Hollywood Couple We Never Saw: The Unrealized Love Story Of Ali MacGraw And Ryan O'Neil

Date March 7, 2019

The stars of the legendary film Love Story (1970), Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neill, were reunited in 2016 to appear in a staging of a play Love Letters. Their on-screen romance was highly praised and even received major critical acclaim.

The film Love Story was nominated for 7 Academy Awards in big categories and won 5 Golden Globes, including the one for Ali MacGraw as Best Actress.

Such a genuine portrayal of a romance begs the question of whether there was anything going on between MacGraw and O’Neill in real life. And indeed, the chemistry between two actors wasn’t all fictional.

Love story that could’ve been, but never was.

It was revealed, that during the production of Love Story, Ryan O’Neill developed feelings for Ali MacGraw, which, in retrospect, explains their remarkable on-screen dynamic.

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© Love Story (1970) / Paramount Pictures

At the time, MacGraw was married to the producer Robert Evans, but O’Neill still tried to pursue his crush.

During a recent interview, O’Neill and MacGraw reminisced about the old times. Ryan remembered how once he tried to take Ali to Europe with him:

She had a husband; I didn’t care.

© Love Story (1970) / Paramount Pictures

Ali noted that O’Neill’s affection wasn’t unrequited.

How many of us have been crazy about him?

she said. But it just wasn’t meant to be. Since MacGraw’s husband was producing the film, he was around most of the time. In the end, their feelings helped them create one of the most beautiful romances seen in the film.

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© Love Story (1970) / Paramount Pictures

Today, O’Neill and MacGraw are good friends. Ali describes their relationship as “friendship-love,” because of the affection they had for one another doesn’t go away without a trace.

The one reason Ali MacGraw’s marriages didn’t work

Looking back at her life, and the beautiful love stories, MacGraw said she’d realized that all her marriages ended for the same reason. She was never her true self in any of the relationships. Ali says that she sees this behavior in a lot of women:

They’re simply afraid to say something wrong for the fear of their husbands leaving.

In the end, MacGraw considers herself to had been a bad romantic partner, so maybe it’s a good thing her and O’Neill never ended up together. Though, we can’t help but wonder, what could’ve been.

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Love Story