Celebrity Couples Who Kept Their Separations A Secret

There's been some seriously devastating and messy celebrity breakups over the years, from Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt to Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. It seems like a happily ever after is getting harder to come by, with even more celeb couples breaking up in 2023, like Britney Spears and Sam Asghari or Sofía Vergara and Joe Manganiello. It's hard not to become invested in the romantic relationships of the rich and famous when they seem to have it all; money, fame, looks, and the perfect partner. What could they possibly have to be unhappy about?

But, according to an expert on parasocial relationships (those we have with celebrities, in which we feel a form of attachment to someone who doesn't know we exist), there's more to it. Sally Theran, Ph.D., explained to Harper's Bazaar in 2022, "When you have a parasocial relationship with someone, you look up to them and idealize them in some way. As a result, you really want that person to be happy and successful in every way possible. ... Your hope for their relationship to work out is a manifestation of a kind of wish fulfillment for yourself."

What can be even more surprising than your favorite celebrity couple splitting up, though, is to hear that they've been broken up for some time before announcing it to the world. From Meryl Streep's seemingly perfect relationship to Kaley Cuoco and Johnny Galecki's romance, here are the celebrity couples who kept their separations a secret.

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith

For decades, Will and Jada Pinkett Smith seemed like the perfect couple, but over the years, there were signs that their marriage wasn't as it seemed. The two met on the set of the actor's breakout show "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" in 1990 when Jada unsuccessfully auditioned for a role. They tied the knot in 1997, welcomed their son Jaden to the world in 1998, and their daughter Willow was born in 2000. Now a family of four, it seemed like the Smiths would take on the world, but cracks in Will and Jada's relationship began to appear in 2013 when she insinuated that they had an open relationship.

Then, in 2016, it was revealed that the Smiths had separated briefly, leading Jada to date singer August Alsina for a short time. Soon, all seemed well between the married couple and they looked happier than ever ... until the infamous incident at the Oscars in 2022, when Will physically assaulted Chris Rock for making a joke at Jada's expense. It was finally revealed in October 2023 in Jada's book "Worthy" that she and Will had been separated for the last seven years.

Speaking with Today, she explained why she felt the relationship ended. "I think by the time we got to 2016 we were just exhausted with trying. I think we were both kinda still stuck in our fantasy of what we thought the other person should be," she explained.

Meryl Streep and Don Gummer

It's nearly impossible to picture the "Sophie's Choice" actor without her longtime husband by her side. Meryl Streep and Don Gummer, a sculptor, had known each other for less than six months when they got married in 1978, following her breakout role "The Deer Hunter." He was by the actor's side when she won her first Oscar for "Kramer vs. Kramer," and she thanked Gummer while accepting her latest Academy Award in 2012 for "The Iron Lady." The couple had four children over the years, Henry, Mamie, Grace, and Louisa, and Streep has at times credited Gummer for being a great father.

In 2018, after four decades of marriage, the couple made their last public appearance together at the Oscars. Then, in October of 2023, a representative for Streep announced that she and Gummer hadn't been together for many years. The statement written for NBC News read, "Don Gummer and Meryl Streep have been separated for more than 6 years, and while they will always care for each other, they have chosen lives apart." While the actor and sculptor made very rare comments about their relationship, it was still shocking that they were able to hide their separation from the public for so many years, given Streep's notoriety in the film industry.

Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman

Fans will remember the comedic chemistry between Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman when they starred together in 1996's "Matilda" as the title character's awful parents. By then, the couple had been together for 25 years and married for 14, as they tied the knot in 1982 after dating for 11 years. DeVito and Perlman had also already had three children together, Lucy, Gracie, and Jake, making their parental performances even more believable and funny.

The public became aware of the couple's relationship troubles in 2012 when they announced they would be splitting up, but DeVito and Perlman resolved their conflict and got back together just five months later. The actors were less forthcoming when they finally separated in March 2017, but in May 2023, Perlman spilled all of the details on Julia Louis-Dreyfus' podcast "Wiser Than Me."

"I'm not gonna ... sugarcoat it. [The shift in our dynamic] was difficult. It was very difficult at first. And there were a lot of reasons that we separated, which I'm not gonna go into. But it took time for us to come to this somehow pretty decent understanding and relationship with each other," she explained. Despite their split, Perlman explained that she and DeVito are still legally married and see each other often.

Matthew Perry and Lizzy Caplan

The late "Friends" alum divulged several intimate details about his past relationships when he released his memoir "Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing" in 2022. Matthew Perry's longest relationship had been with "Mean Girls" star Lizzy Caplan, who was 13 years his junior. Although he doesn't mention her by name in his book, the timeline matches up to their six-year relationship; they had spent the first two years as friends with benefits and, after making it official, Perry almost proposed.

He backed out at the last minute and, in 2012, they quietly broke up. Perry wrote about the regret he felt afterward in his memoir, stating, "I often think if I'd asked [her to marry me], now we'd have two kids and a house. Instead, I'm some schmuck who's alone in his house at 53."

Speaking with GQ in October 2022, Perry explained that ending great relationships became a self-destructive pattern of his. "I break up with them because I'm deathly afraid that they will find out that I'm not enough, that I don't matter, and that I'm too needy, and they'll break up with me and that will annihilate me and I'll have to take drugs and that will kill me. That's why I break up with these wonderful women that have crossed my path," he remarked. Tragically, given Perry's death in October 2023, we will never know if he would have eventually found the one.

Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis

The "Don't Worry Darling" director has been at the center of a couple of celebrity breakups that hit fans hard. However, Olivia Wilde's separation from Jason Sudeikis took almost an entire year to surface, as their seven-year relationship had crumbled privately.

The two had initially met in 2011 at a "Saturday Night Live" party, but they didn't get together right away. By the end of 2012, Wilde and Sudeikis were engaged; by mid-2014, they had welcomed their son Otis to the world; and in October 2016, they had their daughter Daisy. Come November 2020, Wilde and Sudeikis called their engagement off, with a source confirming to Entertainment Tonight that they had moved out of their apartment together in late 2019. "They just didn't work as a couple anymore. ... Their kids are their number one priority and at the forefront of any decision they make," they said. Just a couple of months later, Wilde made headlines holding hands with Harry Styles.

While speaking with GQ in July 2021, the "Ted Lasso" star explained that he had hit rock bottom but was coming out the other side of the breakup stronger. "I'll have a better understanding of why [the relationship ended] in a year, and an even better one in two, and an even greater one in five, and it'll go from being, you know, a book of my life to becoming a chapter to a paragraph to a line to a word to a doodle," he said.

Laurence Fishburne and Gina Torres

Known for his iconic portrayal of Morpheus in the "Matrix" franchise, Laurence Fishburne has been in the industry for decades and was often spotted on the red carpet standing next to his wife, Gina Torres. An actor herself, the couple have co-starred in several films, including "The Matrix Reloaded," "The Matrix Revolutions," "Five Fingers," and 2014's TV series "Hannibal." Contrary to popular belief, Fishburne and Torres didn't meet on the set of the classic sci-fi film, as they had already become engaged by 2001. The celebrity couple tied the knot in New York City in 2002 and, five years later, had their daughter Delilah.

Sadly, after 14 years of marriage, Torres announced in 2017 that she and Fishburne had been separated for over a year, and the public had been none the wiser about the actors' split. In a statement released to People, she explained, "With heavy hearts, Laurence and I quietly separated and began the dissolution of our marriage in the early fall of last year. There are no bad guys here. Only a love story with a different ending than either one of us had expected."

Florence Pugh and Zach Braff

Zach Braff has been acting since before Florence Pugh was born, and fans were quick to point out their 21-year age gap when news broke of their relationship. The "Midsommar" star and "Scrubs" alum were first thought to have been dating way back in January 2019 when he traveled to Oxford, where Pugh is from. From there, speculation grew as the two worked on a short film together before becoming official on social media.

Following Pugh's birthday tribute post to Braff, she shared a video to Instagram in April 2020 where she described the toxic comments followers had been posting about the age gap between her and the actor. "I am 24 years old. I do not need you to tell me who I should and should not love, and I would never in my life tell anyone who they can and cannot love. It is not your place. The abuse that you throw at him is abuse that you are throwing at me," she explained. It was the first of many incidents in which she and Braff would have to defend their relationship from those who shamed their difference in age.

Sadly, in August 2022, Pugh confirmed to Harper's Bazaar that she and Braff had decided to quietly break up earlier in the year, saying, "We've been trying to do this separation without the world knowing, because it's been a relationship that everybody has an opinion on."

Helena Bonham Carter and Tim Burton

Perhaps one of the most unique and unconventional relationships in Hollywood was the one between actor Helena Bonham Carter and director Tim Burton. The two initially met in the year 2000 when she auditioned for "Planet of the Apes," which he directed, but because they were each in romantic relationships already, it supposedly took some time before they got together. Finally, in 2001, Bonham Carter and Burton made their official red carpet debut as a couple.

Throughout their relationship, they collaborated on several films, including "Corpse Bride," "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street," and "Alice in Wonderland." Although they never married, Bonham Carter and Burton had two children in their 13 years together, Billy Raymond and Nell, but they weren't your average family of four. In 2008, it was revealed that the actor and director lived in two separate houses that were connected by only a hallway.

Then, in December 2014, a representative for Bonham Carter announced that the couple had separated earlier in the year, but would continue to co-parent their children. In speaking about the breakup, the actor told Red Magazine the following year, "Our relationship was always somewhat special, and I think it'll always remain special. We did find each other. And really, the mark of a successful relationship shouldn't be whether you're there forever after. Sometimes you're not meant to be forever together. Sometimes you have to come to terms with the fact that that was it."

Sean Hannity and Jill Rhodes

It's not just actors and musicians who have kept their separations a secret from the public; conservative news anchor Sean Hannity and former journalist Jill Rhodes had the rumor mill running when news of their split up finally surfaced, too. They had met back in 1991 when Hannity was working on a radio show and Rhodes was a columnist in Alabama. The couple tied the knot in 1993 and had two children, Sean Patrick and Merri Kelly, though they remained fairly private over the years.

Despite Hannity's success on Fox News, his separation from Rhodes after more than two decades of marriage went largely unnoticed by the public for several years until they jointly announced their separation in June 2020. The statement published by People read, "Sean and Jill are committed to working together for the best interests of their children. Amicable agreements were entered into over four years ago between Sean and Jill. They maintain a close relationship as parents to their children."

Elliot Page and Emma Portner

Back in 2017, "The Umbrella Academy" star Elliot Page and dancer Emma Portner struck up a relationship. It was just a few years after the actor had come out to the world as gay, and fans were supportive of their relationship. Page announced that they had tied the knot in January 2018 and he gushed openly about his love for Portner, telling Net-a-Porter the following year, "I'm so in love. I love being married."

Page again made headlines in December 2019 when he came out as transgender, and his wife was his number one supporter, as she shared a touching tribute on Instagram. "Trans, queer and non-binary people are a gift to this world. I also ask for patience & privacy but that you join me in the fervent support of trans life every single day. Elliot's existence is a gift in and of itself. Shine on sweet E. Love you so much," it read.

Unfortunately, all wasn't well within their relationship, and after three years of marriage, Page and Portner released a joint statement to CNN about their decision to split. "After much thought and careful consideration, we have made the difficult decision to divorce following our separation last summer. We have the utmost respect for each other and remain close friends."

Kaley Cuoco and Johnny Galecki

While some celebrity couples shocked us by announcing their quiet separations, others have amazed fans with their abilities to get together and break up without raising a hint of suspicion. Kaley Cuoco has had a handful of public relationships, but the romance with her "The Big Bang Theory" co-star Johnny Galecki was surprisingly sneaky.

The two first met on set and began dating in 2008, but they insisted on keeping their relationship private for the sake of the show's fans. "[Galecki] was very protective of what the fans would think, because we wanted them to want Leonard and Penny together so badly, that if they saw us together in real life, it could ruin the fantasy," Cuoco explained while speaking on "The Big Bang Theory: The Definitive, Inside Story of the Epic Hit Series." After almost two years together, Galecki and Cuoco called it quits in late 2009. Thankfully, they didn't let their relationship impact their ability to work together, and the stars remained close friends to this day.

It wasn't until September 2010, nearly a year since they split, that Cuoco finally revealed that she and Galecki had dated. While speaking with CBS Watch! Magazine (as reported by People), she said that the secrecy around their relationship began to eat at her, saying, "Everyone was always asking, and we deny-deny-denied. ... That's not the kind of relationship I want — I don't want to be hiding. We couldn't do anything. It wasn't as fun as we wanted it to be."