Another TV-Made Marriage Hits the Dust! How Will It Affect the Show?

Well, isn't this awkward. Dexter's married costars, Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter, are divorcing. For some fans, it was already a little strange to watch the real-life lovers playing brother and sister on the Showtime show. Now we'll be watching estranged lovers as siblings.

Back when the pair first acknowledged their off-screen romance, Carpenter told The LA Times that they did consider how news of their relationship might affect the way people viewed the show. "We did a lot of talking about it," she said. "Can we kiss, what will that mean, will we damage the credibility of our characters?"

If they didn't then, they might have now. It will be very hard to watch the two actors -- both of whom have won awards for their work on this show -- without looking for signs of emotional strain. To the extent that a divorce can be amicable, it's still hard to imagine ex-spouses working together smoothly, especially if one of them moves on to another relationship!

Of course, TV show casts are riddled with costar couplings gone bad. Remember Chad Michael Murray and Sophia Bush, who fell in love on One Tree Hill? Their marriage only lasted five months; then they had to work together for another five seasons. Jennifer Love Hewitt and Jamie Kennedy also dated, then split, while costarring on The Ghost Whisperer. In that case, both actors allegedly managed to keep their cool. An unnamed source told People magazine that "the former couple's on-set relationship remains drama free and professional." 

Not so for Heroes co-stars Hayden Panettiere and Milo Ventimiglia, who also fell in and out of love while working together. Rumor had it things got so uncomfortable that Panettiere tried to have his character written off the show. Perhaps Ventimiglia should have known better: His last on-set romance, with Gilmore Girls costar Alexis Bledel, had gone sour, too.

They say tension loomed large for Alias co-stars Jennifer Garner and Michael Vartan when they broke up after a year-long, on-set romance. Soon after, Vartan's role was diminished, which some fans attributed to Garner's new romance with Ben Affleck. (Having Vartan around was just too uncomfortable.) You can't blame them, since Garner wasn't a first-time offender in the love-'em-and-leave-'em department. She'd already married her Felicity costar, Scott Foley, only to divorce him a few years later. 

The diciest on-set break-up might have been the one on Brothers & Sisters. When Dave Annable and Emily VanCamp fell for each other on set, the producers changed their characters' status from siblings to lovers (through a paternity scandal plot). If they thought this would give the couple a longer expiration date, they were wrong. The pair broke up, and VanCamp has since left the show. Meanwhile Annable went on to marry Odette Yustman -- who's recently guest-starred on the show as...his love interest.

Of course, it's also worth mentioning that a few TV costar romances have actually blossomed into enduring love. Soap couple Mark Consuelos and Kelly Ripa are still going strong. Several years into her marriage, Alyson Hannigan is still devoted to her Buffy the Vampire Slayer costar, Alexis Denisof. And though it's still fairly new, the Anna Paquin-Stephen Moyer marriage forged on the set of True Blood, seems solid.

So what's the lesson here? Love is a gamble, on screen and off. But as Carpenter told the LA Times, "The heart wants what the heart wants."

Will the Hall-Carpenter divorce be in the back of your mind the next time you watch Dexter? Chime in below!

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