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Iconic TV duos who hated each other in real life

There's one thing that pretty much all great television shows have in common — the main leads on the show typically have pretty good chemistry. From groups like The Good Place's "Soul Squad" to The Office's gang at Dunder Mifflin to duos like Law & Order: Special Victims Unit's Elliot Stabler and Olivia Benson, a TV show fails or succeeds on the connections between its leading characters. So naturally, good relationships between the actors playing those characters can be invaluable to a show's reception and success.

You might think that the actors who play some of your favorite characters are best friends behind the scenes, but for every group like the close-knit casts of shows like Game of Thrones, Scrubs, and The Office, there's a gang or pair who actually couldn't stand each other during their shared time on set. From teen drama queens to fan-favorite couples to on-screen frenemies, here are some iconic television duos who simply hated each other in real life.

Lorelai and Luke weren't actually that close

Though Amy Sherman-Palladino's breakthrough series Gilmore Girls focused primarily on the incredibly close relationship between young mother Lorelai Gilmore (Lauren Graham) and her teenage daughter, Rory (Alexis Bledel), the mother's and daughter's love lives were also a huge part of the show. Both women went through several boyfriends throughout the course of the series, but for Lorelei, no men loomed as large as Luke Danes (Scott Patterson), who owned Luke's Diner and with whom Lorelei shared a long-simmering flirtation that eventually turned into a real relationship.

Unfortunately, according to Graham, Luke and Lorelei's sharp banter didn't translate into off-screen friendship. In a 2005 interview with TVGuide, when asked about her relationship with Patterson, Graham said, "It's fine. I think these characters have a great chemistry, and that does mirror our chemistry as people. We're not intimates. We talk kind of how we talk [on the show]. We work well together." When the interviewer followed up by asking if the two were "best friends," Graham responded with a curt "no." 

However,, the two seem to have patched things up in recent years, even taking a selfie together around the 2016 release of Netflix's revival Gilmore Girls: A Year In the Life, but it's a shame that this beloved couple didn't seem to hit it off behind the scenes.

These Sex and the City stars hated each other in real life

Beyond its salacious plotlines and defining narrative style, HBO's groundbreaking Sex and the City was ultimately about the power of female friendship, focusing on the lives and loves of four modern New York City women through the late 1990s and early 2000s. Though the story ultimately centered around Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker), a sex columnist living on Manhattan's Upper East Side, it gave plenty of screen time to her friends Miranda Hobbes (Cynthia Nixon), Charlotte York (Kristin Davis), and Samantha Jones (Kim Cattrall).

Despite the fact that Parker and Cattrall played best friends for years, apparently Carrie and Samantha's relationship was all a finely tuned act. Parker and Cattrall had been feuding for years, with news of their enmity breaking when the show came to a close in 2004. After two Sex and the City films, which also caused tensions over pay grades between the two stars, Cattrall reportedly refused to participate in a third film and even publicly lashed out at Parker, publicly criticizing her co-star when Cattrall's brother passed away. Carrie and Samantha were always close on screen, but in real life, they couldn't end their artistic partnership fast enough.

There wasn't a lot of glee between Santana and Rachel

In real life, high school can be a pretty catty place, and apparently, high school dramas like Fox's Glee were no different, particularly when it came to the fraught relationship between two of its stars. As Rachel Berry, an aspiring Broadway ingenue, and Santana Lopez, a cheerleader turned glee club star, Lea Michele and Naya Rivera always played on-screen frenemies, but their relationship was reportedly even worse off camera.

After years of a rumored feud between the two, Rivera confirmed that the two actresses didn't get along — especially in later seasons — in her 2016 memoir Sorry Not Sorry (via Vulture). In the book, Rivera dished on her real relationship with Michele, writing, "I think Rachel — erm, I mean Lea — didn't like sharing the spotlight. She had a hard time separating work from our outside friendship, whereas it was a lot easier for me ... Lea was a lot more sensitive, though, and sometimes it seemed like she blamed me for anything and everything that went wrong."

Tragically, Rivera passed away at the age of 33 in the summer of 2020 after drowning in a current at California's Lake Piru and saving her young son in the process. In the aftermath of Rivera's death, Michele posted photos of Rivera, indicating that despite the strife between the two starlets, she was wrecked to hear of Rivera's tragic demise.

When they weren't working on Grey's Anatomy, Burke and George didn't get along

When Shonda Rhimes' humble medical show hit ABC in March 2005 as a mid-season replacement, nobody thought Grey's Anatomy would become one of television's longest-running dramas, but ultimately, it smashed records for medical television shows and episode counts and became an integral part of ABC's Thursday night lineup. Throughout the years, apart from Ellen Pompeo — who plays the show's lead, Meredith Grey — and a few other original cast members, there's been plenty of turnover, though few exits were as dramatic as Isaiah Washington's, who played cardiac attending Dr. Preston Burke for three seasons.

Alongside Meredith Grey, the show opened with a group of original surgical interns — Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh), Izzie Stevens (Katherine Heigl), Alex Karev (Justin Chambers), and George O'Malley (T.R. Knight). Though Burke ends up picking George as his favorite intern early in George's career, off-screen, their relationship was less than idyllic. During an argument with Patrick Dempsey, who played Dr. Derek Shepherd on the series, Washington apparently used a derogatory slur against Knight regarding Knight's sexuality — Knight is openly gay — and after repeating the slur during an acceptance speech at the Golden Globes, Washington was ultimately fired from the show. Clearly, there was no love lost between Washington and Knight, despite their solid on-screen rapport.

Shatner and Takei famously don't get along in real life

George Takei (Sulu) and William Shatner (Captain Kirk) may have explored the deepest recesses of the universe together, but that doesn't mean they're friends. Sure, the two legendary actors starred together on the original Star Trek series in the late 1960s, but behind the scenes, the two definitely didn't get along.

In 2015, in an interview with The New York Times Magazine, Takei claimed that any time Shatner needed publicity, he revived a nasty feud between the two, even going so far as to post incendiary comments about Takei's marriage to his husband, Brad Takei, simply to get attention for a new project. Ultimately, regarding comments made throughout his career about his issues with Shatner, Takei concluded, "It's difficult working with someone who is not a team player. The rest of the cast all understand what makes a scene work — it's everybody contributing to it. But Bill is a wonderful actor, and he knows it, and he likes to have the camera on him all the time."

Shatner never minced words, either. In 2016, Newsweek reported on handwritten letters by the actor detailing his non-relationship with Takei. Shatner wrote, "I had never really got to know him. ... Nevertheless, when we all wrapped that last day of shooting it was all meaningful for all of us — Star Trek was cancelled. Until this moment in his apartment we had not spoken. Not so long after that very friendly time he began to say very mean things about me. Why?"

No familial love lost in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

On The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, which began its run in 1990 and shot a young Will Smith to stardom, Will's life is "turned upside down" when he moves from West Philadelphia to Bel-Air to live with his rich aunt and uncle and stay out of trouble. However, off-screen, Smith, who more or less played himself on the show, apparently ran into plenty of trouble as it was.

During a special cast reunion for charity in late 2011, Janet Hubert, who played Aunt Vivian Banks for the show's first three seasons — and was ultimately replaced by Daphne Maxwell Reid — was asked if she'd ever consider a Fresh Prince reunion. Apparently, the answer was a resounding no. As TMZ reported (via Essence) reported, Hubert said, "There will never be a reunion ... as I will never do anything with an a**hole like Will Smith."

Hubert continued, "He is still an egomaniac and has not grown up. This constant reunion thing will never, ever happen in my lifetime unless there is an apology, which he doesn't know the word." Meanwhile, Smith had some choice words for his former co-star, as well. In 1993, he opened up on an Atlanta radio show about the rift, explaining, "[Hubert] said once, 'I've been in the business for ten years, and this snotty-nosed punk comes along and gets a show.' No matter what, to her I'm just the Antichrist." Clearly, this family dispute won't ever be settled.

It seems things got heated on the set of Castle

For a show that centered so strongly on the central romance between its two main characters, there was certainly plenty of strife behind the scenes on Castle. In the series, Nathan Fillion stars as crime novelist Richard Castle, and Stana Katic plays homicide detective Kate Beckett, and the show pairs the writer with the cop to solve crimes in New York City. Though Kate initially looks down on Castle and resents having him around, the romantic tension between the two can't be ignored, and they strike up a relationship.

Apparently, there were sparks between Fillion and Katic off-screen, as well ... but not in a good way. In 2015, tensions came to a head, and Katic suddenly exited the show after starring on it for six years, amidst rumors that Fillion demanded she be written off the show. And according to a 2018 interview with Entertainment Weekly, she was shocked by her exit as well. As Katic put it, "I'm actually still not clear on the thought process behind the way that it went down. It hurt, and it was a harsh ending," though she did clarify that she "met so many beautiful people on that project, and ... collaborated on something really unique." Whether or not Fillion was the reason for Katic's firing remains to be seen, but ultimately, after Castle was canceled in 2016, we may never know the truth.

Things weren't so good between these Good Wife stars

When The Good Wife kicked off its story in 2009, viewers were introduced to Alicia Florrick (Emmy winner Julianna Marguiles), a woman who returns to work as an associate lawyer at a high-powered Chicago firm in the wake of her husband's (Chris Noth) very public sex scandal and resignation as Cook County's state attorney. Right as she begins her stressful new job, Alicia meets Kalinda Sharma (Archie Panjabi), the firm's private investigator, and the two become fast friends, with Kalinda looking out for Alicia whenever possible. Unfortunately, that bond apparently didn't translate off-screen.

Though their on-screen relationship hits a snag when Alicia finds out about Kalinda's previous relationship with her husband, in real life, a rift became pretty obvious when Marguiles and Panjabi didn't appear in a scene together for over 30 episodes of The Good Wife, which was fairly glaring considering how often they usually shared the screen. Ultimately, when Panjabi left the show at the end of the sixth season, the duo shared one last moment ... which was shot separately using body doubles so that the two didn't have to be in the same room. Marguiles and Panjabi have remained classy and quiet about their rumored feud, but clearly, their issues are pretty intense.

Blair and Serena were BFFs on Gossip Girl, but it was a different story in real life

Throughout its six-season run, Gossip Girl was filled with backstabbing, betrayals, and fake friends. And apparently, its central friendship was fraught both on the show and in real life. Right from the beginning, Gossip Girl sets up an intense rivalry between Upper East Side princess Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester) and her beautiful, troubled best friend Serena van der Woodsen (Blake Lively), with the two constantly fighting and making up over Blair's conniving nature and Serena's effortless popularity.

Though Blair and Serena love each other no matter what, this apparently wasn't true for Meester and Lively. During the show's run, rumors swirled about tensions between the two actresses, and ultimately, showrunner Joshua Safran dished on Lively and Meester's relationship ten years after the show's premiere in a Vanity Fair retrospective. As Safran said, "Blake and Leighton were not friends. They were friendly, but they were not friends like Serena and Blair. Yet the second they'd be on set together, it's as if they were." 

Apparently, the two were just different — Lively was much more outgoing, and Meester was shy on set — but tensions may have increased when Lively began to outshine Meester in real life. When Lively appeared on the cover of Vogue, Safran remembers thinking, "Oh my god, this is ... Blair's nightmare. It really felt like life imitating art." Years after Gossip Girl's run, fans are left wondering how much off-set drama between Meester and Lively made it into the show itself.

There was nothing charming about Phoebe and Prue's actual relationship

Apparently, the set of Charmed, which premiered in 1998 and told the story of three powerful witch sisters — Prue (Shannen Doherty), Piper (Holly Marie Combs), and Phoebe (Alyssa Milano) Halliwell — fighting supernatural forces, wasn't exactly a magical place to be. And sadly, that was thanks to an intense feud between two of its leading ladies.

Though Doherty and Milano were apparently close when Charmed began, by the time the third season rolled around, tensions were running high. According to a retrospective by E!, the two would only interact when they absolutely had to. Milano even said, "There were times when I'd come in and say, 'Good morning, Shannen,' and she didn't say anything to me. And there were times when she'd come in and say, 'Good morning, Alyssa,' and I wouldn't say anything to her."

The show even brought in a mediator to try and help Milano and Doherty make up, but it didn't work. Ultimately, they realized one of the two actresses would simply have to go, and Doherty exited the series in 2001. Their feud continued for years, with the two eventually making up, but clearly, Charmed's spell wore off for Milano and Doherty during filming.

We don't want to believe the truth about The X-Files

There aren't very many duos as legendary as Fox Mulder and Dana Scully — played by David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson in the groundbreaking series The X-Files — and the two FBI agents spent 11 seasons and two films trying to solve supernatural, alien-adjacent mysteries. Though the show kept them at arm's length romantically for most of its run, later seasons clarified that the two were together, creating one of the most iconic couples throughout all of television.

However, Duchovny and Anderson's off-screen relationship may not have been quite as idyllic as Mulder and Scully's. During publicity for the 2008 revival film X-Files: I Want to Believe, Duchovny told Metro UK that during the original run of the show, he and Anderson butted heads quite frequently. As Duchovny put it, "Familiarity breeds contempt. It's nothing to do with the other person. All that fades away, and you're just left with the appreciation and love for the people you've worked with for so long. We used to argue about nothing. We couldn't stand the sight of each other." Though Duchovny described Anderson as "like [his] sister," it's disheartening that the two had so many problems during the original series.

One of TV's most iconic duos actually had a rough start

There are few on-screen duos as iconic and beloved as Lucy and Ethel, played by Lucille Ball and Vivian Vance, on the classic, defining sitcom I Love Lucy. Despite the fact that these female best friends ultimately had one of the most important friendships in television history, paving the way for shows about female friends like Broad City decades down the line, Ball and Vance apparently didn't get off to a great start.

When I Love Lucy kicked off in 1951, Ball, who was apparently "old-fashioned," didn't want any women who were more attractive than her on set, and Vance was so pretty that Ball immediately took issue with her casting. In fact, Ball wanted Vance to be fired, but once she saw how committed Vance was to the role of Ethel, she relented, and eventually, the two actually formed an incredibly close friendship. As the two got close, Vance became one of Ball's most trusted confidantes and even helped Ball navigate her messy divorce from Desi Arnaz, who famously appeared on I Love Lucy as Lucy's husband, Ricky Ricardo. Very few feuds have a happy ending, but after a rocky beginning, Vance and Ball formed a friendship that mirrored their on-screen personas.