Who: Oscar-winning actress and producer Charlize Theron, 45, and actor and writer-director Stuart Townsend, 48.
How They Met:
The actors met where most do: on set. Both starred in 2002 drama Trapped.
Townsend described meeting Theron during a 2004 interview with Irish America.
"We sat beside each other and I honestly really didn't take that much notice, maybe because we were working," he said of their first read-through. "All I remember is Charlize had a dog with her and I remember thinking, "Oh, there's the mad lady with the dog!'" His perception changed later that evening when they both arrived early for a dinner with the director.
"She just looked like a million dollars," Townsend gushed. "I went, 'Whoa! Who is this girl?"
"When she glams up it's ridiculous," he went on. "She can look so hot. She's a goddess, man, a total goddess. That night we had so much fun. I was just smitten after that."
Theron didn't initially see Townsend as relationship material, but that quickly changed.
"He had all the criteria for somebody who wasn't going to be anything serious," she told Marie Claire. "He lived over there [in England]; I lived over here. So we were very honest with each other: 'I think you're hot, I think you're nice, I think you're smart. We can go on dates. What do you think?' And then, things happened."
Theron told Elle UK that she knew she was falling in love with Townsend after just a few weeks together.
Why We Loved Them:
You know how long-term partners sometimes tend to morph into each other …
When They Peaked: Though neither party seemed entirely sold on the idea of marriage (Theron felt no need to "wear a white dress and throw a big party" and compared it to a film premiere; Townsend said love and trust were more important than marriage), Townsend told People that he and Theron were "husband and wife."
"I don't need a certificate or the state or the church to say otherwise. So no, there's no big official story on a wedding, but we are married," he insisted.
Theron spoke similarly following their split. In 2017, she told Howard Stern that her "heart was married" to Townsend.
Married or not, you have to respect both Theron and Townsend's commitment to publicly gushing over each other.
Theron called Townsend the "best thing that's ever happened to me" in an interview with Oprah Winfrey. "We sit at a dinner and we can't get enough of each other's conversation," she said five years into the relationship. And the kicker: "We like making out!"
In an interview with ABC News, Theron compared being with Townsend to winning the lottery ("the lotto was scratched and I won"). "I don't think I could have imagined a love like that," she added.
She told Vogue that what she and Townsend shared was "more than love."
"I've been in love before," she told the publication. "But have I ever been with somebody who I really, truly felt had my back and was my best friend? No, not until Stuart."
By early 2010, rumors of a split had circulated. The Daily Mail reported that a trip to Mexico over the holidays sealed the couple's fate.
The following year, Theron told Vogue that she'd previously taken a step back from acting to work on her relationship with Townsend. "It was sinking, and I had to give it a fight," she explained. "I really wanted to try and make it work. That was the priority. I wouldn't do it any different way."
Townsend focused on the positive when asked to discuss the split in a 2013 interview with Irish Independent:" We had a great time, we had a great adventure, that's all I can say."
Where They Are Now:
Theron went on to date Sean Penn, but she hasn't been in a public relationship since they broke up in 2015. In fact, last year the actress told Drew Barrymore that she hadn't dated anyone for more than 5 years.
The year after her split from Townsend, Theron adopted daughter Jackson, followed by daughter August in 2015.
Theron's latest film, F9: The Fast Saga, is currently in theaters.
Townsend quietly welcomed sons Ezra and Desmond after moving to Costa Rica following the breakup.
Next up for the actor is drama The Martini Shot.
#TBT: Check in every Thursday as we throw it back to some of our favorite celebrity couples of all time.
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