Many people during the 1980s found themselves dreaming from time to time of a fairytale romance from the world of Hollywood, given the news coverage of celebrity couples during that decade. Of course, the reality was sometimes very different. Some of these 40 pairs are now completely forgotten – others, of course, are not.
40. Sylvester Stallone and Brigitte Nielsen
Stallone and Nielsen started off as a scandal. She was 17 years younger than him, and Stallone had left his wife Sasha Czack for her. They married in December 1985, having known each other after only a few months. In 2017 Nielsen told Oprah, “I remember thinking, ‘This is too early. This is not right.’” And it wasn’t. They divorced two years later.
39. Carrie Fisher and Paul Simon
Carrie Fisher and Paul Simon married in 1983, having met years earlier while Fisher was filming Star Wars. As it turned out, though, they simply couldn’t make it work, and divorced the following year. However, they did carry on a romance for a few years after that, such was their passion for each other. Simon’s song “Hearts and Bones” is actually about his love for Fisher.
38. George Clooney and Kelly Preston
Both Clooney and Preston are married now to other famous people, so the relationship between them faded into history ever since Preston married John Travolta in 1991. However, they did in fact date from 1987 to 1989 and even lived together for a time. The pair of them adopted a pot-bellied pig, Max, who Clooney ended up keeping. And pre-Amal, Clooney would joke that Max was his longest relationship.
37. Bruce Springsteen and Julianne Phillips
Bruce Springsteen and Julianne Phillips met in 1984, and got hitched only months later. Alas… marry in haste, repent at leisure. Springsteen then had an affair with musician Patti Scialfa and in 1988 he and Phillips divorced. He regretted it, though, writing in his 2016 memoir Born to Run, “I placed [Phillips] in a terribly difficult position for a young girl and I failed her as a husband and partner.”
36. Jessica Lange and Sam Shepard
Although they never married, Lange and Shepard had a good run. They were partners from 1982 all the way up to 2009, when they separated. They even had two children together. In 2010 Shepard mused to The Guardian, “She’s the only woman I could live with. Who could live with me!” But sadly, he died of ALS in 2017.
35. Kim Basinger and Prince
Actress Kim Basinger and singer Prince encountered each other when while making Batman. Apparently, she became so besotted with him back in 1989 that she took herself off to his house and stayed there until her worried family brought her back. Prince apparently kept some evidence of her presence though. His track “Scandalous Sex Suite” allegedly contains sounds of him and her … well, you can guess.
34. Brooke Shields and Nicolas Cage
Brooke Shields and Nicolas Cage were both big in the 1980s, so perhaps it’s not that surprising they became an item. In 1987 they were each other’s date to the premiere of the film Moonstruck, in which Cage starred alongside Cher. However, it turned out to be only a short-lived fling. By the next year it was all over.
33. Sarah Jessica Parker and Robert Downey Jr
Sarah Jessica Parker started dating Robert Downey Jr in 1984, but eventually broke up with him when his substance abuse issue became too much. Downey Jr, now one of the biggest movie stars in the world, doesn’t bear her any ill will though. In 2008 he told Parade magazine, “She provided me a home and understanding. She tried to help me.”
32. Sean Penn and Madonna
In 1985, Sean Penn and Madonna married in a private ceremony. But from that moment on, matters became much less private. The two made a movie together in 1986, Shanghai Surprise, which was a massive flop. Details of their marriage constantly made headlines. And even though they split in 1989, there are still rumors of abusive behavior which both stars still refute.
31. Geena Davis and Jeff Goldblum
Frequent co-stars Geena Davis and Jeff Goldblum were husband and wife for the last part of the 1980s – they wed in Las Vegas in 1987. However, by 1990 it was all over. The couple remained friends, and in 1992 Goldblum told People magazine, “I think we were lucky to get together, and we both had a great time.”
30. Christie Brinkley and Billy Joel
Christie Brinkley was Billy Joel’s original “Uptown Girl.” The two married in 1985, on a yacht no less, and quickly became even more world-famous as a couple. They started booking hotel rooms under the names “Sandy Shore” and “Rocky” to avoid the paparazzi. And although they broke up in 1994, they remained friends as well as co-parents to their daughter Alexa.
29. Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman
Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman married in 1982, when both of them were mega-famous from the TV shows Taxi and Cheers. In recent years, though, their relationship has had some ups and downs. Although they are still legally married, they live apart. Yet it appears to work out well for both of them.
28. Lea Thompson and Dennis Quaid
Back to the Future actress Lea Thompson met Dennis Quaid on the set of Jaws 3-D, and the pair were very much taken with each other. In 1986, on Valentine’s Day, Quaid asked Thompson to be his wife. However, the marriage never went ahead. The couple split up the following year, and went on to marry other people.
27. Helen Mirren and Liam Neeson
Liam Neeson began going out with Helen Mirren in 1980, after they met on the set of the movie Excalibur. He was head over heels for her, and they made a home for themselves in London. Unfortunately, though, the relationship only lasted five years. In 1994, Mirren told The New York Times of the breakup, “He handled it with great elegance and grace.”
26. Helen Hunt and Matthew Broderick
Actors Helen Hunt and Matthew Broderick have a history – and it came to light in 2007 when Hunt cast Broderick in her film Then She Found Me. The pair dated in 1987, and it turned out to be a pretty short-lived affair, but now they had to do a sex scene for the movie! It must have been pretty awkward on set that day.
25. Brad Pitt and Christina Applegate
In 1989, Christina Applegate went out on a date with heartthrob Brad Pitt. Unfortunately, before it ended she apparently ran off with another man. Sebastian Bach of heavy metal band Skid Row claimed that he was the other party. To make matters even more awkward, Applegate later played a sister to Jennifer Aniston, Pitt’s then-wife, on Friends.
24. Cyndi Lauper and David Wolff
Cyndi Lauper was a huge star in the 1980s, and during that time she was in a relationship with her manager David Wolff. However, it didn’t last, and she fell into a depression after the split. She said in her 2012 memoir that what kept her from suicide was the thought of the headline, “Girl who wanted to have fun just didn’t.” Now she’s married to actor David Thornton.
23. Sharon Levy and Ozzy Osbourne
Sharon Levy, who the world now knows as reality TV star Sharon Osbourne, met her husband-to-be as her father was the manager of the band Black Sabbath. She and famous rocker Ozzy married in 1982. From there, there were many allegations of abuse and Ozzy was even arrested for the attempted murder of his wife in 1989 – but they’re still together.
22. Lisa Bonet and Lenny Kravitz
When Lisa Bonet and Lenny Kravitz first met, she was the more famous due to her role on The Cosby Show. Their marriage in 1987 turned both of them into a power couple of the era. They divorced in 1993, citing their youth as the reason their relationship failed. But even so, they’re still good friends.
21. John McEnroe and Tatum O’Neal
Back in the 1980s John McEnroe was a star of the tennis world and Tatum O’Neal was a famous actress. Their future together appeared bright when they married in 1986, but this certainly did not last. When the relationship fell apart in the early 1990s, O’Neal turned to drugs and McEnroe got custody of the children. And in later years she’s claimed that McEnroe abused both her and the kids, statements which he denies.
20. Kyra Sedgewick and Kevin Bacon
Kevin Bacon actually first met Kyra Sedgewick when he was 19 and she was a child of 12, but of course they didn’t begin dating then. They met again on the set of the 1988 TV movie Lemon Sky as adults, and married in September of that year. They’re still together to this day.
19. Oprah Winfrey and Stedman Graham
1986 was a very good year for Oprah Winfrey. Not only did her talk show make its debut, but she also met and started dating an educator and businessman called Stedman Graham. The two decided in the end that they would never get married, but their relationship has stood the test of time nonetheless.
18. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver
Everything was fine for Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver at first. They married in 1986 and became among the most high-profile couples of their era. They had four children together. But then in 2011 their perfect marriage shattered. It transpired that Schwarzenegger had not only been unfaithful, but fathered a child with the couple’s housemaid.
17. Tom Cruise and Cher
Tom Cruise and Cher enjoyed a fling during the middle of the 1980s. After they met at Madonna and Penn’s wedding in 1985, they began dating. It didn’t last long though, and in 2018 Cher told the Mail on Sunday that though they were still friends, “I don’t get what he does, that whole Scientology thing. I can’t understand it so I just… don’t.”
16. Tommy Lee and Heather Locklear
Heather Locklear was famous in the 1980s, but Tommy Lee was infamous as the frontman for heavy metal band Mötley Crüe. When they married in 1986, it raised many eyebrows – how could such a sweet actress chose a wild hellraiser for a husband? Yet they did actually last until 1994 in the end, longer than Lee’s first marriage.
15. Michael Jackson and Brooke Shields
Brooke Shields met the King of Pop at the Academy Awards 1981 and they started dating. It didn’t last, of course, but they remained friends. According to tapes made by Jackson’s friend Rabbi Shmuley Boteach between 1999 and 2001, the singer considered her one of the loves of his life. And after Jackson’s death in 2009, Shields gave a eulogy at his funeral.
14. Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell
Hawn and Russell already encountered each other previously, but they fell in love in 1983 on the set of the movie Swing Shift. Their relationship lasted the course – and how. Decades later and they’re still together. They’ve never actually gotten married, but they appear to consider that the secret to their success.
13. Tim Allen and Laura Deibel
Tim Allen’s college sweetheart Laura Deibel stuck by him through thick and thin. When he was sent to prison for trafficking drugs in the 1970s, she remained his partner. He got out of jail and struggled to make it as an actor, but the pair married nonetheless. Even so, it is possible fame and fortune was a factor in ending the relationship. They divorced in 2003.
12. Drew Barrymore and Corey Feldman
Drew Barrymore and Corey Feldman started going out together in 1989, after they were introduced to each other by their mothers at a young age. She was 14 at the time and he was 18. They were photographed together at that year’s Academy Awards, but the relationship was only a short-lived one. Feldman later claimed both of them had substance issues at the time.
11. Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy
William H. Macy and Felicity Huffman first met in the 1980s, while both were at New York’s Atlantic Theater Company. Macy proposed marriage many times, but she always refused. In 2015 she told Tribune News, “I was so scared of marriage that I thought I would’ve preferred to step in front of a bus.” But in 1997 they did finally marry, and they’re still together.
10. Robin Givens and Mike Tyson
Throughout their relationship Mike Tyson and Robin Givens made headlines for all the wrong reasons. In 1988, after being married for less than a year, Givens informed Barbara Walters on 20/20 that the relationship was “torture, pure hell, worse than anything I could possibly imagine.” The divorce was finalized in 1989, on Valentine’s Day.
9. Steven Spielberg and Amy Irving
Director Steven Spielberg and actress Amy Irving dated in the 1970s, split up… and then got back together again in the 1980s. But unfortunately, both of them found that Hollywood fame affected their relationship. They divorced in 1989, and at the time it was among the most expensive celebrity divorces ever.
8. Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson
Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson met in the mid-1980s when both were in the sitcom Bosom Buddies. Hanks was actually married at the time, but considered that his marriage was beyond repair already. After divorcing his first wife he married Wilson in 1988, and decades later they appear to be as happy as ever.
7. Harrison Ford and Melissa Mathison
Harrison Ford married screenwriter Melissa Mathison in 1983, having met her a few years prior on the set of Apocalypse Now. They had two kids, Malcolm and Georgia, who also work in the entertainment industry. But the couple divorced – expensively – in 2004, and Mathison passed away from cancer in 2015.
6. Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins
For a while, Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins looked like the perfect Hollywood couple. They first got together in 1988, having met on the set of Bull Durham, and they stayed that way for a long time even though they never married. They have two children, Jack and Miles. However, the couple split up in 2009, surprising many.
5. Jennifer Grey and Matthew Broderick
Jennifer Grey and Matthew Broderick were together until a tragedy took place. In 1987 the Ferris Bueller’s Day Off co-stars were on holiday in Ireland when Broderick caused a fatal car accident. Grey was his passenger and she was left devastated by sadness and survivor’s guilt. One year later the couple broke up.
4. Michael J. Fox and Tracy Pollan
Actors Michael J. Fox and Tracy Pollan fell for each while both were on the 1980s TV show Family Ties, playing boyfriend and girlfriend Ellen and Alex. In 1986 Pollan told People magazine, “Alex and Ellen have an old-fashioned relationship. It’s unjaded and optimistic with the sweetness of a first love.” The same turned out to be true for Pollan and Fox too. To this day they’re still together.
3. Cindy Crawford and Richard Gere
The supermodel and the A-list actor made for one of the most attractive power couples ever. They met in a refreshingly normal way – at a BBQ in 1988 – but their relationship was anything but normal. In 1991 they married in Las Vegas, in a rushed last-minute ceremony. Despite that they stayed together for four more years before splitting in 1995.
2. Bruce Willis and Demi Moore
The relationship between Demi Moore and Bruce Willis was one of the defining characteristics of the 1980s. Both stars were at the peak of their fame. They married in November 1987 and had their first child, Rumer, less than a year later. But all good things must come to an end. They separated in 1998 and divorced in 2000.
1. Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer
Charles and Diana were possibly the most famous couple of the 1980s thanks to Charles’ status as heir to the British throne. Charles’ marriage to the beautiful, stylish Diana thrilled the public and their wedding attracted at least 750 million viewers. But of course, everyone knows what happened next. The couple divorced in 1996, and Diana died in a car crash the following year.