Given the special breed they are, I suppose it makes perfect sense for actors to marry other actors. Then again, maybe not.


The institution of marriage is tricky under the best of conditions; only half of them endure. Yet based on the list below, which chronicles the unions of prominent acting couples over the years, it’s particularly risky for movie stars. The failure rate among this group is closer to 65%.


What’s the reason? Among them: too much time away on a remote location with a gorgeous co-star, the ups-and-downs of high-profile careers and the inevitable competition between spouses, as well as the continual lack of privacy and invasive gossip.


Whether these marriages last or don’t, what they’ve always offered the public is a heady dose of glamour and seemingly endless fascination. These are most often beautiful people who live large, have lots of homes and money, and fly private. Their lives are anything but dull. They represent the American Dream, writ large.


Below are 24 couples who’ve shared the spotlight and captivated us over the years. Even if it didn’t work out in the end, we’re still glad they took the plunge.




Douglas Fairbanks/Mary Pickford

The original Hollywood couple, they were much bigger together than apart. Their union lasted fifteen years but ended in divorce. Both re-married.



Henry Fonda/Margaret Sullavan

These two future stars got themselves hitched in 1931 for a grand total of fourteen months when they were still in their salad days. Who knew?



Clark Gable/Carole Lombard

They’d co-starred early on when she was married to William Powell, but no sparks ignited. Gable was shattered when she died in a plane crash in ’42.



Joan Crawford/ Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and Joan Crawford/Franchot Tone

Joan was too big for both her actor husbands — Hollywood royalty Doug, Jr. and Tone, a fine actor but also alcoholic. Wifey dearest?



Laurence Olivier/Vivien Leigh

They were the golden British couple, Heathcliff from “Wuthering Heights” and Scarlett O’Hara. Her worsening mental illness finally split them up in ’61.



Robert Taylor/Barbara Stanwyck

She was the older woman who helped this naïve, handsome actor adjust to Tinseltown. They divorced in ’52 after a dozen years of wedded bliss.



Humphrey Bogart/Lauren Bacall

When they met, he was 44 and a big star, she was 19 and a model just out from the East Coast. The marriage endured until Bogie’s death in ’57.



Orson Welles/Rita Hayworth

Boy genius weds bombshell: a match made in publicity heaven. By the time they made “Lady from Shanghai,” their five year union was over.



Frank Sinatra/Ava Gardner

Their tempestuous, tabloid marriage lasted five years, during which Frank went from has-been to board chairman. It’s said this was his one and only love.



Dick Powell/June Allyson

Powell was goofy for actresses, having previously wed Joan Blondell. His marriage to Allyson, his junior by a dozen years, lasted until his death in ’63.



Tony Curtis/Janet Leigh

They were the young “It” couple during the fifties, while both were building their movie careers. Things soured with the coming of the new decade; they split in ’62.



Paul Newman/Joanne Woodward

Over the years, they proved a movie star marriage could last. Though equally talented, she clearly sacrificed her career for his. That may have helped.



Robert Wagner/Natalie Wood

Like Liz and Dick, this glamorous duo tried marriage twice. It held the second time, but now mystery surrounds Wood’s drowning death in ’81.



Richard Burton/Liz Taylor

The most covered celebrity couple in history, their romance ignited a scandal, and their ensuing ups-and-downs enthralled the world. They split for good in ’76.



Steve McQueen/Ali McGraw

This gorgeous duo met on a movie set, fell in love, then left their spouses. Their own marriage lasted five years. Two years later McQueen died of cancer.



Warren Beatty/Annette Bening

Bening landed eternal bachelor Beatty when the legendary Lothario was 55, and it’s been smooth sailing since. I guess sometimes it pays to wait.



Bruce Willis/Demi Moore

Their twelve year marriage ended in 2000 and produced three children. Five years later, Demi married Ashton Kutcher, fifteen years her junior. Whoa!



Alec Baldwin/Kim Basinger

This famously tempestuous union endured for nine years, and produced one daughter. The two have made peace since. Thank God.



Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie

Living together since 2005, this mega-star couple, branded “Brangelina”, finally tied the knot in 2014. Sadly for their six kids, they are splitting.



Kevin Bacon/Kyra Sedgwick

These two talented players, married in 1988, now have two grown children. The secret of their success may be that they never lived in Hollywood!



Tom Cruise/Katie Holmes

Much younger than Tom, Katie had a crush on him as a girl. Though the union seemed like a dream come true, it wasn’t. These two divorced in 2012.



Daniel Craig/Rachel Weisz

These talented Brits married secretly in 2011, with each of their children from prior unions attending. Now they’re expecting! You want to root for these two.



Liam Neeson/Natasha Richardson

Beyond awful: in 2009, the two had been wed fifteen years with two kids, when Natasha suffered a fatal brain hematoma hours after a skiing accident.



Michael Fassbender/Alicia Vikander

Newlyweds! These two players first met on a film set in 2014 and married last October. Here’s hoping they buck the trend and stay hitched!






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