13 surprising celebrity couples who broke up before ultimately getting married — and are still together

Claudia Willen
·13 min read
kate and william dublin visit
Kate Middleton is married to Prince William. Samir Hussein/Getty Images
  • Some of the world's most famous married couples broke up and got back together before exchanging vows. 

  • Many of the couples point to their splits as pivotal moments in their relationships.

  • Keep reading to see which well-known couples took time apart before walking down the aisle. 

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

While some celebrity couples may seem like they have fairytale romances, many have gone through rough patches to get where they are today. 

And though some of the stars have said that breaking up with their now-spouse was a mistake, others point to the time apart as a useful, healthy step toward marriage. 

We've rounded up the celebrity couples that broke up and got back together on the path to their wedding day. 

Kristin Salaky contributed reporting to an earlier version of this post. 

Dax Shepard ended things with Kristen Bell shortly after they began dating.

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Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell broke up early on in their relationship. Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Even though they're now happily married, Bell and Shepard hit a rough patch around three months after they started seeing each other in 2007. 

"He sat me down and said, 'I can't have this right now. I think you're wonderful, but I am still dating other people,'" Bell told PopSugar in 2017.

She continued, "And then I, like, liquefied and fell to the ground, but I felt incredibly respected that he had the balls to tell me we weren't in the same place."

Shortly after Shepard ended things with the "Veronica Mars" actress, he realized that he'd made a mistake.

"He called me and he was like, 'I don't know what I was thinking. I was dating someone else but they're just not as interesting as you, and I don't know what I'm doing,' and he came back," Bell recalled.

Shepard and Bell got married in 2013 and share two daughters together, but the actress said that she doesn't let her husband forget that they almost went different directions. 

"I still always remind him of when he broke up with me," she told the outlet. 

John Legend tried to get space from Chrissy Teigen, but she told him, "No."

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Chrissy Teigen and John Legend are married. Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images

Teigen and Legend first met when the supermodel starred in his music video for "Stereo" in 2006. They kept in touch for the next year via texts and calls while the musician was on tour. 

"Early on in the relationship, I was on tour with him and he'd gotten sick," Teigen told Cosmopolitan in 2016. "He was feeling really bummed and stressed out. He was like, 'I can't be in a relationship right now.'"

She said that their split "lasted for one day."

"I knew it came from a place other than us not working," she said. 

Legend has also opened up about their near breakup and told The Guardian that he was "really stressed and busy."

"I was just like: 'I'd just be happier single right now,'" he said.  

In response, Teigen told him that they shouldn't break up. She later clarified that she challenged Legend's decision because he was having a particularly tough day. 

She tweeted in 2017 that it wasn't "a typical breakup," saying that, "He was on tour and his voice hurt and he was being a whiny face about everything and so yeah, I was like, 'no.'"

Legend and Teigen have been together ever since their 24-hour hiatus. They tied the knot in 2013 and share two children together. 

Adam Levine and Behati Prinsloo broke up for two months before tying the knot.

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They got engaged quickly after getting back together. Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP

Levine and Prinsloo may be a married couple with two daughters today, but they went through a messy breakup several years ago. 

The couple began dating in 2012, after the Maroon 5 frontman broke up with Prinsloo's friend and fellow Victoria's Secret model Anne Vyalitsyna.

Levine and Prinsloo dated until May 2013, around the same time that he reportedly began seeing Sports Illustrated supermodel Nina Agdal. But that relationship was short-lived.

By July 2013, Levine and Prinsloo rekindled and got engaged.

"We broke up for two months, realized that it was the worst decision, then got back together, got engaged and got married. It was a wild ride," she told Porter, according to Bustle

They got married less than a year later and have been together since. 

Justin Timberlake opened up about his "hurtful" split from Jessica Biel.

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Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel are married. Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

The now-married pair began dating in 2007 and broke up in March 2011.

A few months later, Timberlake spoke about his heartbreak during a Vanity Fair interview.

"She is the single-handedly most significant person in my life," he told the outlet. "In my 30 years, she is the most special person, OK? So I protect it, and until somebody shows me what would be more fulfilling at this point, that's what I have to do."

"I would rather not talk about her, because it's hurtful for me," he continued.

Timberlake and Biel rekindled their romance in October 2011. They got married in October 2012 and now have two sons together. 

Carey Hart and Pink have broken up twice.

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Carey Hart and Pink are married. Christopher Polk/Getty

Even though Pink and Hart broke up several times, they've emerged even stronger. 

The couple began dating in 2001 and then parted ways in 2003 for about a year. They got back together, and she proposed to him in 2005 at the Pro 250 class finals.

Pink and Hart got married in January 2006 but split two years later. Their breakup didn't last long, though. In 2009, Hart and Pink announced they were back together.

"We're rebuilding," he told People. "Sometimes you have to take a couple of steps backwards to move forward."

Today, they share two children, Willow and Jameson.

Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade took time apart before getting married.

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Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade are a married couple. Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Union and Wade took their time getting to the altar, and one stop on their journey included a brief split. 

The basketball star and the actor began dating in 2009 but briefly split in 2013. During that time, Wade reportedly fathered a child with friend and "Basketball Wives" star Aja Metoyer. 

But Wade and Union got back together soon after, and the professional athlete said they had to work out scheduling and relationship issues together. 

"We supported each other … but at the end of the day we came back together and [said], 'Listen, we want to continue this, we want to continue to try to get better each day,' and she's been with me, and I've been with her all summer long. We're going strong now," Wade said on "The Tonight Show."

The couple got married in August 2014 and have a daughter named Kaavia. 

Prince William and Kate Middleton nearly parted ways before deciding to get married.

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William said the breakup was a good thing. Chris Jackson/Getty Images

The college sweethearts stole the world's hearts when they had an over-the-top royal wedding, but their fairytale romance almost ended in heartbreak. 

The royal couple began dating in 2003 during their time at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. They dated until 2007, which is when they split.

Although Clarence House declined to comment about the split at the time, a biography called "Kate: The Biography" later stated that it was a mix of intense media attention, their busy schedules, and William's habit of clubbing with other women.

"We both were very young … we were sort of both finding ourselves as such and being different characters and stuff, it was very much trying to find our way and we were growing up, and so it was just sort of a bit of space and a bit of things like that and it worked out for the better," he told the UK Press Association.  

After some time apart, the couple eventually reunited in June 2010 and got engaged later that year. They have three children together: Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis. 

Nick Lachey and Vanessa Lachey remained friends when they broke up.

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They were only broken up for a few months. Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Lachey was involved in a pretty high-profile marriage — and then split — from ex-wife Jessica Simpson. But you may forget he and now-wife Vanessa Lachey had a pretty public falling out too. 

The couple began dating in 2006 and split in June 2009, assuring fans that they remained "good friends."

That was apparently true, because, by October 2009, they were back on. 

"I am happy in a relationship," Lachey told Good Day Philadelphia, according to Us Weekly. "I was single for a minute there, and then we've kind of patched things up."

The happy couple got married in July 2011 and have three children together: Phoenix, Camden, and Brooklyn. 

Michael Phelps and Nicole Johnson have parted ways several times before exchanging vows.

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Michael Phelps and Nicole Johnson began dating in 2007. Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Celebrity Fight Night

They're a married couple now, but Michael Phelps and Nicole Johnson's relationship hasn't always been easy. 

The couple began dating in 2007 and went through a few breakups along the way — including one that lasted from 2011 to 2014. They got engaged in 2015, and, at the time, Phelps shared how he'd always wanted to win Johnson back. 

"I said to a couple of my friends if I ever had the chance to get her back, that would be it," Phelps told USA Today. "She was the one I loved the most."

Johnson told Cosmopolitan that the couple needed to grow separately in order to have a better relationship today.

"Michael and I both know that had we tried to have a child and get married in the previous time we were together, it probably would not have ended pretty," she said. "We both had a lot of growing up to do."

The couple secretly tied the knot in June 2016 and now have three children: Boomer, Beckett, and Maverick. 

Hailey Bieber (née Baldwin) said Justin Bieber refused to be in the same room as her after their 2016 breakup.

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Justin Bieber and Hailey Bieber arrive at the Los Angeles premiere of "Justin Bieber: Seasons" on Monday, Jan. 27, 2020. Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

The now-married couple's relationship dates back to 2009, when Hailey, who was 12 at the time, met the pop star at a fan event.

Justin and Hailey became friends and eventually started dating non-exclusively in 2016. Later that year, they had a messy split. 

"Negative things happened that we still need to talk about and work through," Hailey told Vogue of their 2016 split three years later.

She continued, "'Fizzled' would not be the right word — it was more like a very dramatic excommunication. There was a period where if I walked into a room, he would walk out."

Justin briefly dated Sofia Richie and even rekindled with his on-again, off-again ex Selena Gomez before he got back together with Hailey in 2018. She later told Vogue that they reunited at a conference in Miami hosted by pastor Rich Wilkerson Jr.

By July of that year, the "Yummy" singer proposed to Hailey, and they tied the knot at a New York City courthouse that September. 

In 2019, they had a larger wedding for friends and family in South Carolina. 

Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos briefly broke up before eloping in Las Vegas.

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Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos have been married for 24 years. Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

Ripa and Consuelos are one of Hollywood's longest-lasting couples, but there was a brief period when they almost didn't end up together. 

They met as "All My Children" costars in 1995 and immediately fell in love. However, they broke up a year later, Consuelos revealed on an episode of "Watch What Happens Live."

He said that even though they were apart at the time, the costars had to appear together on "Live With Regis and Kathie Lee" to chat about "All My Children."

"She wouldn't talk to me, and that made me go crazy," the actor said.

Consuelos admitted that he followed his ex to Central Park to patch up the relationship, and they ended up eloping in Las Vegas the next day. 

Ripa and Consuelos have now been married for 24 years and share three children: Michael, Lola, and Joaquin. 

Rose Leslie and Kit Harington reportedly split up before they got married.

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Rose Leslie and Kit Harington are married. Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

The actors met while filming HBO's hit show "Game of Thrones." 

The on-screen couple was rumored to be dating after TMZ published photos of Harington and Leslie holding hands. However, the costars remained private about their romance and never directly confirmed their relationship.

A year later, a source told The Stir that Leslie and Harington broke up but continued to appear as on-screen lovers on "Game of Thrones."

In 2014, Us Weekly reported that the costars had gotten back together.

"They've been back on for about three months," a source told the outlet. "That said, it's casual right now and they're having fun. They're not moving in together or anything like that yet."

The couple didn't go public with their relationship until 2016, when they walked the Olivier Awards red carpet together. 

Harington and Leslie's engagement was announced in 2017, and they got married in Scotland one year later. 

Now, Harington and Leslie are expecting their first child together.  

Hilary Duff and Matthew Koma split up in 2017, months after they started dating.

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Hilary Duff and Matthew Koma are married. Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Adopt Together

Duff first met Koma to work on her album "Breathe In. Breathe Out." in 2015.

She later told Vogue that there "wasn't an instant spark" since they interacted in a professional setting but explained that she and the musician formed a "nice friendship" right away. 

They made their red-carpet debut in early 2017 at a pre-Screen Actors Guild Awards party. Several months later, E! News reported that Koma and Duff had broken up due to their "busy schedules."

Their split lasted several months, and Duff addressed their relationship on an episode of "The Talk" in December 2017. 

"This is the third time that we've dated," she said, adding, "Timing is such a big deal… third time's a charm!" 

Duff continued to explain that she felt their breakups were reconcilable each time. 

"I think that you have history and a past with someone and love, and just because it doesn't work out the first time, the second time, as long as there's not too much damage done, then, it can always work out again," she said. 

The couple got engaged in May 2019, tying the knot that December. Koma and Duff share a daughter named Banks and are currently expecting another child.

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