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The rules of love are difficult to define, constantly changing, draconian and libertarian at one and the same time, and hard to read through all the steam, but there are common threads which unite generations. Beautiful women fall for ugly men, that’s a common (and if I may say, rather snooty) observation that comes up fairly regularly; relationships that have a lot of velocity often result in a car crash, that’s another one.
And then there’s the showbiz phenomenon (note: not really a phenomenon) of the British husband and his American wife, a transatlantic union which has created some of the most stable marriages in showbiz. And let’s not forget, showbiz is a land where reaching your first anniversary is often grounds for a telegram from the Queen.
So here are five marriages which illustrate this trend rather well:
1: Russell Brand and Katy Perry
For all that he has been to women what Scooby Doo is to dog biscuits, there is something in the relationship between Russell and his wife Katy which seems to bring out a whole new side to his personality. He has spoken honestly about his need to cease his rampant habits and go on a romantic journey with someone special, and clearly she is the one he feels ready to do that with. She, for her part, clearly relishes taking this wayward man under her wing, especially as, in her line of work, a little bit of outrage and moral panic does you no harm at all.
Eternity Points: 3/5
2: Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow
A totally different story, this. Nice guy rocker Chris meets nice girl actress Gwyneth while his band are taking off in the States. They fight to keep their relationship a secret from the press, while growing closer and closer, and eventually getting married. Then they have two children and call one Apple, which is not how you keep the media from commenting on your every move.
Nonetheless, keeping a marriage going while maintaining two parallel careers and raising children is no mean feat. And even though there’s been a lot of speculation to the contrary, this does seem to still be what they are doing.*
Eternity Points: 3.5/5
3: Paul McCartney and Linda Eastman
Another union of mighty talents, as Linda’s recent photography retrospective bears out, this relationship had disaster written all over it from the start. Paul on the rebound from Jane Asher, and falling out with his best friend John, finds new love in Linda, and then proceeds to play keeping up with the John(ses) by inviting her to join his band and tour the world, to the mocking derision of the world’s music press.
That they survived all of this, and thrived, is a testament to the cast iron shield of true love. And if Linda was still with us, you can bet that they would still be together.
Eternity Points: 5/5
4: Elvis Costello and Diana Krall
A tough one to call, this. Elvis has made no secret of the fact that his heart has lead him into some dark situations in the past, and he has not always been the most reliable of husbands.
Nevertheless, these two seem to be making a decent fist of things for now, and again, keeping their parallel careers ticking over, so who knows, this could be the exception that proves the rule.
Update: As you’ll see from the comments below, it’s been pointed out that Diana Krall is Canadian, not American. Which means all bets are officially off. Sorry Elvis!
Eternity Points: 2/5
5: Edward VIII and Mrs Simpson
Ah royal protocol, how you conspire against the forces of true romance. Had there not been a rule about heirs to the throne marrying divorcees, the shape of the British monarchy would be very different indeed. And taking into account Edward VIII’s sympathies towards Germany at the time, it’s arguable that this would also apply to the political shape of Britain itself.
Still, if he did give up the role he was trained to do from birth, just for love and no other reason, well that’s also a wondrous thing. So everyone wins.
Eternity Points: 4/5
*Details correct at time of writing.
The transatlantic match: made in heaven? Tell us here.
See more posts by Fraser McAlpine
Fraser has been writing and broadcasting about music and popular culture for over 15 years, first at the Top of the Pops website, and most recently for the NME, Guardian and MSN. He also wrote BBC Radio 1's Chart Blog and reviews albums for BBC Radio 2.
He is Anglophenia's current resident Brit, blogging about British slang and running around the Mall taking snaps of the crowd at the Royal Wedding, as well as reigniting a childhood passion for classic Doctor Who and cramming as much music in as he can manage.
Fraser invites you to join him on Twitter: @csi_popmusic