TBT: Josh Hartnett Said His Split from Scarlett Johansson Was "Really Painful"

“At the end of the day, we're just ordinary people, and it didn't work."

TBT: Scarlett Johansson & Josh Hartnett

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Who: Actor and producer Josh Hartnett, 44, and Oscar-nominated actress and Time 100 Most Influential People recipient Scarlett Johansson, 37. 

How They Met: The two young actors met on the set of the crime thriller The Black Dahlia in 2005. In the film, Hartnett played detective Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert, who was put in charge of investigating the murder of Hollywood starlet Elizabeth Short along with his partner Lee Blanchard, while Scarlett took on the role of Kay Lake, the girlfriend of Blanchard, and later, Bleichert. 

The two tried out their chemistry off-screen and began dating, which apparently made it even more uncomfortable to shoot steamy scenes with each other on set. "It was very difficult for me," Hartnett previously said. "Those scenes are eternally awkward because you got a bunch of sweaty dudes sitting and watching you, and you're just hoping to make it intimate, make it real."

After filming wrapped, Hartnett and Johansson attempted to keep their relationship low-key, frequently hanging out in the Lower East Side at Max Fish and canoodling in the corners of London nightclubs. And while they rarely spoke about each other in the press, Scarlett did drop this cute tidbit while speaking to Allure in 2006: “Josh is very sweet,” the 21-year-old actress said at the time. “He’s a good boy. A great person. I’m very lucky, and I’m very happy.”

TBT: Scarlett Johansson & Josh Hartnett

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Why We Loved Them: Take away their fame and ultra-good looks, and ultimately, Hartnett and Johansson were just two theater nerds who understood and respected each other’s craft. 

“Josh is such a wonderful actor. I’ve always admired him and felt that he was a very, very talented young actor,” Scarlett gushed about working with Josh on The Black Dahlia. “He’s very intense when he works. He’s very focused, very passionate about what he’s doing, and I really appreciate that.”

Josh also had nothing but nice things to say when speaking about his girlfriend’s work ethic. “Scarlett is intuitive, open, and present on the film set. She’s a lot of fun to work with. She makes everything lighter than you would expect,” he said. “Everybody has a little bit of a spring in their step when Scarlett’s on set. But she keeps the work at the forefront of her mind, and she does terrific work.”

When They Peaked: The way Scarlett gazed longingly at Josh during the debut of The Black Dahlia at the 2006 Venice Film Festival. 

Josh Hartnett Scarlett Johanssson


The Breakup: After dating for nearly two years, Scarlett and Josh decided to go their separate ways. According to Harnett, their split was due to the long distance. He spoke about their “really painful” breakup in an exclusive interview with The Mirror in 2007, revealing that “it was difficult spending so much time apart with all our different commitments and both of us flying all over the world."

The actor added, “At the end of the day, we're just ordinary people, and it didn't work." 

Years later, Hartnett opened up about the pair’s high-profile relationship again while speaking with Elle in 2014, but this time with a hint of regret. When asked about his habit of dating co-stars, such as ScarJo, he said, “I don't recommend it to young actors. You can make a lot of enemies in the business that way. But when you work with somebody every day, it's like trial dating. You develop a fantasy about them. It doesn't always work out, does it?”

Where They Are Now: Hartnett was linked with many famous women after splitting from Johansson — including Amanda Seyfried, Sienna Miller, Penelope Cruz, and Mischa Barton. In 2012, he met his wife, British actress Tamsin Egerton and the couple now share three children (a 7-year-old, a 5-year-old, and a 2-year-old) whose names have not been disclosed. 

A few years after his breakup with Scarlett, Josh took a step back from taking on roles in major motion pictures, and, the spotlight in general. In 2014, he opened up to Details about what prompted his break from Hollywood, telling the magazine: "I was on the cover of every magazine. I couldn't really go anywhere. I didn't feel comfortable in my own skin. I was alone. I didn't trust anyone.” 

TBT: Scarlett Johansson & Josh Hartnett

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Today, Josh is back to acting and will star in the upcoming films The Long Home alongside Ashton Kutcher and James Franco, as well as Oppenheimer with Matt Damon, Florence Pugh, and Robert Downey Jr.

Scarlett met her first husband, Ryan Reynolds, after she stopped seeing Josh, but the marriage didn’t last. After divorcing from Reynolds in 2011, she had a brief fling with Sean Penn and later married French journalist Romain Dauriac, with whom she shares an 8-year-old daughter, Rose. Scarlett finally found her forever love with Saturday Night Live star Colin Jost. The two got married in 2020, and the next year, they welcomed a son named Cosmo. 

On the professional front, Scarlett hasn't stopped thriving. Not only was she the lead in the Oscar-nominated film A Marriage Story, but she also plays the role of the Black Widow in the superhero film anthology The Avengers. Next up, Johansson will star in the Wes Anderson film Asteroid City

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

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