10 Celebrity Breakups that Defined the 2010s
We're still having trouble getting over these splits.
The 2010s were a decade marked by a devotion to skinny jeans, comic book franchises, and Instagram influencers redefining every industry imaginable. It was also time of heartbreak — we said good bye to Barneys, Game of Thrones, and more celebrity couples than there are slices of avocado toast consumed in Los Angeles. Just think about the Jennifers for example: Jen and Ben! Jen and Justin! Jen and Marc! All three couples parted ways before we could even think about 2020.
So, before we enter a new decade full of couples and celebrity romances yet to even be dreamed up, follow along below as we recount the celebrity breakups that defined the last one.
Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony (2004 - 2011)
In early 2004, Jennifer Lopez and then-partner Ben Affleck (better known at the time as "Bennifer") infamously split. Shortly after, the world got what felt like a match made in heaven when Lopez started dating singer Marc Anthony and married him within the year. The couple had their first children (twins) in 2008, but broke up a few years later in 2011. They officially divorced in 2014.
Several years after, Lopez revealed that she knew her marriage to Anthony was a mistake “very quickly,” telling W Magazine, “I hung in there for seven years.” Oh, and then she said that musicians are “too concerned with themselves to be great in bed” …
Lopez and Anthony remain dedicated co-parents to their “coconuts.” Anthony is currently dating 28-year-old model Jessica Lynne Harris, while Lopez is engaged to former New York Yankees infielder Alex Rodriguez.
Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin (2002 – 2014)
In the first two decades of the millennium, Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin were the ultimate match. She was his yellow-haired muse, he the quiet and seemingly soulful foil to her yoni egg-hawking Goopiness. Opposites attract, we said. “Fix You,” we sang. But alas, the pair famously began their "conscious uncoupling" in 2014.
In keeping with Martin and Paltrow’s vow to avoid the “drama of divorce” and “recognize that our partners in our intimate relationships are our teachers, helping us evolve our internal, spiritual support structure,” the former couple remained in each other’s lives in, a, uh, new capacity … “He’s really like my brother,” Paltrow said of her ex in 2018.
Paltrow wed writer/director/producer Brad Falchuk in September 2018. Martin has been dating actress Dakota Johnson since late 2017.
Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck (2004 – 2015)
Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck were the antidote to wild celebrity couples of the early aughts but after ten years of marriage and three children together, it was (personally) devastating to hear that the era of Bennifer (2.0) would be coming to an end. In 2016, the actress described their relationship in detail when she told Vanity Fair, "When [Affleck’s] sun shines on you, you feel it. But when the sun is shining elsewhere, it's cold. He can cast quite a shadow."
Affleck’s dated various women in the years since he and Garner split, including Saturday Night Live producer Lindsay Shookus and model Shauna Sexton. Most recently he was rumored to be dating Katie Cherry, a musician he met on Raya. Garner’s been quietly dating Cali Group CEO John Miller since mid-2018.
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie (2005 – 2016)
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's relationship began with a media frenzy, and ended with one as well. What could be more loudly emblematic of the passing of time than a “Team Jolie” or “Team Aniston” t-shirt? A relationship that was first perceived as untoward soon evolved into the picture of domestic bliss. The dissolution of "Brangelina" was difficult for a lot of people — not because of what their relationship was, but what it represented. They were a couple who allowed us to believe in happy endings, in personal evolution. They went from Page Six fodder to a family of eight, and just as they fell for each other on the set of Mr. & Mrs. Smith, we, too, fell for the Jolie-Pitts.
In 2016, the couple announced their split after only two years of marriage, but about a decade together. Despite, plenty of tabloid fodder around the divorce both parties have remained relatively low key about it all.
Though both have reportedly dated in the time since their 2016 separation, neither has taken any romance public.
Chris Pratt and Anna Faris (2008 – 2017)
This pairing of perceived opposites (the funny lady and the blockbuster headliner) seemed like the second act of a real-life rom-com. But, like most aspects of Hollywood, the relationship wasn't quite the fairy tale many of us had pegged it for. After eight years of marriage, Chris Pratt and Anna Faris announced their separation, writing in a joint statement, "We tried hard for a long time, and we’re really disappointed."
More than two years later, the exes remain friendly and committed to co-parenting their 7-year-old son, Jack. Both parties have moved on romantically. Pratt wed Katherine Schwarzenegger in June 2019, and Faris is reportedly engaged to cinematographer Michael Barrett.
Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux (2011 – 2017)
After enduring the tabloid nightmare that was Jennifer Aniston’s split from Brad Pitt, it felt like divine justice that the Friends alum had found a seemingly perfect relationship with actor Justin Theroux. But then, that dreaded winter’s day in 2018 led us to wonder whether it was time to break out that Team Aniston tee from storage (see above). “This decision was mutual and lovingly made at the end of last year," a joint statement from the former couple read. "We are two best friends who have decided to part ways as a couple, but look forward to continuing our cherished friendship."
Though there’s been much hopeful speculation that Aniston and Pitt will reunite, we wouldn’t hold our breath. Aniston remains friendly with both of her ex-husbands. In fact, she and Theroux (and about 384252 other celebrities) celebrated Thanksgiving together this year.
Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber (2010 - 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015?, 2016?, 2017 - 2018)
Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber felt like that dramatic high school couple that would break up and make up every other week for four years, then went to college only to realize they were completely different people. For the teen stars, their version of high school lasted a little longer than the typical experience, but, you know, apologizing to your ex via a chart-topping hit would make it a little more dramatic.
Though we’d begun to think Bieber and Gomez would still be writing pop songs about each other from their respective nursing homes, their reported split in 2018 seemed to mark a definitive end in the ballad of "Jelena".
Bieber wed model Hailey Baldwin just a few months after reportedly splitting from Gomez. In late October, Gomez reminded those eager to buy into a dating rumor that she’s been "single for two years."
Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan (2006 or '07 – 2018)
We watched Jenna Dewan and Channing Tatum dance their way into each other’s hearts. Their power as a couple was truly unparalleled. But after more than a decade of perfect choreography, Dewan had "come to realize the dynamic I was in wasn’t serving me nor was it serving my daughter.” In April 2018, Tatum and Dewan revealed they had “lovingly chosen to separate as a couple.” The exes share a 6-year-old daughter, Everly.
Katie Holmes and Jamie Foxx (2013 – 2019)
Katie Holmes and Jamie Foxx are without a doubt the most covert couple on this list. In fact, neither ever actually confirmed the relationship. Over the years, these two may have tried to avoid the public eye but alas, we always seemed to catch them at parties together. Their efforts were valiant and understandable, but nonetheless, they became a couple to watch.
Unfortunately all good things must come to an end (and they wouldn't be on this list if they didn't). By August 2019, after about six years together, the pair reportedly went their separate ways. Lke the relationship, their breakup proved extremely ambiguous. Some outlets reported that it was a difference in lifestyles that ultimately came between the actors, while others alluded to the media’s glare as a contributing factor in their breakup.
Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth (2009 – 2013, 2016 – 2019)
Similar to Gomez and Bieber, Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth are a celebrity couple that we thought would always find their way back to each other. When, after nearly ten years of public relationship drama, they tied the knot in a quiet ceremony over the holidays of 2018, we thought their fate was sealed. But just seven months later, it was all over. “Ever-evolving, changing as partners and individuals, they have decided this is what’s best while they both focus on themselves and careers,” Cyrus’s representative confirmed.
Before we had a chance to process the end of their relationship, Cyrus was reportedly dating Kaitlynn Carter, and then Cody Simpson. Hemsworth, too, found solace in another(s), sparking relationship rumors with actress Maddison Brown, and then model Gabriella Brooks.
Amid the rumors that followed the early weeks of their separation, Cyrus reiterated, “I love Liam and always will.”