From Adam and Eve, the world has seen many famous couples who have come to be known for a lot of things including love, tragedy, crime, and so many other things. These couples cut across time and social class to tell many stories including sacrifice, promises that have been kept, betrayal, and much more. Here are some of the couples that have shocked the world, including some that are still shocking us all.
Famous Couples In History
1. Cleopatra and Mark Antony
There are many love stories, but that of Cleopatra and Mark Antony is probably the most famous. Before Mark Anthony and Cleopatra began their relationship, Cleopatra was the lover of Julius Caesar until he met his death. Mark Anthony at the time had already been married to Fadia, Antonia Hybrida Minor, and Fulvia.
After the assassination of Julius Ceaser, Mark Anthony went into political alliance with Queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt. But that was not all, he also began a romantic relationship with her. However, it was Octavia that he later married to avoid a war with her brother in 40 BC. The marriage did not stop his affair with Cleopatra with whom he went on to have three children.
Mark Anthony was later declared a traitor by Octavia and a war broke out which he lost. Receiving the false news that Cleopatra was dead, Mark Anthony committed suicide. Following his suicide, Cleopatra also committed suicide and based on her request, she was buried next to Mark Anthony in the same tomb.
2. Prince Edward and Wallis Simpson
Hardly can there be a list of famous couples without Prince Edward and Wallis Simpson. They became famous for the kind of love they shared. On 20 January 1936, Edward became the King of the United Kingdom. Shortly after he took the crown, there was a constitutional crisis because he wanted to marry an American socialite who at the time had married twice and both her ex-husbands were still alive. Edward was said to be slavishly dependent on the beautiful Wallis and they had been going out since 1934.
The most disturbing thing about the affair was that Wallis was still married to Ernest Simpson when Prince Edward became king. However, Wallis divorced Ernest for adultery with her childhood friend, Mary Kirk whom he later married.
Because there was no way he could still be king and be married to Wallis, Edward abdicated only after 326 days in December 1936.
In June 1937 after the divorce of Wallis was finalized, the two got married in France with no member of his family in attendance. Edward and Wallis became the Duke and Duchess of Windsor respectively. Edwards’ relationship with the royal house strained and Wallis was never accepted, but the two remained together until the death of the Duke in 1972, to be followed 14 years later by the Duchess who was buried beside her husband.
3. Napoleon and Josephine
And then came Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte and Empress Joséphine. While for most of the famous couples on this list it was a happy ever after, it wasn’t to be for these two, but it is still a story worth being told.
Marie Josèphe Rose Tascher de la Pagerie, as the future empress was born, was a very beautiful woman who first got married to the Vicomte de Beauharnais when she was only 16. Although they had two children together, the marriage was not without its problems. In 1794, her husband was executed and she had various relationships until she met a shy man named Napoleon Bonaparte. He was 6 years younger than her but it didn’t stop the empress from marrying him in Paris in 1796.
Napoleon went on to become Emperor in 1804 while Josephine became Empress. However, she was unable to bear him a child, meaning there was no heir to the throne. This forced Napoleon to divorce her and marry Marie Louise of Austria although he insisted Josephine still retained the title of Empress. Despite this, the two continued having an affair until 1814 when she died. For two days after her death, Napoleon did not speak to anyone and in 1821 when it was his time to die, the name of Josephine was among his last words.
4. Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn
Henry VIII got married to six women through his life, but his marriage to Anne Boleyn was the most significant. Before marrying her, the English King was married to Catherine of Aragon who was first married to Henry’s elder brother Arthur who died only five months after the two got married. Shortly after Henry became king, he married Catherine.
Unable to give him a son who lived, he began an affair with Mary Boleyn before his eyes moved to her sister, Anne Boleyn whom he wanted to marry but the church refused to annul his marriage to Catherine. Henry VIII decided to break England from the church and he married Anne.
What made this couple famous was that the king felt betrayed by Anne who was unable to give him a son, suffering miscarriages. So he had Anne executed on what many regarded as false charges of incest, adultery, and plotting to kill the king.
5. Paris and Helen
Helen was described in Greek mythology as the most beautiful woman in the world. Although she was married to the King of Sparta, Menelaus, she was abducted by the Prince Paris of Troy, son of King Priam. The couple would become famous because it was the abduction of Helen that led to the Troy War which later cost Paris his life.
Although the end of Helen is not clear because different accounts stated different things, her relationship with Paris is one of the things that sustains.
6. Brigitte and Emmanuel Macron
When 15 years old Emmanuel Macron first met Brigitte Trogneux, she was not just his teacher, but she was also married with three children. However, the two got close and then love happened and they started dating when he was 18.
In order to get their son away from Brigitte who was 24 years his senior, Macron’s parents transferred him to Paris, but the relationship continued after he was done with his education and in 2006, Brigitte divorced her husband whom she married in 1974, three years before Macron was born. In 2007, she married the man who later became the president of France.
7. Heloise and Abelard
If the tale of Heloise and Abelard were to be fiction, it would have rivaled something written by William Shakespeare. It is like many famous love stories, one that has tragedy at its tail.
Peter Abelard was a French scholar and philosopher who fell in love with his student, Héloïse d’Argenteuil. Not only were they in love, but they were also making love and exchanging letters until Heloise became pregnant and bore a child, forcing the couple to go into hiding in fear.
But then, they were lured back by her uncle, Fulbert after which his friends castrated Abelard to teach him a lesson. This forced him to become a monk while Heloise became a nun. They kept exchanging letters, telling of their undying love for each other.
8. Johnny Cash and June Carter
In 1954, Johnny Cash got married to Vivian Liberto whom he met in 1951. The two had four daughters but by 1966, Liberto filed for a divorce from the legendary country singer as a result of drug and alcohol problems, as well as his affairs with various women including June Carter. Two years after the end of the marriage, he married June Carter who was a singer and an actress.
This famous couple first met in 1956 after they were introduced to each other by Elvis Presley. That same year, June and her first husband, Carl Smith divorced. The next year, she married Edwin “Rip” Nix but the marriage ended in a divorce in 1966.
In 1968 when June was 39 while Johnny was 36, the couple got married. The two remained very close always adoring each other. Through the marriage, Cash was still struggling with his alcohol and drug problems but June was always there as his greatest supporter. The two had 7 children; one together, four from Johnny’s previous marriage, and 2 from June’s previous marriages.
In 2003, June Cash died, only to be followed three months later by Johnny Cash who died from diabetes.
9. Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
This is one that will be for the future. What places Meghan Markle and Prince Harry among the famous couples is that they are two people who in the normal world, are not supposed to be in love or even get married.
Harry is a prince while Meghan was a commoner from America with a part of her family not even supporting the wedding. What is more is that she is biracial and she became famous as an actress in Hollywood. More so, she was a divorcee.
It doesn’t matter how the union will end, their story will not only remain, but it will also be told.
10. Bonnie and Clyde
The list of famous couples is not only made of celebrities and kings, but we also have the criminal duo of Bonnie Elizabeth Parker and Clyde Chestnut Barrow. They became known along with their gang during the Great Depression as they moved about robbing and killing people.
The two first met in 1930 and they immediately fell for each other. Because of the love she had for Clyde; Bonnie, unfortunately, joined him in his life of crime. They would go on to terrorize a lot of people and even kill policemen before they were finally killed together in a shootout. Their bodies were displayed to the public because of the notoriety that was associated with them. They may, after all, be one of the most infamous couples of all time.