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1. Joe Louis and Max Schmeling
Known as the “Brown Bomber,” Joe Louis burst onto the boxing scene in 1935 to become one of America’s first black sports stars. He appeared unbeatable until 1936, when he suffered his first defeat at the hands of Max Schmeling, a German fighter who was a personal favorite of Adolf Hitler. Schmeling had no love for the Nazis, but his win over Louis saw him branded as an Aryan hero. By the time the two met for a famous rematch in 1938, many viewed the bout as a battle between Americanism and Nazism. In a contest fraught with racial and political implications, Louis got his revenge by scoring a brutal knockout.
Louis and Schmeling had been marketed as enemies, but they later reconnected after World War II and frequently spoke to one another over the phone. Both men had struggled with their role as nationalist icons—Louis against racism in 1930s America, and Schmeling against Nazism in Germany—and they formed an enduring friendship that lasted the rest of their lives. When Louis fell on hard times, Schmeling dipped into his own pocket to help his old adversary pay his debts, and he even helped finance Louis’s funeral in 1981.
2. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson
The second and third presidents shared one of the most famous friendships in American history, but their relationship was often as rocky as it was warm. The men were first brought together in the 1770s during the Revolutionary War and the Continental Congress. While quite different in appearance and temperament—Adams was a stout, neurotic northerner and Jefferson a slim, genteel southerner—they soon became friends and allies in the fight for American independence.
Jefferson and Adams often corresponded through letters in their early careers, but they later experienced a falling out over their opposing views on government. After their camps traded slanderous insults during a nasty 1800 presidential campaign, the two didn’t speak for several years. Adams finally broke the silence in 1812 after a mutual friend convinced him to write Jefferson a letter. Jefferson responded, and the elder statesmen eventually rekindled their decades-old friendship, exchanging dozens of letters discussing philosophy, religion and politics. In a famous twist of fate, both men died only hours apart on July 4, 1826—the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.
3. Groucho Marx and T.S. Eliot
One was a poet and Nobel laureate known for difficult, melancholic verse like “The Waste Land,” the other a cigar-chomping comedian famous for his bawdy humor. Nevertheless, T.S. Eliot and Groucho Marx formed a peculiar friendship during a three-year stint as pen pals. Their bizarre correspondence began in 1961, when Eliot wrote Marx asking for a signed fan photograph. Marx obliged and requested a picture of Eliot, and this spawned an unlikely relationship that lasted until just before Eliot’s death in 1964.
The two men bonded over their mutual respect for each other and their shared love of literature, but their letters often highlighted their contrasting personalities. Eliot was conservative and respectful, once even apologizing for addressing the “Animal Crackers” star as “Groucho.” Marx, on the other hand, appeared to delight in trying to offend his bashful correspondent, once writing, “I would be interested in reading your views on sex, so don’t hesitate. Confide in me, Tom.” The men finally met in person in 1964, when they dined with their wives at Eliot’s home in London. Marx would later write that the dinner taught him that he and Eliot shared three things in common: “(1) an affection for good cigars and (2) cats; and (3) a weakness for making puns.”
4. Mary Todd Lincoln and Elizabeth Keckley
During the stress of the Civil War, First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln found solace in a close relationship with her black seamstress, Elizabeth Keckley. A former slave, Keckley had bought her freedom in 1855 and built a thriving clothing business in Washington. She won the job as Mrs. Lincoln’s personal dressmaker in 1861, and soon became a fixture in the inner circle of the White House. Along with fitting Mrs. Lincoln for clothes and dressing her hair for public appearances, she also came to serve as the troubled first lady’s traveling companion and confidante. Lincoln suffered from emotional problems for most of her life, and Keckley was known as one of the few who could calm her frayed nerves.
Though they came from wildly the different backgrounds, the two women shared many of the same personal tragedies. Both lost a son within the span of a year—Keckley’s son James was killed in the Civil War in 1861, and Lincoln’s son Willie died from sickness in 1862—and they also grieved together following Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. But while she once called her seamstress “my best living friend,” Lincoln later severed the relationship in 1868 after Keckley published a revealing book about her time in the White House. Despite Keckley’s efforts to reconcile, the two never spoke again.
5. Mark Twain and Nikola Tesla
Sharp-tongued writer Mark Twain and electricity wizard Nikola Tesla forged a famous friendship around their shared intellectual curiosity. The two titans of the Gilded Age often exchanged letters after meeting in the New York social scene of the 1890s, and Twain was a frequent visitor to Tesla’s lab. During many hours in this workshop of scientific oddities, Tesla wowed the novelist with demonstrations of high voltage electricity, and the men also experimented with early x-ray photography.
So great was Tesla and Twain’s mutual admiration that each man even claimed the other had once cured him of an illness. In his autobiography, Tesla wrote that when he was bedridden from sickness as a young man, Twain’s “captivating” novels had been a much-needed solace that helped jump-start a recovery. After the two became friends, Tesla repaid the favor when he cured the writer of a severe bout of constipation by having him stand on a high frequency oscillator.
6. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Joseph Haydn
It might not seem surprising that two of music’s most famous composers were friendly, but Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Joseph Haydn made for a particularly unlikely pairing. Mozart was a flamboyant dresser known for his cosmopolitan upbringing and blustery personality, while Haydn came from peasant stock and had a more buttoned-down character. He was also 24 years older, and unlike the child prodigy Mozart, had not found fame until his middle age.
Little is known about the specifics of their relationship, but it appears to have been one of mutual admiration. Mozart was notorious for his blistering criticisms of fellow composers, but he always regarded Haydn—whom he affectionately called “Papa”—with fondness and respect, and even dedicated a cycle of compositions in his honor. Haydn, meanwhile, once described Mozart as “the greatest composer I know personally or by name.” The two played in string quartets together in 1780s Vienna, and when Mozart died at the age of 35, the 59-year-old Haydn memorialized him by writing, “not for a hundred years will posterity see such a talent.”
7. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini
In the early 1920s, master escape artist Harry Houdini and “Sherlock Holmes” author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle struck up an offbeat friendship—and later fell out—over their contrasting opinions on the afterlife. Houdini was a natural skeptic, fond of debunking psychics and supposed paranormal phenomena, while Conan Doyle was a born believer who served as an evangelist for the Spiritualist movement. Nevertheless, the two frequently traded letters and books, and once even vacationed together in Atlantic City.
Desperate to make his friend believe in the power of psychic mediums, Conan Doyle took to dragging Houdini to different séances around Europe. But with each flawed reading, Houdini became even more convinced the practice was the work of frauds and hucksters. The relationship finally reached its breaking point in 1923, after Conan Doyle and his wife organized a disastrous séance where they tried to contact Houdini’s deceased mother in the afterlife. After trading insults in warring New York Times columns, the two stopped speaking altogether.
The 10 Most Twisted Couples in Literature
Yesterday marked the 50th anniversary of the Broadway opening of Edward Albee’s now-iconic play Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, which went on to win a Tony for Best Play and the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award. It also brought us the incomparable George and Martha, a bickering, bitter couple whose frustrated, drunken antics have turned them into modern archetypes. Inspired by the anniversary of this wonderful play, we’ve put together a list of the most twisted couples in literature — with George and Martha leading the pack, of course. Read through our choices after the jump, and if we missed your deliciously self-destructive or unfailingly dysfunctional favorites, add to our list in the comments.
The archetypal bantering couple, Albee’s dark pair are ruthless, brutal, and toxic to everyone around them. But of course, it’s their shared secret that’s the most twisted of all.
Catherine and Heathcliff, Wuthering Heights
The ultimate story of dark, destructive obsession, Cathy and Heathcliff manage to be endlessly cruel to one another while they cling to each other’s hearts as tightly as possible. Catherine’s bitter plea basically sums it up: “I wish I could hold you… until we were both dead.”
Jamie and Cersei Lannister, A Song of Ice and Fire
Jamie and Cersei are twins-turned-lovers willing to kill to protect their secret, which is twisted enough on its own. We won’t spoil it for those who haven’t gotten there yet (or are watching the show), but let’s just say that later on, things get even more… mangled.
Though it’s never explicitly stated (at least not in this novel), it’s pretty clear that these two vampires are lovers, albeit constantly at odds, with Lestat denigrating and abusing Louis and Louis constantly complaining about his hatred for Lestat. Which makes sense — after all, it’s not like you can really expect a relationship that begins with one party killing the other and turing them into a demon to be functional.
Valmont and Merteuil, Dangerous Liaisons
In this epistolary novel (which yes, was the source material for Cruel Intentions), the Vicomte de Valmont and the Marquise de Merteuil are determined to corrupt and seduce everyone around them — including each other. Merteuil dangles herself before Valmont so she can use him for her own ends, but decides maybe she wants his heart as well as his body, whether he’s willing to give it or not. Suffice it to say, it all ends in smallpox.
Charles and Camilla, The Secret History
Another pair of handsome blond twins secretly in love with each other, Charles and Camilla have a very different feel than the Lannisters — creepier, less proud — but their jealousy is just as potent and their relationship is perhaps even more binding.
We shudder at the very thought of this novel, or indeed, at any of Yates’s fictional relationships. Manipulation, barely constrained rage in suburbia, guilt and self-hatred make this one of the most destructive couples we’ve ever gotten to know. As Yates once explained, “If my work has a theme, I suspect it is a simple one: that most human beings are inescapably alone, and therein lies their tragedy.”
Poor Jake and Brett. They can’t be together, but they can’t seem to leave each other alone, either, much to the destruction of everyone’s tender booze-soaked feelings. It’s all very exasperating, but it does lead to one of the most iconic final lines in literature.
Tom and Daisy Buchanan, The Great Gatsby
Tom and Daisy are twisted in their own mundane, unhappy little way, lying and cheating and being generally terrible. “They were careless people, Tom and Daisy — they smashed things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.”
Lolita and Humbert Humbert, Lolita
He, a middle-aged scholar plagued by a terrible obsession with nymphets, she, and 11-year-old girl who likes the attention — at first. Need we go on?
Famous Historical Couples
George Putnam was Amelia Earhart's publisher and publicist before he became her husband. The two fell in love while Putnam was still married to his first wife. Earhart approached marriage with as bold an attitude as she did her aviation career. The New York Times remarked on her wedding vows in 1931 that "Miss Earhart did not promise to 'obey' her husband, as the word is not included in the civil ceremony."
When Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe were married in 1954, they were an A-list celebrity couple. But the retired baseball player didn't like the publicity his wife garnered for the suggestive pose she struck while filming "The Seven Year Itch." According to reports, DiMaggio abused Monroe physically and emotionally, and when she filed for divorce nine months after the wedding, DiMaggio didn't show up in court.
Gertrude Stein (left) and Alice B. Toklas were two American expatriates who met in Paris. They lived together in 27 Rue de Fleurus as a married couple for 39 years. Stein, a poet, memoirist and contributor to the modern and post-modern movements, spent her days writing while Toklas typed her manuscripts and kept the house in order.
Microsoft business brought Bill and Melinda Gates together. They have three children and run the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a charitable organization that, according to the Gateses, seeks to help people live "a healthy, productive life."
This late 19th-century lithograph depicts the garden of Eden, inhabited by the biblical couple Adam and Eve, who members of certain faiths believe were the first man and woman.
Mexican artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo were both well-recognized artists in their time, but Rivera predicted that his wife's reputation would be far greater than his in generations to come. Though art historians surmise that Rivera and Kahlo were very much in love, they both engaged in extramarital affairs, which ultimately contributed to their divorce in 1940. A year later, the couple reunited.
The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife, Coretta Scott King, pose with their daughter Yolanda at home in Montgomery, Ala., in 1956. King was a champion of the civil rights movement, and his wife, a trained singer, supported his activism.
Anne Boleyn caught King Henry VIII's attention when she was a lady-in-waiting to his queen, Catherine of Aragon. Anne became Henry's second wife, and the scandal of his divorce from Catherine shocked the court. In 1536, Henry had Anne beheaded on the charge of adultery, though many scholars assert he was just getting rid of her so he could pursue Jane Seymour.
Frank Lloyd Wright and his wife Olgivanna pose at Taliesin East in 1937. Thirty years his junior, Olgivanna was Wright's third wife. She was a dancer from Montenegro, and she bore the architect (who was as famous for his designs as he was for his affairs) a daughter named Iovanna.
Joanne Woodward became Paul Newman's second wife in 1958. The two award-winning actors had one of the most enduring relationships in Hollywood. As fellow actor Warren Beatty described their lasting union, "They were just sensible, nice, intelligent people." As for his own rationale on marriage, Newman once quipped, "Why fool around with hamburger when you have steak at home?"
In this painting, Cleopatra emerges from a rolled-up carpet to present herself to Julius Caesar. Caesar became Cleopatra's co-conspirator to help her regain the Egyptian throne after Ptolemy took possession of it. The couple had a son named Caesarion and lived in Rome until Caesar's assassination. When Cleopatra returned to Egypt, the second great love story of her life began with Mark Antony.
President John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy reigned over so-called Camelot during his term. The facetious name nodded at the golden years of the nation, during which anything seemed possible with the youthful, handsome president at the helm and his young family by his side.
The couple that steals together stays together, at least in the case of Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker, who are best remembered as the dangerous duo Bonnie and Clyde. Wanted on charges of murder, kidnapping, robbery and auto theft, the couple was gunned down in Louisiana on May 23, 1934.
Even renowned chemists will leave the lab behind for a romantic honeymoon. Pierre and Marie Curie met at the Sorbonne in Paris, and they achieved fame in the science world for their studies of radioactivity, which later earned them a Nobel Prize. When Pierre was killed in 1906, Marie was appointed to his position at the Sorbonne, where he had been a professor of physics.
On July 29, 1981, Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer were married in front of 3,500 wedding guests and an international television audience of 750 million, which, according to the BBC, makes the wedding the "most popular program ever broadcast." The couple bore an heir to the throne less than a year after the wedding, and though they formally separated in 1996, their image as a couple endures due to their vast celebrity and humanitarian efforts. Prince Diana died in 1997 in a tragic car crash.
Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir met in 1929 when they were philosophy students. They shared an open relationship for much of their adult lives, acting as lovers and editors for each other's greatest works. These included Sartre's existentialist novels and plays and de Beauvoir's feminist treatises, most notably "The Second Sex." As Sartre described the relationship, "What we have is an essential love but it is a good idea for us also to experience contingent love affairs." In her later years, de Beauvoir commented that her relationship with Sartre was her "greatest achievement."
As far as power couples go, perhaps no duo had greater command over the public than Argentinian President Juan Peron and First Lady Eva Peron. Their signature wave was a welcome sight to the descomisados, or "shirtless ones," working-class Argentinians to whom the Peron administration promised higher wages and better housing. Beloved by the public, the first lady was dubbed and memorialized as "Evita."
In a rare moment of repose, Adolf Hitler naps while his long-time mistress, Eva Braun, looks on. Hitler and Braun married the day before committing suicide together, just prior to the collapse of the Third Reich.
The German Prince Consort Albert and Queen Victoria gave birth to nine children and the concept of Victorianism, a term that biographer Gillian Gill says connotes ideals of "faith, thrift, discipline . marital fidelity, parental control social cohesion." The couple drastically altered public ideas about British royalty by cleaning up the scandalous image of the court and replacing it with a homespun one of a couple very much in love, nurturing a large and closely knit family.
Despite the romantic accounts of Pocahontas saving John Smith's life (which historians believe are probably not true), the real love of her life was the English colonist John Rolfe. Their marriage in 1614 forged a diplomatic peace between the foreign settlers and the indigenous people of the Virginia colony. This historical painting shows Pocahontas' baptism, after which she became known as Rebecca. Though Pocahontas died just three years after marrying Rolfe, during their union, they had a son and worked in tandem to garner interest and financial support for the American colonies.
Franklin Delano and Eleanor Roosevelt resided in the White House during some of the most financially tumultuous years in U.S. history. Though Eleanor was his distant cousin, Roosevelt was determined to make her his wife. When she discovered that Roosevelt was having an affair with her social secretary, Lucy Mercer, Eleanor proposed divorce. Roosevelt declined, and though the two remained together, this event caused an awakening in Eleanor's personal life, inspiring her to become more involved in politics and to seek more meaningful friendships.
Johnny and June Carter Cash met in 1961 when she began touring with him. Carter Cash came from a family of country singers, and she dabbled in singing, songwriting and acting. The couple married in 1968 after Cash proposed to her onstage at a concert in London, Ontario. Their marriage of 31 years was a collaboration of love and talent, and between them, they earned several Grammy Awards. Carter Cash notably helped her husband overcome an addiction to amphetamines, and when she passed away in 2003, Cash died just four months later.
Rock star David Bowie and Somalian supermodel Iman were married in 1992, and despite the constant glare of the paparazzi's flashbulbs, the couple has enjoyed a lasting marriage. While Iman is known as a pioneer among black models in the fashion industry and recognized for designing the first line of cosmetics for women of color, Bowie was renowned for his rock 'n' roll legacy, which includes contributions to the glitter rock genre as well as a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award and countless hit singles. Bowie died in 2016.
Best known for the "The Great Gatsby," Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald married his love and muse Zelda Sayre after the publication of his first novel, "This Side of Paradise." The couple welcomed their daughter Frances "Scottie" Fitzgerald in 1921. Towards the end of the decade, Zelda suffered from mental illness, which caused her to frequent mental health clinics and hospitals until she died. Fitzgerald's masterpiece "The Great Gatsby" didn't become renowned until the middle of the century, after he died.
Oprah Winfrey met Stedman Graham in the mid-1980s, and they've been together ever since. The couple was engaged in 1992, but they never married. In September 2017, Winfrey told Vogue that both she and Stedman are traditional, and that if they'd gotten married, then their relationship wouldn't have worked. The pair have been historically tight-lipped about their relationship.
In 1989, Barack Obama met Michelle Robinson at the law firm Sidley Austin LLP where they both worked, and three years later they got married. By the time he was elected to the Senate in 2004, the couple had two children, Malia and Sasha. The family's life would later change when Barack became the first black president of the United States. Obama left office after completing two terms in 2016, with very high approval ratings. On Oct. 3, 2017, the couple celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary.
George Lucas, the famed "Star Wars" director, met his future wife Mellody Hobson, president of Ariel Investments, at a business conference. They married in late 2013 and have a daughter together.
Grace Kelly was a famous American actress of the 1950s. She won an Academy Award for her role in "The Country Girl." In 1955, Kelly met Prince Rainier III of Monaco at a photoshoot and married him in 1956. The royal couple had three children together, including a son, Prince Albert, which prevented Monaco from being annexed into France. Princess Grace was killed in a tragic car accident on Sept. 13, 1982.
Albert Einstein met his first wife, Milena Maric, while attending school in Zurich. Despite his parents objections to the relationship, Einstein and Maric married on Jan. 6, 1903, but their marriage would not be a happy one. Einstein had an affair with his cousin while he was married to Maric. In their divorce settlement, Einstein agreed to give Maric any prize money in the event that he won the Nobel Prize.
The 20 Greatest Real Life Love Stories from History
In anticipation of Valentine's Day, we take a spin through history's greatest lovers&mdashstar crossed, cursed, life-long, and everything in between.
Love is a powerful emotion. Throughout history couples in love have caused wars and controversy, created masterpieces in writing, music, and art, and have captured the hearts of the public with the power of their bonds. From the allure of Cleopatra to the magnetism of the Kennedy's, these love affairs have stood as markers in history. Prepare to swoon over these love stories of the centuries.
She was another man's wife, but when Paris, the "handsome, woman-mad" prince of Troy, saw Helen, the woman whom Aphrodite proclaimed the most beautiful in the world, he had to have her. Helen and Paris ran off together, setting in motion the decade-long Trojan War. According to myth, Helen was half-divine, the daughter of Queen Leda and the God Zeus, who transformed into a swan to seduce the queen. Whether Helen actually existed, we'll never know, but her romantic part in the greatest epic of all time can never be forgotten. She will forever be "the face that launched a thousand ships."
"Brilliant to look upon and to listen to, with the power to subjugate everyone." That was the description of Cleopatra, queen of Egypt. She could have had anything or anyone she wanted, but she fell passionately in love with the Roman General Mark Antony. As Shakespeare depicts it, their relationship was volatile ("Fool! Don't you see now that I could have poisoned you a hundred times had I been able to live without you," Cleopatra said) but after they risked all in a war on Rome and lost, they chose to die together in 30 BC. "I will be a bridegroom in my death, and run into it as to a lover's bed," said Antony. And Cleopatra followed, by clasping a poisonous asp to her breast.
We've heard of the Wall&mdashno, not that one, the 2nd Century AD one stretching across England&mdashbut what about Emperor Hadrian's heart? He lost it to Antinous (far left), an intelligent and sports-loving Greek student. The emperor displayed "an obsessive craving for his presence." The two traveled together, pursuing their love of hunting Hadrian once saved his lover's life during a lion hunt. The emperor even wrote erotic poetry. While visiting the Nile, Antinous drowned mysteriously, but some say he was murdered by those jealous of the emperor's devotion. The devastated Hadrian proclaimed Antinous a deity, ordered a city be built in his honor, and named a star after him, between the Eagle and the Zodiac.
The first Plantagenet king of England had a rich, royal wife in Eleanor of Aquitaine and mistresses galore, but the love of his life was "Fair Rosamund," also called the "Rose of the World." To conceal their affair, Henry built a love nest in the innermost recesses of a maze in his park at Woodstock. Nonetheless, the story has it that Queen Eleanor did not rest until she found the labyrinth and traced it to the center, where she uncovered her ravishing rival. The queen offered her death by blade or poison. Rosamund chose the poison. Perhaps not coincidentally, Henry kept Eleanor confined in prison for 16 years of their marriage.
Rarely has a woman served as such profound inspiration for a writer&mdashand yet he barely knew her. The Italian poet Dante Alighieri wrote passionately of Beatrice in the Divine Comedy and other poems, but only met the object of his affection twice. The first time, he was nine years old and she was eight. The second time, they were adults, and while walking on the street in Florence, Beatrice, an emerald-eyed beauty, turned and greeted Dante before continuing on her way. Beatrice died at age 24 in 1290 without Dante ever seeing her again. Nonetheless, she was "the glorious lady of my mind," he wrote, and "she is my beatitude, the destroyer of all vices and the queen of virtue, salvation."
When the Tudor king fell for a young lady-in-waiting, Anne Boleyn, who possessed eyes "black and beautiful," he was long married to a Spanish princess. But Anne refused to be a royal mistress, and the king rocked the Western world to win his divorce and make Anne queen. Ambassadors could not believe how enslaved the king was by his love for Anne. "This accursed Anne has her foot in the stirrup," complained the Spanish emissary. To comprehend the king's passion, one need only read his 16th century love letters, revealing his torment over how elusive she remained: "I beg to know expressly your intention touching the love between us&helliphaving been more than a year wounded by the dart of love, and not yet sure whether I shall fail or find a place in your affection." (Their love affair ended when he had her beheaded.)
In 1730, a Parisian prophetess told a nine-year-old girl she would rule the heart of a king. Years later, at a masked ball, Jeanne Antoinette Poisson, dressed as a domino, danced with King Louis XV, dressed as a tree. Within weeks, the delicate beauty was maîtresse-en-titre, given the title Marquise de Pompadour. "Any man would have wanted her as his mistress," said another male admirer. The couple indulged in their love of art, furniture, and porcelain, with Madame de Pompadour arranging for her jaded royal lover small dinner parties and amateur theatricals in which she would star (of course). While watching one play, Louis XV declared, "You are the most delicious woman in France," before sweeping her out of the room.
Abigail Smith married the Founding Father at age 20, gave birth to five children (including America's fifth president, John Quincy Adams), and was John Adams's confidante, political advisor, and First Lady. The more than 1,000 letters they wrote to each other offer a window into John and Abigail's mutual devotion and abiding friendship. It was more than revolutionary political ideals that kept them so united they shared a trust and abiding tenderness. Abigail wrote: "There is a tye more binding than Humanity, and stronger than Friendship . and by this chord I am not ashamed to say that I am bound, nor do I [believe] that you are wholly free from it." As for John, he wrote: "I want to hear you think, or see your Thoughts. The Conclusion of your Letter makes my Heart throb, more than a Cannonade would. You bid me burn your Letters. But I must forget you first."
When the young Romantic poet Percy Shelley met Mary Godwin, she was the teenage daughter of a famous trailblazing feminist, the long-dead Mary Wollstonecraft. The two of them shared a love of the mind&mdash"Soul meets soul on lovers' lips," he wrote&mdashbut physical desire swept them away too, consummated near the grave of Mary's mother. When they ran away to Europe, it caused a major scandal, but the couple proclaimed themselves indifferent to judgment. "It was acting in a novel, being an incarnate romance," she later said. They traveled together to visit the debauched Lord Byron, and Mary wrote Frankenstein during two weeks in Switzerland. After Percy died in a boating accident in 1822, Mary never remarried. She said having been married to a genius, she could not marry a man who wasn't one.
Elizabeth Barrett was an accomplished and respected poet in poor health (and nearly 40 years old) when Robert Browning wrote to her: "I love your verses with all my heart, dear Miss Barrett," and praising their "fresh strange music, the affluent language, the exquisite pathos and true new brave thought." They courted in secret because of her family's disapproval. She wrote, "I am not of a cold nature, & cannot bear to be treated coldly. When cold water is thrown upon a hot iron, the iron hisses." They married in 1846, living among fellow writers and artists for the rest of her life. When she died, it was in Robert Browning's arms.
The celebrated young poet's romance with his neighbor, Fanny Brawne, sparked what is probably his most famous poem "Bright Star", though the relationship was fraught with jealousy. Brawne was a precocious and flirtatious young woman, Keats a fiercely overzealous bard. The two clashed as often as they coalesced, but the full requisition of their love was hindered by Keats' lack of money and his illness. Bedridden by tuberculosis, which he contracted from his late brother and mother, Keats yearned in envy over his coquettish Brawne, whose frivolous nature marred her love for the young poet and subsequently aggravated his wellbeing. Though engaged to Brawne, Keats had to end the engagement in an effort to get well in Rome. He died there not long after his arrival, his romance to remain unrequited.
For nearly 40 years, Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas were inseparable, famous for their literary salon in Paris, which was frequented by Picasso, T.S. Eliot, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and many more. When Toklas (far left) first met Stein, she wrote, "It was Gertrude Stein who held my complete attention, as she did for all the many years I knew her until her death, and all these empty ones since them. She was a golden brown presence, burned by the Tuscan sun and with a golden glint in her warm brown hair." Their love gained international fame after Stein published The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas. Wrote Stein, "One must dare to be happy."
The talented young Mexican painter Kahlo paid a visit to the studio of famous muralist Rivera in search of career advice. "She had unusual dignity and self-assurance and there was a strange fire in her eyes," he said. Theirs was a volatile relationship, yet Rivera knew from early on that Kahlo "was the most important fact in my life and she would continue to be until she died 27 years later." As for Kahlo, she said, "You deserve a lover who listens when you sing, who supports you when you feel shame and respects your freedom who flies with you and isn't afraid to fall. You deserve a lover who takes away the lies and brings you hope, coffee, and poetry."
When Edward VIII fell in love with American divorcée Wallis Simpson it was an affair shocked a nation and threw Britain's monarch into a constitutional crisis. Due to strong opposition from the church and government over their marriage, Edward chose to abdicate the throne. He famously proclaimed his love for Simpson as he addressed the nation in 1936. "I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge my duties as king as I would wish to do without the help and support of the woman I love," he said in his abdication speech. Choosing love over kingship, the Duke of Windsor spent most of his life outside the royal family as the couple married and settled in France. Note: Years later it was revealed in previously hidden German Documents that not only did Simpson and the Duke of Windsor have Nazi associations, but there were also plans for the Germans to re-install him as King after they invaded the U.K.
Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward met during the production of Picnic and shortly married after filming the movie The Long, Hot Summer. Unlike most on-set Hollywood romances, Newman and Woodward were happily devoted to one another for fifty years. When asked about his marriage to Woodward and infidelity, Newman was famously responded, "I have a steak at home. Why should I go out for hamburger?" The couple traded the California spotlight for Westport, Connecticut, where they raised their family and remained until Paul Newman's death in 2008.
In the wedding of the century, American film star Grace Kelly left Hollywood behind at the height of her career to wed Prince Rainier and become Princess of Monaco. Prince Rainier was immediately taken with Grace, whom he met when she filmed To Catch a Thief in the French Riviera. He courted her through letters for some time before the couple announced their engagement in the Kelly family's Philadelphia home and married in 1956. Prince Rainier never remarried after Grace's tragic death in 1982.
There isn&rsquot a more iconic country music love story than that between Johnny Cash and June Carter. Both stars in their own right, the two met backstage at the famed Grand Ole Opry. When first meeting Cash, Carter supposedly told him, &ldquoI feel like I know you already.&rdquo The couple went on to tour together and fell in love, eventually marrying in 1968. Cash credited Carter with helping him recover from drug addiction, further solidifying their bond. The couple shared two Grammys, along with two solo Grammys for Carter and 11 for Cash. The both had storied careers and welcomed one son. The happy couple stayed together their whole lives and died within just four months of each other. It&rsquos clear that this love was true - when once asked for his definition of paradise, Cash stated plainly, &ldquothis morning, with her, having coffee.&rdquo
Carolyn Bessette and John F. Kennedy Jr. married in a secret ceremony on a small island in Georgia, indicative of their desire to keep their relationship private from the feigning press and public attention. The couple tried as much as they could to live a normal life out of their Tribeca apartment and with any normal marriage they had ups and downs. "They would love hard, and they would fight hard," said a friend of the couples, Ariel Paredes. It was evident the love was there and as public attention mounted Carolyn and JFK Jr. became an iconic duo. Sadly, their love was cut short when the couple tragically died on July 16, 1999 in a plane crash over the Atlantic ocean.
George Clooney was Hollywood's self-proclaimed bachelor of many decades, making his whirlwind love story with British human rights lawyer even more sweet. The two were introduced by a friend and soon after began exchanging emails that George comically penned as his dog Einstein. After six months of dating George proposed to the song, 'Why Shouldn't I?' while making dinner. "It's a really good song about why can't I be in love?," said George. The couple balances Amal's career as a human rights lawyer, George's acting, and their two twins, Ella and Alexander.
It was a love story that captured hearts around the world when Meghan Markle and Prince Harry wed in May 2018. Their life as a couple began in November 2017, when Harry popped the question while the two were roasting a chicken at their apartment in Kensington Palace. Since then, their fairytale has been untraditional, to say the least, but the love shared between the happy couple is clear. As they begin to carve out their new royal roles, amid much controversy, it remains certain that the couple cares deeply about each other and their adorable son, Archie. It&rsquos hard to know what the future holds, but it seems like Meghan and Harry will take it all on together.
SEE ALSO: Most Wanted Women: FBI's Female Felons: Photos
While the United States had the Lonely Hearts Killers, on the other side of the pond, the United Kingdom had the Moors murderers, another couple who famously came together as serial killers.
From 1963 to 1965, Ian Brady and Myra Hindley committed a series of murders, with four children and a teenager as their victims. The duo buried their victims at Saddleworh Moor and even took photos of themselves smiling at the burial site. All but one of the victims, Keith Bennett, were discovered by police, who had the assistance of the killers in tracking the remains down.
Both Brady and Hindley spent the rest of their lives incarcerated. Hindley died in prison in 2002, and Brady, diagnosed as criminally insane in 1985, is still alive today.
Nicholas Sparks has a reputation of creating some of the most emotional and tear-jerking stories. Nay, love stories. But the most memorable couple amongst them all is perhaps, Allie and Noah. The novel revolves around the couple. What starts as a love affair between a poor fellow working at a lumberyard and a rich heiress soon transforms into an everlasting relationship between the two. Years later, bed-ridden and sick, they still are in love and patiently wait for love to take them away together.
Famous Celebrity Couples
Beyond the glitz and glam of the red carpet, stages and silver screens, famous Hollywood couples share a bond that feels larger than life. We look to these famous couples to entertain us through the parts they play and work they do, but sometimes it's their real-life roles as married partners that captures hearts the most.
Beyoncé and Jay-Z
Beyoncé and Jay-Z, Married Since April 4, 2008: There was a time when the Queen Bey was just another single lady, but with a relationship that took time to blossom, one of most famous music couples is now Crazy in Love.
Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash
Johnny and June Carter Cash, Married 35 Years: It's easy to remember the influence Johnny Cash and June Carter had on country music, but it might not have been possible had she not been the positive force that changed his life.
Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson
Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, Married Since April 30, 1988: Long before volleyball, Tom Hanks fell in love with a different Wilson—his longtime partner and fellow actor Rita Wilson.
David Bowie and Iman
David Bowie and Iman, Married 24 Years: Before the rocker lost his secret battle to cancer in 2016, Bowie and Somalian model Iman shared a beautifully artistic life together as one of Hollywood's most beloved and famous interracial couples.
Oprah Winfrey and Stedman Graham
Oprah Winfrey and Stedman Graham, Not Married: She may be the first African- American billionaire, but long before Oprah became a household name, she fell richly in love with longtime partner Stedman Graham. The two have not tied the knot, but their decades-long partnership demonstrates their dedication to one another.
Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi
Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi, Married Since August 16, 2008: Quite possibly one of the most famous lesbian couples today, Ellen and Portia connected over the love of animals, vegan food and of course, one another.
Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell
Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, Not Married: Not seeing the need to make their relationship official through marriage, Hawn and Russell have been inseparable for more than three decades.
John Lennon and Yoko Ono
John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Married 11 Years: While most newlyweds may spend more time together in bed that not in the days following marriage, the famous Beatle and his artist wife stayed under covers for a two-week-long "Bed-In for Peace" five days after the duo shared their "I Dos."
Michael J. Fox and Tracy Pollan
Michael J. Fox and Tracy Pollan, Married Since July 16, 1988: Fox and Pollan turned their on-screen relationship from the 80's sitcom Family Ties into a real-life romance when the pair got hitched in 1988.
Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka
Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka, Married Since September 6, 2014: The duo that makes up one of the most famous gay couples is so perfectly paired that they are both Geminis, they both wear the same size shoe and clothing, and are the same weight and height.
David and Victoria Beckham
David and Victoria Beckham, Married Since July 4, 1999: Marriage isn't always easy, even for soccer stars and Spice Girls. After hitting a rocky patch in their 17-year marriage, the two got back on track together by renewing their vows in a very small home ceremony in January of 2017.
Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis
Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis, Married Since July 4, 2015: How can you not love when an on-screen romance becomes IRL? Long before they were married, Kutcher and Kunis were Kelso and Jackie—the vain, not-so-bright couple on That '70s Show.
George Clooney and Amal Clooney
George and Amal Clooney, Married Since September 27, 2014: During his many years of being one of Hollywood's most eligible bachelors, George dated his fair share of women. But it only took four months of dating British Humanitarian Lawyer Amal Alamuddin to know it was time to take himself off the market.
Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard
Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard, Married Since October 17, 2013: If it's true that the couple who laughs together, stays together, then Bell and Shepard have a very long and happy life ahead of them.
Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy
Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, Never Married: There may have never been—or ever will be—a more perfectly matched pair as Hepburn and Tracy. But however true that may be, when it comes to famous couples, these two were never actually an item. The duo headlined nine movies together, but they were more than just an actor and his leading lady. They had an off-screen love affair, but because Tracy never divorced from his estranged wife, he and Hepburn never lived together or married. Still, their love was strong even if it didn't fit standard conventions.
9. Unicorns and Jesus
If medieval people loved two things it was mythology and religion, and these two often combined in a very peculiar way. Due to a mistranslation of what was likely intended to be an ox, people commonly believed that the Bible likened Jesus to a unicorn, according to "Book of Beasts: The Bestiary in the Medieval World" (J. Paul Getty Museum, 2019) edited by Elizabeth Morrison.
Medieval folk ran with this idea and the unicorn, or whatever they believed to be a unicorn, repeatedly cropped up in religious medieval art. As only innocent maidens were allowed to touch unicorns, the unicorn was also used as a strangely uncomfortable allegory of Christ entering his mother's womb.
2 Couple with the Same Full Name, Meet Mr and Ms Kelly Hildebrandt
It's not too unusual to hear stories of married couples who met online. But it IS unusual when that couple that meets online and marries also has the same name. In this case, it's a guy from Texas named Kelly Hildebrandt and a gal from Florida named Kelly Hildebrandt. They are about to get married. Kelly Hildebrandt met Kelly Hildebrandt when Kelly, the girl, looked up her own name on Facebook. “I was like, ‘I wonder if there's any other Kelly Hildebrandts on Facebook',” she explained. “So, I searched my own name and he's the only one that came up. And actually, in the picture, he didn't have his shirt on, and I'm like, ‘oh, he's cute!'” And the Kelly in Texas was also intrigued. “She started off, ‘Hey, I see we have the same name, and I thought it was kinda cool, so I wanted to say hi, I guess'. Lots of laughs,” he said… Eight months after that innocent Facebook message, Kelly proposed to Kelly, and pretty soon they'll become Kelly Hildebrandt squared.
The 50 Most Beloved TV Couples of All Time
Sometimes romantic, sometimes contentious, but always memorable, these TV pairings made us swoon.
Warner Bros. Television
What makes a great TV couple? Is it two actors having great chemistry? The characters making one another better people? Or honestly just looking really, really good together? More often than not, it's a combination of factors that makes a fictional twosome so captivating—something between them just clicks! And that's certainly the case with these 50 beloved TV couples. Fair warning: You won't be seeing Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) and Mr. Big (Chris Noth), or Ross (David Schwimmer) and Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) on this list. We went through the annals of pop culture history to choose pairings that broke ground on television, and gave viewers something to cheer for each and every week. Because that's what episodic love is all about, right?
Americans had never seen a couple like Lucy (Lucille Ball) and Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz) when I Love Lucy premiered on CBS in 1951. The multiethnic couple broke ground on television, but it wasn't an easy road. "CBS and its sponsor, Philip Morris cigarettes, were adamantly opposed to this," Kathleen Brady, the author of Lucille: The Life of Lucille Ball, told NPR. "They said that the American public would not accept Desi as the husband of a red-blooded American girl."
Boy, were they wrong. Lucy and Ricky quickly won audiences' hearts. In fact, more than 70 percent of TV viewers in the country tuned in to see them welcome their fictional son in 1953. The series not only changed the course of television, but it made audiences laugh week after week for six years.
There are three versions of Friday Night Lights: the 1990 nonfiction book by Buzz Bissinger, the 2004 film adaptation by Peter Berg, and the 2006 television series (also by Berg) inspired by the film. But the couple at the center of the third iteration—Coach Eric Taylor (Kyle Chandler) and Tami Taylor (Connie Britton)—is what really stuck with fans, thanks to their love as big as the great state of Texas.
TV critic Alan Sepinwall called the Taylors "one of TV's most realistic and loving couples." Using these two characters as the relative moral high ground, Friday Night Lights portrayed real issues among Middle Americans—like family values, racism, drugs, and abortion—in a truly authentic way for five seasons, winning over critics and viewers alike.
Turner Program Services
You cannot think childhood love—your first crush, the first time you hold hands, your first kiss—without thinking of The Wonder Years' Kevin (Fred Savage) and Winnie (Danica McKellar). These two, whose story was set in the late '60s and early '70s, exemplified everything pure and magical about coming-of-age romance.
Kevin and Winnie were two kids who grew up as neighbors and, despite naively promising to be together no matter what, ended up going their separate ways, challenging viewers to live with that reality. "Things never turn out exactly the way you plan them," Kevin said in the series finale, subverting the audience's hope that he and Winnie would ultimately live happily ever after.
"Those were the days," right? For nearly the entirety of the 1970s, audiences were entertained by the antics of Archie and Edith Bunker on the Norman Lear series All in the Family. Archie (Carroll O'Connor) was frequently referred to as a "lovable bigot" who was struggling to handle the constantly changing world around him. Edith (Jean Stapleton), on the other hand, had a huge heart and—despite being a bit ditzy—often delivered nuggets of wisdom. These two were the definition of the mantra "opposites attract."
Sony Pictures Television
This spin-off of All in the Family centered on George (Sherman Hemsley) and Louise Jefferson (Isabel Sanford), once neighbors of Archie and Edith, who we saw "movin' on up" from a working class neighborhood in Queens to a "de-luxe apartment" in Manhattan. The Jeffersons was the first series to depict a successful black family, paving the way for others like it.
George and Louise had a similar relationship to that of Archie and Edith. While both women were kind counterparts to their loud-mouthed husbands, Louise stood her ground and proved that she could go toe-to-toe more so than Edith did. At the end of the day, though, George and Louise loved each other, and they made history on one of the longest-running American series with a primarily black cast.
Warner Bros. Television
Many Friends fans champion the on-again, off-again relationship between Ross and Rachel. But we'd say the show's truly iconic relationship is the far more reliable pairing of Monica (Courteney Cox) and Chandler (Matthew Perry).
Type-A Monica and irrepressible goof Chandler couldn't have been more different. But after a seasons-long slow build, they ended up getting together and (in rare sitcom form) staying together. Their relationship continued to challenge expectations: Monica was the one who proposed to Chandler (a welcome reversal of gender stereotypes), and they adopted kids (twins, in this case). This TV couple showed us that sometimes the love of your life can actually be your best friend.
The Simpsons is the longest-running scripted primetime series in U.S. history—which makes the fact that Homer (Dan Castellaneta) and Marge Simpson (Julie Kavner) have been together the entire run that much more impressive. Plus, the show is still going strong, and shows no signs of stopping any time soon!
Homer and Marge have always been there for their three kids—Bart (Nancy Cartwright), Lisa (Yeardley Smith), and Maggie—proving to be a dysfunctional-yet-caring nuclear family unit. Homer can be a bit of a crude buffoon, while Marge is often the voice of reason (even though she can be flawed at times, too). Their bond shows that no marriage is perfect but, given time and patience, bumps along the way can be smoothed out.
Fun fact: These two lovebirds were named after series creator Matt Groening's own parents, making this decades-long TV bond that much more special.
When it comes to tried-and-true lessons in television, look no further than Moonlighting. The 1980s series notoriously proved that there's nowhere for a show to go after its will-they-or-won't-they pairing decides that they, in fact, will. That's what happened with the private detectives of Blue Moon Detective Agency, Maddie (Cybill Shepherd) and David (Bruce Willis), whose sexual tension had fans on the edge of their seats for years.
When they decided to finally start dating in Season 4, audience interest faded. "I think people went, 'Well, that was fun,' and they had enough of it," creator Glenn Gordon Caron told the Los Angeles Times upon the show's cancellation.
Walt Disney Television
There are plenty of relationships from Grey's Anatomy that rank among the best TV couples ever, but the one between Callie Torres (Sara Ramirez) and Arizona Robbins (Jessica Capshaw) was a cut above the rest. Sure, Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) and Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey) had a love for the record books. But they'd be a safe pick. Calzona—as fans call Callie and Arizona's romance—is far more compelling.
According to Autostraddle, they rank among the longest-running—if not the longest-running—LGBTQ romances in TV history. Their storylines included Callie's later-in-life coming out, Arizona becoming an amputee after a tragic plane crash, becoming moms, and figuring out how to co-parent post-divorce.
With adorable nicknames for each other like Marshmallow and Lilypad, what's not to love? We're talking, of course, about Marshall (Jason Segel) and Lily (Alyson Hannigan), really the only solid couple from How I Met Your Mother. While the whole show was ostensibly focused on Ted (Josh Radnor) telling the story of how he met the mother of his children, these side characters were where the real romance was at.
College sweethearts Marshall and Lily got engaged in the pilot episode, married at the end of Season 2—after some time apart—and welcomed their son, Marvin, in Season 7, and daughter, Daisy, in Season 9. (The series finale mentioned an unnamed third child, too.) Though they certainly had their contentious moments, their adorable behavior with each other always won us over.
One of the best things about perky and energetic public servant Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) is that—when she finally met the love of her life, Ben Wyatt (Adam Scott)—she didn't let it dull her shine. In fact, Ben supported Leslie, helping her chase her dreams and explore what she was most passionate about. It was a switching up of old-fashioned gender roles that doesn't happen often enough on television.
For these two Parks and Recreation characters, it was never about drama, which is why they were able to thrive after the show's creators let the audience know there would be no will-they-or-won't-they tension. Their relationship was about challenging each other, nurturing each other, and helping each other thrive. It was the purest kind of love we've ever seen on TV.
Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution
Anyone who caught an episode of ER's first five seasons could tell you that Carol (Julianna Margulies) was going to fall in love with Doug (George Clooney). Even though Margulies still had a year left in her contract, Clooney left the show after Season 5—but not for good. The actor pulled off one of the biggest, most unforgettable surprises in television history.
As Entertainment Weekly tells it, even NBC executives didn't see that final cameo coming. (You know the one: when Doug shows up in a Seattle home with Carol at the tail end of Season 6, Margulies' last season.) And then, of course, the couple showed up again years later in the series finale, giving fans closure and assuring them this match made in heaven stood strong.
Buena Vista Television
It's easy to compare Boy Meets World's Cory (Ben Savage) and Topanga (Danielle Fishel) to The Wonder Years' Kevin and Winnie. But there's one obvious difference: Cory and Topanga wound up together at the end of the series, and even returned years later in a spin-off—Girl Meets World—along with a family of their own.
Like Kevin and Winnie, though, these two were each other's first kiss and first crush. They came of age together—from middle school to high school, from college to adulthood—winning the hearts of the audience along the way. Through their ups and downs, Cory and Topanga showed us that true love is meant to be fought for.
Like the central characters on The Jeffersons, Phil (James Avery) and Vivian Banks (Janet Hubert-Whitten first, and Daphne Maxwell Reid later) were an affluent black couple in a predominantly white world. But they lived across the country in the L.A. neighborhood of Bel-Air, where they took in their nephew (Will Smith, playing a fictionalized version of himself).
Phil and Viv were a strong couple who were the core of their family—including kids Carlton (Alfonso Ribeiro), Hilary (Karyn Parsons), and Ashley (Tatyana M. Ali). But they also learned about class differences and racism from their nephew, who was—as you may recall—born and raised in West Philadelphia. Just to reinforce how connected these characters were to the Jeffersons, George and Louise showed up to buy the Banks mansion in the series finale.
However you feel about the series finale of Lost, there's no denying the love between Sun (Yunjin Kim) and Jin (Daniel Dae Kim). Even though the show featured a plane crash, a smoke monster, mind-bending time skips, a cadre of crazy scientists, and, oh, 46 other main characters, these two lovebirds stood out to fans.
Despite mounting tension, we couldn't help but be touched when Sun gave Jin a phrasebook and their walls came down at the end of the first season. Then, in the final season, they tragically died together in a sinking submarine, choosing one another even though it meant a certain death. The other couples on Lost don't even come close to this pair.
20th Television via YouTube
While Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) got attention for her contentious relationships with Angel (David Boreanaz) and Spike (James Marsters), the best couple from Buffy the Vampire Slayer was, without question, Willow (Alyson Hannigan) and Tara (Amber Benson). Willow began as a shy and timid high schooler, but we saw the character blossom into a powerful witch after coupling up with Tara in college. Though Tara met her tragic end in Season 6, witnessing Willow go evil as a result was one of the most expertly-crafted dramatic turns of the entire series.
Randall (Sterling K. Brown) and Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) are, without question, the strongest couple on This Is Us. The show's unique structure has assured fans that the duo will make it no matter what, as they're still happily together in flash-forwards. Knowing that allows viewers to watch them without any feelings of foreboding doom. But while we may know where Randall and Beth end up, the joy is in watching them get there.
Warner Bros. Television Distribution
Fans of Gilmore Girls often focus on the numerous love interests of Rory (Alexis Bledel), but it was really Lorelai (Lauren Graham) who had the truly iconic romance. The mother-daughter duo's relationship is the cornerstone of the series—no one in their right mind would deny that—but it's impossible to ignore the spark that existed between Lorelai and Luke (Scott Patterson). (Sorry, Rory!)
These two were admirable sparring partners, with the coffee-loving and fast-talking Lorelai acting as a grounding force for the curmudgeonly Luke, best known for wearing flannel, a backwards baseball cap, and a permanent scowl. Luke was originally only supposed to be in the pilot episode—and was going to be a woman!—but after Patterson displayed some incredible chemistry with Graham, producers decided to keep the character around Stars Hollow quite a bit longer, which was definitely the right decision.
What started out as a mutual crush and flirtation blossomed into a beautiful romance by the end of The Office. Jim (John Krasinski) and Pam (Jenna Fischer) had countless cute moments—from every time Jim came over to Pam's reception desk, to when Pam drunkenly kissed Jim after the Dundies at Chili's, to how Jim proposed to Pam at a gas station in the pouring rain, to getting married on the Maid of the Mist boat in Niagara Falls. There's definitely a reason why online dating bios to this day say things like, "Looking for a Jim to my Pam."
Today's viewers may look back on some classic TV shows and think of them as prude, but there's no denying the spark between Rob (Dick Van Dyke) and Laura Petrie (Mary Tyler Moore) on The Dick Van Dyke Show. Sure, the married couple slept in separate beds, but the series was somehow able to convey that this was a vibrant young couple who absolutely adored each other.
On top of that, you had two of the biggest names in show business playing love interests, keeping fans tuning in week after week to see the Petries take on whatever life threw at them as a team—something that wasn't necessarily the norm in the 1960s. They even had the honor of being called "TV's most glamorous and stylish sitcom couple" by Vulture.20th Television
Even though the novelty has faded as the seasons have gone by, you cannot ignore that Mitch (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and Cam (Eric Stonestreet) of Modern Family have helped improve the perception and representation of LGBTQ love on TV. Seeing these characters living their lives has been nothing short of groundbreaking. And to top it off, they are portrayed as parents after adopting a daughter, Lily (Aubrey Anderson-Emmons).
As Sarah Kate Ellis, the president and CEO of GLAAD, told The New York Times, Modern Family "is genius in the way it integrates comedy and inclusion, and is able to educate and open people's hearts and minds."
Here's the story of a lovely couple who blended their families and, most importantly, grew together. We are, of course, talking about Mike (Robert Reed) and Carol Brady (Florence Henderson), the man with three sons and the woman with three daughters who—along with their maid, Alice (Ann B. Davis)—tackled life's many growing pains.
"While our real-life parents were splitting up at an alarming rate, those goody-goody Bradys were telling us a shameless lie about family life," Jess Cagle of Entertainment Weekly wrote about The Brady Bunch. "We desperately believed it. Most of all, this was the family that the latchkey kids came home to every day after school, the family we could always count on."
Warner Bros. Television Distribution
Let's be honest: Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) was the only relatable character on Sex and the City. (I mean, she ordered Chinese food so often, the restaurant knew her name and order by heart.) So, when this career-driven lawyer who seemed to have everything planned out met Steve (David Eigenberg), a charmingly nerdy bartender who was quite the opposite, it was hard not to root for them.
Sure, they had a few breakups, but, when Steve was diagnosed with testicular cancer and they ended up reconnecting, Miranda got pregnant and decided to keep the baby—whom she later named Brady. Sorry, Carrie and Big: Miranda and Steve are where it's at.
CBS Paramount Domestic Television
Not all couples are meant to be—and Sam (Ted Danson) and Diane (Shelley Long) from Cheers were the perfect example of that. These two were pretty mismatched from the beginning: He was a womanizing bartender, and she was an aspiring writer working as a cocktail waitress. What existed between these two was purely sexual tension, which is why their numerous attempts at starting a relationship never worked out. The final time they decided to give it a shot was in the series finale, which brought in 84.4 million viewers—making it the second most-watched series finale of all time. Sam and Diane were set to marry and ride off into the sunset together, but they realized, like Kevin and Winnie, that they simply weren't meant to be.
In terms of couples most of America can relate to, none come close to Roseanne (Roseanne Barr) and Dan Conner (John Goodman) on Roseanne, which debuted in 1988. The Conners were a textbook "regular" family living in the heartland dealing with issues that many Americans face on a daily basis—financial strains, family drama, that sort of thing. But these two kept each other and audiences in stitches with their antics, always showing that they loved and supported each other.
And how many other romances have we seen that could go away for nearly 20 years and come back to wow audiences again? While the Roseanne revival met its end after a racist controversy surrounding Barr, it's hard not to think fondly of the couple in their '80s and '90s glory.
Few TV couples have as much chemistry as Paul (Paul Reiser) and Jamie (Helen Hunt) did on the '90s series Mad About You. The New York City pair was, well, mad about each other, but they struggled to keep their relationship running smoothly—you know, like the rest of us do.
Reiser and Hunt were fun to watch and they seemed to really like each other behind the scenes as well—something that definitely helped convince viewers that their onscreen love was real. And while the series implied that the couple ended up separating before reuniting in their older years, the 2019 reboot retconned that. Phew!
CBS Paramount Domestic Television
It took nearly the full 10-season run of Smallville for this inevitable coupling to finally happen, though the chemistry between Lois (Erica Durance) and Clark (Tom Welling) had already been off the charts before it was official.
Once the two left behind the town of Smallville—where they had more of a sibling relationship—and began working together at the Daily Planet, Superman fans were finally in comic book territory, and the romance started to heat up. Lois and Clark taught viewers a serious lesson: Patience is indeed a virtue, and it pays off.
Mindy Kaling has a deep love of rom-coms. So it makes sense that her show's main couple, Mindy (Kaling) and Danny (Chris Messina), was cookie-cutter rom-com material. Watching these two polar opposites fall in love on The Mindy Project was great—and even when they fell apart, we knew they would get back together, which they ultimately did in the series finale. It always had to be them.
Warner Bros. Television Distribution
Any characters whose relationship nickname is LoVe have to end up together, right? Veronica (Kristen Bell) and Logan (Jason Dohring) on Veronica Mars couldn't have been more different. She was a teen moonlighting as a detective—as feisty and quick-witted as they come. And he was the bad boy son of an A-list actor, someone who had everything served to him on a silver platter but was still filled with angst. Viewers saw their layers peeled back only to reveal two vulnerable creatures who just wanted to love and be loved.
Sure, there were many ups and downs for LoVe, but, as they themselves noted, their story was "epic." And it was part of the reason why fans funded a Veronica Mars feature film in 2013 (in fact, they raised more than $5.7 million of its $2 million goal). The film was released in 2014 and five years later, Veronica Mars and its central couple returned for a new season on Hulu. Sadly, while fans were hoping for a happy ending for Veronica and Logan, creator Rob Thomas had other plans in mind.
Columbia TriStar Television
We have never rooted for a boss and their employee to get together more than we did with Maxwell Sheffield (Charles Shaughnessy) and Fran (Fran Drescher) on The Nanny. In the 1990s, viewers hung on to every high-pitched word that came out of Fran's mouth, just wishing Mr. Sheffield would hurry up and fall for the woman who had been there for him and his kids all along. Eventually, it happened and, as the show headed into its sixth and final season, they finally got married, adding twins to their brood in the series finale.
Endemol Shine UK
Black Mirror, for the uninitiated, is an episodic anthology series every episode features a brand-new setting, plot, and characters. When you imagine the best TV couples in history, you probably imagine characters you've spent dozens, if not hundreds, of episodes getting to know. So it's extremely impressive that, in just one episode, the creators of Black Mirror were able to give viewers a couple that rivals the best of the best.
In the Season 3 episode "San Junipero," the two main characters—Yorkie (Mackenzie Davis) and Kelly (Gugu Mbatha-Raw)—headed to the titular town. It was seemingly stuck in '80s nostalgia, but that was actually part of a simulated reality in which the elderly can live—even after death. It was a rather optimistic story for such a notoriously bleak show, though the ending was admittedly a bit bittersweet. The Emmy-winning episode has been viewed as a triumph for LGBTQ representation.
The Glee creators came up with multiple iconic couplings, but the top spot goes to Kurt (Chris Colfer) and Blaine (Darren Criss)—the ultimate "teenage dream." Though they came with the usual trappings of young gay characters (coming out, bullying, etc.), theirs was also a teen romance just like any other teen romance. For example, the episode "Original Song" featured their first kiss, while the episode "First Time" had them lose their virginities to each other.
Both instances were treated with the same pomp and circumstance as their straight counterparts, helping to normalize LGBTQ relationships for young viewers. Fans finally got what they wanted when Klaine—as well as Brittany (Heather Morris) and Santana (Naya Rivera)—exchanged "I do's" in the final season, something June Thomas of Slate called "the gayest thing I've ever seen on television—and ever expect to see."
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We take for granted the fact that our favorite TV couples are free to hold hands, kiss, hug, and take it all the way—but what if they couldn't do any of those things? That was the case with Ned (Lee Pace) and Chuck (Anna Friel) on the gone-too-soon series Pushing Daisies. Ned was a pie maker with the ability to bring back the dead with a simple touch. The only catch was that if he touched the undead again, they'd die permanently.
So, when the dessert connoisseur's childhood crush, Chuck, was murdered, he brought her back to life. But in order for her to stay alive, they couldn't have any physical contact. The two fell in love all over again, utilizing their imaginations to show their affection for each other. This intricate plot setup gifted viewers with one incredible smooch through plastic wrap, a moment that ended up on TVLine's roundup of the Best Kisses in TV History.
Even though the titular character shines with Rafael (Justin Baldoni), there's no denying the magic that was Jane (Gina Rodriguez) and Michael (Brett Dier). This love triangle at the center of Jane the Virgin nearly gave us whiplash going back-and-forth between two endgame-worthy dudes.
While Jane partnered up with Rafael in the end, the starry-eyed writer originally chose to marry Michael—before he died and later came back to life, that is. While their ferris wheel kiss was aww-worthy, their wedding packed an emotional punch that made fans go through an entire box of tissues (or two). Michael delivered his vows in Spanish (thanks to help from Jane's abuela), a move that cemented him as the TV crush to end all TV crushes. They may not have ended up together, but their love story is one we'll never forget.
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What we love about Dre (Anthony Anderson) and Rainbow Johnson (Tracee Ellis Ross) on Black-ish is that they unflinchingly handle whatever life throws at them—be it a social issue, a political issue, or a relationship issue—and they come out the other side as better people and better partners.
While older shows (and even some contemporary ones) may treat a character's race as largely a background detail, Black-ish puts it front and center. We've seen Dre and Bow celebrate their family's highest highs and we've also seen them openly and honestly tackle their lowest lows, but these two always help guide their family in the right direction, and aren't afraid to embrace new viewpoints themselves.
Fresh Off the Boat, based on Eddie Huang's memoir of the same name, centers on Louis (Randall Park) and Jessica Huang (Constance Wu) and their three children. The couple, like many others on TV, couldn't be more different: Louis is personable and laid back, while Jessica is completely no-nonsense and to the point. But it's this dichotomy between them that makes Louis and Jessica so enjoyable to watch—they truly balance each other out.
Bob's Burgers is about a family-run hamburger restaurant, and while the animated series focuses heavily on the Belcher children, it would be just as good if it were solely about dad Bob (H. Jon Benjamin) and mom Linda (John Roberts).
While Bob is a caring dad and more of the level-headed figure, Linda is the life of the party and is often blindly optimistic about anything and everything. Their family unit may be one of the weirdest on television—seriously, one of their kids even started a rumor that the burgers are made of human flesh—but we love them for all their quirks.
Love never sounded sweeter than it did when Rayna (Connie Britton) and Deacon (Charles Esten) sang about it on Nashville. This musical drama, about a legendary country singer whose star was fading, was made all the more interesting when she began falling for her former lover.
The two ultimately got together, only to be torn apart yet again, but they proved to be a couple worth rooting for each week. For example, just try watching the eye contact they make while belting out the hauntingly beautiful "No One Will Ever Love You" without getting goosebumps. You can't. It is impossible.
There are few characters who had a love as heartbreaking—and meaningful—as the one between Poussey (Samira Wiley) and Soso (Kimiko Glenn) on Netflix's Orange Is the New Black. The series is known for featuring same-sex couples, but while Poussey was completely sure of her sexual orientation, it took Soso a bit longer to gain the courage she needed to fully embrace it. And, just as Soso seemed to fully come around, Poussey was tragically killed.
Poussey's death was not without consequences it completely upended the show and Soso became a changed person. It was a devastating outcome for these two, but they had one of the strongest relationships on a show full of strong relationships.
You may think the popular girl falling for the nerdy guy is a bit overdone—and you'd be correct—but it's hard not to root for The O.C.'s Seth (Adam Brody) and Summer (Rachel Bilson). What started out as a crush between the awkward nerd and the school beauty became a true love story for the ages.
Seth found out that Summer wasn't as cool as she seemed, and Summer learned that Seth was more complex than he appeared. At first it was Seth who felt the need to measure up to Summer, but it ended up being the complete opposite by the series' end. That was the ride The O.C. took fans on—and, given the chemistry between these two, we would definitely buy a ticket over and over again.
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What began as a business partnership quickly proved to be one of the most charming relationships on TV. We've watched David (Dan Levy) and Patrick (Noah Reid) on Schitt's Creek go from running Rose Apothecary together to finally taking the plunge into married life.
Perhaps our favorite thing they've ever done, though, is when Patrick wowed everyone with a gorgeous acoustic rendition of "Simply the Best" by Tina Turner, and David returned the favor with a passionate lip-sync worthy of winning RuPaul's Drag Race. David and Patrick don't only revere each other, but they also know how to show divas a little respect. It's a tough call to deem them the best couple from Schitt's Creek—because they're all pretty incredible—but their nuanced story and emotional arc is deserving of the honor.
Though they may have been set up as soulmates under false pretenses, The Good Place's Eleanor (Kristen Bell) and Chidi (William Jackson Harper) proved that not even the inner workings of the afterlife can keep two people apart if they're destined to be together. In what at first glance looked like a heaven-esque existence—but actually turned out to be a torturous social experiment—we met Eleanor, a self-described "garbage person" who didn't care about anyone else, and Chidi, an ethics professor who struggled to make the right (or any) decision.
Even after having their memories reset literally hundreds of times, these two kept finding their way to each other and falling in love again and again. They could just be another example of two completely different people somehow being drawn to each ohter, but to limit them like that would be a pop culture travesty.
You might not think highly of a relationship that came from a one-night stand that resulted in an unplanned pregnancy, but Rob (Rob Delaney) and Sharon (Sharon Horgan) on Catastrophe will change your mind. These people are refreshing because and not in spite of their many flaws, proving that sometimes two wrongs do make a right.
Rob and Sharon made us feel like it's OK to wonder if you're doing this whole life thing the right way or if you're screwing it all up. They proved that soulmates don't have to be perfect—they just have to actually strive to be there for each other (and, if they have one, their little family).
Elena (Isabella Gomez) and Syd (Sheridan Pierce) from One Day at a Time—a modern reboot of Norman Lear's classic TV show of the same name—deserve as much recognition as they can get. The series centers on a Cuban-American family living in L.A. Teenage daughter Elena came out and eventually found her first love with Syd, who identifies as gender non-binary (opting for they/them pronouns). Not only were these kids just as nerdy as each other, but they were also open and honest about their feelings, and not afraid to stand up for themselves and each other.
You name it and we can guarantee you that Kristina (Monica Potter) and Adam (Peter Krause) faced it on Parenthood. They had three kids together, one of whom had Asperger's syndrome Adam started his own business and Kristina battled breast cancer, ran for public office, and started a school for students with disabilities.
The thing that set them apart was that they faced these hardships together and also celebrated their many achievements along the way. The Braverman family was a big one, but so was the love they all had for each other—and there was no bond stronger than the one between Kristina and Adam.
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The Vampire Diaries delivered one of TV's best love triangles—Damon (Ian Somerhalder), Elena (Nina Dobrev), and Stefan (Paul Wesley). Oh, and did we mention two of the three were vampire brothers?
Some fans will tell you that Elena was best with Stefan when she was human, and made more sense with Damon after her transformation into a bloodsucker was complete. Both relationships were dynamic and full of emotion, but we have to give it to Damon and Elena (dubbed Delena) over Stefan and Elena (AKA Stelena). Plus, Dobrev and Somerhalder dated off screen, meaning that chemistry between their fictional characters was the real deal.
"I tell you what," we just can't get enough of King of the Hill's central relationship: Hank (Mike Judge) and Peggy (Kathy Najimy), a couple who made more sense together the more you got to know them.
Hank was a family man who was proud to be a part of the "propane and propane accessories" business, and Peggy was a substitute teacher specializing in Spanish (which she had a terrible grasp on). While he was often confused or anxious when it came to modern trends, her gullible nature often got the best of her. At the end of the day, though, it was hard not to adore the Hills.
Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) was a firm believer in the existence of intelligent extraterrestrial life and its presence on Earth, while Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) remained rooted in skepticism and explained things away with logic.
The FBI agents' romance only seemed to get better as the seasons progressed, and we had to wait until very late in the series for them to even share a first kiss. When they did, though, sparks flew and they cemented themselves in pop culture history.
Police officer Stef (Teri Polo) and principal Lena (Sherri Saum) got off to a rocky start. They met when Stef was married to a man and wasn't out—though she eventually divorced her husband in order to be with Lena.
The Fosters showcased two women in a strong, passionate marriage, along with their blended family, made up of biological, adopted, and foster children. These two were inherently good people who were good to each other, too. No matter what came at these ladies, they pushed through, giving audiences something to believe in.
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Even though Rebecca (Rachel Bloom) had three suitors—Josh (Vincent Rodriguez III), Greg (Santino Fontana originally, Skylar Astin later), and Nathaniel (Scott Michael Foster)—to choose from in the series finale of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, she ended up choosing herself.
"I'm sure a lot of people are going to ask, 'OK, so who does she end up with later in life?' And the answer is, 'I don't know,'" Bloom—who co-created the series—told Vulture. "She knows who she is. Everyone else is in a different place. She could move to Paris for two years to study music and meet a guy there. And it's nice, letting her be free."
This was a show that took the rom-com structure, added in a musical aspect, and made it timely by tackling topics openly and honestly. The refreshing outcome of Rebecca's choice just made Crazy Ex-Girlfriend even more unique than it already was.