20 Celebrity Couples Who’ve Been Together For Over 20 Years Share Their Marriage Secrets
When it comes to celebrity romances, they usually burn bright and fizzle fast. Stars have a habit of looking at marriage like a regular person would a fifth date — and in celebrity years, a fifth anniversary might as well be a 50th. Whether it’s the pressure of the spotlight, the enticing dating pool, or the hectic travel schedules, stars are not the arbiters of enduring love — usually.
A handful of celebrity couples, however, have beaten the odds and remained happily married for decades. All couples, famous or not, who have managed to stay together through all that life throws their way deserve more than an Oscar. We want to know all of their secrets, but for now, we’ve compiled relationship advice from some of the most successful couples in Hollywood.
Here are the happy twosomes and how they make it work…
Sarah Jessica Parker And Matthew Broderick
Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick, 22 Years
One might think all the time celebrity couples spend traveling without each other for work would put a damper on the relationship, but Sarah Jessica Parker told Girlboss Radio that it has actually strengthened her 22-year marriage to Matthew Broderick. “I know this sounds nuts, but we have lives that allow us to be away and come back together...” she says. “In some ways, I think that that’s been enormously beneficial because we have so much to share in a way.” She also thinks long relationships beget longer relationships. “I think the longer you can last, the more invested you just are.”
Will Smith And Jada Pinkett Smith
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, 22 Years
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith are the definition of a “power couple,” but that doesn’t mean their 22-year relationship has always been smooth sailing. Will got very real about their union with Entertainment Tonight. “Really at the end of the day [the secret to marriage] is just not quitting,” he said. “You can’t expect it to be easy, it’s like our marriage was the most difficult, grueling, excruciating thing that we have ever taken on in our lives. And you know we’re just not quitters.” He also adds the importance of bettering yourself along the way. “We never went into working in our relationship, we only ever worked on ourselves individually, and then presented ourselves to one another better than we were previously.”
Hugh Jackman And Deborra Lee Furness
Hugh Jackman and Deborra-Lee Furness, 23 Years
When YourTango asked Hugh Jackman the secret behind his 23-year marriage to Australian actress Deborra-Lee Furness, his answer was simple. “You love each other — and respect each other. You truly want to be together.”
Elton John And David Furnish
Elton John and David Furnish, 26 Years
Elton John first started dating David Furnish in 1993, they entered into a civil partnership in 2005, and were married when same-sex marriage was legalized in Britain 2014. We all know that Elton is an epic songwriter, but both he and David put pen to paper to make their marriage work. In a video series about love, the couple talks about how writing weekly letters has been paramount in their 26-year-long relationship. Furnish explains that since they met on a Saturday, they started giving each other anniversary cards every Saturday. “You write about the week that’s passed and the week that’s coming,” he said. “You connect and you tell each other you love each other.” The ritual continues to this day. “Every Saturday, without fail, we’ve sent each other a card or a fax,” says Elton. “We go through difficulties as much as anybody else does in a relationship, but we sort through it by communication. And one way of communicating is writing down on a piece of paper or a card how you’re feeling.”
Tom Hanks And Rita Wilson
Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, 31 Years
Rita Wilson has been Tom Hanks’s leading lady since 1998. Though he has said there isn’t one key to their lasting love, he did tell People: “We just like each other. You start there." He also added that no one should get married before the age of 30.
Goldie Hawn And Kurt Russell
Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, 37 Years
When it comes to Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, who have been together since 1982, could the secret to their lasting love be that they never actually got married? According to Goldie, it’s a lot more than that. “Love, gratitude, compassion, because sometimes every man or every woman will drive their partner crazy. Family. Fun. Laughs. Sex,” Hawn told People. “If you don’t nurture that, and remember, you’re done.”
Oprah Winfrey And Stedman Graham
Oprah Winfrey and Stedman Graham, 33 Years
Another couple who decided to skip tying the knot, are Oprah Winfrey and Stedman Graham. The Queen of All Media credits the success of their relationship to Stedman always supporting her success — and giving her space. “I happen to be with a man who has always appreciated the fact that I was…considered a powerful person…[He’s] not trying to crowd in on it, not competing with it. He knows how to hold his own,” she said in an interview with E! News. Stedman echoed her sentiment on Oprah’s Own network. "I want her to succeed and be as successful as she possibly can, so I encourage that… I'm not threatened by her fame or her success or her money or all of that—that's who she is. It has nothing to do with how I define myself."
Meryl Streep And Don Gummer
Meryl Streep and Don Gummer, 41 Years
Meryl Streep may have three Oscars (and 21 nominations!), but she also has 41 years of marriage under her belt. Her and her hubby’s secret? Talking things out. ”You have to talk about all the issues that arise, even the smallest things,” she told New Zealand Women's Weekly. "You have to listen to your partner's problems, suggestions, and advice, and accept that you're not always right. Conversation is the key to a successful marriage."
Denzel And Pauletta Washington
Denzel and Pauletta Washington, 36 Years
It took three proposals for Pauletta to agree to marry Denzel Washington (yes, it’s true), but once she committed they were both in it to win it. In a Guardian article, Denzel says there really is no “secret” to the perfect marriage — or perfect marriage at that — but their faith has helped. “Everybody has their ups and downs; we've had ours,” he said. “It's hard work, you know. But we made a commitment. A spiritual foundation helps everything – marriage, work, peace of mind." Pauletta thinks it’s the hard times, in fact, that make a marriage stronger. “For me, the ‘love’ in the love story is how you come through the trials,” she said. “The passion, the lust — that’s easy. The love story is how you come out in love after hardship.’
Jerry And Jessica Seinfeld
Jerry and Jessica Seinfeld, 20 Years
In an interview on CNN, Jerry Seinfeld explains that in his 20-year to marriage Jessica, he has his own version of not going to bed angry. “I’m very big on staying in the room. In fact, I said this to my wife the other day: 'I understand that you're so upset that you just want to walk away. But, you know, I don't care that it's hard.' You stay in the room until you feel better. Then you can leave.”
Bryan Cranston And Robin Dearden
Bryan Cranston and Robin Dearden, 30 Years
Sometimes you need help to make a marriage work — and there is no shame in that, whatsoever. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Bryan Cranston shares that he and his wife go to couples therapy. "I see a [therapist] in L.A. from time to time, when I'm feeling edgy or anxiety-ridden," he says. “And my wife and I go to a couples therapist. Our agreement is, if either of us feels like we want to go, the other can't object."
Michelle And Barack Obama
Michelle and Barack Obama, 27 Years
If every relationship endures a lot, the stress of the Presidency must take it to a whole new level. But Michelle and Barack Obama are still going strong after 27 years of marriage, and they also went to couples counseling — before they were even in the White House. “Marriage counseling was a turning point for me understanding that it wasn't up to my husband to make me happy — that I had to learn how to fill myself up and have to put myself higher on my priority list," Michelle shared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. “I want people to know that marriage is work. Even the best marriages require work. I call them a vexation—it's a choice that you make again and again and again…I always say, if you're married for 50 years, and 10 of them are horrible, you're doing really good!"
Sting And Trudy Styler
Sting and Trudy Styler, 27 Years
After 27 years of marriage, and 37 together, Sting and Trudy Styler still make each other laugh. “We’re devoted to each other,” Styler told People. “We laugh a lot! I think that’s important in a marriage. He has my back; he’s my champion.” She also says they let each other do their own thing. “We have space apart because he tours and I go and do the things that I have to do with my films — we don’t live in each other’s pockets.”
Julia Louis Dreyfus And Brad Hall
Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Brad Hall, 32 Years
When it comes to the secret behind Julia Louis-Dreyfus and her husband of 32 years, Brad Hall’s lasting love, the Veep star old Jay Leno that it was just because she "found the right guy." If only it was all so simple.
Michael J. Fox And Tracy Pollan
Michael J. Fox and Tracy Pollan, 31 Years
Fights are inevitable in any relationship, but Tracy Pollan tells People, how you handle them can make a huge difference. In her and Michael J. Fox’s 31-year marriage, they have learned to give each other the benefit of the doubt. “There are so many times when you have arguments, when you have things come up, and it really doesn’t have anything to do with what he did, or said – it’s how I am projecting that onto myself,” she says. “A lot of times he’ll just say to me, ‘You know who I am, would I ever say anything to try to hurt your feelings? Just give me the benefit of the doubt.’” She adds that making each other laugh helps, too.
Michelle Pfeiffer And David E. Kelley
Michelle Pfeiffer and David E. Kelley, 26 Years
After over a quarter century of marriage, Michelle Pfeiffer and her producer husband, David E. Kelley, still gush about each other – and each say true lasting love is all about mutual respect. “I’ve never met a person who has more integrity than my husband,” Michelle says. “There’s his humor and intelligence, too, and he’s really cute — all those things — but if you don’t respect your partner, you’ll get sick of him.” David says their secret is, “probably that we love each other and respect each other and hold hands a lot.” Awww.
Victoria And David Beckham
Victoria and David Beckham, 20 Years
The soccer star and Spice Girl turned clothing designer credit the success of their two decade long relationship to being equal partners at home and supporting each other professionally. “[David] is a fantastic father. He's incredibly talented, a wonderful husband. I supported him for many years, and he's proud of me. He supports me.” Victoria told Allure. “We really are equal with everything we do at home with the children.”
Kirk Douglas And Anne Buydens
Kirk Douglas and Anne Buydens, 65 Years
At 65 years, Kirk Douglas and Anne Buydens have the longest marriage on our list by far. In an article he penned about their marriage for the Los Angeles Times, Kirk credits his wife for their enduring love. “Anne never tried to change me, but she never hesitated to speak her mind,” he said. He also added, “I just told my wife, ‘If you ever leave me, I’m going with you!’”
Felicity Huffman And William H. Macy
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy, 22 Years
Despite the college scandal that Felicity Huffman has been embroiled in, her and William H. Macy’s 22-year union is still going strong. Felicity explains the secret behind their happy marriage: “Every day we sit down and make sure we take half an hour — each person gets 15 minutes — just to talk, with no crosstalk. You kind of just deeply check in with the other person. You kind of actually see what’s going on with the other person without any talk-back.” We're sure they’ve had a lot to talk about recently.
Kevin Bacon And Kyra Sedgwick
Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick, 31 Years
Kevin Bacon and Keira Sedwick may have been married for 31 years, but they still don’t think they should be doling out relationship advice. When asked the secret behind their lasting love in 2012, Keira said "I always get uncomfortable with that question, because I always feel like, the secret to a happy marriage is to not take advice from celebrities about marriage." Funnily enough, a few years later when Kevin was asked the same question by Entertainment Tonight, he said: "Whatever you do, don't listen to celebrities on advice on how to stay married. That's my secret." We’ll take that as a display of the importance of sharing a similar sense of humor. Ha!