Would you be cool staying friends with an ex? When some couples break up, they go full scorched earth and never want to see each other again — while others can stay close for the rest of their lives, cherishing a friendship in place of their romantic connection. The same goes for celebrity couples: while we wouldn’t want to see Kristin Cavallari and Jay Cutler in the same room any time soon, it’s well known that ex-couples like Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston, or Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony, are still more than cordial with their former flames. When it comes to celebrities who are still friends with their exes, you have to admire the maturity it takes. But there are a lot of surprising upsides to staying close with an ex.
We’ll get the obvious one out of the way first. If you share kids with an ex, you’re staying in each other’s lives — period. You can do it the hard way, and try to remain contentious while co-parenting, but the truth is that your kids suffer the most (in other words, don’t do this). But what about exes with nothing obvious tying them together? How do they find their way back to each other from the ruins of a breakup?
Here’s another way to think about it: why wouldn’t you want to keep someone you regarded so highly and felt so strongly for in your life? Assuming the breakup didn’t involve any massive breaches of trust or reveal shocking new sides to their character, chances are these celebs dated each other because they admired and respected each other, not to mention enjoying their company. If you spend years building a rapport, should that really all go away just because you’re no longer hot and heavy?
Call it a trend or a new way of being, but I for one am impressed with all the stars who came out of a less-than-perfect relationship with a solid, lasting friendship. As these celebs prove, sometimes being friends works out much better than being lovers ever could. Here are all the celebrities who are still friends with their exes — and, likely will be forever.
A version of this article was originally published in December 2017.