The 1999 movie 10 Things I Hate About You centers on the romance between caustic Kat and mysterious Patrick, the characters played by Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger. The teen movie is very loosely based on William Shakespeare‘s The Taming of the Shrew, so the unlikely match go through their ups and downs before falling for each other in the end. But it turns out that off-camera, Stiles was more interested in another co-star. In a recent interview, Gil Junger, the director of 10 Things I Hate About You, said that Stiles dated co-star Joseph Gordon-Levitt during filming.
Over 20 years have passed since the movie came out, so Stiles and Gordon-Levitt have obviously moved on, but the way Junger describes their short-lived relationship makes it sound pretty cute. Read on to see what he had to say and to find out more about the fling. And to read about some other famous pairs from the time, check out ’90s Celebrity Couples You Totally Forgot About.
“She, for a minute or 10, went out with Joseph Gordon-Levitt,” Junger said of his leading lady. “They were very, very attracted to each other, which was cool.” He added, “Watching them, it was beautiful how much they enjoyed each other.” At the time, Stiles and Gordon-Levitt were both just 18 years old.
For more couples who took their chemistry off-set, check out 15 Onscreen Couples You Totally Forgot Dated in Real Life.
In 10 Things I Hate About You, Gordon-Levitt’s character, Cameron, wants to date Bianca (Larisa Oleynik), Kat’s little sister. But, since Bianca isn’t allowed to date unless her older sister (who the whole school is terrified of) does, Cameron bribes Patrick to take Kat out. Basically, Gordon-Levitt and Stiles don’t share a lot of screen time and their characters definitely aren’t interested in each other.
“She’s professing her love to Heath and she’s in love with a guy waiting in his trailer to shoot the next scene,” Junger said of the dynamic on set.
To see what more former teen icons are up to today, check out The Biggest ’90s TV Teen Idols, Then and Now.
One of the most iconic scenes in 10 Things I Hate About You is when Kat reads her poem about all the things she hates about Patrick—including the fact that she loves him—to her English class. According to Junger, Stiles was thinking of Gordon-Levitt while performing this scene.
“She told me, ‘I was just thinking about that person’s name that she was deeply in love with at the time,” Junger said of the scene. Carestía asked who she was referring to, if not Ledger, and that’s when Junger revealed that she was actually into Gordon-Levitt. “That was one of the magical performances that I’ve recorded in my lifetime.”
He added that they only needed one take.
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There have been rumors for years that Stiles actually dated Ledger, who died in 2008, but Junger said that’s not true. In fact, a 2001 interview Stiles did with Rolling Stone refers to Gordon-Levitt as her “old boyfriend,” according to E! News. At that point, the two were both attending Columbia University and were living in the same dorm. “We’re friends,” Stiles said of Gordon-Levitt at that point. “We say hello to each other.”
In a 2019 interview with entertainment Tonight, Stiles said that the cast of the movie all got along. “It was just such a special summer, where all the actors were so young and open-hearted,” she said. “We were all really good friends.”
Read about some more former couples who became friends in 48 Celebrity Exes Who Are Best Friends Now.
Stiles and Gordon-Levitt, both 40, are each married and have children. Gordon-Levitt married his wife, Tasha McCauley, in 2014. McCauley is the founder of a robotics company, and they have two kids together. Gordon has gone on to star in numerous films, including Inception, Snowden, and most recently, The Trial of the Chicago 7.
As for Stiles, she’s been married to camera operator Preston J. Cook since 2017, and they have one child. Her career has also flourished, with some of her biggest movies including the Bourne franchise, Hustlers, and Silver Linings Playbook.
For another former celeb couple, check out Tom Brady Just Shared a Rare Post About Ex Bridget Moynahan.