As consumers, witnessing relationships between characters (that are fraught with tension and lead to epic feuds) is often the best part of films and series. When characters don’t like each other, the amount of conflict that can stem from that disdain is endless. Whether the stakes are large-scale or interpersonal, it keeps viewers entertained and invested. The same can be said when actors have complicated relationships with their fellow castmates behind the scenes.
Many times, this happens during or after actors work together on a set. Creative differences, pay discrepancies, and other factors can contribute to two people not getting along. However, there are other feuds between actors who have never worked together that are also quite interesting. While certain individuals cleared up their disagreements quickly, other feuds have spawned decades and lasted until one or both parties passed away. Here are 20 famous actor feuds throughout Hollywood history.
20 George Clooney and Russell Crowe
George Clooney and Russell Crowe have both earned their stripes in Hollywood, with billions of dollars in box office revenue and multiple prestigious awards. Clooney has branched out into filmmaking, and has multiple directing, producing, and writing credits under his belt. Crowe has also done behind-the-camera work. Over the years, Crowe’s name has been in the tabloids for supposed altercations he had with people. While he didn’t take physical shots at Clooney, he did hurl insults at the Tomorrowland actor.
An Unprovoked Attack
In an interview with The Guardian in 2005, Crowe expressed disgust towards actors who do commercials and ads. He called out Clooney specifically, stating, “I don’t do ads for suits in Spain like George Clooney.” And that wasn’t the only actor caught in Crowe’s verbal crossfire. The Gladiator star also called out Robert De Niro and Harrison Ford. Clooney responded, and a bit of a back and forth ensued, with Crowe calling his foe a “Frank Sinatra wannabe.” The entire rivalry seems quite odd and baseless, and cinephiles can probably count out a possible collab between the two in the future.
19 Bette Davis and Joan Crawford
When legendary Hollywood actresses come to mind, it’d be hard not to picture Bette Davis or Joan Crawford. Davis was known for playing fiery characters and for possessing that disposition off-screen as well. Crawford became a staple on the silver screen in romances and dramas during the Depression era. These powerhouse performers came together for the 1962 psychological thriller What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, in which they played sisters.
No Sisterly Love
The feud between these A-list stars was so iconic it was covered in the first season of Ryan Murphy’s docudrama Feud. The release of Davis’ film Ex-Lady was overshadowed by news of Crawford’s divorce (per Harper’s Bazaar). Since then, things have been rocky between the two. Toss in a love triangle involving another actor, professional grievances, public (and private) jabs, and the animosity between their characters in What Happened to Baby Jane?, and we have a rivalry that lasted until Crawford’s death. Davis coldly stated, “Joan Crawford is dead. Good.”
18 Lucy Liu and Bill Murray
Charlie’s Angels is an action comedy movie spin-off of the show of the same name. It follows three private investigators, also known as “angels,” who work for their boss, Charlie. His assistant is a man named John Bosley, who often works with the angels. Lucy Liu played one of the three angels in the 2000 movie reboot, with Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz rounding out the trio, while Bill Murray took on the role of Bosley. While the angels seem to have gotten on well during the filming of the two films, the same could not be said for Liu and Murray.
Coming to Blows
Liu has spoken vaguely about an incident while shooting, during which Murray insulted her and she “stood up for herself” (according to Yahoo Entertainment). Although Liu didn’t get into the specifics, crew members claimed Murray was unprofessional, belittling, and changed scripts at the last minute. Barrymore confirmed some of the rumors on her talk show, stating Murray was “in a bad mood” and “zeroed in on [Liu].” Liu expressed the unlikelihood of a follow-up film, and one could wonder if her experience with Murray is part of the reason.
17 Shannen Doherty and Alyssa Milano
Shannon Doherty and Alyssa Milano co-starred as two of the three main sisters in the fantastical drama Charmed. The series follows the sisters, who are also witches, as they use their powers for good and protect the world from harmful, evil forces. Doherty played Prue Halliwell, the oldest sister with telekinesis. Milano played Phoebe, the youngest of the trio with psychic abilities. Alongside the middle child, Piper (portrayed by Holly Marie Combs), viewers were able to experience the magical bond between the sisters and how they overcame supernatural obstacles.
An Unexpected Firing
It’s no secret that siblings often bicker, especially the oldest and youngest. The show depicted the ups and downs in the family, and it appeared that tension was present off-screen between two of the stars. Many fans were surprised when Doherty left the show after the third season, especially when it was a huge hit. In 2023, on Doherty’s podcast Let’s Be Clear, both Doherty and Combs claimed Milano got her fired. While Doherty and Combs remain close friends after all these years, it’s clear there are unresolved feelings between Prue and Phoebe.
16 Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis
Dean Martin is known for his melodic voice in hit songs like «Everybody Loves Somebody» and «That’s Amore.» However, he could also use his voice in the acting realm, spreading his reach in The Dean Martin Show and Ocean’s 11. Jerry Lewis was a comedian and actor who sparked laughter in audiences all over the world. Before their individual successes, they formed the pitch-perfect comedy duo Martin and Lewis, helping establish each of them as a household name. Unfortunately, the conflict present in their decade-long partnership soured their friendship.
Friends to Foes
Though Martin is arguably the more famous star today, at the start of the duo, it was Lewis who stood out. Lewis’ humor shone, and Martin was seen as the jumping-off point for much of the act. Martin felt stifled in the creative relationship and didn’t believe he could display his true talents while working next to Lewis. Neither spoke for 20 years before being reunited and reconciling on television in 1976, thanks to fellow Hollywood star Frank Sinatra.
15 Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron
Both Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron are both respected actors in the entertainment industry. Thus, their coming together for the highly-anticipated Mad Max: Fury Road in 2015 caused a great deal of excitement. The film takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where an oppressive cult leader, Immortan Joe, hoards resources and enslaves a group of women as his wives. Hardy portrays Mad Max, a man who witnessed the horrors Immortan Joe has inflicted on him and those around him. Theron steps into the role of Imperator Furiosa, a tough war captain who turns on the leader.
A Reluctant Partnership
Max and Furiosa may have joined forces to save the imprisoned wives, but an undercurrent of tension always lurked beneath their interactions. Likewise, on set, Hardy and Theron didn’t work together harmoniously. Theron stated, “Maybe the movie is what it is because we struggled so much with each other, and those characters had to struggle so much with each other,” (according to the Wall Street Journal).
Furthermore, journalist Kyle Buchanan released a book about the making of the award-winning film, recounting moments when the two actors came to blows. When Hardy allegedly arrived to set hours late, Theron began shouting at him (via BuzzFeed News). It seems safe to say that they pulled from real-life experience when portraying the reluctant alliance of their characters.
14 Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra
Marlon Brando first rose to prominence in various Broadway productions before making the transition to the big screen. His breakout role was Stanley Kowalski in the book adaptation A Streetcar Named Desire, which earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. Frank Sinatra was a singer and actor, known for classic songs such as «New York, New York» and performances like the womanizer Joey in My Pal Joey. Brando and Sinatra came together to work on the musical film Guys and Dolls, about a gambler who recruits an old friend to start an illegal business.
That Escalated Quickly
Several sources claim that Sinatra gunned for the lead role that eventually went to Brando, already starting the working relationship off on the wrong foot. Tensions continued to mount as Brando would allegedly flub his lines on purpose to have Sinatra do multiple takes, and Sinatra, as the more experienced vocalist, refused to help Brando with his singing (per Express).
Topping things off, Sinatra didn’t appreciate the friendship growing between his then-wife Ava Gardner and Brando. A friend of Brando’s claimed Sinatra hired men to abduct Brando at gunpoint and threaten to kill him. Not your average workplace dispute.
13 Olivia Rodrigo and Sabrina Carpenter
Both Olivia Rodrigo and Sabrina Carpenter are actresses and singers who started with Disney. Rodrigo starred in Bizaardvark, but truly got her big break in High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. During that time, she released an album titled Sour and the single «Drivers License,» both hitting number one in several countries. Carpenter starred in the series Girl Meets World and later the film The Hate U Give. She has released several albums and singles, and opened for Taylor Swift on her Eras Tour.
Shade Through Songs
Though both gained initial recognition for their acting, this feud has expressed itself mostly through their songs. Many speculated that Rodrigo dated her High School Musical: The Musical: The Series co-star Joshua Bassett. After the relationship ended, Bassett was seen with Carpenter. A lyrics analysis of «Drivers License» points to Bassett and Carpenter’s alleged romance. “And you’re probably with that blonde girl / Who always made me doubt / She’s so much older than me / She’s everything I’m insecure about.” Carpenter’s own single, «Skin,» seems to reference much of this drama. All three individuals seem to have moved on now, but this love triangle garnered much fanfare throughout its duration.
12 Katherine Heigl and Seth Rogen
The romantic comedy Knocked Up follows Allison Scott and Ben Stone, two people who meet at a club and have a one-night stand. Allison is a high-achieving reporter, while Ben is a lazy slacker, so the two don’t expect to meet again. However, once Allison starts experiencing morning sickness and calculating the dates, she realizes Ben will be in her life more than she anticipated. Katherine Heigl and Seth Rogen play the titular characters, and though fans had many laughs while watching the film, there was little humor between the leads.
Blown Out of Proportion
Both actors seemed to have gotten along while filming. However, comments made after the fact soured the relationship. Heigl stated the film was “sexist” and didn’t like the negative light in which women were depicted (according to Vanity Fair). Plenty of pop culture enthusiasts discuss that these valid criticisms were responsible for the bad image the media painted of Heigl and a seeming freeze in her career.
And it wasn’t just the media slamming Heigl for her feelings, Rogen spoke out against the actress in multiple interviews. He went on to say he felt “betrayed” by his co-star because he thought the entire Knocked Up experience was a positive one (via The Hollywood Reporter).
11 Lea Michele and Naya Rivera
Glee is a musical dramedy that follows the lives of a glee club in a small town. Among the ensemble cast were characters Rachel Berry (Lea Michele) and Santana Lopez (Naya Rivera). Rachel is the face of the glee club and has great ambitions to make it big on Broadway. Santana is an unfriendly cheerleader with a lot more to her than her hardened exterior portrays. Both the characters bump heads in the series, over conflicts related and unrelated to the glee club. When the microphones were turned off, the actresses carried over the incompatibility.
A lot of tragedy has surrounded Glee, and Rivera’s death by accidental drowning while apparently saving her son is among the top. In 2023, Investigation Discovery released a docuseries entitled The Price of Glee. In one of the episodes, Rivera’s father claimed the co-stars “hated each other.” While it might be easy to chalk it up to hearsay, other cast members have spoken up about their unpleasant relationship with Michele. Chris Colfer, Amber Riley, and Heather Morris, among others, give credence to the supposed feud between Michele and Rivera.
10 Tyrese Gibson and James Franco
James Franco is an actor and filmmaker with many hit roles, including as Harry in the Spider-Man series starring Tobey Maguire. Tyrese Gibson is an actor and singer best known for his recurring role as Roman in the Fast and Furious franchise. Besides the fast-paced plot, many fans appreciate the strong bond between the main cast. Unfortunately, the same didn’t happen on the set of Annapolis, a drama about a man who joins the Navy.
Taking Things Too Far
Franco’s character has a boxing background, and it follows him during his Navy training. The controversial actor was previously known for being a dedicated method actor and got too wrapped up in the role from his co-star’s perspective. According to Gibson, Franco didn’t hold back during the boxing scenes and hit him with force. Sure, it added realism to the film, but did little for Gibson’s perception of Franco. Per The Irish Examiner back in 2007, Gibson said, “Me and Mr James Franco didn’t hit it off too well. I never want to work with him again, and I’m sure he feels the same way. It felt very personal.”
9 Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams
Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams starred in what many consider to be one of the greatest romances of the 2000s in the book-to-screen adaptation of The Notebook. Allie Hamilton (McAdams) and Noah Calhoun (Gosling) grew up on opposite sides of the tax bracket. But that doesn’t stop them from falling in love, despite Allie’s family’s protestations. The young couple are shown to butt heads and possess the ability to get under one another’s skin like no other; the same could be said for the actors.
Hate to Love Dynamic
With such an intense love and chemistry between Allie and Noah, it came as a shock that, apparently, Gosling and McAdams couldn’t stand each other on-set. Countless reports allege on-set arguments, even to the point that Gosling wanted McAdams fired from the film. What their disagreements surrounded is largely unknown and, thankfully, their acting chops overpowered the animosity between them. They eventually got over their hatred as they dated for a few years, becoming a real-life example of enemies-to-lovers.
8 Sylvester Stallone and Richard Gere
Sylvester Stallone’s portrayal of Rocky Balboa in the Rocky franchise, following an amateur boxer’s climb through the ranks, still captures people’s hearts. Richard Gere is a prolific actor best known as Edward Lewis from the romantic comedy Pretty Woman co-starring with Julia Roberts. The Lords of Flatbush was meant to be a joint venture between them. This 1974 coming-of-age drama centers on the lives of a group of teenagers from Brooklyn. However, early disputes between the two led to Gere getting recast.
«It’s Him or Me»
Sometimes personalities don’t click right from the get-go, and that appears to be the case here. Stallone referenced Gere’s supposed ego and roughhousing that went too far. To make things stranger, he also noted an incident involving a mustard-dripping chicken, which Stallone didn’t appreciate (according to FandomWire). Rather than enduring an uncomfortable filming schedule with Gere, Stallone pushed for his removal. Though Gere has never made a statement regarding the firing, it’s safe to say these men aren’t friends.
7 Joan Fontaine and Olivia De Havilland
Olivia de Havilland was an Old Hollywood starlet with an extensive filmography of widely-regarded masterpieces. As she passed away just in 2020, she was one of the longest-surviving talents from that era. Joan Fontaine also gained popularity during this time and starred in Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca and other amazing films. These actresses may not have starred on screen together, but they had a close and personal relationship as they were sisters.
One may think a familial connection with someone going through the same tough industry would bring two people together. That couldn’t be farther from reality. Some recount bickering and jealousy between Fontaine and De Havilland in childhood, and they never truly outgrew it. According to Fontaine’s memoir, when she won an Oscar over her sister, she didn’t feel the love. Rather, she believed De Havilland wanted to “grab [her] by the hair.”
In an interview with People Magazine, Fontaine said, “You can divorce your sister as well as your husbands,” she also said. “I don’t see her at all and I don’t intend to.” Some of the more outward disdain seemed to have faded over time, but they were still not close by the time of Fontaine’s death in 2013.
6 Will Smith and Janet Hubert
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was one of the top sitcoms of the ’90s. It surrounds Will (Will Smith), a teenager from West Philadelphia, born and raised, when he goes to live with his rich relatives in Bel-Air, California. Among his family members is Aunt Vivian (Janet Hubert), a successful woman with a deep love for her family. Viewers were confused when Hubert was replaced by an actress who looked nothing like her in season four without explanation. In 2020, a reunion special aired on HBO Max. There were notable absences in the living room shots. James Avery, who played Uncle Phil, passed away in 2013, and the original Aunt Viv.
Healing from the Past
Since her removal from the show, Hubert has been vocal about her dislike for Smith and blamed him for getting her fired. Smith, in turn, claimed Hubert was difficult to work with. After years of animosity, the two came together face-to-face for the reunion and hashed out their differences. Hubert expressed her hurt and claimed that colorism and sexism, combined with his comments, negatively impacted her career. After over 25 years of no contact, they opened up to each other and ended with heartwarming, tearful apologies.
5 Olivia Wilde and Florence Pugh
Florence Pugh began finding critical success in the mid-to-late 2010s, with roles in Lady Macbeth and Little Women. She has received BAFTA and Academy Award nominations and most recently performed in the massive blockbuster Oppenheimer. Olivia Wilde is an actress best known for her long-lasting role in the medical drama House and the science-fiction movie Tron: Legacy. She decided to stretch her talents into directing, her second feature being the psychological thriller Don’t Worry Darling, in which both actresses star.
A PR Nightmare
The movie follows a housewife who lives in a company town in the fifties. Pugh and Wilde portray best friends, Alice and Bunny, though it couldn’t be more different from their actual relationship. Press surrounding the tension on set carried over onto the movie’s premiere, with the public analyzing the cast’s every move for perceived slights.
According to reports, the actresses disagreed on many fronts regarding casting, creative decisions, and professionalism. Pugh hasn’t outwardly agreed to the rumors, but many fans pointed to her leaving the premiere early as a sign of friction. No one exactly knows what went down with Don’t Worry Darling, but it certainly helped get the film’s title circulating online.
4 Robert De Niro and Mickey Rourke
Angel Heart is a psychological horror movie based on the novel Falling Angel. It’s about a private investigator named Harry Angel living and working in New York who is hired to solve a disappearance. Louis Cyphre is the man who hires Harry and is willing to offer him a boatload of money to get the job done. Robert De Niro and Mickey Rourke play Cyphre and Harry, respectively, and it’s said this is where their feud took root.
Holding Onto Grudges
The actors have slightly different accounts of what happened. De Niro, a true method actor, opted not to speak to Rourke during filming in order to authentically translate their character’s combative relationship (according to Business Insider). Yet Rourke claims the tension stemmed from his giving De Niro acting advice, which didn’t sit well with De Niro (per Fall Out Magazine).
With the film being released in 1987, some would think they let bygones be bygones. However, as late as 2020, Rourke spoke out against De Niro on Instagram and didn’t hold back. He called his former co-star a «crybaby» and vowed to «embarrass» De Niro when he sees him again.
3 Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez
Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez are two of the original Disney darlings. Cyrus came onto the scene as the titular character in Hannah Montana. Gomez’ Disney work is often tied back to her hit show Wizards of Waverly Place, but she had guest appearances on The Suite Life of Zack and Cody and Hannah Montana. On the latter, Cyrus and Gomez portrayed rival pop stars, and, while fictitious, also appeared to reflect their real-life relationship.
Middle School Drama
Besides growing a fan base via Disney, another commonality between the two was a romantic link to Nick Jonas. Jonas dated Cyrus and Gomez, and in true pre-teen/teenage fashion, this caused great animosity between them. Back in the day, both stars had YouTube channels. Gomez shared hers with former best friend Demi Lovato, while Cyrus made videos with her friend Mandy Jiroux.
Chaos ensued when Cyrus and Jiroux made a video parodying one of Gomez and Lovato’s videos, mimicking their makeup and speech. Not surprisingly, the two have outgrown that petty and immature time. They are on friendly terms, with Gomez hopping onto Cyrus’ Instagram live series during quarantine.
2 Dwayne Johnson and Vin Diesel
Vin Diesel is one of the lead actors in the Fast and Furious franchise, in which he plays Dominic, the leader of a group of street racers. He is extremely close to several of his co-stars, such as Tyrese and Michelle Rodriguez. With the late Paul Walker, the two were such good friends that Diesel is Walker’s godfather and walked her down the aisle at her wedding. When another buff, bald actor, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, joined the Fast family in 2011 for Fast Five, there wasn’t much love between them on set.
The Feud’s Origin
Johnson is no stranger to big film productions, acting in films like Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. Clearly, his experience in the Fast and Furious franchise was different. In a now-deleted post, Johnson praised his women co-stars while saying some of his male co-stars made the filming experience difficult and referred to them as “candy asses.”
Apparently, they had creative differences and personalities that didn’t mesh well. Though Johnson never outright stated it was about Diesel, comments Rodriguez made to Us Weekly and other sources seem to confirm it. While most of the cast remained neutral, Gibson stuck on Diesel’s side and made public jabs aimed at Johnson.
1 Debbie Reynolds and Elizabeth Taylor
Debbie Reynolds and Elizabeth Taylor are two iconic Old Hollywood actresses. Reynolds contributed to several classic films, like Singin’ in the Rain. She passed on her talent to her daughter Carrie Fisher who is most known as Princess Leia in Star Wars. Taylor is a legend who dazzled audiences for decades, especially in Cleopatra, the most expensive film ever made at the time in 1963. Taylor also made news thanks to her love life, as she was married eight times. One of those marriages turned Reynolds from friend to foe.
The actresses used to be good friends. They ran in the same circles, and Reynolds reportedly helped Taylor through her divorce and death of one of her husbands. At the time, Reynolds was married to singer and actor Eddie Fisher. Despite this, Fisher and Taylor began an affair and later married after the divorce with Reynolds was finalized. For many years, the two didn’t speak until a chance encounter on a cruise ship brought them together so that they could repair their friendship. In 2001, the two even starred together in These Old Broads, a comedy that would end up being Taylor’s final film.