Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

How Actors' Families Reacted To These Love Scenes

Many actors will, throughout their careers, play the role of someone involved in a romantic storyline. Whether they're trading kisses with a long-time co-worker on a sitcom or starring in a steamy, critically acclaimed film about a complex, sensual love triangle, actors often have to make an effort to produce romantic chemistry on screen. The truth behind filming a Hollywood love scene is usually far less sexy than fans may want to believe. To make things even more awkward for the actors involved, they do these scenes knowing full well that their families will likely see them.

Family members of Hollywood actors have been known to react to these kinds of scenes in a variety of ways. Some people have had parents coaching them through their earliest love scenes, while others can't even discuss a romantic movie with their folks. Partners of actors regularly have to deal with their spouses getting intimate with another person in front of the camera, and they all have their different ways of handling this. No two loved ones seem to have the same reaction to the actor in their life getting romantic or sexy on screen. The one thing they all have in common is that their reactions make for interesting reading for us fans.

Zendaya in Challengers

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past several months, it's likely you've at least heard of the hit movie "Challengers," the latest offering from director Luca Guadagnino of "Call Me by Your Name" fame. Starring Zendaya alongside Josh O'Connor and Mike Faist, "Challengers" is a sensual story about a love triangle between three talented tennis players. The film has multiple love scenes, all of which include Zendaya's character Tashi Duncan, a tennis player turned coach. The former Disney Channel star is not new to on-screen romance, and she's also no stranger to watching steamy scenes with her family.

In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Zendaya remarked that it was "hilarious" to watch "Challengers" with her family. "It was funny 'cause, you know, obviously I've seen the movie many times so I know what's coming, and they were all sitting behind me, and I got to, like, watch them watch and slowly just be like, 'Oh god,'" she said. Of course, this wasn't exactly a baptism of fire for Zendaya's family, who know what to expect by now. As a result, their reaction to her steamy scenes in "Challengers" was apparently pretty chill. "They've all seen 'Euphoria,' you know, so it's not like our first rodeo or anything," Zendaya said.

Candace Cameron Bure in Fuller House

DJ (Candace Cameron Bure) and Steve (Scott Weinger) were the quintessential sitcom teen couple on "Full House." They went through plenty of standard high school milestones together — from first dates and college decisions to break-ups and make-ups — and they ended "Full House" together after Steve returned to San Francisco so he could take DJ to her prom. Their sweet, entirely family-friendly relationship continued to develop throughout the course of the revival series "Fuller House." This was much to the delight of fans, but not to Candace Cameron Bure's husband, former ice hockey star Valeri Bure, who wasn't so thrilled. Not because his wife was kissing co-star Scott Weinger in particular, but because she was kissing anyone.

At a "Fuller House" panel in 2017, Candace Cameron Bure explained that her husband goes out of his way to avoid watching her projects due to her love scenes. "Because it is uncomfortable and I totally understand and respect it," she said (via Us Weekly). "He's always held a position that, 'I don't want to ever tell you not to or stop you from your job,' and all that, but he doesn't want to watch and I respect that. And it's the boundaries." She went on to say that she's getting pretty tired of her many fictional suitors herself due to her age. "Sometimes I'm doing my Hallmark movies and we've got a new guy in each movie," she said. "I'm getting more uncomfortable with it the older I'm getting."

Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool

Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively are one of the most famous celebrity couples in Hollywood. While 2011's "Green Lantern" ended up bombing at the box office, it's likely that neither Reynolds nor Lively regrets it, as that's where the future couple met. They married in secret in 2012 and have been building a family and taking Hollywood by storm ever since. Reynolds shot to the top of the Hollywood tree in 2016 when his R-rated superhero flick "Deadpool" became a smash hit, but it had unexpected consequences for his wife.

During an appearance on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," Lively revealed that she was forced to watch her husband engaging in a series of blush-worthy acts while on a flight with one of her daughters. "It's kind of torture these days, because I'm on a plane and everywhere I look there's my husband in a sex montage throughout the holidays with another woman — because everyone wants to watch 'Deadpool' on a plane." Lively called it "a cruel and unusual form of torture," referencing the infamous mashed potatoes moment in particular.

Anna Paquin in True Blood

Not only did actors Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer meet and fall in love on the set of "True Blood," but they also stayed together long after their characters Bill and Sookie had (mostly) moved on to other people. Bill and Sookie's love story on the show was intense, so it's not at all surprising that Moyer and Paquin's chemistry bled into real life. What might surprise you is how they navigated the show's steamy love scenes after Bill and Sookie were no longer together. 

Moyer directed several episodes of "True Blood" during its run. In one of these episodes, there's a scene in which werewolf Alcide (Joe Manganiello) and Sookie make love against a wall. Apparently, because Manganiello's back is so big, the shot took extra time to arrange, and when it became too much of a technical issue, Moyer himself had to remind the actors to keep it sexy. "In front of our entire crew, I was like, 'I need you to go for it Joe. I need you to grab the bits,'" Moyer said when he and Paquin sat down for a joint chat for Entertainment Tonight. At this point, Paquin chimed in, revealing that Moyer kept checking in with her. "He'd say, 'Babe, is that okay?' And I was like, 'Please just do it.'"

Meghan Markle in Suits

With the release of his memoir, "Spare," Prince Harry spilled many much-anticipated details about his life as a member of the British royal family. One of the highlights from the book explains his reaction to Meghan Markle's "Suits" sex scenes. Before Markle married Prince Harry and got a taste of life under the watchful eye of the British tabloid press, she played attorney Rachel Zane on the USA Network legal dramedy. In the show, Rachel carries on a long-term relationship with Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams), one of the two lead characters, and the two of them get intimate multiple times throughout the series run.

Harry admitted that he made a mistake when he decided to look up Markle's love scenes from the show back before the two of them got married. "I'd witnessed her and a castmate mauling each other in some sort of office or conference room... It would take electric shock therapy to get those images out of my head. I didn't need to see such things live," Harry wrote in his memoir (via E! News). It seems like Harry won't have to worry about any future love scenes, given that Markle seems pretty adamant that she won't return to acting, despite the fact that the couple now live in the United States and have a production deal with Netflix. 

Scott Foley in Scandal

"Scandal" is about as sexy and steamy as a show on network television can get, and that is thanks in large part to famed fixer Olivia Pope's (Kerry Washington) relationship with President Fitzgerald Grant (Tony Goldwyn). Olivia has more than one love interest throughout the show's run, though. While her scenes with Jake Ballard (Scott Foley) were never quite as intense, Washington and Foley still managed to generate some palpable sexual chemistry. Olivia and Jake don't end up together by the end of "Scandal," but their love scenes will always be a memorable part of the show. Luckily for Foley, his wife, fellow actor Marika Dominczyk, isn't the jealous type.

Speaking to Us Weekly, Foley revealed that the whole cast once got together to watch the episode of "Scandal" in which Jake and Olivia share their first sex scene. Foley brought his wife along, and things almost got awkward. "There was sort of a hush after that scene. Everyone was quiet; no one knew what to do," Foley revealed, adding that Dominczyk was the one to break silence with a joke. "My wife said, 'Why don't you bring some of that home?'" Dominczyk's attitude toward her husband's love scenes with Washington differs dramatically from that of Tony Goldwyn's wife, producer Jane Musky, who refuses to watch her husband engaged in on-screen hanky panky.

Annabelle Wallis in Peaky Blinders

Before Cillian Murphy was winning Oscars for "Oppenheimer," he starred as Tommy Shelby in the critically acclaimed BBC series "Peaky Blinders." The show, set in the early 20th century, follows Shelby and the various members of the Birmingham-based crime family that he runs. After living many years of a life defined by grit and violence, Tommy meets and falls in love with a barmaid named Grace (Annabelle Wallis). Their relationship leads to great passion and sorrow, but has apparently prompted nothing but mischief from Wallis' parents.

On "The Graham Norton Show," Wallis told a story about watching one of her "Peaky Blinders" sex scenes with her parents. It was "so awkward," Wallis explained, adding that her dad said: "Well, we know where you get that from!" Wallis herself was mildly horrified, as was her mother, but she's enjoyed sharing her work with her parents. Later, when she discussed this awkward exchange again, this time with Conan O'Brien on his talk show, she said that her mother and father now "feel like they've contributed something" to her career.

Will Smith in Focus

Will Smith's marriage to Jada Pinkett Smith has proven itself complicated and fascinating to witness over the years. While Jada Pinkett Smith was promoting her memoir, 2023's "Worthy," she denied long-running rumors that she and Will Smith had been living in an open marriage and clarified that they'd actually been separated for about seven years. Whatever the status of their marriage, they have both been in showbusiness for the majority of their lives and thus have an unsurprisingly matter-of-fact approach to each other's romantic scenes.

When asked about Will Smith's steamy scenes with his co-star Margot Robbie at the premiere of the 2015 film "Focus," Jada Pinkett Smith said that she actually likes watching her husband get intimate with other actors on the big screen. "She's a little freaky like that," Will Smith told Extra on the red carpet. "Unfortunately he's right," Jada Pinkett Smith added, saying, "You know, it's kind of a nice voyeuristic way to see your man, but I am kind of weird in that way, that's a whole other conversation."

Will Smith went on to discuss Jada Pinkett Smith's sexy scenes in her film "Magic Mike XXL," saying that the two don't compare. "The difference was everybody's naked in Jada's movie. It's just overkill. It's like somebody needs to put some drawers on," he playfully groused. "There's so many famous people in 'Magic Mike 2,' everywhere I go there's some man there who's been in his drawers with my wife."

Nina Dobrev in The Vampire Diaries

Airing between 2009 and 2017, "The Vampire Diaries" remains one of The CW's most beloved and successful ventures to this day. Fans were delighted when two of the show's three leads, Nina Dobrev (Elena) and Ian Somerhalder (Damon), were spotted kissing in Los Angeles in 2010. This essentially confirmed that they were an item, and they would remain this way until 2013, when sources close to the couple confirmed that they had split. "[They] will continue to work together and remain best friends, which is where the relationship started," an insider told Us Weekly.

They would both continue to work on the show for several more years, but that's not the most awkward thing. What could possibly be more awkward than working with your ex? Having your mother come on set and give you tips during a sex scene, that's what. This is exactly what happened to Dobrev, who explained the situation during an appearance on Conan. When O'Brien asked what her mother told her exactly, Dobrev said, "Arch your back more. It will look sexier if you arch your back." The host was mystified by this, but Dobrev just laughed and said: "We're close."

Emilia Clarke in Game of Thrones

Emilia Clarke's first nude scene in "Game of Thrones," in which she starred as Daenerys Targaryen, was in the premiere. Since it came to an end in 2019, Clarke has spoken out about her experiences with nudity on the HBO show and expressed gratitude to her co-star Jason Momoa for advocating for her comfort and safety through such vulnerable moments on set. It became something that Clarke got used to handling — but not where her family were concerned. During an appearance on Live with Kelly and Mark, Clarke revealed that she found herself watching another nude scene from a Season 6 episode with her parents. Her father simply said: "Again?"

During the filming of Season 7, Clarke was met with another high-stress scenario related to nudity and her family. Her brother Bennett Clarke worked on "Game of Thrones" in the camera department, and he happened to be on set the day she was set to shoot her first love scene as Daenerys with Kit Harington's character, Jon Snow. Clarke was not happy about the situation, especially because her scene with Harington required partial nudity. "It was literally like, 'Mate! You've got to get him out of here. He's not allowed to be here!'" she said after recounting the story at the 2023 Superhero Comic Con and Car Show (via Metro).

Ewan McGregor in The Pillow Book

It's probably one of the most nightmarish circumstances a person can imagine: Watching a parent simulate lovemaking on-screen in a classroom full of their peers. Unfortunately for Clara McGregor, daughter of actor Ewan McGregor, this is the exact scenario she found herself in one day during a high school gender studies course. Her teacher showed the class a 1996 film called "The Pillow Book," in which a young Japanese woman explores history and eroticism through her study of calligraphy. It's also a film which includes several scenes featuring a naked Ewan McGregor.

Clara's teacher did ask for permission from both Clara and Ewan before showing the film, which she used as a regular part of her course, and received the okay. Clara told Jimmy Kimmel: "I said it was fine, I didn't really think much of it, and so we watched a movie called 'The Pillow Book,' which is a brilliant film. But watching that movie at 17 with your entire high school class, it's more like they're watching me watch that film... which was interesting." Thankfully, Clara's peers didn't give her a hard time, but we doubt she'll ever forget how awkward it was to watch her father's full-frontal nudity with her classmates.

Julianne Moore in any love scene

Oscar winner Julianne Moore has been married to her husband, filmmaker Bart Freundlich, for over 20 years now, and they've known each other for a lot longer than that — they met way back in 1996 and tied the knot in 2003. They have two kids, Caleb and Liv, who were born in 1997 and 2002. Moore and Freundlich are one of the most solid couples in Tinseltown, but that doesn't mean the director can tolerate watching his actress wife in love scenes. According to Moore, this is actually a good thing.

Speaking to the Mail on Sunday's "You" magazine, Moore revealed how her husband (who is known for films like "The Myth of Fingerprints," "Trust the Man," and "Wolves") reacts whenever she lands a role that comes with a steamy scene. "He hates it — which I love about him," Moore — whose character Maude is famously open about sex in the Coen brothers cult classic "The Big Lebowski" — told the mag. "It is funny because I have to say, 'It literally is work...' But I understand it and I think it's healthy. If you felt it was okay for people to kiss your wife it would be sort of weird. But, yeah, he doesn't love that."