"I think I was just at the point where I was not going to get hired for movies anymore," says Shepard, explaining how he was experiencing a lull in his acting career during the romance, in contrast to Hudson's burgeoning success. "I had a bunch that didn't work. And, I'm like, 'I don't f**king know what's next.'”
“And you were, at that time, making the most you ever made and having the most opportunity and I felt very much like, 'F**k, I don't know what I'm doing. I'm following this person around as they do things I wish I were doing,'” he continues. “It was just a rough period for me anyways. Then I felt all kind of inadequacy in that position."
The two actors met at Spider-Man star Tobey Maguire’s house, but were both in relationships at the time.
After Hudson, 40, split from her ex-husband, Chris Robinson, in 2006, she and Shepard went for dinner in Malibu, California, and joked it would be funny if they fooled the public into thinking they were dating. Walking out of the restaurant hand in hand, Shepard fully committed to the fake boyfriend role, going shirtless and pretending to be angry at the paparazzi for “invading our privacy.”
“And then that just led to somehow hanging out," Shepard recalls.
“Then I wanted to have to sex with him!” Hudson adds. “It was the perfect move.”
After dating for around three months, their romance came to a “mutual-esque” end, Shepard says, noting that in addition to his feelings of inadequacy, there was a “huge status imbalance” between the two.
Hudson adds that, for her part, she wasn’t giving Shepard what he needed, nor putting the relationship first when it came to making decisions in her life.
“I was out of a relationship that was really hardcore, then Dax and I -- it was so much fun and then it got hot fast," Hudson explains. "It got connective, and I wasn't prepared. I was making a movie, I had [son] Ryder.”
“I was so backed out that when he met his now-wife, which was not long after we broke up, it was, like, gung-ho time for you,” she adds. “You were ready for a real relationship.”
“I was ready to have kids and do it,” Shepard agrees.
While their relationship may not have lasted, Shepard indicates that he grew immensely during their time together, admitting that it was the first relationship in which he was “monogamous, for the first time in 15 years, I think.”
He also learned the importance of communicating his feelings.
"I literally learned how to say, ‘When you do this, I'm scared and I feel this way,' because you and I had fights that I really hadn’t had with people. We had some big old barn burners," he shares.
Shepard went on to marry Kristen Bell, with whom he has two children, while Hudson began dating Muse frontman Matthew Bellamy, with whom she had a son, Bingham. She is now with Danny Fujikawa, with whom she shares a daughter, Rani.
See more on the actors below.