This Valentine’s: Five famous love stories

Paul Newman & Joanne Woodward

When Paul Newman married actress Joanne Woodward, it was the start of a legendary show biz marriage that lasted 50 years. But not many people know that their relationship began as an affair while Newman was married with three children.

Paul Newman with wife Joanne Woodward  Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward

Paul Newman: “I don’t like to discuss my marriage, but I will tell you something which may sound corny, but which happens to be true. I have steak at home. Why should I go out for hamburger?”

Joanne Woodward: “Sexiness wears thin after a while and beauty fades, but to be married to a man who makes you laugh every day, ah, now that’s a real treat.”


Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera

Diego Rivera with Wife Frida Kahlo         Self Portrait with Monkey by Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo first met Diego Rivera when she was an art student hoping to get advice on her career from the famous Mexican muralist. Although Rivera was married, a courtship ensued. They wed in 1929 (he was 42, she was 22) much to the disapproval of Frida’s parents, who referred to the couple as “the elephant and the dove”. With volatile tempers and countless infidelities, the marriage was notoriously tumultuous. The couple divorced in 1939 only to remarry a year later, though the second marriage was just as turbulent as the first. Both have long been recognized as important painters who achieved great international popularity during their lifetimes.


John Lennon & Yoko Ono

John Lennon and Yoko Ono During Press Conference

Yoko Ono met John Lennon in 1966 during a preview of Ono’s art exhibition at a London gallery. They began an affair a year later and, after Cynthia Lennon filed for divorce, married in 1969 in Gibraltar. In addition to collaborating on numerous recordings, including Two Virgins and “Give Peace a Chance,” the couple held “Bed-ins for Peace” to protest the Vietnam War. After the Beatles’ breakup, they moved to New York, where their son, Sean Ono Lennon, was born in 1975. Lennon was shot and killed outside their apartment building on December 8, 1980.


George Sand & Chopin

The figure of George Sand looms large over Chopin’s later life. She is as controversial a figure to Chopin lovers today as she was in his lifetime. Was she his vampire or his guardian angel?

Sand was a French Romantic novelist known for behaviour unusual for women at the time. She smoked pipes, wore men’s clothing and openly conducted affairs. She met Chopin in 1836 and from 1838 conducted a relationship with him for ten years, until two years before he died. Much of the composer’s best work was done during those ten years.

Sand’s biographers often see Chopin as a millstone around the neck of an extraordinary and diversely-talented woman. Chopin’s biographers are more likely to depict Sand as responsible, in some way at least, for the early death of the composer by relinquishing her care for him in his last years. This is also, of course, a tacit admission that we have her to thank for keeping him alive for so long and well enough to compose.


Polish Composer Frederick Chopin


David Bowie & Iman

Vanity Fair party for the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival

Just two days before David Bowie succumbed to cancer last year, his wife Iman posted: “Sometimes you will never know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”

It was Bowie’s 69th birthday, and the message seemed like a simple reminder to live life to the fullest. We now know it was Iman’s way of getting ready to say goodbye to the love of her life.

For most, Bowie’s legacy will be his music and his creative genius, but one of the most memorable things about Bowie is how much he loved his wife of more than 23 years.

Bowie once said: “You would think that a rock star being married to a supermodel would be one of the greatest things in the world. It is.”

Pictures: Corbis

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