There’s something for everyone in the romantic comedy genre. For the fans of fairytales and happy endings, the swoon-worthy love stories are sure to appease the heart. For those who like to laugh off the stress of life, the punchlines and humorous scenarios will certainly fill that void. Screenwriters, directors, and producers are experts at bringing the best of the two worlds together.
But we can’t forget about the actors and actresses that bring this genre to life. While many Hollywood celebrities inhabit this genre, there are a select few men and women that dominate the rom-com industry. We’re talking about the people who consistently star in your favorite flicks, time and time again. But which of these actors and actresses are America’s favorites? We called on our research team to find out. Read on to see what we uncovered.
In order to determine the most popular romantic comedy actors and actresses in the U.S., we evaluated Google Trends search data over the past five years (from March of 2017 to March of 2022). First, we compiled a list of 60 actors from sites like IMDB and MovieWeb. From there, we compared search volume for each actor across all 50 states in order to determine the most popular rom-com actor and actress in every U.S. state.
The Most Popular Rom-Com Actors Overall
Overall, Tom Hanks and Jennifer Aniston have earned the ultimate title of the most popular rom-com actor and actress in the U.S. While Tom Hanks is known for playing a slew of different roles, it’s his work in films like “Sleepless in Seattle” and “You’ve Got Mail” that make him rise to the top of this category.
Similarly, Jennifer Aniston has played several iconic roles. “He’s Just Not That Into You” and “Just Go With It” are just two in a long list of rom-coms made successful in part by Aniston. While Aniston made her career in this genre, she’s also done work on the other side of the screen in the producer role.
Close behind that iconic Hanks-Aniston duo are the likes of Heath Ledger, Billy Crystal, Drew Barrymore, and Sandra Bullock. It’s hard to think of a movie in this genre that doesn’t feature one of these stars, so we can’t blame America for falling for them!
The Most Popular Rom-Com Actors in Every U.S. State
Based on the top overall actors, you’re likely not surprised to see Tom Hanks’ face dominate the U.S. map as the most popular rom-com actor in 11 different states. But not all states agree that he is the indisputable number one. In fact, there are many states that support their hometown heroes.
Alright, alright, alright! Unsurprisingly, Matthew McConaughey and his iconic accent reign supreme in his home state of Texas. Similarly, Josh Lucas and Patrick Dempsey both came on top in only their home states of Arkansas and Maine, respectively.
Other than these hometown favorites, there are only a few other geographic trends. Many of the northeastern states (like Delaware, Rhode Island, and Connecticut) love Billy Crystal, and many of the midwestern states (like Nebraska, Wyoming, and North Dakota) favor Heath Ledger.
The Most Popular Rom-Com Actresses in Every U.S. State
There are similar themes when shifting our heart-eyed gaze to the top rom-com actresses. For instance, Emma Stone — who hails from Arizona — was the most popular in her home state. In that same vein, Jennifer Garner was raised in West Virginia, which also happens to be the only state she won.
But Garner isn’t the only Jennifer to make the map. Between Jennifer Garner, Jennifer Aniston, and Jennifer Lopez, 14 of the 50 U.S. states’ favorite rom-com actresses are named Jennifer. That trend is also present with Julias — Julia Roberts and Julia Stiles represent six other states.
This map includes 20 unique women claiming the title of “queen of rom-coms” in at least one state. From 33-year-old Emma Stone to 72-year-old Meryl Streep, our data proves that age certainly does not play a role in an actress’ ability to make her mark on the romance genre.
Whether your go-to is “No Strings Attached” or “Crazy Stupid Love,” we can all agree that our favorite flicks wouldn’t be what they are without each iconic cast. The actors and actresses featured in our study have made their own impressions on the entertainment industry and our hearts.
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