It’s a sad fact of life that couples who appear mismatched may be ruthlessly judged by other people. Differences in class, age – even height – can attract funny looks or sometimes, bizarrely, outright condemnation. Times are slowly changing, but still, people who don’t adhere to relationship stereotypes can find themselves in for a rough ride. Even if they’re celebrities. Take, for example, these 20 pairs – all of whom, in fact, are still together!
20. Sam Taylor-Johnson and Aaron Taylor-Johnson
When 42-year-old director Sam Taylor announced in 2009 that she was engaged to 19-year-old actor Aaron Johnson, it was a minor scandal. But the pair married, and had two children. “If I gave a second thought to other people, I would be the unhappiest person,” Sam told The Hollywood Reporter in 2017.
19. Christina Hendricks and Geoffrey Arend
Mad Men made Christina Hendricks into a bona fide sex symbol, and she certainly could have had her pick of Hollywood boyfriends. So, her fans may have been surprised when she chose a perfectly ordinary looking man, actor Geoffrey Arend, as her husband. They’re still very happy together.
18. Zoe Saldana and Marco Perego-Saldana
It’s rare that a man takes his wife’s last name. But that’s what Marco Perego-Saldana, husband of actress Zoe Saldana, did. Saldana tried to talk him out of it, telling him he might end up emasculated. He didn’t care and did it anyway.
17. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Even Kate Middleton – who comes from a wealthy family – got sneeringly called “a commoner” when she married Prince William. So Meghan Markle, girlfriend of Prince Harry, knows what she’s up against. She’s also divorced, American, and biracial – three fairly new things for the British royals. Yet so far, the romance has transcended all that.
16. Daniel Radcliffe and Erin Darke
It’s odd, but some men who are shorter than average seem to hate being seen as smaller than the women in their lives. (Come on down, Tom Cruise!) But luckily, Daniel Radcliffe, who is around 5’5”, doesn’t mind. He’s happy to pose with his taller girlfriend Erin Darke.
15. Mary-Kate Olsen and Olivier Sarkozy
Everyone was surprised when one-time tween idol Mary-Kate Olsen began dating banker Olivier Sarkozy in 2012. Not only was he 17 years her senior, he was a far cry from the cute boyband types she dated in her megastar years. But the two of them are still going strong.
14. Matt Damon and Luciana Barroso
When Matt Damon met his future wife Luciana Barroso in Miami in 2003, there were stark differences between them. He was a famous Hollywood actor, and she was a divorced bartender. It sounds like the stuff fairytales or romcoms are made of – but it happened! They got married in 2005.
13. Peter Dinklage and Erica Schmidt
Game of Thrones star Peter Dinklage was born with achondroplasia, a form of dwarfism. However, his wife, theatre director Erica Schmidt, stands at full height. Though relationships between little people and average-sized ones are actually not that unusual, unfortunately prejudice still exists. Luckily, folks like Dinklage are working to change that.
12. Prince Haakon and Mette-Marit
When the Crown Prince of Norway, Haakon, announced his intention to marry a commoner called Mette-Marit, people were outraged. It wasn’t just that she was “common” – she was also a single mother whose former partner was a drug dealer. Yet the couple persisted against all odds, and got their fairytale wedding.
11. Pierce Brosnan and Keely Shaye Smith
Pierce Brosnan became one of Hollywood’s most desirable men after playing James Bond. So his many admirers may have expected him to choose a supermodel or well-known actress as his second wife. Instead, he plumped for journalist and author Keely Shaye Smith. Still, Smith got the last laugh. She’s still married to him.
10. Melissa Rauch and Winston Rauch
The Big Bang Theory star Melissa Rauch and her husband, Winston, are an awesomely modern couple. Because after they married, Winston ditched his last name (Beigel) entirely, and took hers instead. He’s still referred to by his old moniker sometimes, but his married name is slowly catching on.
9. Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban
Nicole Kidman must have a thing for shorter men, because after her marriage to Tom Cruise ended she married country singer Keith Urban. The couple married in 2006, and have two daughters together. And Urban – unlike Cruise, reportedly – is more than happy to let his 5’10” wife wear high heels.
8. Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones
When Michael Douglas married Catherine Zeta-Jones, a beautiful Welsh actress 25 years younger than him, few imagined that it would last. But, despite a few bumps on the road, it did. Douglas has said they both keep a sense of humor about the age gap.
7. Patrick Dempsey and Jillian Fink
When a handsome man who looked like Patrick Dempsey walked into her salon, hairdresser Jillian Fink couldn’t believe it was the famous actor. But it really was! Despite the differences in their lifestyles, they got married. Things got sticky after Fink filed for divorce in 2015, but she later changed her mind and on July 31, 2017, the couple celebrated 18 years together.
6. Tina Turner and Erwin Bach
There’s an age difference of 16 years between Tina and her German husband, music producer Erwin Bach. And when she married, after dating her toyboy for a staggering 27 years, she was 73 years old! Well, the music legend has never been one to listen to what society has to say.
5. George Clooney and Amal Clooney
When actor George Clooney married lawyer Amal Alamuddin, much was made of the fact that the pair are from different religions. Yet there was never any trouble arising from that – and British tabloid the Daily Mail was forced to apologise after its sister website implied that there was.
4. Mick Jagger and Melanie Hamrick
Rocker Mick Jagger and ballerina Melanie Hamrick have between them one of the biggest age gaps in the celebrity world. Hamrick is 43 years Jagger’s junior, and is actually over a decade younger than Jagger’s eldest child. Yet despite that, she stayed with him and gave birth to his eighth baby in 2016.
3. Tina Fey and Jeff Richmond
Being a shorter man married to a taller woman who is also a comedian can’t be easy. Yet Jeff Richmond seems perfectly fine being dwarfed by his wife on the red carpet, and Tina Fey has yet to make jokes about her hobbity husband’s stature a part of her act.
2. Flavio Briatore and Elisabetta Gregoraci
When model Elisabetta Gregoraci married millionaire Flavio Briatore in 2008, some people were very harsh. Being 30 years her senior and somewhat overweight at the time, they said she was only with him for his money. But, a decade on, there’s still nothing to imply that they’re not truly in love.
1. J.K. Rowling and Neil Murray
What do you do if you’re a regular hardworking Joe and suddenly one of Britain’s richest women takes an interest in you? Well, in the case of anaesthetist Neil Murray, you marry her. Murray and Harry Potter author Rowling – who’s thought to be a billionaire and is also six years Murray’s senior – wed in 2001.