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Bruce Willis & Cybill Shepherd Had Chemistry yet 'Hated Each Other' & Fought 'all the Time'

Gaone Pule
Jul 10, 2022
04:30 P.M.
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Bruce Willis has been described as "goddam funny" by fellow actor John Goodman whom he has known since 1979. Goodman revealed that it was a trait that made Willis good at his early job as a bartender before becoming a world-famous public figure.

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When actor Bruce Willis and actress Demi Moore started dating in 1987, he was starring in the police drama series "Moonlighting."

Willis co-starred alongside actress Cybill Shepherd during the TV show's five-season run. When the series started, he had not yet cemented his name as a film star.

Actor Bruce Willis as David Addison and actress Cybill Shepherd as Maddie Hayes in the mystery dramedy "Moonlighting" aired from 1985 to1989. / Source: Getty Images

Actor Bruce Willis as David Addison and actress Cybill Shepherd as Maddie Hayes in the mystery dramedy "Moonlighting" aired from 1985 to1989. / Source: Getty Images

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According to the producers of "Moonlighting," Willis, dubbed "the best bartender in New York," was merely grateful to play Detective David Addison Jr. in the ABC mystery drama. Crew members described him as a modest and humorous man, but that soon changed when his fame began to gain momentum.

As a result, Willis' change in status affected his relationship with Shepherd, who played Madelyn 'Maddie' Hayes. There was a lot of hostility between the two, and Shepherd later admitted that her initial impression of Willis was that "he's kind of a jerk."

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After that, their co-star, Curtis Armstrong, whose character was Herbert Viola, wrote a book called "Revenge Of The Nerd," in which he dished on the behind-the-scenes happenings involving Willis and Shepherd. Armstrong bluntly revealed that the on-screen duo disliked each other:

"Yes, Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd hated each other."

He also described Willis as a party animal and a Casanova. Armstrong shared that Willis was hung over and minimally dressed when they first crossed paths.

Actor Curtis Armstrong as Herbert Viola and Bruce Willis as David Addison in the hit series "Moonlighting," on August 19, 1987. / Source: Getty Images

Actor Curtis Armstrong as Herbert Viola and Bruce Willis as David Addison in the hit series "Moonlighting," on August 19, 1987. / Source: Getty Images

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He revealed the off-Broadway star had been at a club the previous night and overslept for his first call. To avoid being late, he quickly jumped in the pool instead of taking a shower and put some clothes on, hoping to make it on time, which he did.

Meanwhile, Armstrong described Shepherd as a diva off-screen, who wanted things to go her way or the high way, and that was how she was. He divulged that if someone said no to her, she would ensure they got fired.

At one point in Season 2 of the show, the singer threatened to leave unless the show's creator Glen Caron got shown the door. He ultimately exited the hit series, proving Shepherd got what she wanted.

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When asked about her working relationship with Willis, Shepherd admitted that there was friction between them, saying it was hard to do a show while having to maintain relationships at the same time:

"It had gotten to where we just hated each other."

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In March 2021, the starlet confessed that she and Willis always fought. The pair were both demanding as leading stars which resulted in them butting heads most of the time behind the scenes.

WILLIS & SHEPHERD HAD CHEMISTRY DESPITE THEIR FIGHTS

Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd attending the Hollywood Radio & Television Society's 27th Annual International Broadcasting Awards at Century Plaza Hotel on March 17, 1987 in Los Angeles, California. / Source: Getty Images

Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd attending the Hollywood Radio & Television Society's 27th Annual International Broadcasting Awards at Century Plaza Hotel on March 17, 1987 in Los Angeles, California. / Source: Getty Images

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The long-standing feud became so intense that crew members had to "measure the distance between their two trailer doors to the stage entrance" to avoid having them walk into one another, said Armstrong.

Moreover, because Shepherd was pregnant at the time, filming was challenging for everyone, especially for the "Die Hard" star who had to accommodate her. Armstrong shared Willis had to work longer hours on set, which made him furious.

In addition, Shepherd worried about her appearance on camera because she was aging. As a resolution, producers attempted to "shoot her out of scenes," leading to Willis working later, infuriating him again.

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Bruce Willis and Cybil Shepherd during Season 3 of "Moonlighting," on November 18, 1986. / Source: Getty Images

Bruce Willis and Cybil Shepherd during Season 3 of "Moonlighting," on November 18, 1986. / Source: Getty Images

It reached a point whereby doubles had to be used to keep Shepherd and Willis from each other. Allegedly, there was an incident on set where the duo was filming a heated scene, and the fight turned into a real-life one. Amstrong stated:

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"The scene broke down, and some sort of dispute began. It escalated rapidly, ending with Cybill flinging a briefcase against the door with a force that shook the set."

Cybill Shepherd starring as a former fashion model in Season 1 of "Moonlighting," on March 3, 1985. / Source: Getty Images

Cybill Shepherd starring as a former fashion model in Season 1 of "Moonlighting," on March 3, 1985. / Source: Getty Images

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Moreover, both actors became challenging to work with. They refused to remain on set for a more extended period as they would come in to read their lines and instantly make exits before the guest stars had a chance to rehearse with them.

When the TV series finally wrapped up for the season finale after five years, Willis and Shepherd reportedly could barely face each other. Editors had to "artificially slow down to give the impression that they were looking into each other's eyes," Armstrong revealed.

Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd during Season 5 of "Moonlighting" on April 16, 1989. / Source: Getty Images

Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd during Season 5 of "Moonlighting" on April 16, 1989. / Source: Getty Images

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The rumor mill has it that the co-stars could not stand each other because they "hooked up" when they began filming the show. Armstrong disclosed that Willis later expressed regret for the supposed romantic involvement.

That said, regardless of the constant tension between them off-screen, Shepherd revealed that she and Willis had chemistry but refrained from acting on their feelings, saying:

"I believe the chemistry between the actors and I could feel the temperature in the room when Bruce Willis walked in grew up to 10 degrees. I could feel that, and I knew not to act on it. We came close, but we didn't do it."

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Cybill Shepherd and her co-star Bruce Willis during Season 3 of "Moonlighting," on September 25, 1986. / Source: Getty Images

Cybill Shepherd and her co-star Bruce Willis during Season 3 of "Moonlighting," on September 25, 1986. / Source: Getty Images

The former model explained that the connection she and Willis shared was genuine. She did readings with seventeen different men for "Moonlighting" and felt no spark with any of them. "But with Bruce, the temperature in the room went 20 degrees higher," claimed Shepherd in an interview with Entertainment Weekly in May 2005.

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Meanwhile, her connection with Willis was said to be "amazing" and "so much fun." When the audience got asked whether they would watch Willis weekly on their television screens, it was a definite "yes" because of his chemistry with Shepherd and the overall writing for the show.

Maddie Hayes (Cybill Shepherd) and David Addison (Bruce Willis) kissing during Season 2 of "Moonlighting," on October 15, 1985. / Source: Getty Images

Maddie Hayes (Cybill Shepherd) and David Addison (Bruce Willis) kissing during Season 2 of "Moonlighting," on October 15, 1985. / Source: Getty Images

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Shepherd recounted a day when there was a food fight on set, and she told the director that people had to throw pies at her and Willis at the end of filming.

So, she approached the "RED" star, and he asked who would be throwing a pie at him, and she said, anyone. He then had people throw pies at him and Shepherd, which she described as "great."

WILLIS & SHEPHERD NOW HAVE A WARM RELATIONSHIP

Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis attending the Comedy Central Roast Of Bruce Willis on July 14, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. / Source: Getty Images

Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis attending the Comedy Central Roast Of Bruce Willis on July 14, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. / Source: Getty Images

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In May 2022, Shepherd reiterated in an interview with Extra TV that she and Willis were both "attracted to each other," adding she would always love him:

"I will always love Bruce."

Willis has since retired from acting after being diagnosed with aphasia in March 2022. Aphasia is a condition that affects one's ability to communicate both verbally and written, and in this case, Willis' family did not disclose the cause of his aphasia.

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In 2018, Willis and Shepherd reunited nearly 30 years after "Moonlighting" aired. She participated in "Willis' Comedy Central Roast."

Shepherd joked that their on-screen characters were not that indifferent to their real lives. As Maddie, she played a former model which she was in real life, and he was a buffoon, "which he is," said Shepherd.

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She added that though they had not been in communication for three decades, they always would have something important, "residuals." The author also took a jab at Willis' acting style and referenced it as a "dramedy," saying when he acted in a comedic way, it was more like drama and vice versa.

Shepherd also made fun of actor and comedian Lil Rey Howery, who was present for the roast. She stated that she wanted to apologize for calling the police about his barbecue.

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