Celebrities Who Prove You Can Be Friends With Your Exes (Or At Least Work With Them)

Being friends with an ex isn't for everyone, but sometimes, there's not really much choice. Workplace romances can be particularly tricky when it comes to calling things off, as it's not always easy to just cut ties and never see one another again. Having to see someone you've just split up with every day can be tough and bring up some extra difficult feelings to deal with while going through an already hard breakup. "If you're trying to be friends with your ex, you have to think of it as a different relationship," author Marisa G. Franco explained to Vox. "This isn't us breaking up, continued."

No matter how badly things ended, though, there are some famous faces who have proven it's totally possible to stay amicable with an ex while still having to be around them all the time. From actors to musicians, these are the stars who show us how to be friendly and professional with exes.

Taylor Swift and Taylor Lautner's friendship stretched years after their breakup

Taylor Swift and Taylor Lautner were the dream duo back in the late 2000s. The genetically blessed couple, affectionately referred to as Taylor Squared, became an item after working together on the 2010 movie "Valentine's Day" and seemed pretty inseparable for a few months. Swift even referenced their blossoming romance on "Saturday Night Live" in November 2009, giddily singing during her opening monologue, "If you're wondering if I might be dating the werewolf from 'Twilight' ... " She then blew a kiss, waved, winked, and mouthed, "Hi Taylor!" before joking, "I'm not gonna comment on that in my monologue." 

The two were spotted together a handful of times after that, but Us Weekly confirmed by December 2009 that they'd gone their separate ways. "He liked her more than she liked him. He went everywhere he could to see her, but she didn't travel much to see him. They decided they were better as friends," a source said at the time.

Swift later sang about feeling bad about their split on "Back To December," but there was no lasting "Bad Blood." "He's one of my best friends," Swift told Glamour in 2010. "He's wonderful, and we'll always be close. I'm so thankful for that." The friendship stretched beyond a decade, with Lautner appearing in Swift's video for the 2023 song "I Can See You."

Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony's divorce didn't stop them working together ... or kissing

Don't think a little thing like divorce was going to stop Jennifer Lopez and her ex-husband Marc Anthony from working together. The former couple was married for a decade (from 2004 until 2014) and welcomed twins together, but after splitting, they still joined forces on their talent competition series, "Q'Viva! The Chosen," as judges. 

That's far from the only time these two have collaborated, though. Two years after their divorce was finalized, Billboard announced that Anthony and Lopez were working together again, as he was serving as a producer on Lopez's Spanish-language album. Around that same time, the two shared a (platonic) kiss on stage at the Latin Grammy Awards while performing a duet of the song "Olvidame y Pega la Vuelta." 

Lopez dished on her relationship with her ex on "Live With Kelly" a year later in 2017, explaining that they were "best friends." She added, "We're always going to be great friends. I'm always going to be there for him. He's always going to be there for me." That same year, the friendly exes joined forces to help the people of Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Lopez and Anthony were among a slew of stars (including Lopez's once-partner Alex Rodriguez) who came together for "Somos Una Voz (We Are One Voice)," also headlining a relief concert together.

Drew Barrymore and Justin Long are amongst Hollywood's most friendly exes

Drew Barrymore and Justin Long are such good friends that the two even reminisced about their defunct romance and the good times they had together on TV. This now-extinguished romance stretches all the way back to 2007, but only lasted until July 2008 ... at first. The couple later reunited only to break up again in 2010. 

But this wasn't a cut-all-ties kind of split. Oh, no. Barrymore gushed about her ex on "The Drew Barrymore Show: A Little Bit Extra" in 2022, admitting that she was totally in love with him during their time together. "He is one of the sharpest, wittiest [people], he's brilliant and he'll just knock your socks off with laughter."

Barrymore's sweet words came around four months before Long actually paid her a visit at work, as he appeared as a guest on "The Drew Barrymore Show" in September 2022 and they reminisced about their relationship. "I feel like we've been through so much together," Barrymore told her ex. "When we used to talk and FaceTime I was always like, 'You know I've really grown up, Justin.' I always wanted to prove to you what a different person I was then when we dated. It was chaos, it was hella-fun." During the chat, Long sweetly told his ex, "You were the best."

Divorce didn't end Dwayne Johnson and Dany Garcia's professional relationship

Dwayne Johnson and Dany Garcia were once joined at the hip after meeting at university when she was 18 and he was 21. They tied the knot in 1997 and welcomed daughter Ava Raine together (who you may recognize, as she's a professional wrestler just like her dad!) but confirmed in 2007 that they were calling time on their marriage. 

But even when announcing their breakup, they made it clear their professional ventures wouldn't be coming to an end. "We will continue to advance and manage our business interests, our philanthropic efforts, and most importantly, the raising of our child together, as a loving team," they told People. Clearly, they stuck to their word. The former couple has worked on a number of movies together, with Garcia producing some of the biggest blockbusters Johnson has starred in. Amongst their joint credits? "Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw," "Jungle Cruise," and "Black Adam."

Johnson opened up about what it's really like working with his ex, admitting it wasn't always the easiest thing but they've learned to make it work. "We started out as friends and through divorce we still remain friends, but that kind of stuff takes a lot of work," he confessed to E! Insider, sharing that he and Garcia had been to therapy sessions together. "I always say, 'You gotta put in the work, and just remember that you were friends beforehand.'"

Kaley Cuoco and Johnny Galecki's characters got married after their breakup

As stars on one of the most popular sitcoms to ever grace screens ("The Big Bang Theory"), work could have gotten awkward for once real-life couple Kaley Cuoco and Johnny Galecki. The co-stars dated off-screen for two years between 2008 and 2009, but couldn't exactly sever ties when their romance broke down. Instead, they had to spend every day together as their characters in the show, Penny and Leonard, got married and had at least one child. Though that could be the ultimate recipe for disaster, instead, these two proved their friendship ran deeper than their failed romance.

"We really adored each other, and we were lucky because as our breakup was happening, there was no foul play, there was nothing bad about our relationship ... it just ended," Cuoco explained to Vanity Fair during a joint interview with Galecki in 2022. "Yes, there was some hurt there for a bit, but it didn't take us that long to go back to what we were before we were dating and be friends." 

Galecki also dished on whether or not it was awkward filming more intimate and romantic scenes together, like when Leonard proposed to Penny (considering they once considered tying the knot!), but made it clear things stayed professional. "She and I are seasoned professionals, and we've been doing this since we were kids, so we used it as a bit of therapy," he said.

Lili Reinhart and Cole Sprouse's professional relationship outlived their romance

"Riverdale" stars Lili Reinhart and Cole Sprouse had everyone fangirling over their romance when they made their red carpet debut together at the 2018 Met Gala. The two kept their relationship a little more low-key than some of the other couples on our list, though Sprouse did get candid about Reinhart on Instagram in August 2020 when he confirmed they'd broken up months earlier. 

"What an incredible experience I had, I'll always feel lucky and cherish that I had the chance to fall in love. I wish her nothing but the utmost love and happiness moving forward. All I'll say about it, anything else you hear doesn't matter," he captioned the upload. The former "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody" star even went as far as to promote his ex's movie, "Chemical Hearts," writing, "I'm sure she's just as incredible in it as everything else she does." How sweet!

The two continued to work together on "Riverdale" following their breakup, and Sprouse shared in 2023 that they were still friends, on the podcast "Call Her Daddy." "I think the work thing got difficult because it was hard to suspend all the way we felt about each other and it didn't afford us the luxury of distance to really overcome that. I know we both did quite a bit of damage to each other in that," he shared, noting they'd learned to work well together post-split.

Tarek El Moussa and Christina Hall kept on filming together after their breakup

Tarek El Moussa and Christina Hall's split may not have been the smoothest, but the former couple proved they were still able to make nice on camera. The duo continued to work together on their HGTV series, "Flip Or Flop," in the wake of their marriage ending in 2016 after seven years. In a statement, El Moussa said of continuing his professional relationship with his ex, "From the beginning, HGTV has showed Christina and me tremendous support and we are excited to go out there and flip many more houses for 'Flip or Flop.'" Hall then added, "Tarek and I have been working together for a long time and we look forward to continuing to work together."

Despite reports of tension between El Moussa and Hall when the cameras weren't rolling, the two put work and their two children first. "[Our relationship] is in a completely different place. She and I are getting along, we're co-parenting, getting along together, and I really think the episodes are getting better and better," El Moussa told People in 2021. That same year, the exes announced that "Flip or Flop" would be coming to an end, after which Hall admitted she didn't always have the easiest time working with her former husband. "The series made it through ups and downs, and trust me it wasn't always easy," she told People.

Chase Stokes and Madelyn Cline were dedicated to making things work on set post-split

Before Chase Stokes became all loved up with Kelsea Ballerini, he was working alongside his now ex-girlfriend Madelyn Cline on the Netflix series "Outer Banks." People confirmed the two split after over a year of dating in November 2021 — after which they still had to see each other on set. But it sounds like the exes had no issues, because they knew how to keep things professional. In fact, the former couple were even spotted out and about together, with one fan sharing a picture with both of them, around a month after they split (via Instagram).

"Mads and I have been working together now for 30 episodes, and we made a promise to each other before we even started dating that the work was always going to come first," Stokes explained to Entertainment Weekly in February 2023. "And that no matter what happens in our personal lives, and the ways that life sometimes takes you in different directions, that we're always going to honor the work. That stayed 100 percent truthful this season," he added. Cline also opened up to the outlet about what it was like working with her ex. "We had a working relationship before we had a personal relationship, and our job from day one has always been to leave the show better than we found it," she said, praising her co-stars for their professionalism.

Blake Lively and Penn Badgley kept the gossip at bay

Long before Blake Lively married Ryan Reynolds and Penn Badgley was creeping us all out in "You," Lively and Badgley were an item while working together on The CW teen hit "Gossip Girl." The two dated (somewhat secretly) for three years, before People confirmed they'd split in 2010. Lively admitted to Vanity Fair in 2017 that she and Badgley purposefully kept things under wraps because they thought their romance would get them into trouble. 

"There was one point where we were just afraid of how our personal lives overlapping our work life could be perceived by our bosses," she recalled. "[But then] we were like, 'Oh no, that's exactly what they want.' They wanted us all to date. They wanted us all to wear the same clothes that we're wearing on the show. They wanted that, because then it fed their whole narrative."

But Lively wasn't the only one who reminisced about their romance years later. During an appearance on "Watch What Happens Live" in 2015, Badgley admitted Lively was his best on-screen kiss while they were together — but joked his worst on-screen kiss was when they had to lock lips post-breakup. "I think we should both pat ourselves on the back for getting through it, because, you know, anything is complicated in that way, and we handled it," he told host Andy Cohen, admitting they were both professional about what had to be done.

Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Karina Smirnoff kept the tango going

You may remember, from the early days of "Dancing with the Stars," that ballroom bad boy Maksim Chmerkovskiy romanced another of his fellow dancers before he sparked up a romance with Peta Murgatroyd. That first romance was with none other than Karina Smirnoff, and there was a time the two were even engaged. However, they called things off in 2009, with Chmerkovskiy telling People he felt "betrayed" by his fiancée. 

It appeared things a little frosty for a while, but these two eventually worked things out and reunited in 2013 to dance on Broadway. The two dished on where they stood to "Extra," with Chmerkovskiy admitting they were back on good terms. "We put our differences aside long before Forever Tango came around," he said, while his ex added, "Obviously, Maks and I have a very colorful history, but I think we both have moved past that. To be able to do a very passionate Argentine Tango, you need that and we have plenty of material to pull from."

That same year, they also reunited on "DWTS" — and even shared a kiss. Chmerkovskiy appeared as a guest judge and was surprisingly complimentary towards his ex, which caused Smirnoff to plant a kiss on his cheek. "He had such a sweet comment, and I didn't know what else to do. I was like, that's so sweet. Should I give him a kiss?" she confessed to Us Weekly.

Big Sean and Jhené Aiko continued to support each other long after their breakup

Also proving it's possible to break up and still be on good terms, Big Sean and Jhené Aiko show us exactly how to be supportive exes. The twosome seemed to spark up a romance while working together on their 2016 album "Twenty88" but were off and on after that. Still, that didn't stop them dishing out the praise. One of the most public displays of support came in 2019, shortly after Aiko confirmed on Instagram that she and Sean were no longer together. When Sean released a song called "Single Again," which was seemingly about the couple's split, and she even promoted it on Twitter

The rapper then tweeted out a very sweet message thanking her for her support. "I appreciate you supporting me on this one and I want to just say I love you unconditionally. You amazing, talented, every song we do special to me!... I could have txt u this I know but I want people to know I appreciate you," he wrote. Aww!

Sean then returned the favor by collaborating with Aiko on the song "None of Her Concern," which is also thought to be about their breakup. The rapper even appeared in the music video for the song after their split. Clearly, all that support worked for these two and they ended up getting back together, welcoming their first child together in 2022.

Things got awkward for Sophia Bush and Chad Michael Murray, but they put One Tree Hill first

Another couple who were once the poster children for love's young dream, "One Tree Hill" stars Sophia Bush and Chad Michael Murray, haven't exactly had the smoothest of relationship rides. They played Brooke Davis and Lucas Scott on the teen drama and had fans all over the world rooting for their relationship, so it seemed like good news when they married in 2005. 

Only, that union didn't last long. Like, at all. A mere five months later it was all over and Bush even tried to get an annulment, citing fraud. People reported that petition was denied and the couple's divorce was finalized in December 2006. "This is a difficult and unfortunate situation. I am glad this is being resolved sooner rather than later," Bush said in a statement, while an insider added, "She's moved on. They have a professional relationship."

Said professional relationship involved the two continuing to work together, with Bush explaining she did it for her character. "People can call it whatever they want. They can say it's strength, they can say it's pride, they can say it's professionalism. You can put a positive or a negative skew on it. But I was always going to put Brooke Davis ahead of everybody and everything else. Nothing mattered to me but being honest for her," she said on "Drama Queens" in 2022.

Jennifer Garner even celebrated Michael Vartan's birthday after their breakup

Though Jennifer Garner and Michael Vartan have very much moved on from their short-lived "Alias" romance (Garner eventually married Ben Affleck, while Vartan married to Lauren Skaar) it seems like these two managed to find a way to stay friends. The two continued to star alongside one another on the show for around two years post their 2004 split (which came after around a year of dating), carving out a professional relationship after things turned sour romantically. 

But, clearly, their relationship went further than being just professional. Proving they also managed to keep a platonic friendship going years later, Garner even took to Instagram to celebrate Vartan's 50th birthday in 2018. "Can you believe this baby face is 50?! Happy birthday, #MichaelVartan. #alwaysanALIASgirl #sydneyandvaughnforever," she captioned a throwback photo of herself and her ex.

But don't take this friendship as a sign these two could ever get back together, as Vartan has made it pretty clear there's little to no chance of he and Garner every getting romantic again. In 2018, when asked if he'd ever date an ex, he told E!'s "Daily Pop," "Oh my God. I don't think so. If it didn't work once, there's a reason it didn't work."