Chloë Sevigny Called Harmony Korine Her "University"
The unconventional couple dated on-and-off for years.
Who: Writer-director Harmony Korine, 47, and Oscar-nominated actress Chloë Sevigny, 45.
How They Met: Korine and Sevigny met as teenagers hanging out at N.Y.C.’s Washington Square Park in the early ‘90s.
"Chloë was just hanging out with these skaters, she used to wear really baggy clothes,” Korine reminisced in an interview with i-D. “She used to freak me out because she had these amazing eyes and she would just stare at you.”
Soon after, Korine took a chance and cast her in the film he’d written, Kids — replacing the previous actress (whom he “wanted to punch”) with the unknown Sevigny. They were friends before anything turned romantic between the two. It wasn’t until after the film wrapped in 1994 that they began dating — a gradual transition that Sevigny could hardly recall. “I think we'd kissed once before,” she told Dazed in 1996. “I can't even remember how it all happened. I think I started staying at his house a lot.”
Why We Loved Them: At first glance, it’s not the most conventional pairing, but the couple shared a lot of history.
“We just grew up together,” Sevigny told The Face in a joint interview in 2000. “I invited him to my high-school graduation. He was my best friend. He was my university, I never went to college. He taught me almost everything I know about movies and books and music.”
Korine felt similarly. “I've known her so long I forget a time when I didn't know her,” he told The New York Times that same year. "As an actress, she's great because she underplays, she doesn't emote. As a person, Chloë's always been the same — a great big polar bear for me.” We’ll leave that up to interpretation.
When They Peaked: While there was a certain sweetness about the pair, there was also a comfortable ribbing between them, which ranged from playful (Sevigny calling him a “bastard” in print — “He doesn't like anything, and he's really mean a lot”), to perhaps overly honest (of Boys Don’t Cry, the film in which Sevigny’s performance was Oscar-nominated, he told The Face, “If I was to have made the movie, that’s not the way I would have made it”).
The Breakup: They dated on and off into the 2000s, but not for long after the Y2K panic subsided.
In 2003, Sevigny appeared to implicate Korine’s drug use as a reason behind their breakup. “If you're a drug addict it seems like that's your only real love,” she told The Independent. “I was judgmental,” she admitted, “because he was my boyfriend and I was in love with him and he was a drug addict and it was a horrible thing to have to deal with. I mean, what do you do about it? You know, the lies, and everything else.”
Korine and Sevigny’s split didn’t appear to be volatile, but they weren’t exactly grabbing brunch together in the years that followed. In 2008, when asked if he’d cast Sevigny in future projects, Korine made his feelings clear. “She's already been in three of my films,” he told The Guardian. "It's a little complicated because we had a relationship. Basically, it's not on the cards. I don't know how to answer that without being rude.”
Still, Sevigny has shared her support and admiration for the writer-director in the years since their split. “Harmony has this sort of seductive nature that you can really get wrapped up in,” she told W Magazine in 2015. “Any little note or letter he’d leave behind for me — from his wording to the little drawing that he’d make in it — every single thing he did was a work of art.”
Where They Are Now:
Korine wed actress Rachel Korine (who appeared in his 2012 film Spring Breakers) in 2007 — they share a daughter named Lefty.
His latest feature film, The Beach Bum, was released (to mixed reviews) in 2019.
Sevigny and her boyfriend Sinisa Mackovic welcomed a son named Vanja this past May.
Next up for the actress is a role in Luca Guadagnino’s HBO series We Are Who We Are, which airs its first episode Sept. 14.
#TBT: Check in every Thursday as we throw it back to some of our favorite celebrity couples of all time.