Hollywood Holiday Breakups

As many prepare to celebrate the season, Scarlett Johansson and Ryan Reynolds announced their divorce, Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens end their High School Musical romance, and Dexter co-stars are also separating. See more couples who split just before New Years.

Scarlett Johansson and Ryan Reynolds

Throughout the course of their two-year marriage, actors Scarlett Johansson and Ryan Reynolds have shared many things, ranging from the Saturday Night Live stage to Sandra Bullock’s lips. While they remained rather tight-lipped about their relationship, they seemed to be supportive of one another—from Johansson cheering on her husband at the New York City Marathon in 2008 a month after their quiet wedding up until a pre-Thanksgiving night out this year. Although Reynolds told GQ in September that being married is “the best part” of his life, TMZ broke the news Tuesday that the 34-year-old Sexiest Man Alive and the 26-year-old Tony winner plan to divorce. In a joint statement, Reynolds and Johansson said, “After long and careful consideration on both our parts, we've decided to end our marriage. We entered our relationship with love and it's with love and kindness we leave it. While privacy isn't expected, it's certainly appreciated."

Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter

Bad news keeps coming for Dexter fans, who were largely dissatisfied by Sunday’s season five finale. The show’s devotees were then slapped with the news on Monday that co-stars Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter, who met playing foster siblings on the Showtime series, had filed for divorce. We’d imagine things have been awkward on set with the pair, who have been married since December 2008 and “been separated for some time,” filed for divorce, their reps exclusively told Entertainment Weekly. Hall, who won an Emmy for his role on the show, is recovering from treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma this year. “It’s always felt like an opportunity to get closer and I’m just so impressed with him and anyone who’s had to go through it,” Carpenter told Access Hollywood of Hall’s illness in January. “Every second’s special with him, it sounds corny but it’s true. I’m very lucky.”

Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens

The day before young starlet Vanessa Hudgens rang in her 22nd birthday Tuesday, she and Zac Efron, her boyfriend of four years, announced their separation. The pair took their romance on Disney Channel’s hit High School Musical franchise off-screen in 2006 and remained the tween world’s iconic couple until Monday, when they announced their separation. “They are 100 percent still good friends,” a source told People magazine, with another insider telling Us Weekly, “There’s no drama. No one cheated. They just grew up.” In June, however, Hudgens looked back on their relationship and told Glamour magazine, “Right off the bat, we had a connection… I think that we inspire each other. [I love] having someone to grow with.” But in August, Efron’s comments may have hinted he wasn’t happy. Though he told Details their relationship is “real” and “exactly how it should be,” he added, “Believe me, I rack my brain thinking, 'Why am I not out there playing the field?'” And now he can.

Kevin Mazur / WireImage

Reese Witherspoon and Jake Gyllenhaal

American sweethearts Jake Gyllenhaal and Reese Witherspoon started dating in fall 2007, shortly after her marriage to Ryan Philippe ended. While the couple kept their romance relatively quiet for the next year, Witherspoon finally admitted to Vogue in November 2008, “He’s very supportive. Suffice it to say, I'm very happy in life.” Alas, not happy enough. Sources confirmed to Us Weekly in mid-December 2009 that the pair split when Witherspoon reportedly crumbled under Gyllenhaal’s pressure to wed. “He was great with the kids, but she felt like he didn't get the whole scope of what that entailed,” one source told Us Weekly. Ironically, Gyllenhaal just appeared on Sesame Street, explaining the meaning of the word, “separate.”

Evan Agostini / AP Photo; Pacific Coast News

Kate Hudson and A-Rod

Kate Hudson appeared to be Alex Rodriguez’s good-luck charm during the 2009 season. The 30-year-old actress began dating the Yankees' third baseman in May, shortly after his five-year marriage ended and he was caught in a steroid scandal. Hudson was spotted at many games, including the team’s World Series win, and is generally credited with helping to rehabilitate his reputation. Us Weekly quoted a source who said, “Kate is changing him for the better… He’s less of a jerk.” At least when she’s around. A-Rod was then spotted in December at Miami’s Delano Hotel with a blonde who was not Hudson, sources told People. Meanwhile, when Hudson promoted her movie Nine alone later that month, breakup rumors continued after she brought her mother, Goldie Hawn, to the film’s New York premiere. She eventually bounced back on someone else’s arm-- Muse rocker Matthew Bellamy. “We were never afraid to bring the wrong person home,” she said in the January 2009 Harper’s Bazaar of her family. “They were always open to our failures. And no matter how many times my heart breaks, I'll never be any different.”

Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP Photo

Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren

While the holidays can’t be blamed for the marital problems of Tiger and Elin Woods, it certainly couldn’t have helped the situation that both mothers-in-law were reportedly staying at their house on that fateful Thanksgiving weekend in 2009. Since Woods’ car accident, approximately 15 alleged mistresses have been revealed. Woods has notoriously remained tight-lipped about his personal life, but in a rare interview with Men’s Fitness, he talked about the impending birth of his first child and his moral compass. “I just hope to be a parent that would raise a child to make the proper decisions. Instill in them the knowledge to make the right choices, the core values… And [raise them to be] someone who’ll make a positive difference in the lives of others.” Nordegren’s life changed dramatically in 2010 and we assume there was no kissing under the mistletoe over Christmas for the now-divorced couple. At least not with each other.

Chris Pizzello / AP Photo

Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey

Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey were a match made in tabloid heaven. After the blond pop princess toured with Lachey’s boy band 98 Degrees in 1999, the pair embarked on a two-year romance. On October 26, 2002, they walked down the aisle and Simpson, the daughter of a former Baptist minister, famously lost her virginity on their wedding night. While they seemed well-suited, fans of their MTV show Newlyweds knew the relationship wouldn’t last. (It’s hard to see building a life with a person who thinks Chicken of the Sea tuna comes from chicken, and Buffalo wings are made of buffalo.) After three seasons of marriage, the couple announced they were separating in November 2005. Though she had Buffalo wings for one that Thanksgiving, Simpson had a series of high-profile relationships with men ranging from Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo to musician John Mayer until recently becoming engaged to former NFL player Eric Johnson. Lachey is also planning to walk down the aisle with his longtime girlfriend TV personality, Vanessa Minnillo.

Jim Smeal / WireImage

Valerie Bertinelli and Eddie Van Halen

After a tumultuous 26-year marriage, 1980s power couple Eddie Van Halen and Valerie Bertinelli finalized their divorce just a few days before Christmas 2007, two years after they originally filed. The pair met in 1980 backstage at one of Van Halen’s concerts and married the following year, weathering a series of problems including feuds with the band (David Lee Roth reportedly banned Bertinelli and other bandmates’ wives and girlfriends from coming backstage at concerts), Van Halen’s repeated rehab attempts, and his battle with tongue and mouth cancer. Even so, the split was said by friends to be amicable, and the couple still spends time together with their son, Wolfgang. “I would bet you anything they get back together,” a friend told CNN at the time of their split. But what do friends know? Van Halen married his girlfriend Janie Liszewski last summer at a ceremony attended by 100 or so guests—including Bertinelli.

Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

Christina Applegate and Johnathon Schaech

Two years after former Married With Children star Christina Applegate described her relationship with actor Johnathon Schaech as “low-key” in USA Today, she changed her tune and filed for divorce in December 2006. The negotiations, however, were amicable—they were married with no children. He kept the couple’s Mercedes while she retained custody of the Lexus.

Mirek Towski / DMI / AP Photo

Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston

Brad Pitt met Jennifer Aniston in 1998 when they were set up by their respective managers. In July 2000, the two were wed, reading marriage vows they’d written themselves. While he promised to “split the difference on the thermostat,” she pledged to always make his “favorite banana milkshake,” People reported. Alas, a good milkshake was no match for Angelina Jolie, and when Pitt began filming Mr. & Mrs. Smith with Jolie in 2004, his marriage was doomed. After months of tabloid rumors that they were splitting, Brad and Jen went away to Anguilla for New Year’s. And while they were photographed holding hands on the beach, the couple returned and announced they were splitting. A few months after their divorce, photographs of Pitt and Jolie on a Kenyan beach confirmed the rumors of their relationship. “Am I lonely? Yes. Am I upset? Yes. Am I confused? Yes. Do I have my days when I've thrown a little pity party for myself? Absolutely,” Aniston told Vanity Fair of her ex’s quick recovery. In the five years that have followed, the Jolie-Pitt-Aniston triangle still ignites tabloid cover stories.

Carlos Alvarez / Getty Images

Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake

Cameron Diaz met Justin Timberlake at the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards in April 2003. Despite their eight-year age difference, Diaz soon joined Timberlake on his first solo tour in the summer of 2003. “It’s not like this is the first time in the history of human relationships that people were drawn to one another because of who they are, not what age they are,” she told W in 2004. The pair even worked together, voicing characters for Shrek the Third, But shortly after ringing in 2007, Diaz and Timberlake announced their split. Time seemingly healed, however, when Timberlake and Diaz reunited to promote Shrek the Third that summer. “We still love each other, we spent four years together so there is no reason for us not to be friends,” Diaz told The Daily Mail while promoting the movie in London.

Tammie Arroyo / AP Photo

Sean Penn and Robin Wright Penn

Sean Penn and Robin Wright defined the on-again-off-again celebrity relationship. The turbulent couple, who’d been together since 1989 and married in 1996, first filed for divorce in December 2007, reportedly due in part to a tense holiday getaway at a Lake Tahoe resort that led to them sleeping in separate hotel rooms. The Penns managed to patch things up for a while, calling off the split in April 2008, only to file again the following year, reconcile one more time, and file once more in the summer of 2009. Though their tumultuous path is difficult to follow, things seem to have reached an ending this time. Wright recently told People magazine of her failed marriage, “I know what I don’t want,” adding, “There’s no limbo anymore… There’s no time. I'm too old for this s—.”

Gregg DeGuire / WireImage

Jennifer Love Hewitt and Ross McCall

After a slew of failed public romances, Jennifer Love Hewitt announced she had finally found “the man of [her] dreams” in Ross McCall, a Scottish actor she met on the set of her show Ghost Whisperer in 2005. As Hewitt’s love and professional lives simultaneously reached a level of success, she seemed happier than ever. “It’s the first time I’ve ever been in a relationship where you don’t have to try,” she told People. “That’s when you know that you’re in something really good and healthy and right.” So right, in fact, that the two became engaged while vacationing in Hawaii in November 2007. Though their two-year engagement was able to withstand pregnancy rumors, Hewitt and McCall never made it down the aisle. The couple broke up over the holidays in late 2008, despite the fact, according to an Ok! insider, she had already purchased a gown.

Roberto Pfeil / AP Photo

Penelope Cruz and Tom Cruise

Sultry Spanish actress Penelope Cruz fell for Tom Cruise after the two starred in Vanilla Sky in 2001. The passion on screen moved off-screen soon after the Top Gun actor’s decade-long marriage to Nicole Kidman ended. “It’s a good thing,” Cruz told Good Morning America of their relationship, adding Cruise was the most generous person she has ever met and “has a huge heart.” Cruz and Cruise spent three years together, and in a Dateline interview in 2003, Cruise called his girlfriend “a good girl,” but soon thereafter, the couple announced their split. A source cited distance as the cause of their eventual final separation in January 2004, telling People, “Through most of the relationship they were both shooting movies in separate part of the world.” Both have since moved onto other serious relationships (Cruise married Katie Holmes and Cruz has been engaged to actor Javier Bardem), ending the possibility of a Cruise-Cruz dynasty.