Kyle MacLachlan Said Filming a Sex Scene With Ex Laura Dern 2 Decades After Their Breakup Was ‘Weird’

The acting careers and personal lives of Kyle MacLachlan and Laura Dern have been intertwined for a long time. Both of them have signature roles in the works of surrealist auteur David Lynch, and their co-starring roles in one of Lynch’s movies led to Dern and MacLachlan dating each other after getting close on set. For the final season of Twin Peaks, the two were brought together again for a sex scene. Given their previous history, and the context for the scene, pretending to get intimate on camera was a weird experience for both of them.

Laura Dern and Kyle MacLachlan laughing
Laura Dern and Kyle MacLachlan | Paul Butterfield/Getty Images

MacLachlan and Dern reunited for ‘Twin Peaks’ in more ways than one

There were a lot of memorable moments and subplots to take in and consider within the 18 episodes of Twin Peaks: The Return. Somewhere low on that list was the fact that two former lovers had to simulate a physical connection that had been left in the past a long time ago.

Dern and MacLachlan began dating in 1985 and broke up sometime in 1989. The two portrayed a couple of sorts in Lynch’s Blue Velvet, but despite the both of them working with Lynch on multiple occasions, they didn’t all work on the same project again until Twin Peaks returned from the ether in 2017. The occasion was especially awkward since one of the scenes the pair are in together is one of the more unsettling sex scenes in recent memory.

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MacLachlan spoke about what it was like to film that scene during an interview on Ellen. While he does acknowledge that the endeavor was “weird”, he, Dern, and Lynch supported each other while they shot it.

“David would sit down and just say, ‘OK, this is what we’re going to do.’ And he talks you through it so you feel pretty comfortable … and then you sit down. And Laura and I would go ‘OK, here we go. So welcome back 25 years later!'”

They’re both celebrated actors in mainstream blockbusters and cult classics

MacLachlan quickly became one of Lynch’s ever-present muses, casting him as Special Agent Dale Cooper in Twin Peaks (and three other characters in The Return) as well as three of his films. After the first run of Twin Peaks was canceled after season two in 1991, MacLachlan spent the majority of the decade making movies.

One of the most memorable ones was The Doors, where he played legendary keyboardist Ray Manzarek, and Showgirls, which was critically panned at the time but has since been re-appraised as a worthwhile satire about the impossibility of the American Dream. In the past decade, he’s been most visible on TV, on shows like Portlandia, Atlantic Crossingand most recently in Joe vs. Carole as Howard Baskin. 

By contrast, Dern has done little TV work outside of Enlightened and Big Little Lies, but she’s been regularly making movies since the early 1980s. She’s made three movies with Lynch (Blue Velvet, Wild At Heart, and Inland Empire), but has also starred in films with more mass appeal like the Jurassic Park franchise, Little Women, and Marriage Story, which earned Dern her first-ever Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, an award she’s been nominated for twice in the past. 

What is their current relationship status?

Dern dated Nicolas Cage, Jeff Goldblum, and Billy Bob Thornton before meeting musician Ben Harper at one of his concerts in 2000. They got married in 2005 and had two children together, a son named Ellery and a daughter named Jaya. Dern and Harper divorced in 2013. Since then, Dern’s kept the romantic side of her life private, save for a surprising and short-lived relationship with former NBA player Baron Davis. Dern is currently single. 

After he and Dern separated, MacLachlan dated another Twin Peaks alum, Lara Flynn Boyle, and the supermodel Linda Evangelista. A serendipitous trip to the chiropractor introduced MacLachlan to publicist and executive produced Desiree Gruber. The two eventually married in 2002. After undergoing some fertility treatments, MacLachlan and Gruber welcomed their son, Callum Lyon MacLachlan, into the world in 2008. 

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