Mandy Moore Compared Her Relationship with Zach Braff to Burnt Baked Goods
#TBT: Check in every Thursday as we throw it back to some of our favorite celebrity couples of all time.
Who: Golden Globe and Emmy-nominated actor Zach Braff, 44, and Golden Globe and Emmy-nominated actress Mandy Moore, 35.
How They Met: It’s not abundantly clear how Braff and Moore found their way to one another, but as two of the hottest actors of the early-aughts, they likely ran in similar circles. Braff and Moore were first linked in late 2004. At the time, Braff was enjoying acclaim from his directorial feature debut, Garden State, while Moore had recently starred in cult-favorite comedy Saved!.
Why We Loved Them: It’s not the most intuitive pairing — the guy from Scrubs and the girl in the green Volkswagen who’s “missing you like candy” — but Moore told Elle that Braff was just her type. “I like a good Jewish boy. With a sense of humor,” she told the outlet in 2006, justifying her attraction to both Braff and Jon Stewart.
When They Peaked: Braff and Moore seemed the epitome of a chill celebrity couple. They understood what their respective jobs asked of them and their partners, including the potential awkwardness of on-screen intimacy. “He has to do the same thing, so there's no jealousy,” Moore said of kissing other people in movies. “It's just nice to be with anyone who's supportive of what you do and proud of you and respects you and respects your work. I feel lucky to be with someone who's like that,” she told Cosmopolitan.
Oh, and she guest-starred on Scrubs!
The Breakup: By the end of 2006, the actors had gone their separate ways. Things appeared to end in a decidedly less chill manner than they had begun. Moore commenced the breakup song-writing soon after the split, producing damning lyrics like “You said you could be good, but somehow you’re guilty. And you’re not even sorry.” Though Moore never clarified why she and Braff separated, she did get creative with breakup analogies, calling the split icing on a “really bad cake. The burned cake.” She also noted that the breakup may have exacerbated a depressive period she’d been going through.
VIDEO: Mandy Moore Goes Swimming in a Sheer $1,800 Dress in Her New Music Video
“A few months ago I felt really low, really sad – depressed for no reason,” she told Jane magazine in 2007. “The breakup added to what I was going through, but it’s not the complete reason. It definitely doesn’t help if you’re already in that place.”
Braff was a tad more coy when it came to discussing the end of his and Moore’s relationship — well, until 2014 … During an interview with Howard Stern, Braff said he didn’t want to date “super famous girls,” clarifying, "Remember, I did that once before when I dated Mandy Moore and it was not a good — I didn't like it. When you date another famous person, that’s when they really hound you. That’s when the paparazzi are outside your house, and that’s when you can’t ride your bike through Manhattan, because they follow you.” And while that’s fair, his current relationship with actress Florence Pugh has certainly repositioned the paparazzi’s target on his (and her) back.
More than a decade post-split, Moore revealed (also in an interview with Stern) that she had thought Braff was the one. “You’re like, ‘This is it, I know who I am, what I want.’ I knew nothing, in reality,” she said.
Where They Are Now: As mentioned previously, Braff is currently rumored to be dating Midsommar star Florence Pugh.
Braff has two films, Percy and The Comeback Trail, in post-production.
Moore wed Dawes frontman Taylor Goldsmith in 2018. She was previously married to musician Ryan Adams.
The actress and singer currently stars on NBC’s This Is Us. Moore also plays a role in Midway alongside Woody Harrelson and Nick Jonas. Her seventh studio album is underway.