26 LGBTQ+ couples we were rooting for but whose break-ups really, really hurt
Sure, seeing your favourite celebrities finally get together is great – but an A-List break-up hurts that little bit more. LGBTQ+ couples are no exception. And for queer couples, the simple power of them being visibly together is inspirational to many fans.
So news of a queer couple breaking up can be especially painful. Here are 26 of the most heart-breaking queer celeb couple break-ups:
1. Elliot Page and Emma Portner
They had been together for three years. And when Page first locked eyes with Portner in 2017, he was transfixed.
“I thought, damn, this girl is so talented and so cool,” Page recalled in an interview for the New York Times. “I knew right away we were both creative spirits.”
2. Luke Evans and Rafael Olarra
Professional attractive gay man and occasional actor Luke Evans kept much of his LGBTQ relationship with Rafael Olarra a secret, sharing the odd photo of themselves together on Instagram.
When the pair unfollowed one another in 2020, everyone took it Evans and the art director had split up. Evans deleted all their posts together not long after.
“It is what it is,” Evans told The Times‘ Saturday Review, making their break-up crystal clear.
3. Colton Haynes and Jeff Leatham
If Guinness World Records has an award for ‘Most Attractive Couple’, these two would have easily scored it.
Actor Colton Haynes and celebrity florist Jeff Leatham had a rocky relationship that stretched marriage (that Kris Jenner officiated), divorce filings, re-coupling and then divorce again.
The divorce settlement was hammered out in August 2019, bringing an end to the six-month marriage.
4. Jane Lynch and Lara Embry
At a fundraiser in California, actor Jane Lynch and psychologist Lara Embry locked eyes. They then had a wedding ceremony in 2010 that was quiet and intimate.
News of their divorce in 2013 sent shockwaves, and it ignited some messy spousal support negations.
During a Larry King Live interview that year, Lynch claimed she and Embry remain friends, we’re pleased to hear.
5. Daniel Franzese and Joseph Bradley Phillips
Mean Girls star Daniel Franzese and his fiancé Joseph Bradley Phillips ended their engagement in a rather beautiful way.
“Sometimes shooting stars shine so brightly that they burn out and now we must go separate ways, but I hope my path always crosses with his,” Franzese said in a statement.
Franzese proposed to Phillips in 2016 at the Starbucks where they first met. He had a barista call out “Mr and Mr Franzese” before he got down on one knee.
6. Sam Smith and Brandon Flynn
We’re not sure if there were 13 reasons why the couple split, but the news broke in June 2018.
Sam Smith started seeing actor Brandon Flynn shortly before the release of their second album, The Thrill of it All.
They called it quits nine months later.
7. Jillian Michaels and Heidi Rhoades
TV personality Jillian Michaels announced her split from Heidi Rhoades like everyone does these days – on Instagram.
Michaels and Rhoades had been together since 2009. Michaels adorably popped the question to Rhoades in 2016 on the season finale of her show, Just Jillian.
Throughout the separation, they both emphasised eight-year-old daughter Lukensia and six-year-old son Phoenix were their top priority.
8. Zachary Quinto and Miles McMillan
Actor Zachary Quinto and model Miles McMillan were, for a time, the gay ‘it-couple’ of Hollywood.
The pair were first seen together in 2013 and made their relationship official later that year. In 2015, the two moved into a New York City apartment together.
Yet all good things must come to an end. Despite engagement rumours flying around, a rep confirmed their split in 2019.
9. Anderson Cooper and Benjamin Maisani
It took journalist Anderson Cooper nearly six years to publicly acknowledge his relationship with nightclub owner Benjamin Maisani.
“I guess when you’re with someone a long time, you start to pose alike,” he wrote on Instagram in 2015. Cooper had come out as gay in 2012.
Three years later, the pair separated yet have remained in one another’s lives since. They co-parent their son, Wyatt, together.
10. Michael Sam and Vito Cammisano
Sharing the first gay kiss during a sports game is certainly one way to enter the history books.
When NFL player Michael Sam found out he had been drafted by the Rams, he passionately kissed his partner, college sweetheart Vito Cammisano.
Six months after they announced their engagement, they threw in the towel.
11. Antoni Porowski and Trace Lehnhoff
While heartbreaking for the couple, the news of Antoni Porowski and Trace Lehnhoff’s break-up was a relief for the former’s many, many thirsty admirers.
The pair had dated for a year after meeting. They – of course – slipped into one another’s Instagram direct messages, Porowski told Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live! in March.
“It’s like, the 2019 way,” the Queer Eye food and wine expert said.
12. Cara Delevingne and Annie Clark
“I’d never experienced anything like paparazzi following you in a high-speed chase down the streets of London,” said Annie Clark on her relationship with supermodel Cara Delevingne.
The couple called it quits after a year-and-a-half. Long-distance just proved too difficult for them.
Both had a habit of looking flawless as they emerged out of coffee shops and walked along red carpets. And considering Delevingne said just a month before breaking up she “didn’t know what love was” until she met Clark, the couple will be very much missed.
13. Raven-Symoné and AzMarie Livingston
If only the That’s So Raven star could have seen this one coming.
After three long years of being together, Raven-Symoné and model AzMarie Livingston split up in 2015.
Though the fire was briefly re-lit in 2016, it has, to the dismay of shippers, gone out since.
14. Melissa Etheridge and Tammy Lynn Michaels
Singer Melissa Etheridge made her relationship with actress Tammy Lynn Michaels public in her concert video, Live…and Powerful.
And boy, was it powerful. The couple was together for nine years and had two children.
But their legacy is more defined by their divorce in 2012. One of court disputes, child custody disagreements and a lot of opprobrium.
15. Cheyenne Jackson and Monte Lapka
After 13 years together, Glee star Cheyenne Jackson split from his husband of two years, physicist Monte Lapka, in 2013.
Sources suggested the two had been living totally separate lives in the later arc of their relationship.
It came after the two men got married in a beautiful beach ceremony in the Hamptons, New York.
16. Ricky Martin and Carlos Gonzalez Abella
Stockbroker Carlos Gonzalez Abella was there for a number of big changes in singer Ricky Martin’s life.
Abella co-parented the twins Martin had by surrogate in 2008. He was also with Martin when he officially came out to the public as gay in 2010.
So when the news slipped the pair were splitting after five years, many were shocked and resolutely heartbroken.
17. Rosie O’Donnell and Kelli Carpenter
Former Nickelodeon executive Kelli Carpenter married Rosie O’Donnell in San Francisco in 2004.
The ceremony took place only two weeks after the mayor granted the approval of marriage licences for same-sex couples.
But after three years of marital bliss, Carpenter and O’Donnell divorced in 2007. The pair now share four children and have gone on to remarry.
18. Jodie Foster and Cydney Bernard
Actor Jodie Foster gave a powerfully candid speech when she received the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award at the 16th annual Women in Entertainment Breakfast in 2008. But it was a speech that inadvertently outed her and Cydney Bernard.
Foster was known for protecting her private life, so the slip opened the doors to their marriage. The couple reportedly wore eternity rings on their wedding fingers to symbolise their commitment to each other.
However, after 14 years, the Oscar-winning actress split with Bernard in 2011.
19. Ellen Degeneres and Anne Heche
Ellen DeGeneres and actress Anne Heche crossed paths in 1997 at a Vanity Fair Oscar party. From the get-go, they were all things glamorous.
They sported matching wedding bands for years but suffered a very public break-up back in 2000.
“Their relationship just ran its course,” a source close to DeGeneres said at the time. “It wasn’t working.”
20. Gus Kenworthy and Matt Wilkas
The pair were the textbook definition of an Instagram gay couple. Literally, considering they first met on the social media platform in 2015.
In January the pair got matching tattoos to commemorate the life of their late-puppy Beemo, who passed away the previous May. The two adopted the pup from a South Korean dog meat farm in February.
Five years down the line, they called it quits.
21. Sarah Paulson and Cherry Jones
In a very on-brand move for Sarah Paulson, she and Cherry Jones are reported to have had the “happiest break-up” ever in 2009.
Jones was similarly happy when she won a Tony for best actor in 2005, only for the camera to show she and Paulson sharing a kiss–outing both in the process.
“I didn’t really think about it in that way at the time,” Jones reflected in an interview with NOTOFU. “I was just doing what one would do when a person they love has just won a big fat acting prize.”
22. Angelina Jolie and Jenny Shimizu
Angelina Jolie has dated a lot of famous Hollywood men. From Brad Pitt to Jonny Lee Miller.
What some of her fans don’t know is that she dated model and actor Jenny Shimizu during the 1990s – having an on again, off again relationship while Jolie was engaged to Miller.
The two later fizzled out at some point during the 2000s. Both have since married other people.
23. Kristen Stewart and Stella Maxwell
Kristen Stewart and Stella Maxwell did a lot of things together – including once crashing someone’s wedding.
Unfortunately, getting hitched wasn’t on the actor and model’s cards when they went their separate ways in 2018.
An insider said at the time: “They started to disagree on things and it stopped being fun.”
24. Troye Sivan and Jacob Bixenman
The world’s twinkiest LGBT couple Troye Sivan and Jacob Bixenman first went public in 2016.
But then, nothing. For months in 2020, neither half appeared on the other’s Instagram as the pandemic raged on.
25. Lena Waithe and Alana Mayo
If there’s a moment that captured Lena Waithe and Alana Mayo’s relationship, it was in 2017 when Waithe said at the Emmys: “To my girlfriend Alana, I love you more than life itself.”
Lena said she knew she was in love with Mayo by the fourth day of their relationship. They were together for some three years.
Yet only a year after they tied the knot in 2019, they ended their marriage.
26. JoJo Siwa and Kylie Prew
JoJo Siwa, the Nickolodeon star who is 50 per cent bows, confirmed in 2021 she and girlfriend Kylie Prew had broken up.
“I’m really lucky that I didn’t lose her completely because, you know, even though relationships end, friendships don’t have to end,” she said on the This is Paris podcast.
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