Sadly, it took until the 20th century for society to begin accepting interracial romance and marriage – a process that’s still not complete in the U.S. Times are changing for the better, though, and the number of people in interracial relationships is higher than it has ever been. What’s more, among them are these 40 famous couples, all in their own ways proving that the future is starting to look brighter.
40. Vanessa and Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant has been married to Latina beauty Vanessa since 2001. The Lakers star’s parents were not there at the couple’s ceremony, allegedly due in part to their disappointment that he was not wedding an African-American woman. Fortunately, Bryant and his folks have since made up, and despite other trials since, he and Vanessa’s relationship continues to thrive.
39. Kylie Jenner and Tyga
Kylie Jenner has been loved up with Tyga since roughly 2014; well, it’s hard to pin down an exact timeline, as in February 2015 the rapper actually denied that he was dating the reality star. Regardless, PDA-heavy appearances since suggest that it’s now very much on between the pair.
38. Yessica Kumala and Josh Holloway
The name of Josh Holloway’s first-born daughter may just be a nod to wife Yessica Kumala’s Indonesian roots. And little Java became a big sister in 2014 when the Lost actor and his spouse said hello to son Hunter.
37. Chrissy Teigen and John Legend
Half-Thai model Chrissy Teigen has been making sweet music with John Legend since 2007, the year that the pair met when filming the video for Legend’s track “Stereo.” And having a multi-award-winning singer-songwriter for a spouse seems to have its benefits – like getting a million-selling hit penned in your honor, which is what Legend did for Teigen with “All of Me.”
36. Eva Mendes and Ryan Gosling
If her parents are anything to go by, little Esmeralda Amada Gosling will probably grow up to be very good-looking indeed. That’s because her folks are none other than Canadian heartthrob Ryan Gosling and gorgeous Cuban-American actress Eva Mendes, who dashed the dreams of men and women across the globe when they got together in 2011.
35. Khatira Rafiqzada and Michael Ealy
Barbershop and Think Like a Man star Michael Ealy wedded Afghan actress Khatira Rafiqzada in October 2012. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a union celebrated by all: as well as there being congratulations to the pair, some slammed Ealy’s choice of bride, arguing that he should have married a black woman instead.
34. Yvette Prieto and Michael Jordan
In 2013 Michael Jordan got married for the second time, on this occasion to Cuban-American model Yvette Prieto. The couple apparently first hit it off at a nightclub in Miami; proof, perhaps, that lasting love can be found on the dance floor, although it may help if you’re an NBA legend.
33. Ellen Pompeo and Chris Ivery
Ellen Pompeo and Chris Ivery’s relationship proves that, believe it or not, it is possible to find love in a grocery store. That’s where the Grey’s Anatomy star and the music producer first met in 2003, and over a decade on they’re now married and have two children together. Aww.
32. Khloé Kardashian and Lamar Odom
The headline-grabbing relationship between Khloé Kardashian and Lamar Odom has, it’s fair to say, had its ups and downs. But after the NBA star’s much-publicized brush with death in 2015, it’s been reported that the previously estranged couple have – at least for now – ditched divorce plans while he recuperates.
31. Vanessa Hudgens and Austin Butler
After breaking up with her High School Musical co-star Zac Efron, biracial actress Vanessa Hudgens found love again, this time with actor and musician Austin Butler. The pair have since gone on to signpost their affection for each other all across social media, which would be nauseating if they weren’t just so constantly adorable together.
30. Camila Alves and Matthew McConaughey
A chance encounter at a Sunset Boulevard bar in 2006 marked the beginning of the love story between Matthew McConaughey and Brazilian-American model Camila Alves. What’s more, a wedding and three children later, that story is still running and running – and very happily so, according to the Oscar-winning actor.
29. Thandie Newton and Oliver Parker
In her 2011 TEDGlobal talk, Thandie Newton revealed that as “the black atheist kid in the all-white Catholic school run by nuns,” she never felt that she quite fitted in there. She’s since perfectly fitted into Hollywood, though – and has an enviably successful marriage to writer and director Oliver Parker, whom she wedded in 1998.
28. Ashlee Simpson and Evan Ross
In 2014 Ashlee Simpson married into musical royalty when she put a ring on the finger of Diana Ross’ biracial son Evan. And in 2015 the couple welcomed super-cute daughter Jagger – a sister for Bronx, Simpson’s son with ex-husband Pete Wentz.
27. Jessica Alba and Cash Warren
Jessica Alba first clapped eyes on biracial producer Cash Warren during the shooting of Fantastic Four, and it was a fateful encounter that would lead to wedding bells in 2008. The actress – who has Mexican ancestry – and her other half now have two adorable daughters together.
26. Zoe and Marco Saldana
When Italian artist Marco Perego married Zoe Saldana in 2013, he made the unusual but commendable move of taking the actress’ last name. Their twin sons, though, have the surname Perego-Saldana and will be brought up bilingually.
25. FKA twigs and Robert Pattinson
After his relationship with Twilight co-star Kristen Stewart went south, Robert Pattinson went on to date and, rumor has it, become engaged to biracial musician FKA twigs. Unfortunately, though, some fans of the vampire movie franchise weren’t happy for the couple, even throwing hateful and decidedly racist comments their way.
24. Demi Lovato and Wilmer Valderrama
In 2010 Latino actor Wilmer Valderrama embarked on a relationship with Demi Lovato, who herself is of Mexican heritage. Touchingly, the singer has described the That ’70s Show star as having “loved [her] the way [she] never thought [she] deserved to be loved.” And perhaps she was repaying the favor by giving him a cameo in her “Really Don’t Care” video.
23. Iman and David Bowie
Touchingly, David Bowie went on record as saying that he was “naming the children the first night” he encountered Iman. The Somali-born model wasn’t, for her part, quite as immediately bowled over by the music icon. Still, that didn’t apparently do them any harm in the long run, as the pair were married for well over two decades until Bowie’s untimely death in early 2016.
22. Amal and George Clooney
When George Clooney married Lebanese-British human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin in 2014, he became one half of perhaps the most enviable power couple in the world. The match was naturally a cause for celebration for most – excluding, perhaps, right-wing British tabloid the Daily Mail, which mean-spiritedly fabricated a story about Alamuddin’s Muslim mother resisting the marriage.
21. Lilit Avagyan and Reggie Bush
In 2011 Reggie Bush moved on from Kim Kardashian with Armenian-born dancer Lilit Avagyan – although, given the striking similarities in appearance between the two women, maybe he only moved on a little. That said, the 49ers running back’s newer romance seems to be faring much better than the one he shared with his reality star ex; in fact, Bush and Avagyan tied the knot in 2014 and now have two children together.
20. Salma Hayek and François-Henri Pinault
In 2008 time seemed to have been called on Salma Hayek and François-Henri Pinault’s relationship, after over two years – producing one daughter – spent together. It turned out, though, that whatever came between the Mexican actress and the French billionaire was swiftly swept aside, as less than seven months later the pair married in Paris – and on Valentine’s Day, no less.
19. Heather Headley and Brian Musso
College sweethearts became life partners in 2003 when Grammy-winning singer/songwriter and stage actress Heather Headley wed beau Brian Musso. Trinidad-born Headley and her former New York Jets player spouse first met when both were attending Northwestern University, and two children and 12 years on from their big day, the pair still seem to be going very strong.
18. Eve and Maximillion Cooper
When Eve first met fashion designer Maximillion Cooper at the Gumball 3000 rally in 2010, the rapper and actress probably wouldn’t have guessed that four years later she’d be marrying him at the finish line of the 2014 event in Ibiza. Credit to them for keeping the theme going, though.
17. Brandee Tucker and Michael Steger
Adorably, actors Brandee Tucker and Michael Steger first met when she was 12 – and they’ve been in each other’s lives ever since. The couple, who married in 2008, even share a credit together: in 2013 Tucker popped up in a guest role in 90210, the show that her husband starred in for five years as Navid Shirazi.
16. Cristen Chin Barker and Nigel Barker
Nigel Barker was introduced to Cristin Chin through his agent and immediately fell head over heels in love with her. In fact, the former America’s Next Top Model judge called his mom that very same night and told her that he was going to marry the half-Chinese model – a prophecy that came to pass in 1999. The pair now live happily in New York City with their son and daughter.
15. Brittany and Harold Perrineau
Lost star Harold Perrineau married actress Brittany in 2002, eight years after the birth of their first daughter. Aurora has since gone into the family trade, most notably taking on a starring role in the 2015 live-action movie version of Jem and the Holograms. Unfortunately, though, dad has had to defend his biracial daughter from accusations that she wasn’t “black enough” for that part.
14. Chloe Flower and Hill Harper
While Hill Harper and Chloe Flower have been together since 2012, they’ve managed to keep their relationship fairly low-key and away from the prying eyes of the paparazzi. The CSI: NY star began dating pianist and human rights activist Flower – who is of Korean descent – after receiving the all-clear from thyroid cancer the year before.
13. Keesha and Bradford Sharp
Keesha Sharp and husband Bradford not only share backgrounds in the entertainment industry, but also a passion for healthy living. In 2011, in fact, they launched online resource Fishers of Health, which offers advice across diet, body, relationships and more. And the couple are certainly well placed to offer tips on the secrets of a long and happy marriage, to boot, given that they have been in wedlock since 1997.
12. Essence Atkins and Jaime Mendez
Half and Half star Essence Atkins met her now-husband Jaime Mendez in a very modern manner – through Match.com. And, as it turns out, the actress and the Puerto Rican college football player were a match, marrying just over 18 months after their first date, which was on Valentine’s Day 2008. Oh, and the birth of their first son was announced in a pretty 21st-century way, too – on Twitter.
11. Tamera Mowry and Adam Housley
Sister, Sister and Twitches star Tamera Mowry’s 2011 marriage to Adam Housley was, sadly, met with racist criticism on social media. The comments weren’t something that the Fox News correspondent was going to take lying down, though; in 2014 he slammed the couple’s detractors in an interview with website TVNewser, labeling them “backwards” and “bigoted.”
10. Sophia and Derek Luke
Derek and Sophia Luke may have married in 1998, but several years after their nuptials they’ve become another couple afflicted by the unfortunate zeal of online bigots. Still, the Empire actor had seemingly had enough when he took to Instagram to hit back against comments directed at his Hispanic wife, writing, “We’re in the year of 2015 & when should it be a ‘problem’ to date outside of your race?” Amen.
9. Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg
Becoming one of the world’s youngest self-made billionaires hasn’t changed Mark Zuckerberg much – at least, where his love life is concerned. In fact, the Facebook co-founder has been with his now-wife Priscilla Chan – whom he met in the bathroom queue at a Harvard frat party – since 2003, before the first seeds of the social media giant were ever sown. The pair married in 2012 and now have one daughter together.
8. Vanessa Macias and Tim Duncan
San Antonio Spurs power forward Tim Duncan began dating The Amazing Race star Vanessa Macias in 2014. Perhaps what brought them together was their love of sport – although maybe not the same one; Macias currently works as the in-game announcer for Minor League Baseball team the San Antonio Missions.
7. Meghan Allen and Devin Harris
Devin Harris first met his wife Meghan Allen while she was tending a bar in Texas. If the Dallas Mavericks point guard’s spouse of two years looks familiar, though, it may be because you recognize her from her appearance on Fear Factor in 2004 – or perhaps from her work for Playboy, for whom she was picked as “Cyber Girl of the Month” for January 2008.
6. Adrienne and Chris Bosh
Chris and Adrienne Bosh’s relationship hit the headlines in 2013 when Lil Wayne claimed to have slept with the boutique owner before she settled down with the Miami Heat power forward. However, the rapper’s comments came days after he was escorted out of a Heat-Lakers game by police, which may have had something to do with his outburst, while Adrienne has never confirmed the allegation.
5. Elaine Alden and Landry Fields
It was love at first sight for Landry Fields when he set eyes on Elaine Alden at an electronic dance music concert, with the former Toronto Raptors small forward apparently “blown away by her beauty.” The NBA free agent and the model ended up typing the knot in 2014, an event preceded by the birth of their first child, a son, in 2013.
4. Noureen DeWulf and Ryan Miller
Anger Management actress Noureen DeWulf is currently starring in Canadian reality show Hockey Wives, a role she became eligible for after marrying NHL goaltender Ryan Miller in 2011. And while their careers may keep them apart, DeWulf – who is the daughter of Indian Gujarati parents – has said that their mutual admiration for each other’s work has helped keep their relationship going.
3. Vanessa and Nick Lachey
Despite having two adorable children to look after, singer-songwriter Nick Lachey and his Philippines-born wife Vanessa still enjoy the occasional “date night.” And yet while keeping the romance alive in their four-year marriage is clearly important for the couple, the TV personality and former Miss Teen USA apparently wouldn’t trade motherhood for the world. Aw.
2. Aaron Rodgers and Olivia Munn
Olivia Munn and Aaron Rodgers’ relationship – which got started in May 2014 – was put under the microscope in early 2016 after rumors began to spread that the Newsroom star and the Green Bay Packers quarterback were engaged. The Late Show’s host, Stephen Colbert, even attempted to convince Munn’s mother that the pair were due to be hitched, but the very notion was quickly quashed on the show by the half-Vietnamese actress. Maybe in the future, though…
1. Kim Kardashian and Kanye West
One of the planet’s most famous couples happens to be an interracial one. When Kim Kardashian started dating long-time friend Kanye West in 2012, it kick-started a story that, for all of the pair’s media hogging, is still full of romance, having culminated in marriage, daughter North and a son to be born at the end of 2015. Bless.