Following your favorite Hollywood couples via social media is still a relatively new hobby, but having a favorite Hollywood couple to begin with? Yeah, that’s nothing new. For decades, famous pairs have made headlines and set fans’ hearts racing, and the ’70s were a particularly fun decade for celebrity love. But, as time goes by, some short-lived romances have been mostly lost to history. Read on for 14 celebrity couples you probably forgot dated in the ’70s. Some of these opposites-attract relationships will definitely surprise you.
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In the late ’70s, Diana Ross and Kiss frontman Gene Simmons started dating after Cher—who Simmons was seeing at the time—introduced them. Sparks flew, and there was no controversy with Simmons’ ex, who he told People in 1980 “turned into our biggest fan.” Ross and Simmons’ relationship lasted two years. Simmons would go on to marry Shannon Tweed in 2011, while Ross would marry Arne Nass Jr., though they divorced in 2000.
In 2015, Simmons told The Mirror that Ross “kept [him] on [his] toes,” adding, “I loved that she was such a strong woman who was confident in her own skin.”
After meeting on the set of the film Smokey and the Bandit in 1977, Sally Field and Burt Reynolds dated on and off until 1982. But though the late Reynolds wrote in his memoir, But Enough About Me, that Field was the one who got away, Field evidently didn’t agree.
“He had somehow invented in his rethinking of everything that I was more important to him than he had thought, but I wasn’t,” she told Variety in 2022. “He just wanted to have the thing he didn’t have. I just didn’t want to deal with that.”
Before starring as love interests in the 1981 movie Reds, Diane Keaton and Warren Beatty had an off-screen romance of their own. Even though it ultimately didn’t last, Keaton hasn’t hesitated to sing her ex’s praises, as she did in a 2016 interview with Variety.
“He makes you feel like you are the only one, the person that matters, that you are just absolutely fascinating, you know?” she said. “And it’s with everyone, across the board. He just has this presence.”
The feeling certainly seems to be mutual; the same year, Beatty described Keaton to People (via Yahoo!) as a “combination of integrity and humor and intelligence and fairness and, did I say beauty? A brilliant comedic sense.”
Talk about a collaboration between two show business legends. Bernadette Peters and Steve Martin met in 1977 and started dating before starring in The Jerk together in 1979. By 1982, though, they had called things off. We don’t know the reason why it didn’t work out for sure, but in 1987, Peters would tell Johnny Carson that she still wasn’t ready for marriage.
Dating Martin give Peters a different perspective on the comedian than many of his fans had, however.
“He can be wild and crazy, but basically, he’s a very serious guy,” Peters told The Guardian in 2019.
Oprah Winfrey’s mid-70s relationship with musician and TV personality John Tesh was so low-key that it didn’t come to light until decades later. After an unauthorized biography of Winfrey was published that claimed Tesh ended things because of the “social pressure” on an interracial relationship, he made a statement confirming that they’d once dated.
“Oprah and I were cub reporters in Nashville nearly 40 years ago and we dated for a short time. We even talked about it during one of my appearances on her show. We remain friends to this day,” he told Entertainment Tonight, via Us Weekly.
In the early ’70s, Barbra Streisand dated Pierre Trudeau—former Prime Minister of Canada and the father of current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Their relationship didn’t last, though she has been known to praise her ex’s son on Twitter. And after the elder Trudeau’s death in 2000, Streisand contributed her memories of him to the book Pierre.
“Pierre Trudeau was a graceful balance of contradictions,” she said. “He was an elegant, private, and dignified man who was also charmingly bohemian. And it all flowed through him so naturally. He was always ahead of his time.”
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Clint Eastwood and Sondra Locke’s started dating in the mid-’70s and made several movies together, but it all ended badly in the late ’80s. According to The Hollywood Reporter, in 1989, Locke sued Eastwood for palimony, and she came back at him with another lawsuit in 1995 for fraud, claiming the actor had prevented her from having a career of her own. As The Los Angeles Times reported, the former couple were able to come to a financial settlement in 1996.
In 1970, Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland struck up an affair around the time they filmed Klute together. But despite having passions for both activism and acting in common, things deteriorated when they cohabitated in Tokyo in the early ’70s, as Fonda told The Guardian in 2008.
“We got together shortly before we made Klute and then we were together until the relationship exploded and fell apart in Tokyo. And it broke my heart,” she said. “I was eviscerated. I was so sad. It was a wonderful relationship right up to the point we lived together.”
Farrah Fawcett and Lee Majors were two of the biggest stars the ’70s had to offer, with Fawcett starring in Charlie’s Angels and Majors in The Six Million Dollar Man. The TV actors were introduced to each other by his publicist, and they were married from 1973 to 1982. Majors told People in 2019 that their busy schedules were to blame for their split.
”There was a year or so when I think I saw her two weeks in one year,” he said of Fawcett, who died in 2009. “It’s very difficult with careers like that. This business is tough. Working 14 hours a day, both of you, and the days went by.”
The public hasn’t been privy to many details about Jack Nicholson’s short relationship with singer Michelle Phillips of The Mamas & The Papas. As reported by Vanity Fair, they met when she tested for his 1971 movie Carnal Knowledge—a part she didn’t get. After her marriage to Dennis Hopper lasted just a week, Phillips ended up with Nicholson. But that romance was a brief one too.
“Dear Jack. He was a lovely guy: charming, sweet, and fun to be with,” Phillips told the magazine in 2007.
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Actor Linda Evans and director John Derek were married from 1968 to 1974, when their relationship ended in scandal. He left her for Bo Derek, then Mary Cathleen Collins, who was just 16 at the time. Bo told The Mirror in 2020 that it “still breaks [her] heart” that she contributed to a marriage breaking up, but Evans told People in 2021 that she doesn’t think she would have had the career she did if not for their divorce.
“If I had stayed married to John, who didn’t want me to work, I could never have done Dynasty,” she said of her late ex. “I would never have known all the magic that followed that show or that experience, which to me is just like, one of the most beautiful things anyone could even hope to experience in a lifetime.”
Another one of Barbra Streisand’s high-profile relationships in the ’70s was with actor Elliott Gould. They met while auditioning for a play in the ’60s and were married from 1963 to 1971, welcoming a son, Jason, in 1966. Speaking to CBS Sunday Morning in 2020, Gould revealed that Streisand asked him why they grew apart while she was writing her memoir.
“The answer to that is that we didn’t grow together and the reason for that was because she became more important than us,” he said. “Then I also said to her, ‘We did great. We made it very fast and nobody has what we have. There’s you and me and our kid.’ “
Music legends Carly Simon and James Taylor got married in 1972 after meeting a year earlier at her performance at Carnegie Hall. They had two children together, Sally and Ben, before their divorce in 1983.
“I do love him, and I think he’s fascinating and brilliantly talented. And after all, how could I not love him, because he’s the father of my children,” Simon told Salon in 2015. “I guess some people can do it, but they have a better ability than I do to turn all my feelings off.”
Actor Jessica Lange and ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov were together in the late ’70s and early ’80s. While they never married, they did have a daughter, Shura, together. It was the beginning of the end when Lange met Sam Shepard, who she was with until 2009 and who died in 2017. Leaving the past in the past, Lange and Baryshnikov haven’t spoken much publicly about their former relationship.
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