The Harry Potter films weren’t only a springboard to launch the acting careers of its many child stars. Behind the scenes, they were also the setting for a whole lot of first loves.
During an interview for Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts, the upcoming HBO Max reunion special debuting on January 1, Emma Watson and Daniel Radcliffe confessed that they had some pretty serious crushes on their co-stars at the time.
Watson, who played Hermione Granger in the fantasy series, recalled the exact moment she “fell in love” with Tom Felton, who portrayed simpering villain Draco Malfoy. “I walked into the room where we were having tutoring,” she explained. “The assignment that had been given was to draw what you thought God looked like, and Tom had drawn a girl with a backward cap on a skateboard. And I just don’t know how to say it — I just fell in love with him.” Watson added, “I used to come in every day and look for his number on the call sheet, it was number seven, and if his name was on the call sheet, it was an extra exciting day. He was three years above me and so for him, he was like, ‘you’re like my little sister.’”
Felton also insisted that, despite the rumors at the time, nothing romantic ever happened between them. “I think I was in the hair and make-up chair and someone said something along the lines of, ‘yeah, she had a crush on you.’ I became very protective over her.” He added: “Yeah, I’ve always had a soft spot for her and that continues to this day. There’s always been something that’s like, I don’t know, a kinship.”
It wasn’t just Watson carrying an unrequited crush on a costar. Radcliffe, the Boy who Lived, revealed that he once confessed his feelings to Helena Bonham Carter, who depicted villain Bellatrix Lestrange, by writing the Fight Club actress 23 years his senior a love letter. During the reunion, Carter urged the actor to read the letter aloud.
“Dear HBC, It was a pleasure being your costar and coaster in the sense that I always ended up holding your coffee,” he read. He stopped to laugh in embarrassment, but Carter urged him to continue, saying, “you can share.” Radcliffe responded, “I can. I can share this now,” before adding, “I do love you. And I just wish I had been born 10 years earlier [so that] I might [have had] a chance. Lots of love and thanks for being cool.”
Carter was by no means Radcliffe’s only love interest on set. “Every part of my life is connected to [Harry] Potter,” he explained. “My first kiss is connected to someone here. My first girlfriends were here. It all spirals out from the part of set somewhere.” He also noted that filming Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was “peak hormone” time for most of the cast. Matthew Lewis, who played eventual heartthrob Neville Longbottom in the series, confirmed that, adding, “there [were] crushes and people went out with each other and broke up just like you do in school. It was exactly the same environment, but it was just in a Defense Against the Dark Arts class.”
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