Whether on-screen or off-screen, relationships are a lot of work. But through the endless challenges, hilarious dramas, and even serious arguments, TV couples manage to pull through (well, some of the time!) and, in the end, they become such a deep part of pop culture we sometimes even forget that the actors aren’t always together in real life.
David Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston? Courtney Cox and Matthew Perry? Please! It’s Ross and Rachel and Monica and Chandler, now and forever. (If you haven’t noticed, I’m a big fan of ‘Friends’ and I hope you are, too.) Bored Panda has collected some of the most iconic TV couples and compared the photos to those of how the actors look now. Have a scroll through the pictures and remember to upvote your fave ones.
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Celebrity and pop-culture expert Mike Sington, known as Hollywood’s Ultimate Insider, told Bored Panda that chemistry is what makes an iconic TV (and movie!) couple iconic. “It’s no different than in real life. It’s that certain something you see between a couple. You can’t define it, but you know when it’s there. It gives you a ‘feel good’ reaction that makes you want to wrap yourself in that couple’s story, and it never gets old.” Check out our full interview with Mike below.
#1 X-Files Mulder & Scully (David Duchovny And Gillian Anderson)
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#2 Parks And Recreation, Ben & Leslie (Adam Scott And Amy Poehler)
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Celeb expert Mike loves the original silver-screen sweethearts Rose and Jack from ‘Titanic’: “My pick for the most famous on-screen couple is Rose and Jack from ‘Titanic’. You became invested in their relationship from the start, even though you knew it was doomed (spoiler alert: the ship sinks). And millions watched their love story over and over again, which carried ‘Titanic’ on to become one of the biggest movies of all time, making Rose and Jack the most famous on-screen couple of all time.”
#3 The Office, Pam & Jim (Jenna Fischer And John Krasinski)
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#4 Friends, Monica & Chandler (Courtney Cox And Matthew Perry)
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Mike explained that it’s far easier for movie actors to branch out and try out new roles than it is for those playing characters in TV series. “Actors who primarily do movies find it much less difficult to spread out and do different roles after making it big as a particular character. The movie audience kind of expects to see them in different roles. It’s much more difficult for a TV actor known for a specific character because the audience has seen them as that character week after week after week.”
#5 Gilmore Girls, Luke & Lorelai (Scott Patterson And Lauren Graham)
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#6 Scrubs J.d. & Elliot Reid (Zach Braff And Sarah Chalke)
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As for actors aging gracefully, Mike is a big believer in staying natural and embracing the changes that time brings about. Denying the passage of time can harm your career and even drive away the fans! “I’ve said this a million times, and I’ll say it again. The best way to age gracefully is to just age gracefully! Once an actor starts with facial cosmetic work, whether it is surgery or fillers, it physically affects their ability to work as an effective actor. An actor needs natural facial expression, and once that’s altered, it’s almost always noticeable and can actually end a career.”
#7 How I Met Your Mother, Marshall & Lily (Alyson Hannigan And Jason Segel)
Image credits: alysonhannigan
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#8 Game Of Thrones, Jon Snow & Ygritte (Kit Harington And Rose Leslie)
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I was also incredibly curious to find out who Mike would vote for as the best couple in ‘Friends’ if he had to choose between Ross and Rachel vs. Monica and Chandler. “Going to go with Monica and Chandler on this one. It’s so wonderful to start as friends, and have a natural progression into a love story over the arc of the entire series. It would be great for any couple to have the same storyline!” he said and I fully agree with him!
#9 Parks And Recreation, Andy & April ( Chris Pratt And Aubrey Plaza)
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#10 Pretty Little Liars, Aria & Ezra (Ian Harding And Lucy Hale)
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Whether or not a couple will be iconic or just ‘meh’ isn’t something that you can predict from the get-go. Sure, you can have focus groups and meetings between producers and actors to flesh out what should be done. But it’s still playing the odds. Whether or not a couple will be famous depends on the audience and how they react to the characters on the screen.
However, that’s not a reason to be complacent and just rely on luck. When something just clicks together, it’s often because the actors have great chemistry together and work well together like, well, a couple.
#11 Grey’s Anatomy, Meredith & Derek (Ellen Pompeo And Patrick Dempsey)
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#12 The Office, Dwight Schrute & Angela Martin (Rainn Wilson And Angela Kinsey)
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But let’s not leave those amazing writers out in the cold and rain, though! A good script, living, breathing dialogue, and lines oozing with charisma can help build the foundation for realistic or better-than-life relationships for characters. Personally, I believe a mix of a solid script with actors who can make those lines their own is the perfect concoction for magic in front of the cameras.
It’s become almost a cliche that some on-screen couples later become romantically involved in real life, too! That doesn’t mean that all actors will inevitably couple-up. However, it does prove that the chemistry on the stage and the emotional links between the actors can develop into genuine feelings for one another, given enough time.
#13 How I Met Your Mother, Ted & Robin (Joshas Radnoras And Cobie Smulders)
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#14 Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Buffy And Angel (Sarah Michelle Gellar And David Boreanaz)
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Alas, there’s no stopping the passage of time. However wonderful some of the actors looked in their youth, it’s no surprise that most of them are very different now, so many years later. The key to aging well lies in the very same place as it did for staying healthy while you’re young: taking care of yourself.
Through consistent, daily exercise and a healthy diet, you can keep your body toned and ready to tackle the world no matter how old you are. Cutting back on sugar, alcohol, and tobacco is also a great way to keep your body feeling young. Going out into the sun? Remember to put on sunblock to protect your skin.
#15 The Vampire Diaries, Damon Salvatore & Elena Gilbert (Ian Somerhalder And Nina Dobrev)
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#16 Glee, Blaine & Kurt (Darren Criss And Chris Colfer)
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It’s not just your body that you have to take care of; it’s your mind as well. While exercise and a good diet will most definitely help your brain, you also need to keep it active and sharp, like a well-honed sword. Reading books, solving puzzles, taking on new hobbies, and having an active social life all slot into this perfectly.
However, that also means keeping your mind uncluttered and toning down your social media use. It doesn’t mean becoming a technological hermit and going off it completely (we need it to stay in touch with our loved ones during the pandemic), however, tempting. But it does mean that we need to balance how much time we spend scrolling through Facebook and bombarding ourselves with the 24/7 news cycle instead of going for a walk, reading a quality book, or doing what hobbits do best—gardening.
#17 Modern Family, Cam & Mitch (Eric Stonestreet And Jesse Tyler Ferguson)
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#18 Friends, Rachel & Ross (Jennifer Aniston And David Schwimmer)
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Naturally, actors tend to have more money and better access to personal chefs and trainers which, in turn, helps them age more gracefully. However, a few wrinkles or gray hairs are nothing to fret about. If you embrace the changes your body is going through, life will become far simpler. It’s all about having the confidence to present yourself to the world as you are: on-screen and off.
#19 Sex And The City, Carrie & Big (Chris Noth And Sarah Jessica Parker)
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#20 Full House, Jesse Katsopoli & Becky Katsopoli (Lori Loughlin And John Stamos)
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Which TV couple is your favorite, dear Pandas? Do you think that Ross and Rachel are a better couple than Monica and Chandler? Who do you think Ted should have ended up with in ‘How I Met Your Mother?’ Which pair of actors do you think aged the most gracefully? Who’s your favorite screen couple of all time, real or animated? We can’t wait to read your comments, so drop us a line and be part of the discussion.
#21 Game Of Thrones, Grey Worm & Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel And Jacob Anderson)
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#22 Smallville, Clark Kent & Lois Lane (Tom Welling And Erica Durance)
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#23 Gossip Girl, Chuck & Blair (Ed Westwick And Leighton Meester)
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#24 The L Word, Bette & Tina (Jennifer Beals And Laurel Holloman)
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#25 90210, David & Donna (Brian Austin Green And Tori Spelling)
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#26 My So-Called Life, Jordan Catalano & Angela Chase (Jared Leto And Claire Danes)
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#27 Chuck, Chuck Bartowski & Sarah Walker (Zachary Levi And Yvonne Strahovski)
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#28 Friday Night Lights, Coach Taylor & Tami (Connie Britton And Kyle Chandler)
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#29 Moonlighting, David & Maddie (Cybill Shepherd And Bruce Willis)
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#30 The Office, Michael Scott & Holly Flax(Steve Carell And Amy Ryan)
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#31 Lost, Jake & Kate (Matthew Fox And Evangeline Lilly)
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#32 Sex And The City, Carrie & Aidan (Sarah Jessica Parker And John Corbett)
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#33 Dawson’s Creek, Pacey & Joey, (Katie Holmes And Joshua Jackson)
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#34 Empire, Cookie & Luscious Lyon( Terrence Dashon Howard And Taraji P Henson)
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#35 Er, Doug & Carol ( Julianna Margulies And George Clooney)
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#36 The Mindy Project, Mindy & Danny (Mindy Kaling And Chris Messina)
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#37 Shameless, Veronica & Kevin (Steve Howey And Shanola Hampton)
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#38 The Vampire Diaries, Stefan Salvatore & Elena Gilbert (Paul Wesley And Nina Dobrev)
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#39 Gossip Girl, Dan & Serena (Penn Badgley And Blake Lively)
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#40 Scandal, Olivia Pope & Fitz (Kerry Washington And Tony Goldwyn)
Image credits: tonygoldwynOlivia Pope and Fitz, Scandal