Courteney Cox and Matthew Perry had such amazing chemistry on “Friends” that they had fans rooting for their on-screen pairing to turn into a real-life romance. But instead, Cox learned how complicated a relationship with a co-star can be when she dated and then wed fellow “Scream” actor David Arquette. The demise of Cox and Arquette’s marriage became something of a tabloid soap opera, and Arquette’s lack of a filter helped keep it in the headlines.
However, Cox’s experience with her ex-husband did not frighten her away from pursuing relationships with famous men. Before her marriage to Arquette, she had dated “Batman” actor Michael Keaton for over half a decade. Her third long-term romance was with another celebrity, but this time she fell for a guy who wasn’t an actor: Snow Patrol guitarist Johnny McDaid.
Cox and McDaid began dating in 2013, which was the same year Cox and Arquette finalized their divorce. The American television star and the Irish musician have faced a few tests throughout their years together, but now they can happily say that their love life is not D.O.A. Read on to learn more about Courteney Cox and Johnny McDaid’s unique love story.
Their relationship sparked rumors about Courteney Cox and Ed Sheeran
During a December 2013 interview with OMG! Insider, Courteney Cox and Johnny McDaid’s mutual friend Ed Sheeran took credit for their romance. “My housemate [McDaid] who I’ve lived with for a year, I introduced him to Courteney Cox,” he revealed to the outlet (via E! News). “They started dating and [are] crazy about each other.” In 2019, Cox told The Guardian that her first kiss with McDaid was the best of her life. “I, actually, was the person who kissed first,” she recalled. “Ed Sheeran brought him over to my house one Sunday.”
Before McDaid and Cox went public, Sheeran kept his lips sealed about their romance, even though his silence meant that his own name was dragged into the tabloids. “I read in the press that I’m now Courteney’s younger lover. It’s not true,” Sheeran told E! in 2013. “It’s very funny because I know the person that is her lover and I send them all the emails of everything.”
While getting identical tattoos is something that couples often do, it’s McDaid and his matchmaker who have matching meaningful arm ink. A few months before he and Cox began dating, McDaid and Sheeran got the same lyrics from the Foy Vance song “Guiding Light” tattooed on their upper arms in Gaelic. Two years later, Cox scored her own special tattoo tribute on her boyfriend’s body: As Yahoo! Entertainment noted, McDaid got her initials inked on his right wrist.
Courteney Cox worked with her boyfriend and her ex
In April 2014, Ed Sheeran told The Mirror that Courteney Cox and Johnny McDaid moved in together. “They get on really well and are genuinely good friends, pardon the pun,” he said. Things were going so swimmingly that the couple made the sometimes disastrous decision to mix business with pleasure. While directing the dramedy “Just Before I Go,” Cox got her beau and his band to contribute three songs to the movie’s soundtrack. “I couldn’t be happier. It really elevates the film in so many ways,” she told People at the movie’s Tribeca Film Festival premiere.
While speaking to Life & Style, Cox and McDaid gushed that the best part of working together was getting “to kiss between takes.” McDaid also praised Cox’s skills as a director, along with her ability to make him “laugh and squirm and jump.”
Interestingly, David Arquette acted in and executive produced “Just Before I Go.” He and the daughter he shares with Cox, Coco Arquette, also appeared in the movie. Coco’s parents remained on good terms after their split, and David told E! News that he was “proud to be a part” of his ex-wife’s directorial debut. He also praised McDaid during an appearance on Wendy Williams’ talk show, calling him “amazing” and “a great man.”
Johnny McDaid proposed at Jennifer Aniston's house
Years before she found love with Johnny McDaid, Courteney Cox dated another musician: Counting Crows frontman Adam Duritz. According to InStyle, their romance blossomed in 1997 — two years after Duritz briefly dated Cox’s “Friends” co-star Jennifer Aniston and before Cox linked up with David Arquette. Luckily, the two women’s shared romantic partner didn’t seem to cause any tension between them, and they became such close friends in real life that Cox asked Aniston to be her daughter’s godmother.
Aniston and her goddaughter both had important roles to play when McDaid decided to put a ring on it in 2014. During an appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” (via Us Weekly), Cox revealed that McDaid adorably asked Coco Arquette for permission to marry her mother. The two then got busy planning an unforgettable proposal. Coco took charge, suggesting that McDaid pop the question at her own birthday party. Aniston, who was engaged to Justin Theroux at the time, was hosting the event at her home.
“They made a plan to count down from three, and when they got to one, he was gonna get down on his knee and say, ‘Will you marry me?'” Cox recalled to Kimmel. “And she was gonna say, ‘Will you marry him?'” However, an overeager Coco hilariously “kept jumping the gun” and repeatedly shouted out “Three!” way before her cue. Cox’s engagement ring featured “three bezel-set stones in different shapes,” according to Glamour. As Us Weekly noted, it was designed by Tobey Maguire’s wife, Jennifer Meyer.
Courteney Cox's daughter wanted to plan the wedding
In July 2014, an insider told Us Weekly that Courteney Cox and Johnny McDaid planned on getting hitched in Cox’s hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, and the source claimed that the wedding would take place “soon.” Coco Arquette wanted to be involved with the event, and she had aspirations far beyond being the couple’s flower girl. While the Monica Gellar in the making was interested in the petal-pitching job, it wasn’t the only role she wanted to play. “Coco is very excited about the wedding. I was going to hire a wedding planner, but apparently she wants to do it,” Cox said during an April 2015 appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” “She’s 10, but she wants to do everything … She wants to be the maid of honor, which I think is weird. She wants to be the flower girl, all the bridesmaids.”
Coco had previous experience working one wedding gig. As Cox told DeGeneres, her daughter performed two songs when David Arquette wed Christina McLarty, one of which was the challenging ballad “I Will Always Love You.” But alas, Coco’s hopes of participating in another parent’s wedding were soon dashed. That December, TMZ reported that Cox and McDaid had called off their 18-month engagement and ended their relationship. Insiders claimed that their different personalities were the problem. They alleged that McDaid was a private person, while Cox was more social.
Calling off the engagement worked out for Courteney Cox and Johnny McDaid
Courteney Cox and Johnny McDaid’s split didn’t last long. During a 2019 appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” Cox said they were apart for six months, during which time McDaid resided in England. She spoke about their breakup and make-up when she appeared on “Running Wild with Bear Grylls” in 2016 (via Us Weekly). Cox described their split as “brutal,” and she recalled coming to the realization that she “didn’t know how to regard love the way [McDaid] does.” However, the time apart ultimately helped her grow. “I definitely have learned a lot, and no matter what, I will be a better person from that breakup,” she said.
Cox told DeGeneres that her temporary separation from McDaid actually helped improve their relationship. “Then we got back together, and it’s actually better than it was before. Everything’s better,” she stated. Cox also said that she and McDaid were no longer engaged, “just together.”
While their future as a couple was looking brighter, Cox did admit that their unusual living arrangement was a challenge. Instead of moving in together and living in one location, they kept their separate homes and flew back and forth, which was time-consuming and expensive. “I don’t like the flight home, it’s long, you can’t sleep, I hate it, but we just make it work,” Cox told The Sun.
At the start of the pandemic, Courteney Cox and Johnny McDaid were in different countries
While “Friends” fans spent 2020 getting hyped up about the cast getting back together for a reunion special, Courteney Cox was looking forward to a different reunion. Thanks to travel restrictions put in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she and Johnny McDaid were forced to reside in different continents for several months. Cox really struggled with the separation. “I just miss his physical touch,” she said during a virtual appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” “It’s been hard. This is the longest time.”
While speaking to Foy Vance on “The Vinyl Supper” podcast, Cox explained why she decided to have two friends quarantine with her and Coco in McDaid’s absence. “If I can’t be with John, I don’t just want to be by myself with Coco,” she said. “You know, I’m a little chicken.” Unfortunately, her friends both contracted COVID when they left the house for three days. “They came back to the house, they didn’t realize, we were all here. I mean, very close,” Cox told DeGeneres. While one friend was asymptomatic, the other had to be hospitalized and placed on a ventilator.
The scary ordeal probably made Cox even happier to see McDaid when they were finally reunited in December 2020. One of the first orders of business for the grateful couple was recording a video thanking the frontline workers in McDaid’s hometown of Derry, Ireland.
Courteney Cox wore Johnny McDaid's name on her sleeve
While Courteney Cox was doing her best to endure her forced separation from Johnny McDaid, she was photographed out and about with a dark-haired male friend in June 2020 (via Entertainment Tonight). The duo used their clothing and McDaid’s first name to have a little fun with the paparazzi. Cox’s companion’s face was obscured by a pair of aviator sunglasses and a black face mask, making it relatively easy to mistake him for McDaid. However, he and Cox both ensured that the tabloids wouldn’t publish any erroneous stories about McDaid being back in Cali. Cox wore a blue T-shirt that read, “He’s not Johnny.” Her pal, meanwhile, rocked a black shirt emblazoned with the words, “I am not Johnny #Pride.”
A month later, Cox used her attire to show everyone just how proud she was to be McDaid’s one and only. The Daily Mail published photos of her taken during an outing in Malibu. She was wearing a green sleeveless jersey with her boo’s surname on the front, along with the number 18.
How Courteney Cox's life imitated art
When Courteney Cox and Johnny McDaid first started dating, much to-do was made about the actor being over a decade older than her new beau. At the time, Cox was starring on the TV series “Cougar Town,” in which she played a character who hooked up with younger men. “Welcome To Cougartown! Courteney Cox Debuts 12-Years-Younger Musician Boyfriend,” read a December 2013 Radar Online headline.
Cox was already accustomed to such headlines about her love life. She’s seven years older than ex David Arquette, and she told Harper’s Bazaar that she considered herself “a little bit of a cougar” when they were together. As The Guardian noted, some critics complained about “Cougar Town” and its titular euphemism being “demeaning” and “belittling,” but Cox embraced the word. In the aforementioned Harper’s interview, she said a cougar is simply “someone who takes care of herself and goes out with younger guys.”
Cox has admitted to struggling with aging in the spotlight. In 2017, she told NewBeauty that she grew up believing that “appearance was the most important thing,” and she confessed to making some regretful decisions in the pursuit of looking youthful. She credits her relationship with McDaid with helping her to stop worrying so much about her age and appearance. “He’s younger than me and with any other guy that would be the hardest thing in the world, but looks are not that important to him or his family,” she said. “External beauty isn’t even on his radar.”
Courteney Cox keeps things playful on social media
Some celebrities keep their relationships off of social media. But luckily for Courteney Cox’s Instagram followers, this is not who she is, and many of her posts featuring Johnny McDaid are funny or downright adorable. When McDaid underwent spinal surgery in 2019, Cox shared a photo of her face superimposed over that of Kathy Bates’ superfan character from the movie “Misery.” She chose a shot of Bates holding a sledgehammer. “Happy to be taking care of my man….I’M HIS NUMBER ONE FAN!” Cox’s caption read. “Johnny has sooo many platinum discs, now he has two made of titanium.”
That same year, Cox shared a video of herself channeling “Friends” character Ross Gellar by helpfully repeating the word “pivot” while McDaid and a friend were moving a table from one room to another. She also uploaded a video of McDaid’s reaction when she attempted to prank him on April Fools’ Day in 2021 by rocking a pair of vampire-like fangs that were rather realistic. “Oh, Jesus! F**king hell,” a visibly shocked McDaid said when she showed them off.
And who can forget how the couple shared an open-eyed kiss on New Year’s Eve in 2019? “I can see clearly now… 2020!” Cox captioned a snapshot of their smooch. “Puckering up takes on a new brand of creepy when you’re glaring unblinkingly into each other’s souls, doesn’t it?” Metro wrote of the lip lock.
Courteney Cox loves Johnny McDaid's term of endearment
After Courteney Cox and Johnny McDaid decided that they would no longer be each other’s fiancée and fiancé, McDaid came up with a new way to refer to his significant other. Unfortunately, Cox wasn’t a fan of the label. While appearing on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” in 2019, she revealed that McDaid decided that they would call each other “partner.” “I’m from Alabama so you don’t really say ‘partner’ unless you’re in the same sex,” she said. “He’s my guy. He’s my one, so ‘partner’ is difficult for me.” She told The Guardian that McDaid also uses a term of endearment that makes her “melt”: “Darlin’ girl.”
Cox might not possess the title of “wife,” but she’s made it abundantly clear that she’s perfectly happy without it. In 2018, she described herself as “married in my heart” during an interview with People. “We are not married but it is not an elephant in the room for us, we’re OK,” she told The Sun two years later.
As for McDaid, he had a ridiculously romantic way of describing what it’s like being in love with Cox. When People was asked whether the couple had an actual wedding ceremony, he responded by saying that they “have one every morning when we look at each other.” So Cox clearly has herself a keeper, ring or no ring.
Don't expect to see Courteney Cox at the front at Snow Patrol concerts
Johnny McDaid might not talk about his relationship during interviews as often as his ladylove does, but when he does, he makes sure that it counts. At the 2016 BMI Pop Awards, he told People why he wouldn’t want Courteney Cox to sit in the front row at one of his band’s shows. “That’d be too distracting to me, I wouldn’t be able to stop looking at her, and then I would just play all the wrong notes,” he said.
Cox doesn’t just possess the ability to make McDaid mess up his music — she has also served as his musical muse. During a 2019 appearance on “Busy Tonight” (via Female First), she revealed that her sweet partner wrote a “really beautiful song” about her titled “I Love The Way You Everything.” According to McDaid, his love for Cox provides plenty of poetry inspiration as well. “When I write her poems, it’s just an extension of how I feel every second anyway, and that’s true for me,” he shared with People in 2018. He also told the outlet that she’s “an amazing musician” and shared that she’s expressed a desire to record a holiday album with him and her daughter.
Courteney Cox wants to have a child with Johnny McDaid
Courtney Cox was 53 years old in 2017 when she told NewBeauty that she wanted to have a child with Johnny McDaid. “I would love to have a baby now,” she said. “I mean, I could carry someone else’s egg. I may be one of the older people doing it, but I would love to, with Johnny that is.”
Cox has spoken candidly about her infertility struggles. During her 2019 appearance on “Busy Tonight,” she revealed that she “had a lot of miscarriages” when she started trying to get pregnant (via USA Today). According to The Sun, she was eventually diagnosed with a MTHFR gene mutation that increases the risk of blood clots that cause miscarriages. However, Cox refused to give up hope, and she underwent two rounds of IVF treatments before giving birth to Coco Arquette at age 39.
In 2021, Cox still had babies on the brain, thanks to the return of her Facebook Watch series “9 Months with Courteney Cox” (via People). An insider also told OK! Magazine that she and McDaid are thinking of using a surrogate to have a baby. According to the source, being forced to spend so much time apart during the coronavirus pandemic “made them realize the time is right to start a family.” Aw.
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