The 10 Best—And Worst—Couples

The 10 Best—And Worst—Couples

Some twosomes are so obviously perfect for each other, we had to give ‘em props. And some duos are so disastrous, we secretly pray they’ll part ways. For your enjoyment, we offer up the top ten of each kind.

By Matt Christensen

Barbie & Ken
The world’s prettiest plastic partners met on the set of a television commercial in 1961, and stayed together for an astounding 43 years. They split in 2004 and are now "just friends," but you have to appreciate how they handled it with aplomb: no big blow-up fights, post-breakup weight gain, or teary-eyed Barbara Walters specials. Here’s to keeping your cool, guys.

Romeo & Juliet
Bound eternally by tragedy, these young lovers were hopelessly devoted despite protests from their feuding families. Their untimely double-suicide shows that true love is stronger than any emotion, including common friggin’ sense.

Homer & Marge Simpson
Women everywhere may wonder why Marge doesn’t kick her lummox of a husband curbside, but this union combines inexplicable love and honesty. Hiding behind Homer’s beer gut is a genuine, caring heart—and the painful knowledge that, yes, he is a bumbling lummox. Marge understands and accepts her man’s limitations, teaching us that real love can withstand any “D’oh!” moment.

Rhett Butler & Scarlett O’Hara
This grand-scale duo from Gone with the Wind experienced intense love for each other. Their timing, however, was terrible: She poo-pooed his overtures early on; he brushed her off later with the famed words “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” But deep down, we all hoped he did.

Lucille Ball & Ricky Ricardo
Goofy redhead meets Cuban band-leader: Sparks fly, tempers flare, and hilarity of the Vitameatavegemin variety ensues. They’re the original screwball couple, teaching us that no matter how much ‘splainin’ Lucy had to do, Ricky always relished returning after a hard day’s work yelling, “Luuuucy, I’m hoooome!”

Cliff & Claire Huxtable
Played by Bill Cosby and Phylicia Rashad, this ground-breaking African-American TV couple set the bar on keeping it all together: two incredibly successful careers (he was an obstetrician, she was a lawyer), five kids, a slew of dry-clean-only sweaters—and still plenty of lovin’ come bedtime.

Sarah Jessica Parker & Matthew Broderick
Celeb unions come and go, but these Hollywood sweethearts are still going strong after more than a decade together. The stylish, shoe-obsessed icon of Sex and the City and Broadway hotshot Broderick from The Producers are often seen around playgrounds with their son James. Kudos for being so adorable—and giving fame a good name.

Edward VIII & Wallis Simpson
He could have been King of England, but gave it all up after he fell for an American divorcée in 1928. Believing his subjects would never accept Simpson, Edward let his brother assume the throne and left a life of royalty in the name of true love. What could be sweeter?

Ronald & Nancy Reagan
Presidents have a lot on their plate, but Ronald still found plenty of time to write love letters to his adoring wife, whom he sweetly called “My Nancy” (aww…). And the former First Lady returned his affection, gazing at him adoringly and sticking with him through thick and thin. Iran Contra? Alzheimers? They were no match for these two.

Tommy Lee & Pamela Anderson
When a bad-boy drummer for Motley Crüe gets hitched to a Baywatch sex symbol, you can bet the tabloids would have a field day, and these two did not disappoint. A thong-clad wedding ceremony, tattoos instead of rings (his name on her finger, and her name on his penis), and one scandalous sex tape later, the couple hit Splitsville. But, let’s be honest: While it lasted, they were the best spectacle around.

Kurt Cobain & Courtney Love
He was a genius Gen-X icon, she was a wild rocker chick. Throw in some heroin, and no wonder their union was no Nirvana, ending in Cobain’s suicide in 1994. Sad, sad waste of talent.

J-Lo & Ben Affleck
“Bennifer” was a relentless media blitz, and the couple seemed to be courting the cameras as much as each other. At some point—was it when we saw Affleck use Lopez’s legendary posterior as a pillow in her video “Jenny From the Block”? Or when we saw her engagement “rock” on every talk show in town? Or, heaven forbid, if we sat through Gigli?—we had had enough. Thank God they felt the same way and called off their wedding in January 2004.

Monica Lewinsky & Bill Clinton
Their 1995 scandalous affair, detailed in the infamous Starr Report right down to the stained dress the White House intern stowed in her closet, proved that romance at work can be problematic…especially when one half of the couple is the President, already married, and lies about it under oath.

Heathcliff & Catherine
Brooding Heathcliff was heartbroken when his crush Catherine married another man in Emily Bronte’s novel Wuthering Heights. Instead of finding a hobby or another soul mate, Heathcliff wreaked revenge by kidnapping Catherine’s daughter and forcing her to marry his son. Didn’t anyone sit him down and tell him that’s no way to show someone you care?

Al & Peg Bundy
A little playful banter can keep a relationship healthy, but the Bundys from the TV show Married...with Children just seemed to truly abhor each other. Trust us, there’s no love lost between this rancid shoe salesman, his big-haired chain-smoking housewife, and their two obnoxious kids. The only thing they loved was hurling insults.

Angelina Jolie & Billy Bob Thornton
This couple delighted in shocking us: They wore vials of each other’s blood around their necks, told interviewers how they’d just had sex in their limo...get a hotel room, guys. When they broke up in 2003, we have to admit: We were relieved. Too much (icky) information out of these two...

Anna Nicole Smith & J. Howard Marshall II
At 26, this Marilyn Monroe-esque Playboy model married the 89-year-old wheelchair-bound multi-millionaire. Was she heartbroken when he croaked less than a year later? Well, let’s see: She wore a very revealing dress to his funeral, then fought tooth and nail for her share of his fortune, losing it on appeal. The moral of the story: A lot can go wrong when a big blonde with a little-girl voice meets a very old and apparently lonely man.

Trista & Ryan Sutter
Paparazzi helicopters almost drowned out the “I do’s” at this reality-TV couple’s too lavish, too pink $4 million wedding. If you listened closely, though, you could hear the sound of absolutely no one caring.

Woody Allen & Soon-Yi
Neurotic filmmaker Allen caused jaws to drop all across America in 1992. That was when he went public with his controversial relationship with 21-year-old Soon-Yi Previn…who just happened to be the adopted daughter of his former longtime companion, Mia Farrow. Allen and Previn tied the knot in 1997, proving that love can conquer eyebrow-raising age gaps and scathing media coverage. But they still creep us out.

Steven Bing & anyone
After hearing ex-girlfriend Elizabeth Hurley say she was pregnant with his child, this Hollywood producer essentially said, “Prove it” by demanding a paternity test, which soon established that 1) he was the dad, and 2) he’s a total jerk. So why have Hollywood’s hottest (Uma Thurman, Sharon Stone, Farrah Fawcett, and most recently Nicole Kidman) flocked to this guy? We haven’t a you?
Matt Christensen has written for Maxim and The Cleveland Plain Dealer, among others. His favorite couple is David Hasselhoff and KITT, the talking car, from Knight Rider.

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