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The Just Married co-stars began dating a few months later. 

By Isabel Jones
Apr 08, 2021 @ 10:43 am
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Brittany Murphy, Ashton Kutcher
Brittany Murphy, Ashton Kutcher
| Credit: J. Vespa/WireImage

Who: Four-time Kids' Choice Award-nominated actor Ashton Kutcher, 43, and Teen Choice Award-nominated actress, Brittany Murphy, who passed away in 2009 at 32 years old. 

How They Met: 

Though they initially met on the set of rom-com Just Married in early 2002, things didn't turn romantic until around October, after shooting had wrapped. 

"When we were doing the movie, we were just friends," Kutcher told People in early 2003. "We just kind of started hanging out more. And now we've been hanging out a lot more."

When quizzed about when, exactly, he and Murphy went from just to more than friends, Kutcher told AP that it happened "like 10 months after we finished making the movie."

"We both went off and did different movies and then started hanging out together," he explained in early 2003. That said, he appeared to be a bit confused as to the nature of their relationship. "I don't even know that we're actually dating," he added, "We're just companions. We just like spending a lot of time together." 

TBT: Brittany Murphy and Ashton Kutcher
Credit: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Whatever they were, Kutcher's mom was a fan. 

"It's like, 'Are those two even acting?'" Diane Portwood said of her son and Murphy's chemistry in Just Married. "They act the same way here at home," she told People, noting that the couple (or, er, companions) were  "always holding hands, goofing around, wrestling around on the floor the way people in love do."

The pair sparked marriage rumors early on because they'd bought each other wedding bands as Just Married wrap gifts, but Portwood insisted that the couple was "taking it slow."

Why We Loved Them: They were just fun

Between pranking reporters and speaking a made up language while on location in Venice, Kutcher and Murphy always seemed to be having more fun than the rest of us. Like, if our fun was going to the movies, theirs would be going to a movie premiere and dousing Kevin Bacon's seat in butter and then running away to join the circus. Their brand of joy was elevated Punk'd fun that occasionally included Dax Shepard (see below). 

TBT: Brittany Murphy and Ashton Kutcher
Credit: SGranitz/WireImage

When They Peaked: They were sweet, too. 

"I learn something from that girl every day," Kutcher said about Murphy early in the Just Married press tour. "She is a pro. ... She just brings it, man. She's really, really awesome. She makes me smile every day. She shows me something about my job every day. She's the best, man. I'll do anything with her, any movie, hands down."

In the same interview, Murphy singled Kutcher out as "one of the kindest humans I've ever met." 

"He's really like Forrest Gump or something," she continued. "He's an extraordinary person. Once you realize he does one thing amazingly, you're then shocked, and you realize that he does another thing equally as amazingly and then there's another thing after that."

TBT: Brittany Murphy and Ashton Kutcher
Credit: Ray Mickshaw/WireImage

The Breakup: It's unclear exactly what came between Kutcher and Murphy (though Kutcher's uncertainty about their relationship status feels like a hint), but by the spring of 2003 the actors had gone their separate ways. 

Kutcher began dating actress Demi Moore soon after, and Murphy had jokes. During a visit to the Late Show with David Letterman that August, the Uptown Girls star addressed the surprising coupling. ''I suppose the crux of their relationship basically means to him that age doesn't matter and to her that size doesn't matter," she said, following her zinger up with a good-natured "kidding!"

Murphy clarified her joke to The New York Times, explaining that she was a bit nervous about how Kutcher would take the jab. "I'm in the shower the next morning, I'm thinking of his family, and I started thinking, 'O.K., he's a comedian; it's a joke, he'll get it."

TBT: Brittany Murphy and Ashton Kutcher
Credit: Vince Bucci/Getty Images

Otherwise, Murphy kept her thoughts (and jokes) about the relationship to herself. 

"I did learn one great lesson from a past relationship, and that was to never talk about relationships in print again because I'd rather live my private life than read about it," she told CNN soon after the Letterman episode aired. 

Sadly, it seems Kutcher and Murphy didn't exactly keep in touch. In 2006, Murphy told Cosmopolitan that she'd only run into her ex once in the three years since their split. 

After Murphy's tragic death in late 2009, Kutcher said he'd seen the actress at a casting call about two months before her passing. 

"2day the world lost a little piece of sunshine," Kutcher tweeted when news of Murphy's death was made public. "My deepest condolences go out 2 Brittany's family, her husband, & her amazing mother Sharon."

Months later, Kutcher opened up about his ex in an interview with Nightline

TBT: Brittany Murphy and Ashton Kutcher
Credit: Scott Gries/Getty Images

"She was like the person who walked in the room and she was always the first person to dance," he said. "You know when you go to a party and everybody is standing around, and the music is going —  and you know sooner or later everyone is going to dance. She was always the first person to dance. And I just try to connect to that and celebrate who she was and how she was, and not make sense of it, 'cause there is no sense of making sense of it."

Where They Are Now:

Kutcher wed Moore in 2005, but the couple later divorced in 2013. The actor went on to marry his That '70s Show co-star Mila Kunis in 2015 — they share two children together: Wyatt, 6, and Dimitri, 4.

Next up for the actor is James Franco drama The Long Home

Murphy and screenwriter Simon Monjack tied the knot in 2007. The beloved actress passed away unexpectedly in Dec. 2009 in what was ruled an accident caused by a "combination of pneumonia, an iron deficiency and 'multiple drug intoxication.'" Five months later, Monjack died after suffering from similar maladies. 

It was recently announced that a two-part docuseries about Murphy's life and mysterious death would be launching on HBO Max.  

#TBT: Check in every Thursday as we throw it back to some of our favorite celebrity couples of all time.