March 22, 2023

Courteney Cox and David Arquette wound up becoming more than friends after starring in Scream together in the ’90s.
“We met on Scream 1, and on Scream 2 we were kind of on and off dating. And by Scream 3 we were married,” Arquette told PEOPLE in 2010. By the time Scream 4 came out, the Friends actress and Arquette, who wed in 1999, were already parents to daughter Coco. The Never Been Kissed actor has called the slasher franchise “sort of an amazing marker throughout our lives.”
In 2010, however, the couple announced that they were separating after 11 years of marriage. While Arquette wanted their marriage to “work out,” both he and Cox filed for divorce in 2012.
Despite going their separate ways, the exes have remained friends. “He’s my favorite person in the world,” Cox told PEOPLE of her ex-husband. “He’s my best friend. No matter what happens in our future, he’s my very best friend.”
Here is a look back at Courteney Cox and David Arquette's relationship.
Cox and Arquette met at a pre-party prior to filming the first Scream film. “I was being a little cocky and Courteney was like, ‘Ah, I’ve heard of you,’ and we just kept flirting for a while. She’s just so gorgeous and she jokes around so much,” Arquette recalled in 2009.
According to the actor, it was love at first sight for him, but not for Cox. He quipped, "I had to trick her."
The costars were both on hand for the premiere of the original Scream. Cox told Good Morning America‘s Robin Roberts in 2011 that she and Arquette “fell in love on the first” movie.
The pair play Gale Weathers and David Dewey, respectively, in the horror film.
While it was rumored that Arquette had caught the eye of his Scream costar Cox, the actor said they were just friends at the time. “I’m a little too wild for her,” he told PEOPLE in 1997. “She deserves someone who is more together than I am.”
Director Wes Craven revealed to PEOPLE that the costars got engaged while vacationing on an East Coast beach with members of the actress’ family. As fireworks lit up the sky, the See Spot Run star got down on one knee and asked, ​​”Courteney Cox Arquette, will you marry me?”
"That was classic Courteney and David, where he did something so unabashed and so heartfelt, and she just went with it," Craven said.
In 2022, Arquette told PEOPLE that it was Craven who encouraged him to date Cox initially. “Wes had a real impact. [He was] like, ‘David, you know she likes you and you should really get your stuff together,’ ” the actor recalled. “He gave me a real man-to-man talk and that had an impact on the course of my life.”
Cox and Arquette exchanged vows at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. The bride’s Friends costars, Matthew Perry, Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc and Jennifer Aniston, as well as Aniston’s then-beau Brad Pitt, were among the guests at the wedding.
The pair spoke about their ongoing attempts to have a baby, including in vitro fertilization, in an interview with PEOPLE. Cox revealed that she gets “pregnant pretty easily,” but has a “hard time keeping them.”
Arquette recalled that their first round of in vitro fertilization was “nerve-racking.” He said, “I feel terrible that she has to go through so much.”
Although she'd miscarried "quite a few times," Cox added that she and David "bounce back pretty quickly. I don't say it's a walk in the park. But what are you going to do? We just try again."
In January 2004, a rep for Cox told PEOPLE that “it’s true,” the actress and her husband were expecting.
Cox and Arquette became parents in 2004 with the birth of their daughter, Coco. The couple’s baby girl was born at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in L.A. about a week before her scheduled due date.
“It’s the best present they could have hoped for,” a source close to Arquette told PEOPLE. “It’s been a long haul.”
Arquette told PEOPLE there was “nothing” wrong with his and Cox’s relationship. “You know, it’s weird, because it turns up in the tabloids, and your friends start calling you like there’s a problem,” he said. “Like, they say, ‘If you need to talk,’ you know. Hey, we don’t need to talk. There’s nothing [wrong]. We have a really great, beautiful relationship.”
The actor noted that "whenever things come up, we deal with them. We communicate."
"I would never do anything to jeopardize our relationship, you know what I mean. I'm committed, and we're honest with each other," he continued. "Relationships take a lot of work."
The actor also felt blessed to have Cox as his wife. "We respect each other, care for each other and love each other," he said. "And I feel blessed that she's my wife and that we have an amazing family."
In an interview with InStyle, which Cox reportedly arrived to sans her wedding ring, the actress shared that she and Arquette have “done couples therapy in the past.” She said, “We’re not lazy about our marriage. We have the same arguments we’ve had for years.”
The Ace Ventura: Pet Detective actress also pointed out that “some things just never change, and you should realize that the intriguing things you fall in love with will probably become the things that you don’t like,” adding, “and the very things that you’ll be talking about for the rest of your relationship.”
After 11 years of marriage, the pair announced that they had agreed to a “trial separation.” “The reason for this separation is to better understand ourselves and the qualities we need in a partner and for our marriage,” they said in a statement. “We remain best friends and responsible parents to our daughter and we still love each other deeply. As we go through this process we are determined to use kindness and understanding to get through this together.”
Cox and Arquette added, "We are comfortable with the boundaries that we have established for each other during this separation and we hope that our friends, family, fans and the media also show us respect, dignity, understanding and love at this time as well."
A source close to the pair later told PEOPLE that the trial separation was “not an overnight thing.” The source said, “They needed to figure things out and try to find a happy place again.”
The day after announcing their separation, Arquette called into Howard Stern‘s radio show and spoke about his and Cox’s sex life. “We’re not having sex, and I completely understand,” he revealed. “She’s in a place of wanting to be real and emotional. She’s an emotional being. She’s an amazing woman. If it doesn’t feel right, she doesn’t feel like bonding in that way.”
The actor also shared on the program that he was trying to grow up. "She says that to me: 'I don't wanna be your mother anymore,' " he recalled. "I appreciated that. I respected that. I've been going to therapy. I'm trying to grow up."
Arquette also added that Cox is "the greatest woman" he's ever met, but "she's got her issues." "She tries to take on everybody's problem," he said. "That's why she doesn't want to be the mother to me anymore."
Speaking about the split for the first time, Cox told Australia’s TV Week, “I don’t know what will happen, but this is not like we’re getting divorced. This is a separation and I think that takes a lot of courage … Whatever is supposed to happen will be the best thing for us.”
In early 2011, Arquette’s rep confirmed to PEOPLE that the actor had entered a rehab program. A source revealed that the actor was “in there for drinking and depression, not hard drugs. Rehab was inevitable.” The source continued, “He is dealing with a broken heart. He can’t handle all the changes in his life. All his inner demons came out.”
Cox later told PEOPLE that she supported Arquette after he entered rehab. “I really admire David and his choice to take charge and better his life,” she said. “I love and support him.”
On Jan. 30, Arquette checked out of rehab, with his rep telling PEOPLE, “He has completed his treatment and has left.” Another source said Arquette was “in great spirits. He’s feeling good and he’s ready to move forward.”
“I want her to be happy,” he said on The Oprah Winfrey Show. “If me being the best person I can be doesn’t make her happy in a partner, in who she needs, whatever she’s looking for, that’s still to be answered.”
He also added that he'd "love" for his marriage to "work out."
The estranged couple posed together for photos at the Hollywood premiere of Scream 4.
During a press conference the previous month, the actors were asked what was special about filming the movie. “There’s a real family feeling,” Arquette said. “Especially with Courteney being married and having a kid [their 6-year-old daughter Coco], it just brings an honesty, and that is really my favorite part of acting.”
For Cox, it "felt very natural." She said, "We have had 10 more years of experience of acting, so I was that much more confident. I am now a mom, and I am just [a] different person, but it's coming back with your family. You know each other, and you kind of just get right back into it and [are] better than you were last time."
There was nothing scandalous about Cox’s vacation in St. Barts with friends and her Cougar Town costar Josh Hopkins. On Ryan Seacrest‘s KIIS-FM radio show, Arquette said, “We’re not together. We’re still separated.”
The Never Been Kissed actor also revealed that he was aware of everything. "And you know, there [are] horrible articles right now," he said. "She went away to St. Bart's with Coco and her best friend and Josh from the show, and I know about all of this. But these tabloids make it like there's some kind of scandal going on. But there's no scandal."
Arquette received support from Cox and their daughter Coco as he made his debut on Dancing with the Stars. The actress and her daughter watched as Arquette hit the ballroom floor with his dancing partner Kym Johnson.
The Friends actress had nothing but kind words for her estranged husband at the Cougar Town TCA party in 2012. “He’s my favorite person in the world,” she told PEOPLE of Arquette. “He’s my best friend. No matter what happens in our future, he’s my very best friend.”
Cox and Arquette filed for divorce on the same day. The duo both cited irreconcilable differences and requested joint legal and physical custody of their daughter.
Despite deciding to end their marriage, Cox still had love for her ex-husband. “He’s my best friend in the world,” she said during an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. “I love him.”
The actress confessed that she appreciates Arquette "more now than I ever did. I mean … it's hard. I don't recommend divorce in general, but, you know, he is my best friend and we've both grown and changed."
Following his ex-wife’s interview on Ellen, Arquette told PEOPLE, “I love her, too, and she’s an amazing person, a beautiful person.”
The actor also explained that they have a "great relationship" because they "treat each other with respect." He said, "We're honest with each other. We're respectful, and that's what it comes down to."
The former couple finalized their divorce nearly a year after they both filed. “Irreconcilable differences have caused the irremediable breaking of the marriage,” papers signed by Cox, Arquette and a judge read. “The marital status of the parties is terminated.”
With Arquette expecting a baby boy with his then-girlfriend Christina McLarty at the time, Cox told More, “When you love someone, you want them to be happy, even if it’s not with you.”
The actress noted that she and Arquette both tried in their marriage. "You can love somebody so much, but it's not the life you should be living together. I think David and I are supposed to be the way we are now," she said. "In divorce you always have regrets. We were married for a long time, so it's not like we [didn't] try."
The actor marked Coco starting high school with a snapshot of himself and Cox with their daughter. “I’m so proud of my daughter Coco! Have fun and be safe in Highschool!” Arquette wrote alongside the post on Instagram. “AND don’t grow up too fast! I love love love you!!!”
Arquette had no qualms about reuniting with his ex-wife for the fifth installment of the Scream franchise. “We co-parent,” he told Entertainment Tonight. “So, we’re in touch quite a bit. It’s great. But we always love working together. She’s an incredible actress, so it’ll be fun to bring these characters back to life and see where they’re at. … costarring’s the easy part.”
Ahead of the release of Scream 5, Arquette reflected on working with his former wife in an interview with The New York Times. He confessed, “It’s a cathartic experience to just be able to act opposite Courteney.”
He added, "It's been 25 years of our lives. We've grown up together. We have a child together."
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