What do you think of when you hear the term “power couple”? Jay-Z and Beyonce? Or maybe Will and Jada? What about George and Amal?
Well, if you’re a classic film buff, you know that there have been Hollywood power couples ever since the earliest silent movies. Here are 9 of the most iconic famous couples ever!
If you haven’t heard of these two, don’t feel bad. They were married way back in 1920—almost a hundred years ago! As some of the first-ever movie stars, they were also the first Hollywood power couple. Fairbanks and Pickford were the first stars to put their foot and hand prints outside Grauman’s Chinese Theater, starting the tradition of the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Clark Gable and Carole Lombard defined Old Hollywood glamour. They married in 1939 and seemed to be the perfect couple—her icy blonde good looks contrasting with his dark, charming swagger. But in 1942, while on tour to help sell war bonds during WWII, Lombard’s plane crashed. Gable was inconsolable.
Clark Gable’s Gone with the Wind costar Vivian Leigh was considered one of the most beautiful women in the world during her heyday. And Laurence Olivier was one of the greatest actors of his generation. Together, they ruled the box office for 20 years. Although the couple divorced in 1960, you can still see their sizzling chemistry in the films they made together.
Bogie and Bacall. One of the greatest—and unlikeliest—love stories in Hollywood history. They met while shooting To Have and Have Not in 1944, and it was love at first sight. She was 19 at the time; he was 45 and married. A year later, the two married. And they stayed married, making three more movies together and raising two little boys. Humphrey Bogart passed away from cancer in 1957, but we’ll always have movies like The Big Sleep and Key Largo.
These two had perhaps the most chaotic, passionate, destructive romance in Old Hollywood. Elizabeth Taylor was a famous beauty and a notorious man-eater. Richard Burton was a genius with a severe drinking problem. Together, they were a hot mess. But they kept coming back to each other—even remarrying a year after their first divorce.
On the other end of the marriage spectrum, we have Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman. They were married for 50 years—almost unheard of in Hollywood. He once said of remaining faithful to his wife, “”I have steak at home, so why should I go out for a hamburger?” Newman passed away in 2008.
One of the most charming Hollywood power couples had to be Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh. Although Curtis had plenty of demons—as their daughter Jamie Lee Curtis revealed in her recent memoir—the pair remained married for 10 years and seemed to be the gold-standard for celebrity marriages.
From the outside, they seemed to embody the American dream. Lucille’s comedic talent and beauty combined with Desi’s Cuban charm catapulted the pair into the spotlight. They essentially invented the modern sitcom, and their Desilu Production Company ruled the airwaves. Fun fact: We have Lucille Ball to thank for the original Star Trek making it onto TV!
When Hollywood royalty and actual royalty combine, you end up with Grace Kelly and Prince Rainer of Monaco. They met at the Cannes Film Festival in 1955, and a year later Grace retired from acting to become an actual, literal princess. The ultimate classic Hollywood power couple enjoyed 26 years together before her death in a car accident.