These Celebrities All Married Their Childhood Sweethearts
There’s no denying it: the world is obsessed with celebrity relationships. However, for as much as the magazines and gossip websites focus on the dating lives of various celebrities, there is one kind of relationship that gets comparatively little attention: happy ones.
These are the celebrities who didn’t find the love of their life on the red carpet, but instead found them at school or at university, and vowed to stay together with them forever. Here are 25 celebrities who married their childhood sweethearts and are still in love with them today!
25. Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn
When Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell began dating on Valentine’s Day 1983, Hawn was 38 and Russell was 33. Now, meeting in your mid-to-late thirties doesn’t exactly make them what most people would call ‘childhood sweethearts.’ However, the pair actually first met roughly two decades earlier in 1966, when Hawn was 21 and Russell was just 16. The two hit it off back in the 60s, but never became anything more than friends.
They then reconnected on the set of Swing Shift, when Hawn remembered “just how much [she] liked him back then”. Things progressed swiftly from there, with the pair having a son together in 1986. Since then, Hawn and Russell have dated exclusively and continuously for almost 40 years, but they have vowed never to get married, with Hawn saying “I’d have been long divorced if I’d been married [to Russell].”
24. Tim Minchin and Sarah Minchin
Comedian and musical producer Tim Minchin’s wife Sarah might not often be seen in the spotlight, but you can find her in her husband’s work. Tim Minchin has written numerous songs about Sarah and their relationship, from the hilarious If I Didn’t Have You to the moving I’ll Choose Lonely Tonight. Many of these songs reference the fact that Minchin met his wife at the University of Perth when he was just 17. The pair have been dating ever since they attended university together, and they finally tied the knot in 2002.
They now share two children, have never seriously dated anybody else, and are coming up on 30 years of life together, with what seems like a picture-perfect relationship. As for Tim Minchin, he recently said in an interview that their life together only functions because Sarah does “all the life admin”, and she has sacrificed a lot to allow him to continue to tour and perform.
23. LeBron James and Savannah Brinson
All couples have a romantic story about how they first met, but not all of them feel like you could actually write a film about their relationship. With that said, LeBron James and Savannah Brinson’s romance really does feel like it stepped out of the pages of a book or off the silver screen, instead of occurring in real life. James and Brinston have been married for around eight years, but have been dating ever since high school, despite the fact that they didn’t even attend the same one.
LeBron James was, predictably, the star of his high school basketball team, while Brinson was a cheerleader at hers, and the pair met when their rival teams went head to head. LeBron invited Brinson to a basketball game as a first date, and then the two had a child together in their senior year. They’ve been together ever since, and have even added two more children to their family.
22. Bono And Ali Hewson
On the whole, rock stars don’t exactly have a reputation for being steadfastly monogamous, or for falling in love with and marrying their childhood sweethearts. However, there are some exceptions to prove the rule, as the frontman of U2, Bono, has shown. Despite making the headlines for various reasons over the course of his career, Bono has yet to be implicated in any kind of tabloid relationship drama, as he has been happily married for almost 40 years!
Bono met his future wife Ali Hewson when they were both just 12, and they began dating from the age of 15. Hewson supported Bono after his mother died, cooking for him, cleaning his clothes and walking him to school every day. By 1979 they were discussing marriage, and Hewson agreed to tie the knot if ever Bono’s band took off… which it obviously did.
21. Julia Louis-Dreyfus And Brad Hall
Many long-lasting celebrity relationships work because while one person is public-facing and career-driven, the other is happy to keep things running in the background. Celebrity power couples, where both halves are well-known giants in their fields, are a little bit rarer – which is what makes Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Brad Hall’s relationship so special. Julia Louis-Dreyfus met her future husband while both of them were studying at Northwestern University.
They met when Hall was producing a show which Louis-Dreyfus auditioned to be a part of. The pair hit it off soon after, and got married in 1987. They also went on to have two sons, Henry and Charles. Despite Hall and Louis-Dreyfus both being busy starring in Saturday Night Live, and going on to work on numerous other projects, they are still together today.
20. LL Cool J and Simone Smith
When LL Cool J shot to fame after the release of his 1985 song I Need a Beat, his life changed massively overnight. However, one thing that didn’t change was his relationship with Simone Smith, whom he had been steadily dating for several years by that point. LL Cool J met Simone Smith when he was just 19, as Smith was a friend of his cousin.
They fell in love and dated throughout the 80s, and Smith supported and travelled with Cool J when his music career began to take off. The pair finally tied the knot in 1995 and have been happily married ever since. They’ve also had one son – Najee Laurent Todd Eugene – and three daughters – Samaria Leah Wisdom, Italia Anita Maria, and Nina Simone.
19. Elizabeth Banks And Max Handelman
Many couples eventually split up despite desperately wanting to make it work, but it’s far less common for couples to stay together despite thinking they would quickly end things. The latter is what happened with actress Elizabeth Banks and her future husband Max Handelman. Banks met Handelman on her first day of college at the University of Pennsylvania on September 7, 1992.
The two had an instant connection, but she was convinced that she was too young to get into a serious relationship and seriously consider marriage. Despite this, she fell deeply in love, and the two eventually decided to admit that they wanted to be together forever. The pair got married in 2003, and Banks said in an interview: “Really, what happened was I’ve never met anyone that I liked more.”
18. Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly
Childhood sweethearts are usually a reciprocal thing, with both halves of the eventual couple admiring each other from a young age. For actors Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly though, the relationship was one-sided for a long time before the two actually met, worked together and fell in love. Jennifer Connelly was Paul Bettany’s first crush as a teenager, thanks to Connelly starring in 1986’s Labyrinth.
Bettany had a Labyrinth poster on his wall when he was younger, which became embarrassing when the two actors worked together on A Beautiful Mind in 2001. Though sparks flew on set, Connelly and Bettany agreed to do nothing about it, since they were both seeing other people at the time. Things all changed when, after 9/11, Bettany found himself consumed with worry about Connelly, and flew to New York from London to find her. Bettany proposed on the spot, and the pair have been together ever since.
17. Jeff Daniels and Kathleen Treado
Navigating work, marriage and family life when you’re a working actor can be difficult, and it often involves making sacrifices in one area to maintain or progress things in another. For Jeff Daniels, though, his wife and family have always come first, even when that has resulted in him living the kind of life not usually associated with being a Hollywood star. Jeff Daniels met his wife Kathleen Treado when the pair attended high school together in Michigan, and after dating throughout their school years they decided to get married in 1979.
After living in LA for several years while Daniels’ career took off, they decided to move back to Michigan. This was largely because they didn’t want to have to bring up any kids in the hustle and bustle of Hollywood. The choice obviously worked out for them, since Daniels and Treado are still together today, and living away from LA has allowed Daniels to view it as “a wonderful place” with “great weather”.
16. Snoop Dogg And Shante Broadus
When you think about celebrities who are likely to have married their childhood sweethearts, Snoop Dog probably isn’t near the top of your list. However, Snoop Dogg and his wife Shante Broadus have known each other ever since they attended the same high school. They tied the knot back in 1997. The pair have had their fair share of wobbles along the way: in May 2004, Snoop filed for divorce from Taylor, citing irreconcilable differences.
Snoop later explained that he got too caught up in wanting to enjoy the Hollywood lifestyle and lost sight of what was really important. Fortunately, in 2008 he had a change of heart and the couple went on to renew their vows. The pair also have three children together: two sons named Cordé and Cordell, and a daughter named Cori.
15. Alan Rickman and Rima Horton
The late acting legend Alan Rickman was just 19 years old when he met 18-year-old Rima Horton. The pair met at an amateur theatre group meeting at the Chelsea College of Arts where Rickman was studying. The young couple immediately hit it off and by 1977 had moved into a flat together. The two remained a solid couple for decades, as Rickman’s acting career took off and Horton worked as a Labour Party councillor.
The pair were in no rush to get married, and waited until 2012 to tie the knot – four decades after they had first met. The ceremony was a small affair with the couple going out for lunch in New York afterwards. They remained happily married until Rickman’s tragic death in 2016.
14. Jon Bon Jovi and Dorothea Hurley
It’s uncommon for a huge rock star to remain a committed and faithful spouse – but it’s not impossible. Musician Jon Bon Jovi is living proof of the fact. He met his future wife, Dorothea Hurley, back when they were both attending high school. Hurley was dating someone else at the time, however, and she only started seeing Bon Jovi after they had both left school.
In 1989, during Bon Jovi’s New Jersey Syndicate Tour, the two eloped and secretly tied the knot in Las Vegas.They had an authentic Vegas wedding experience, with an Elvis impersonator having the honour of wedding the pair. The couple have been happily married ever since and now have four children together – Jacob, Romeo, Stephanie, and Jesse.
13. Samuel L Jackson and LaTanya Richardson
It’s hard to keep a relationship alive amidst all the ups and downs of a high-pressure Hollywood lifestyle. But actor Samuel L Jackson and actress and producer LaTanya Richardson are living proof that it’s possible to make a Hollywood marriage work. The couple has been married for an impressive 38 years and in a relationship together for 50.
Jackson revealed his secret to such a long and happy marriage when speaking to People in 2017. He said: “We actually thought we were going to be the black Liz Taylor and Richard Burton, but we were going to stay together! She’s had a good career. I’ve had a good career. So it’s worked,” he continued, adding that they still share a “very strong bond.”
12. Ron Howard and Cheryl Alley
Director, producer, and actor Ron Howard met his wife-to-be Cheryl Alley when they were in the same English class in high school. The pair didn’t wait long before tying the knot, and got married when they were both 21. As the saying goes: ‘when you know, you know!’ Although marrying young may seem a bit of a gamble, it’s fair to say it’s paid off for Howard and Alley.
The pair have now been married for a staggering 46 years. “I felt really lucky when we met. It’s crazy — we were teenagers, it shouldn’t have worked,” Howard told HuffPost in 2013. “We got married young, that shouldn’t have worked either, and yet it really and truly has,” he continued. The pair have four children together: daughter Bryce Dallas, twins Jocelyn Carlyle and Paige, and son Reed Cross.
11. Ja Rule and Aisha Atkins
Rapper Ja Rule has been together with his now-wife Aisha Atkins since they met and started dating in high school in 1994. The couple tied the knot back in 2001, with a 1940s gangsta-themed wedding to celebrate their marriage. It seems as though their relationship has only gone from strength to strength since then.
Ja Rule and Aisha recently celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary and marked the occasion by posting a sweet photo together on social media. With 27 years of dating behind them, it’s safe to say that Ja Rule and Atkins are a devoted couple. The couple also have three children together: a daughter called Brittany Atkins, and two sons called Jeff Atkins Jr and Jordan Atkins.
10. Patrick Mahomes and Brittany Matthews
Patrick Mahomes, the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback and 2020 Super Bowl champion, has been with his partner Brittany Matthews for a long time. Mahomes has been in a relationship with Matthews since they were schoolmates back in Tyler, Texas. The couple has been together since they were in their teens, as Mahomes shared an Instagram post in March 2020 to celebrate “eight years” with Matthews.
Mahomes proposed in September 2020, sharing the news with his fans with another Instagram post captioned “#RingSZN.” The couple went on to reveal that they were expecting their first child together by uploading a photo of an ultrasound scan. Matthews gave birth to a healthy baby girl, Sterling Skye Mahomes, on 20 February 2021.
9. Steph and Ayesha Curry
Steph and Ayesha Curry both met back when they were teenagers at a church youth group in Charlotte, North Carolina. While they never ‘officially’ dated back then, they did spend time together and talk on the phone to each other. “It was that shy middle school, high school stuff,” she said. “We didn’t talk much.” The two then reconnected after Steph went on a trip to LA to attend the ESPYs in 2008 and sought out Ayesha, who’d moved there to pursue her acting career.
“That was just kinda fate right there, two kids from Charlotte, meeting again in L.A. on a whim,” Steph said in 2016. The two married in 2011. “I was 23; she was 22,” Steph told Parents magazine in 2016. “But I knew I had found the right woman and I wanted to start a life with her.”
8. Thomas Rhett and Lauren Akins
Country singer Thomas Rhett and his wife Lauren Akins have known each other since they were just kids. They didn’t start dating until they were teenagers, when they had a brief relationship which ended not long after it began. The pair then went their separate ways and actually almost both ended up marrying other people. It was actually Akins’ father who intervened, as he was convinced Rhett and Akins were made for each other.
Speaking to CBS, Rhett said: “Her dad called me and said, ‘If you don’t come over here tonight and tell Lauren how you feel about her, then I’m going to tell her how you feel about her.” The threat worked: Akins and Rhett then got together and got married back in 2013 when they were both 22.
7. Heather Morris and Taylor Hubbell
Heather Morris is arguably best-known for her portrayal of ditzy, bisexual cheerleader Brittany S Pierce on Glee. Thankfully, Morris’ real-life love life is a lot less tumultuous than that of her on-screen counterpart’s. Morris began dating her future husband, Taylor Hubbell, back when they were both in college.
The two had first met while attending the same high school in Arizona, but it took a while for love to blossom between them. Morris came to feel so strongly about Hubbell that she admitted in a 2011 interview with Fitness magazine that she would instantly pack in her acting career if it began to impact her relationship. “I want to marry Taylor and have kids with him. I love acting, but if it affects my relationship, then I won’t continue,” she said. The pair married in 2015 and now have two children together.
6. Misha Collins and Victoria Vantoch
Supernatural star Misha Collins has been happily married to his wife Victoria Vantoch since 2001. The pair go back a long way – they first met in high school when Collins was the only boy in one of Vantoch’s English classes. The two are something of a power couple, as Vantoch works as a historian and journalist. Collins is fiercely supportive of his wife and publicly scolded Charlie Sheen on Twitter after he joked that he could have written one of Vantoch’s books “in his sleep.”
It seems that the couple are still going strong, even after 20 years of marriage. The pair have two children together: a son, West Anaximander Collins and a daughter, Maison Marie Collins.
5. Mariano and Clara Rivera
Baseball player Mariano Rivera first met his future wife, Clara, when they were both in elementary school. At first they hit it off as good friends, before they began dating as teenagers in high school. They married in Panama in 1991 and remained there for nine years. Then in 2000, they moved to Westchester County. The couple went on to have three sons: Mariano Jr, Jafet and Janziel.
In 2006, the family moved again, and purchased a 1,200 m2 house in Rye for $5.7 million. As Mariano Jr, Jafet, and Janziel are now grown adults, Clara and Mariano Rivera recently decided to downsize and move home once more. In 2020 they relocated to a new home in White Plains, listing their Rye home for nearly $4 million.
4. Witney Carson and Carson McAllister
You might already know that professional dancer Witney Carson is a regular on Dancing with the Stars. But what you might not have known is that Carson is married to her high school sweetheart, Carson McAllister. Carson and McAllister started dating in their senior year and tied the knot in a three-part ceremony on New Year’s Day in 2016. “She was my dream girl since 7th grade. But she didn’t know I existed until senior year,” McAllister told People in 2016.
“We became really close friends and kinda started dating. From the second I got to know her, I could tell she was the most loving and understanding girl I’d ever met.” It seems as though the couple’s bond has only got stronger since getting married, with the pair welcoming a son called Kevin in January 2021.
3. Clayton Kershaw and Ellen Melson
Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw is one of the best baseball players out there. But he’s not only an accomplished sportsman – he’s also a committed husband to his wife Ellen Melson, too. Kershaw met his future wife when they were teenagers attending Highland Park High School in Dallas. According to an interview with Graham Bensinger in 2013, the pair began dating when they were both in their freshman year.
The two then briefly went their separate ways after leaving college – but the time apart only made them realise how much they meant to each other. “I would say we got closer when she went to college and I started playing professionally,” Clayton told Risen Magazine. “We both kind of figured out stuff on our own. I think that really helped our relationship now.”
2. Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan
Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook while still a student at Harvard – but that wasn’t the only life-changing moment he had as a student. Back in 2003, he met his future wife Priscilla Chan while in the queue for the bathroom at a party. Zuckerberg revealed in his 2017 Harvard commencement speech that he thought he was going to be expelled when he met Chan.
According to the Facebook CEO, his first words to her were: “I’m going to get kicked out in three days, so we need to go on a date quickly.” Chan recalled her first impression of Zuckerberg in an interview with The New Yorker in 2010 “He was this nerdy guy who was just a little bit out there.” The couple married back in 2012 – just one day after Facebook’s IPO – and have since had two children together.
1. Angela Bassett and Courtney B Vance
Hollywood stars Angela Bassett and Courtney B Vance are the very definition of a power couple. The pair first met at Yale’s School of Drama before going their separate ways and embarking on their respective careers. They then crossed paths again in Los Angeles and began dating after reconnecting with each other. Hilariously, Bassett revealed on the Oprah Winfrey Show in 2007 that their first date “wasn’t memorable.”
“He just seemed like a really really nice guy,” she continued. “Which translated as: kinda boring.” Thankfully, their second date was a little more successful and led to the couple tying the knot in 2007.