If you follow pop culture at all, you’ll likely have heard of the infamous couple Rob and Kristen. Since first appearing as a love story on-screen in 2009’s Valentine’s Day, the on-again/off-again love affair between two real-life Hollywood stars has captivated audiences worldwide. Most recently, the troubled couple made headlines for all the wrong reasons when they fought a public custody battle over their kids. The case was eventually settled out of court, but the damage to Rob’s and Kristen’s professional reputations was considerable.

It’s fair to say that, since their 2009 break-up, the chemistry between Rob and Kristen has been altered. Gone is the happy couple of yore, and in its place is a more complicated dynamic. While the press still fawns over their tumultuous relationship, it’s also treated like tabloid fodder—the kind of stuff that makes for compelling narrative-building material, but rarely provides any real insight into the true nature of the couple’s love. So let’s take a closer look, and see if 2017 has really changed anything.

The Evolution Of Their On-Camera Chemistry

Before their contentious legal battle, Rob and Kristen’s on-screen chemistry was undeniable. In the years since, their relationship has been the subject of countless romantic comedies and melodramas, and remains one of Hollywood’s most iconic love stories. Whether it was Rob’s goofy one-liners or Kristen’s feisty nature, their on-screen chemistry was electric.

While their early films often focused on the characters’ chemistry, the camera didn’t lie: the star-crossed lovers genuinely felt connected from the very beginning. Watching their love story progress over a period of decades is both heart-breaking and awe-inspiring, not to mention incredibly romantic.

A Battle-Hardened Reputation

In the wake of their messy legal drama, it’s not uncommon for fans to question the validity of their on-screen chemistry. After all, the years of tabloid headlines and speculation have taken their toll; at this point, it’s hard to tell if Rob and Kristen are truly compatible, let alone in love. And for good reason: the two have been engaged eight times and split up seven times, with four of those divorces being ugly, costly, and drawn-out court proceedings.

This pattern makes it hard to ignore the fact that Rob and Kristen are, essentially, Hollywood’s It-couple. Since their first encounter in the early 2000s, audiences have flocked to their films, and the media’s continually reported on their tumultuous relationship. While the press may have created a monster over the years, it’s hard not to see the attraction: Rob and Kristen are two of Hollywood’s most recognizable faces, which makes their conflicts all the more captivating.

A New Attitude

And then there’s Angelic Baby, their first film together in nine years. Released in December 2016, the drama reunites Rob and Kristen as they grapple with their personal and professional lives, and their relationship feels more mature and realistic than ever before. For the first time, we as an audience see these two strong, capable women fighting for what they want, while also acknowledging that they need each other.

For all their on-screen troubles, the reality is that Rob and Kristen are still two of Hollywood’s biggest stars. Since their 2009 breakup, they’ve appeared in a string of critically-acclaimed films, won awards, and collaborated on projects, which have all helped cement their status as Hollywood royalty. While their personal lives may be filled with drama, their professional reputations remain intact, and their films continue to draw huge audiences worldwide. Clearly, the chemistry between these two has not changed—it’s just become more complicated.

New York Versus LA

In April 2017, Rob and Kristen’s second legal battle is set to begin. The duo are currently embroiled in a custody dispute over their three children, as Rob has moved out-of-state and is seeking primary custody. If he’s successful, this could spell the end of Angelic Baby as we know it, with the final installment of the trilogy now residing with her mother.

To say that this has been a long time coming is an understatement. Since their 2009 break-up, the stars have been mired in a series of lawsuits and countersuits, with judges and lawyers taking a front row seat at nearly every proceeding. Even their private lives have become big news, as the pair have managed to keep details about their relationship out of the public eye. This will undoubtedly be another bruising legal battle for Rob and Kristen, one that will likely make headlines around the world.

But it’s also an opportunity for them to learn more about themselves, and each other. While they may not always see eye-to-eye on parenting issues, it’s clear that they want what’s best for their children, and are both committed to their roles as parents. This is a far cry from the selfish, self-absorbed stars we once knew, and it’s an indication of real, lasting growth. No matter how this particular legal battle plays out, it’s clear that, despite their many differences, Rob and Kristen will continue to be a powerful force in Hollywood—and beyond.