When Do You Know It's Real? Love Advice From 'Don Jon' Stars Scarlett Johansson & Julianne Moore

In this exclusive interview, the stars of Joseph Gordon-Levitt's edgy romantic comedy tell us to listen to your gut and love yourself first

How do you know when you're in love? The recently engaged Scarlett Johansson and Julianne Moore, who has been married for 10 years, seem to know the answer! Co-stars in the smart, edgy new romantic comedy Don Jon, Joseph Gordon-Levitt's directorial debut, the actresses sat down with iVillage to talk about the film's major themes: What is true love? And can it ever live up to our fantasies?

They're not easy questions to answer. And when we asked Johansson and Moore how they tell the difference between real love and idealized love, both actresses answered, at first, with an admitted: "I don’t know."

"It's something hard to put your finger on," said Johansson, who is engaged to French journalist Romain Dauriac. "It's that feeling. … It's your gut. It's funny because my girlfriend and I had a couple conversations about that obsessive sort of a love, a sort of a materialistic type of love. But I think really profound relationships between people are ones that are [based on] a mutual respect, appreciation and understanding of one another. It's acceptance of one another, curiosity about one another. It's those things that make a relationship a significant one."

Real relationships, Moore agrees, take effort -- even more than the work it takes to woo a partner in the first place, as the characters in Don Jon learn.

"Anyone who's been in a long-term relationship knows that the real work starts after you've decided that you want to be together," says Moore, who has two children with husband Bart Freundlich. "Not the courtship and the meeting, but the day-to-day, the communicating, the being together, the talking, the forming a family."

So how do they distinguish between a fling and the real thing? "It's hard to find love," admits Johansson. "You have to know yourself, and love yourself. I mean, it makes relationships work so much better! I don't know about tips on where to find it, but … what's that line? 'If you don't love yourself, how the hell are you going to love somebody else?' It's true! There is real truth to that."

"It's all about self-awareness," Moore says. "Try to be present, be connected. Know that if something's not feeling right to you, it probably isn’t right."

Don Jon opens Sept. 27 in theaters nationwide. 

Amber Ray is the Deputy Entertainment Editor at iVillage. Find her on Google+ and Twitter.

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