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‘When Harry Met Sally’ Almost Had a Darker Ending — Until Its Director Met His Soul Mate

Admit it, you probably got choked up the first time you watched the ending of When Harry Met Sally… and listened to Billy Crystal as Harry list off all the reasons he loves Meg Ryan’s Sally. “I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody,” he explains at the end of his speech, “you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.” Crystal apparently even came up with some of the dialogue for the emotional moment on his own, according to the film’s director, Rob Reiner.

While speaking to PeopleTV in a recent episode of their series Couch Surfing, Reiner also dropped a much more shocking bombshell: Harry and Sally weren’t originally supposed to end up together. Instead, he painted a much darker picture for the ending he and screenwriter Nora Ephron had in mind when they began filming. “The first draft of the script — or the draft we were going to shoot — Harry and Sally weren’t going to get together.” Instead, Reiner says, “They meet each other years later and then walk separate ways.”

Yikes! Why would they spend all that time building the relationship up between Harry and Sally just to have it fizzle away? Reiner admitted it was his own romantic slump that initially kept the characters from their “happily ever after.” Apparently, the filmmaker was feeling particularly jaded about love following his divorce from his first wife, Penny Marshall. “I was single for 10 years and making a mess of my personal life, in and out of relationships and not being able to make anything work.” Fortunately for him — and fans of the classic movie — Reiner was able to turn his luck around while in the midst of filming. 

Reiner was introduced to his wife, Michele Singer Reiner, about two-thirds of the way through shooting the movie. Falling in love with her, and getting married that same year, inspired him to change the ending to the one we all know and love today. Rob and Michele are still happily married today — and we’d like to think Harry and Sally are still going strong in their own world, too!

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