game Plan" actor. The couple exchanged vows in November 2008 during a wedding ceremony in Sánchez's birthplace, San Juan, Puerto Rico. The duo welcomed their first child, a daughter named Sebella, in 2012, followed by a son named Dylan in 2017.

Over a decade after they married, Winter and Sánchez worked on their first production together: a Hallmark movie titled "A Taste of Summer." The romance flick follows Sánchez's character Gabby, a burned-out New York City sous chef, as she moves to a small town in Massachusetts to open her own restaurant. Caleb, played by Winter, also owns a restaurant in town, and the two get to know each other as they prepare to compete in a local food festival. Sánchez went on to guest star in a 2020 episode of her husband's TV series, "The Rookie."

Daniel Stine and Rachel Hendrix

Like Chris McNally and Julie Gonzalo, Daniel Stine and Rachel Hendrix starred as love interests in a Hallmark movie about a second-chance romance. Also like McNally and Gonzalo, Stine and Hendrix met on set — but not on the set of their 2019 film. The two actors were introduced while filming "Virginia Minnesota," a fantastical dramedy written and directed by Stine that was released in 2018. 

A year after their first project premiered, Stine and Hendrix appeared in Hallmark's "Midway to Love," which follows Hendrix's character Rachel as she returns to her hometown after an unexpected change in her career. While there, she runs into her high school sweetheart, Mitchell (played by Stine), and the two fall back in love as Rachel grapples with the course of her life. 

Stine and Hendrix have heavily guarded their real-life relationship from the public eye, but they're known to have married in May 2019 and share one child.