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The Controversy Between The X-Files' Gillian Anderson And David Duchovny Explained

Science fiction fans and government conspiracy theorists alike may be in love with Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, the dynamic FBI duo from "The X-Files," but the stars certainly aren't in love with each other. It is true that the two on-screen characters go together like peanut butter and jelly in every way imaginable. However, fans often impose this relationship on the actors. Contrary to popular belief, David Duchovny (Mulder) and Gillian Anderson (Scully) are not, and have never been, an item. In fact, if you know anything about the behind-the-scenes action on "The X-Files," it's probably that the stars don't like each other very much.

Of course, that never stopped the two from being professional, and working together for a solid 11 seasons between 2003 and 2018. In fact, you might even see the two acting on friendly terms on social media. So then what's the deal? Do Duchovny and Anderson hate each other? Or is there something more behind the controversy between the "X-Files" actors?

On the X-Files set, Duchovny and Anderson were anything but friends

Despite Mulder and Scully going from work colleagues to romantic partners over the course of "The X-Files," the actors themselves weren't overly fond of each other. In fact, during a 2015 interview with The Guardian, Gillian Anderson revealed that "there were definitely periods when we hated each other... We didn't talk for long periods of time. It was intense, and we were both pains in the arse for the other at various times."

Likewise, David Duchovny has also been forthcoming about how the two of them struggled to get along. "Familiarity breeds contempt," he told Metro in 2008. "We used to argue about nothing. We couldn't stand the sight of each other."

Despite the two's incessant rivalry, both managed to at least maintain a stable working relationship throughout the lifespan of "The X-Files." This might seem contradictory, as it might feel impossible to act alongside someone you have contempt for, especially when your characters are so closely tied. However, it actually makes a lot of sense when you dig a bit deeper into the pair's working relationship.

Duchovny and Anderson aren't friendly, but they are respectful

So far, it seems like everything David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson have had to say about each other over the years has been negative. However, if you asked either actor at any point in time, you'd find that they have an underlying respect for each other. This was likely the reason they were able to work together on "The X-Files" set so closely, for such a long period of time.

"It's nothing to do with the other person," Duchovny said in his interview with Metro. "All that fades away and you're just left with the appreciation and love for the people you've worked with for so long."

Similarly, Anderson told The Guardian that, while there were "periods" where they hated each other, she felt that "hate is too strong a word." At the time of the article in 2015, she was forthcoming about the fact that "we are closer today than we have ever been."

In the end, their mutual respect has always trumped their interpersonal issues. It's why you rarely, if ever, saw them bad-mouthing each other to the press, even if they were open about their dislike for each other.

Nowadays, the two are much closer

While it is tough to call them close friends, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson have gotten closer as the years have gone by. At least, they've become close enough that they're willing to take selfies with one another. In April, Anderson posted a picture of the two (along with her adorable pup) on Instagram with the caption, "Stella made a new friend today."

Even then, the two aren't overly-chummy. So far, Anderson's selfie is the only time the two have interacted on social media. That being said, what they have now is a much more positive relationship compared to when they were co-workers. But even that doesn't stop fans from shipping the two like no tomorrow: "You two are the absolutely perfect dream team! Seeing you together always brings a smile to my face," wrote one fan in response to Anderson's selfie. "My favorite couple," wrote another.

It actually seems like this facet of their relationship is what bothers the two the most. In 2016, Duchovny went on record with The Guardian about how fans shipping them upsets him. "Gillian and I are not lovers, or boyfriend and girlfriend," he said. "There seems to be a certain kind of Twitter contingent that wants us to be together. It's odd to me, because I've never had the fantasy of wanting two people together that aren't, or are."