For 90 years, Mickey and Minnie Mouse’s loving relationship has been front and center in countless Disney classics. But what viewers couldn’t see behind the scenes was that things were just as sweet. Unbeknownst to the public, the actor and actress who voiced Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse were actually married to each other in real life — for nearly 20 years.
Wayne Allwine and Russi Taylor, who lent their voices to the roles of Mickey and Minnie, respectively, were together for almost two decades before Allwine died in 2009 at the age of 62. It wasn’t until his passing that many people realized he and Taylor were happily married. “Wayne was my hero,” Taylor told the Los Angeles Times after her husband’s death. “He really loved doing Mickey Mouse and was very proud that he did it 32 years.”
So how did the two lovebirds first meet? Their love story is proof that Disney truly is the most magical place on Earth. After Walt Disney stepped down from voicing his beloved mouse (it’s been reported that his smoking habits damaged his vocal chords), he handed over the reins to Jimmy MacDonald in the late ’40s. Allwine was working in special effects under MacDonald when he was asked to take over voicing Mickey in the mid-1970s — a role he held until his death. Taylor, on the other hand, got her start as the voice of Minnie Mouse in 1986 after winning an audition.
“We met in the hallway when I was going in to do ‘Totally Minnie,’” Taylor told Variety in 2017. He was married, and I was married at the time. He said, ‘I’m so glad I’m going to have a Minnie now.’ I said, ‘Yes, it’s pretty exciting,’ and off he went. I didn’t know that he was unhappy and he didn’t know that I was unhappy.” They began their romance later, after their respective marriages had ended.
The pair initially bonded because they were working together on a project. “We just started hanging out as pals, and the next thing you know, we were an item. We just had fun. He was the best. He was a wonderful man, he was a good man, and he was a kind man. He was very, very strong and very, very male. And that voice came out of him. It’s like, ‘Huh?’”
The couple tied the knot in 1991, but they kept their nuptials under wraps. It wasn’t that they were actively trying to hide the fact of their marriage, but Allwine and Taylor found that it invited too much unwanted attention. “Everybody goes, ‘Oh, that’s so sweet,’ ” Taylor explained to the Times. “When we got married, we kind of kept it quiet because everybody was saying, ‘Oh, Mickey and Minnie got married.’ It wasn’t Mickey and Minnie; it was Wayne and Russi. We wanted to keep it about us and not about the characters.”
Taylor is still alive and continues to work as a voice actor, and she holds the record as the longest-running voice of Minnie Mouse. And though her husband has passed, we’d like to believe their romance lives on through Mickey and Minnie’s continued courtship on the big screen. So sweet!