Mar 18, 2010 07:02 PM ET
Sam Mendes, Kate Winslet
For many best-actress Oscar winners, the award has been a bad-luck charm for matters of the heart. More than a handful of leading ladies have parted ways with their significant others after snagging a statuette — from the Golden Age of Hollywood (Bette Davis and first husband Harmon Nelson) to the ’70s (Barbra Streisand and Elliott Gould) to the turn of the millennium (Helen Hunt and Hank Azaria). In the past week, Kate Winslet split from Sam Mendes, while Jesse James has apologized to his wife, 2009 Academy Award best-actress winner Sandra Bullock, after reports of infidelity surfaced. The future of Bullock and James’ relationship is unclear, but the so-called “curse” has reared its ugly head frequently of late. Let’s take a look at the last 10 best-actress winners:
Report: Sandra Bullock moves out out amid model’s claim of infidelity by Jesse James
Won Oscar for: Erin Brockovich (2000)
Status at the time: dating Benjamin Bratt
In June 2001, three months after Bratt escorted Roberts to the Oscars (where he untangled her gown’s long train as she made her way to the winner’s podium), the pair announced their break-up. Each is now married with children.
Won Oscar for: Monster’s Ball (2001)
Status at the time: married to Eric Benet
A year after becoming the first black actress to win in the lead category, Berry split from her musician-husband of two years, who later entered sex-addiction rehab. The couple divorced in 2005.
Won Oscar for: The Hours (2002)
Status at the time: divorced from Tom Cruise
Kidman’s story throws a twist into the trend, as she achieved tremendous professional success after her 2001 split from Cruise. She earned an Oscar nomination for Moulin Rouge before winning for The Hours. Three-time nominee Cruise remains Oscar-less. (Cruise ex Penelope Cruz would also go on to win her own supporting actress Oscar for Vicky Cristina Barcelona.)
Won Oscar for: Monster (2003)
Status at the time: dating Stuart Townsend
Together since meeting on the set of 2002’s Trapped, Theron and Townsend had promised not to marry until same-sex couples are granted the same privilege. The vow is moot now: The two split earlier this year.
Jesse James apologizes to Sandra Bullock: “I deserve everything bad coming my way”
Won Oscars for: Boys Don’t Cry (1999) and Million Dollar Baby (2004)
Status at the time: married to Chad Lowe
Swank infamously forgot to thank Lowe in her acceptance speech for Boys Don’t Cry, but made up for the slight five years later when she won Oscar No. 2. Less than a year later, the couple, who had been together since 1992, announced their split.
Won Oscar for: Walk the Line (2005)
Status at the time: married to Ryan Phillippe
Phillippe and Witherspoon, who have two children, was the poster couple for young Hollywood love. Their fairy tale ended in October 2006 when they separated after seven years of marriage — just seven months after Witherspoon picked up her Oscar. Their divorce was finalized in 2007. Witherspoon later dated Jake Gyllenhaal, an Oscar nominee for Brokeback Mountain the same year she won her golden guy.
Ryan Phillippe dishes on his divorce
Won Oscar for: The Queen (2006)
Status at the time: married to Taylor Hackford
Mirren and Hackford — himself an Oscar winner for the 1979 short film Teenage Father — are still together. The couple began dating in 1986 and wed in 1997.
Won Oscar for: La Vie en Rose (2007)
Status at the time: dating Guillaume Canet
The French actress is still with her French director-actor-beau, who was previously married to Diane Kruger.
Won Oscar for: The Reader (2008)
Status at the time: married to Sam Mendes
Winslet finally got her hands on a long-awaited Oscar last year — 10 years after Mendes won best director for American Beauty. The two, who have a son and raise Winslet’s daughter from her first marriage together, announced their split earlier this week. They worked together on 2008’s Revolutionary Road — about a disintegrating marriage.
Kate Winslet and Sam Mendes split
Won Oscar for: The Blind Side (2009)
Status at the time: married to Jesse James
Less than two weeks removed from Bullock’s win, reports of James’ infidelity surfaced. Tattoo model Michelle “Bombshell” McGee told In Touch she had an 11-month affair with the motorcycle builder last year while the actress was filming The Blind Side in Atlanta. James calls the majority of the reports “untrue and unfounded” and has apologized to his wife and his three children from previous relationships. “It’s because of my poor judgment that I deserve everything bad that is coming my way,” he said. Bullock reportedly has moved out of the couple’s home.