"I left our home to work on a movie, and while I was away, my boyfriend got married, and I've never heard from him again," Dern said.
Laura Dern was fresh off the success of Jurrasic Park when she met Billy Bob Thornton on the sets of Ellen. The whole moment was extra-memorable because it was the April 30, 1997 episode where DeGeneres came out as gay for the first time on national television, according to Cheat Sheet.
Dern, who was born into Hollywood royalty on February 10, 1967, was the daughter of actor Bruce Dern and actress Diane Ladd. She made her debut in the 1974 film Love Doesn't Live Here Anymore. Before Rambling Rose (1991), which became a legendary performance, she went on to work in a number of modest films, according to IMDB.
While shooting for Jurrasic Park, she started dating co-actor Jeff Goldblum, but their relationship did not last and they broke up in 1997.
When she met Thornton, the two had sparks flying which led to a whirlwind romance. All this was while Thornton was in the process of divorcing his fourth wife. However, his role in 1999’s Pushing Tin, changed the course of his relationship with Dern.
Feeling secure in their relationship, Dern went off to work—she was shooting for a movie—but a tabloid headline changed her entire life.
According to Dern, the Sling Blade actor moved out of their home without telling her at all. He completely disappeared from her life. The next thing she knew, he was married to Jolie.
"I left our home to work on a movie, and while I was away, my boyfriend got married, and I've never heard from him again," Dern told Talk magazine in 2000, according to Honey online. "It's like a sudden death. For no one has there been any closure or clarity."
Thornton and Jolie got married on May 5, 2000, and when it came to their relationship, the newlyweds packed on the PDA. They would frequently walk the red carpet together, notably wearing vials of each other's blood around their necks.
"The necklaces were a very simple thing, 'Hey, let's poke our fingers with a pen and smear a little blood on there and when we're away from each other we'll wear the necklace.' It was that easy," he explained last year in an HFPA in Conversation podcast.
"But by the time it came out in the press, it sounded like we were wearing a bucket of blood around our necks."
Dern and Thornton meanwhile, have not seen or spoken to each other since he ghosted her, except for a nearly awkward encounter at the 2017 Golden Globes. However, he did issue a rather weak apology to the October Sky actor in a Guardian interview in 2001. “Others may say that you left our girl and married someone else, but it made me happy and somebody else happy. I’m sorry it caused pain,” Thornton said.
Thornton also said that he’d “f*cked up a lot of things” and been wrong in relationships but did not believe in couple’s counseling because he didn’t like to “work on things.”
Unfortunately, Jolie and Thornton's marriage came to an end in 2002. Two years later, while shooting for Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Jolie and a married Brad Pitt became close, thus jeopardizing Pitt's marriage to Friends actress Jennifer Aniston. This was the second time Jolie was involved in a love triangle.
After her separation from Thornton, Dern married musician Ben Harper. In 2013, the couple divorced. The 55-year-old actress has been dating but not married since then.
On October 22, 2014, Thornton married movie puppeteer Connie Angland, despite vowing never to marry again in 2008.
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photos By (L) Brenda Chase (R) Kevin Winter