For Melissa Joan Hart, regrets from the ’90s include more than the bucket hats and overalls everyone was wearing. There was also that time she turned down Ryan Reynolds, then the kid from teen soap Fifteen, but also the future Van Wilder, Will Hayes — and, of course, irreverent superhero Deadpool.
Hart, 40, dished about what could have been a hot teen celeb coupling to Australia’s Studio 10 Thursday. The Clarissa Explains It All alum explained that while filming the TV movie Sabrina the Teenage Witch — which aired before the series of the same name — in British Columbia, Canada, she basically turned Reynolds down.
“He wasn’t, like, the Ryan Reynolds everybody knows these days,” she clarified after the show played a clip of his work in Sabrina. “You can see in the clip the crazy hair. He was sweet — he was very sweet.”
Still, it wasn’t the hair that kept the romance from happening.
“I had a boyfriend at the time, but we were smitten and cute and he was adorable,” Hart confessed. “He was a really, really nice guy — probably would have been a great boyfriend — and I didn’t end up with the other guy, so maybe I should have taken a chance.”
Hart offered more scoop about her flirtation with Reynolds, who’s also now 40, in her 2013 memoir, Melissa Explains It All: Tales From My Abnormally Normal Life.
“Though I was madly in love with James, my boyfriend of six months by then, Ryan and I spent plenty of time together,” Hart wrote. “Though Ryan was totally cute and charming, I couldn’t get past the fact that he always seemed to be channeling Jim Carrey’s oddball mannerisms and voices. Even so, he sure knew how to make a girl feel special.”
To be fair, most of the world was doing impressions of Jim Carrey as Ace Ventura or the Mask in the mid-’90s. But Reynolds dropped the shtick and tried a more traditional way of winning over Hart on the last day of filming: He gave her a Bulova watch. And it went over well.
“There’s a ridiculous moment in the Sabrina movie where Ryan looks at me and says in a throaty, whispered hush, ‘I think what we need is a little less talk and a little more action.’ When I opened Ryan’s gift, I couldn’t agree more with this statement,” she wrote. “Not sure whether to chastise or make out with him next, I decided to plant a big, fat kiss on his mouth without saying a word more. It was very dramatic.”
That night, Hart wrote, she and Reynolds “fooled around” in a hotel room. After shooting, he visited her from out of town once, but by then, she had fessed up to her boyfriend and was working things out with him. It was clear that Reyart — HartRey? — wasn’t going to work out.
Reynolds wasn’t part of the Sabrina TV series, and the moment passed. In 2003, Hart married musician Mark Wilkerson, with whom she shares three sons. Reynolds, of course, married actress Blake Lively, who found out about Hart’s make-out session with her future husband before Hart’s book was published, as Hart told People in 2013. She added then that Lively had actually reached out to her for help in choosing a birthday gift for Reynolds.
We assume that Hart did not suggest a copy of the Sabrina TV movie — that would have been too painful.
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