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Academy Award-winning actors Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio are known for their sweet friendship. But at one time, the former was just excited to land a role opposite the latter. Here’s a look at how they came to be close and what Winslet said about DiCaprio before they first met.

Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio starred in ‘Titanic’ together

Kate Winslet as Rose and Leonardo DiCaprio as Jack in 'Titanic'
Kate Winslet as Rose and Leonardo DiCaprio as Jack in ‘Titanic’ | CBS via Getty Images

Winslet and DiCaprio starred in the 1997 movie Titanic, based on the real-life tragedy when the ocean liner of the same hit an iceberg while crossing the Atlantic during its maiden voyage in 1912. Many of its passengers did not survive.

The story depicted, however, is a fictional one. Winslet plays Rose, a young, wealthy woman who is engaged to be married. But when she meets a poor artist, Jack (DiCaprio), she falls in love. The story is told as a flashback from the modern day Rose, who survived the accident, while Jack did not. Until 2009, Titanic was the highest-grossing film of all time.

They went on to remain Hollywood best friends for years

Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet at the 88th Annual Academy Awards on February 28, 201
Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet at the 88th Annual Academy Awards on February 28, 2016 | Dan MacMedan/WireImage

Winslet and DiCaprio, who were both young actors at the time, were praised for their chemistry. And over the years, they’ve remained friends. In a 2017 Good Morning America interview, Winslet said that is “so grateful for that friendship. It is like family. It’s one of those rare Hollywood friendships that I just feel very, very blessed to have.”

This echoes what both have said in the past. When they worked together for a second time, on Revolutionary Road, Winslet won a Golden Globe for her performance. She thanked her co-star profusely, saying, “Leo, I’m so happy I can stand here and tell you how much I love you, and how much I’ve loved you for 13 years.” Fans were quick to point out that she thanked him before her then-husband, Sam Mendes.

Slate published a story about a raging debate surrounding DiCaprio’s fame at the time

DiCaprio’s fame can’t be denied. But apparently, some have questions as to when he reached “movie star status.” This is a qualifier that doesn’t exactly have a metric attached to it, so it’s difficult to determine. But some of the staff at Slate tried to.

In the piece, numerous staffers argue over whether or not DiCaprio was a movie star before Titanic or not until after it. Arguments range from him having an Oscar nomination already (for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape) and the idea that some feel the film was placed on the shoulders of two relatively unknown actors.

Melanie Lynskey weighed in

As it’s wont to do, the internet had opinions. Among those who weighed in is actor Melanie Lynskey, with whom Winslet starred in her film debut, 1994’s Heavenly Creatures. According to her, the future Oscar-winner was eager to share who her future costar was.

“If this helps, the first thing Kate Winslet told me at the time was that she had been cast in a movie that co-starred Leonardo DiCaprio. The second pieces of information was that the movie was about the Titanic,” Lynskey wrote. So whatever status you feel he had at the time, the fact remains that Winslet was very familiar with DiCaprio’s work. Little did she know at the time that they’d soon be friends for life.