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Is There a Best Actress Oscar Curse?

There's definitely something going on with the winners of Best Actress Oscars


Sandra Bullock's the latest in a long line of actresses who've had their personal relationships fall apart after winning the Best Actress Oscar. But is it a curse or simply the fact some men just can't deal with powerful Academy Award-winning mates? Whatever the cause, winning the Best Actress Oscar seems to sound the death knell for relationships.

Here's a look at recent Best Actress winners who've wound up losing in the love category. And here's hoping 2007 Best Actress Oscar winner Helen Mirren and her director-husband Taylor Hackford keep hanging in there...

1. Sandra Bullock and Jesse James

Jesse James and Sandra Bullock
Jason Merritt/Getty Images
Sandra Bullock was the queen of the 2010 awards season, picking up her first individual Screen Actors Guild award, Golden Globe, and her first Oscar nomination and win for her work in The Blind Side. Bullock's husband, Jesse James, was her constant companion at awards shows, and the veteran actress always made a point of thanking him for his love and support. But just weeks after collecting her very first Oscar, Bullock moved out of the home she shared with James just as the news was breaking of James' supposed infidelity with a tattoo model.

2. Kate Winslet and Sam Mendes

Kate Winslet and Sam Mendes
Jason Merritt/Getty Images
Winning the Best Actress Oscar in 2009 for her work in the riveting, emotionally wrenching drama The Reader put an end to a long drought for Kate Winslet. Prior to her The Reader nomination and win, Winslet had been nominated for an Oscar five times but had never won. But if you can believe the Oscar curse, maybe just being nominated would have been enough for Winslet's marriage.

In March 2010, Winslet and her Oscar-winning director husband, Sam Mendes (American Beauty), announced they'd split up (actually, they'd been separated for a few months before going public). Married in 2003, the couple has one child and will be sharing joint custody, according to a statement announcing their separation.

3. Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe

Ryan Phillippe and Reese Witherspoon
Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe were a cute couple, so perky and in-demand during the early 2000's. But after Witherspoon earned the Best Actress Oscar in 2006 for playing June Carter Cash in the Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line, things went south relationship-wise. Married in 1999 after meeting at her 21st birthday party, Witherspoon and Phillippe had two children together - Ava Elizabeth Phillippe (born September 9, 1999) and Deacon Reese Phillippe (born October 23rd, 2003) - before calling it quits in 2006 after Ryan was rumored to have had an affair with his Stop-Loss co-star Abbie Cornish. Their divorce was finalized in 2008.

4. Hilary Swank and Chad Lowe

Chad Lowe and Hilary Swank
Carlo Allegri/Getty Images
Hilary Swank picked up her second Academy Award as Best Actress in 2005 for her starring role in Million Dollar Baby, and shortly thereafter split up with Chad Lowe. Swank and Lowe broke the news they'd split up in January 2006 after being together for 13 years and after eight years of marriage, but then for a short while it looked as though they could work through their troubles. That didn't happen, and in a July 2006 interview with Vanity Fair, Swank cited Lowe's drug addiction as a contributing cause to the end of their marriage.

5. Charlize Theron and Stuart Townsend

Charlize Theron and Stuart Townsend
Chris Jackson/Getty Images
Blaming the break-up of this relationship on the Best Actress Oscar curse is really stretching things. Charlize Theron took home the Best Actress Oscar in 2004 (as well as a Screen Actors Guild Award and Golden Globe) for her gritty portrayal of serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Monster. But it wasn't until early 2010 after nine years of dating that Theron ended her relationship with actor Stuart Townsend. According to a report by the Daily Mail, after vacationing in Mexico Theron realized their relationship had "become more like brother and sister than lovers."

6. Halle Berry and Eric Benet

Halle Berry and Eric Benet
Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images
Halle Berry broke through the color barrier with her historic win in the Best Actress category in 2003, but it didn't help her personal life one iota. Berry and R&B singer Eric Benet met in 1999 at the premiere party for Introducing Dorothy Dandridge and married in January 2001. There were rumors of infidelity on Benet's part throughout the marriage, and Berry filed for divorce in April 2004. After a nasty battle in the media and in court, their divorce became final in January 2005.

7. Julia Roberts and Benjamin Bratt

Julia Roberts and Benjamin Bratt
Chris Weeks/Getty Images
Julia Roberts played a single mom who single-handedly took on a California power company in Erin Brockovich, earning her third Oscar nomination and first Oscar win in 2001 for her portrayal of the unstoppable Erin. But her win didn't stop her four year relationship with actor Benjamin Bratt from losing steam. Roberts wasn't ready to settle down (she'd already gone the marriage route once unsuccessfully with Lyle Lovett) and instead wanted to focus on her career. However, shortly after calling it quits with Bratt in June 2001, Roberts met and fell for cinematographer Danny Moder. Moder and Roberts married on July 4, 2002, and if she doesn't win another Oscar, they just may stay married and continue to raise their three children together.

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