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11 Most Famous Couples in History & How They Changed the World

You know their names and you know about their romance, but how did these famous couples in history affect our view of love and life in general?

famous couples in history

Who are the most famous couples in history to you? Is it the popstar you lusted after as a teenager and the person they ended up marrying? Or, is it a highly focused political power-couple? We all have a different view of fame but there are some famous couples who you simply have to say changed our view of love or impacted our lives in some way.

What kind of passionate love would have to exist to inspire such intense stories like Romeo and Juliet? Love has caused people to do some outrageous, sweet, compassionate, and downright crazy things over the years. With just as many outrageous twists and turns as your favorite romance movie or novel, only these are real.

Yes, love has conquered, disrupted, and overthrown people, countries, and beliefs over and over throughout the years. And while not all of these loves are unselfish or even healthy, they certainly show the spark of power that ignites when two people are that crazy about each other. When it’s two famous people, we can’t help but want to know more!

[Read: 32 weird and true psychological facts about love no one seems to know]

Famous couples in history – why are we all so obsessed with famous people?

We live in a celebrity world. We want to know everything about our favorite stars and that involves who they’re dating. So, when two famous people come together and create a union, we become even more obsessed with what’s going on behind closed doors!

Of course, you have to remember that although these are two famous people, they’re also human beings. They’re just two normal people who fell in love. They just happen to do extraordinary jobs. [Read: 60 most romantic movies in history that are a must-watch]

So, why we are so obsessed with famous couples in history and society in general? Because we’re nosey!

Yes, it’s really that simple. We love to gossip and we want to know what’s going on in the lives of those we look up to. But, it goes beyond that. We see these people are authority figures in some way. They don’t necessarily have to be, but that means we want to be like them. We follow other stories with great interest, either cheering for them from the sidelines or wishing for it to be over. We can’t get enough of it!

Famous couples in history you may or may not know about

Ah, love. Who would have thought that the love two people have for each other could change the course of history? These couples have definitely done just that! [Read: Long-term relationship advice – 14 tips to transform your love life]

1. Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn – One of the earliest famous couples in history

The demonstrations of your affection are such … that they oblige me for ever to honour, love, and serve you sincerely, beseeching you to continue in the same firm and constant purpose, assuring you that, on my part, I will surpass it rather than make it reciprocal, if loyalty of heart and a desire to please you can accomplish this.” -A letter to Anne from Henry VIII. Adorably, the initials “A.B.” are drawn inside a heart at the bottom of the letter. That’s some heavy stuff, right?

Their story

The accusation of infidelity and having your head chopped off doesn’t really fall under the category of a fairytale. Still, there is something powerful and unique about the love briefly shared between King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. This is what makes them one of the greatest famous couples in history.

Anne Boleyn famously refused to be Henry’s mistress, as her sister had done. She was instead a lady-in-waiting to Henry’s wife, Catharine of Aragon. Anne was fiery, outspoken, and perfectly manipulative.

Soon, the passion between Henry and Anne was so explosive that Henry’s desire was unlimited. She allegedly charmed the King long enough to insist that there would be no hanky-panky until they were married. [Read: Can you manipulate someone to fall in love with you?]

Henry all but begged the Pope to grant him a divorce from his wife, who was too old to produce a male heir. Without acceptance for annulment, Henry took matters into his own hands. He set the Reformation in motion, separating church and state. He did this by denouncing the authority of the Catholic Church over his marriage and his country.

Once in the hands of the people, the Reformation became largely about the Protestant religion, something Henry was once against.

With his new religion and new declaration as “Supreme Head on Earth of The Church of England,” King Henry VIII got his divorce and his marriage to Anne Boleyn.

This was much to the dismay of the English people, who had so loved their previous Queen. Anne soon gave birth to a daughter and one of the greatest rulers England has ever seen – Elizabeth I. With this act of defiance, Henry began a religious revolution that spiraled out of control throughout his entire life.

Things took a turn for the worst three years after Anne and Henry married. Without the male heir Anne promised him, Henry VIII’s eyes wandered to his wife’s lady-in-waiting, Jane Seymour.

And the king had Anne Boleyn beheaded on charges of adultery, incest, and witchcraft. While fleeting, the love between the fiery, intelligent Anne Boleyn and the powerful Henry VIII was enough to shake the entire country. Its effects still echo to this day. Now, that’s a “love” story! [Read: 13 toxic ways love can harm you permanently]

2. Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson

“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.” – Duke of Windsor, Edward.

Their story

Another royal to shake up England with his love interest was Edward, Prince of Wales. After the introduction to Wallis Simpson, a twice-married woman often criticized as a social climber, Edward found his perfect partner.

Edward became king when King George V passed away but carried on romantically with Wallis and eventually proposed.

The proposal caused such a scandal that the prime minister said he would resign if the couple married. Instead of pulling a Henry VIII, Edward chose to abdicate the throne after less than a year of the ruling and left Britain to marry Wallis. That’s dedication! [Read: The unhealthy effects of falling madly in love with someone and the idea of Oneitis]

3. George Burns and Gracie Allen

Happiness? A good cigar, a good meal, and a good woman – or a bad woman; it depends on how much happiness you can handle.” – George Burns

Their story

Theatre lovers George Burns and Gracie Allen met at a vaudeville theater in New Jersey. They soon became stars in radio and television. During their successful partnership, Burns fell in love with his co-star, an engaged woman.

One year later, at a Christmas party, Burns made Allen cry, in which she finally relented to his affections. She said he was the only boy to make her cry, and this must’ve meant that she truly loved him. [Read: Relationship arguments – 23 do’s and don’ts to remember]

This famous couple in history defied social standards at the time. A Jew and an Irish Catholic married and adopted two children. Aside from that, both had philanthropic causes, such as making numerous contributions to the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in L.A.

This on-screen/off-screen couple even adopted adorable nicknames for one another. Gracie called George “Nattie” and George referred to her as “Googie.” Let’s all say it together now: Aww!

Gracie died in 1964 and laid in a crypt with the inscription: “Good night, Gracie.” Later, replaced after George Burns’ death, whereafter the crypt read: “Together Again.” [Read: 13 small changes that will significantly improve your relationship]

4. Mark Antony and Cleopatra – One of the most contentious and famous couples in history!

I made these wars for Egypt, and the Queen, whose heart I thought I had, for she had mine.” – William Shakespeare, Anthony & Cleopatra.

Their story

Cleopatra VII Philophator, the last active pharaoh of Egypt and the woman with the fabulous winged liner copied even today, did more than inspire a makeup look!

A learned woman, Cleopatra studied religion, language, math and knew how to use her intellect, charm, and feminine wiles to her advantage. In fact, she banked on it on several different occasions!

It was the custom to marry family members, so she became the wife of her much younger brother, Ptolemy. At the same time, she was also mistress to Julius Caesar, Dictator of Rome, the lover who would eventually assign her as Queen over Egypt.

Within just a few years, on the Ides of March, was the murder of Julius Caesar, creating an upheaval in Rome with many factions now vying for power over it – one such army being that of Mark Antony, once a loyal friend to Caesar. [Read: How to leave a toxic relationship and look to the future with joy]

Mark Antony summoned Cleopatra in Tarsus, and while there, Cleopatra saw an opportunity to obtain power within Rome. Antony, for his part, was immediately smitten by her charms. Before long, the two became lovers.

Eventually, Antony returned to Italy to discuss a settlement that might quiet the political unrest in Rome. The solution? He married the sister of Octavian, Caesar’s lawful heir and, at the time, the Emperor of Rome. It would be three years before he saw Cleopatra, his extremely forgiving lover and baby mama, again. [Read: Should you ever forgive a cheating partner?]

After their reunion, Cleopatra became pregnant and wiggled her way back into controlling Rome’s eastern possessions, to the dismay of the Roman Emperor.

Soon, war broke out, and despite the numerous sailors and sea vessels sent out by Antony and Cleopatra, Octavian gained the victory, and Antony fell on his own sword in suicide. Hearing that her lover was dead and her forces defeated, Cleopatra dressed in her finest and followed her lover’s suit – committing suicide.

While tragic, the love shared between these two historical figures has inspired movies and plays throughout the years. This famous couple in history has led to so many people trying to portray their passionate affair and their dramatic demise, by their own hands. [Read: How to end a toxic relationship and leave it in your rearview mirror]

5. Johnny and June Carter Cash

“If we’re ever parted I will keep the tie that binds us. And I’ll never let it break ’cause I love you” – Johnny and June Carter Cash

Their story

This is one of the most famous couples in the history of country music. We’ve seen the movies and heard the songs. This love story will always be well-known.

Both Cash and Carter overcame their own personal woes as well as industry obstacles that were trying to keep them apart. The couple met at the Grand Ole Opry when Cash, a married man, made his debut of “I Walk The Line.” Carl Smith, another artist introduced Cash to his wife, June Carter, who he was already a fan of. [Read: Falling in love – 50 perfect songs to enjoy that happy rush]

They began touring together and years went by before they both divorced their spouses. Although they never admitted to infidelity, you can use your own imagination there.

In the 1960s, Cash was dealing with a lot of personal issues, including addiction. He credits Carter for playing a large role in his sobriety. In 1968, Cash proposed to Carter on stage and they married a short few weeks later. For years, they worked together and shared their lives together. In 1970, they had a son who also made his way into the music industry.

The couple remained together for the rest of their lives. They even passed away only four months apart in 2003. But, their love story has remained an iconic one that will always go down in history. [Read: 7 ways to make dating a music lover more fun]

6. David Bowie and Iman

“Though I’ll never fly so high. I smiling. I believe in the magic. Angel for love” – David Bowie

Their story

The love between musician, David Bowie, and former model, Iman was endearing from the start. He always claimed it was love at first sight. It took a couple of weeks for her feeling to catch up, but when he met her at the airport in public with flowers, not caring who saw, she knew he was the one.

They married two years after meeting and even with their best efforts to keep things private, it wasn’t quite possible as they both had such a following. Even with that, they raised their daughter and appreciated the simple parts of life together.

They quickly became one of the world’s most well-known and beloved interracial couples up until Bowie’s death in 2016.

After that, Iman stated she would never remarry and doesn’t consider him her late husband, but her husband. [Read: The most important FYIs for dating someone of another culture]

7. Oprah Winfrey and Stedman Graham – One of the famous couples in history still going strong

“Stedman, you’re the sweetest man, with the greatest integrity. Thank you for helping me to be everything that I am, and all that is to come.” – Oprah Winfrey

Their story

The world’s first black female billionaire and her partner of over three decades are full of passion and dedication for one another. Although unmarried, the couple has shown what it takes to keep a relationship going.

This famous couple in history met in 1986. They had known each other, but one night when they were both at a mutual friend’s house and found themselves single, their romance blossomed. From then on, they were tight-knit.

Although Oprah has had multiple attacks about her weight, she has always said that Graham loves and supports her no matter what. [Read: Attracted to intelligence? 10 clues you might be sapiosexual]

After rumors of cheating and even an engagement announcement, the couple never married. Even with Oprah’s huge impact on the world, they have kept their relationship as private as one in Hollywood can be. This relationship is so polarizing that even a few years ago, there were still wedding rumors. But, who knows what’s to come next for this couple. There are even rumors of a presidential run.

8. Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi – As famous couples in history go, this is one of the most recent

“I ran into Ellen at a photoshoot about a year ago and she took my breath away. That had never happened to me in my life, where I saw somebody and [experienced] all of those things you hear about in songs and read about in poetry. My knees were weak. It was amazing. And it was very hard for me to get her out of my mind after that … we just were kind of supposed to be together … I just couldn’t ignore the feelings I had for Ellen.” – Portia de Rossi

Their story

One of, if not the most, famous lesbian couples in history is Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi. Ellen famously lost her job and essentially her career along with a number of supportive friends when she came out as gay on her sitcom in 1997.

Her risk paid off as she paved the way for so many other queer celebrities to feel comfortable and happy with themselves publicly. [Read: Lesbian love – What it’s really like to date a woman]

The couple met in 2000 before Portia had discussed her sexuality publicly and began dating in 2004. In 2008, shortly after same-sex marriage was legalized in America, the couple wed. Since then, they have grown their family of rescue animals, worked hard to save the planet, and gushed about their love for one another.

While fighting divorce rumors, questioning why they don’t want children, and more, they have continued on their happy romance and it seems as though they will continue to do so.

9. John Lennon and Yoko Ono

“There’s a long life ahead of you and it’s going to be beautiful, as long as you keep loving and hugging each other.” – Yoko Ono

Their story

We all know of the couple that broke up The Beatles, or so it is said. The couple met in 1966 and married in 1969. They were known for their activism and protesting. But, only a year after they married The Beatles, maybe the most infamous band in world history, broke up. [Read: Love is patient, love is kind – 14 rules to experience true love]

It is known that Lennon had an affair that led to a brief breakup from the couple, but eventually, she forgave him, and the couple went on to create music of their own until taking a break to raise their son. The couple were going strong and was so influential for music, activism, and more until Lennon’s assassination.

Since then, Ono, now in her eighties, has gone on to have her own groundbreaking career as an artist. She overcame so much tragedy in her life, but still walks on with such strength. [Read: How to find strength and change your attitude when you feel like giving up on life]

10. Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis – Famous couples in history go mainstream

“I think they were meant to be. It’d be like Ross and Rachel getting married [from Friends].” – Kutcher’s twin brother Michael

Their story

This may not be a historically famous couple, but their relationship spans back to Kunis being 14 years old, and it is such a happy story, it has to be shared. After meeting on That ’70s Show, Kutcher and Kunis played a gorgeous yet ditzy couple for years.

They both had rather serious public relationships during this time, Kutcher with Demi Moore and Kunis with Macaulay Culkin. But when Kutcher and Moore split, he reconnected with his former on-screen partner after some nasty cheating rumors.

Things moved fast from there. The gorgeous couple got engaged in 2014, married in 2015, and have had two children since.

They are known for keeping it casual, raising their children to appreciate all they have, and more recently sharing that they don’t bathe their children every day. [Read: Relationship rules – 30 must-know tips to live your best love life]

11. Beyoncé and Jay-Z

“But I still don’t understand. Just how your love can do what no one else can. Got me looking so crazy right now, your love’s got me looking so crazy right now” – Beyoncé

Their story

Beyoncé and Jay-Z have been married since 2008. And they quickly became well-known as America’s royalty. And, being a couple of color makes them even more inspiring. They are beats of the music industry, have amazing and talented children, and have done a lot of good for the world. [Read: 15 reasons why dating an independent woman is the right move]

Every picture they post together or separately is seen around the world. When Beyoncé announced her pregnancy, that stunning floral backdrop was remade dozens of times by others trying to recreate the enigma that she is.

[Read: Couple goals – 27 fake goals and real goals you should want in your own relationship]

Love can touch people for centuries, can forgive, and in some cases, can change a country. Let these most famous couples in history and their true love stories show you just how this one human emotion can cause the ripples that will change the world for centuries to come.

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