All marriages may mean a commitment to love each other ‘till death do us part,’ but some are undoubtedly more successful than others. High-profile marriages, for example, are notorious for being a firework romance: loud, bright, and lasting only an instance.
Seeing your famous idols break up left and right might leave you feeling down, but look at the bright side – those aren’t the only famous married people around, and you’ll be glad to know that plenty of them last for an incredibly long time.
In this article, we’re going to look at some of the longest-lasting high-profile marriages of the century.
The Longest-Lasting High-Profile Marriages
22 Years – Manny and Jinkee Pacquiao
Starting off the list with some famous names right here in the Philippines, we’ve got Manny and Jinkee Pacquiao.
Manny Pacquiao is currently a Senator of the Philippines, but he is hailed as one of the greatest boxers of all time. He has won championships in 8 divisions – the only one to have done so in history and championed 12 world titles across 4 decades. Jinkee, meanwhile, has been a staunch supporter of his husband’s career since day 1, even while Pacquiao was still a newbie boxer. She is now the Vice-Mayor of Sarangani and has recently launched her own cosmetics line.
Married since 2000, the two have been a wedded couple for about 22 years now, making their relationship one of the longest-lasting high-profile marriages in the country. Their relationship has managed to weather through several problems in the past, including their humble beginnings, the initial disapproval of Manny’s mother Mommy Dionisia to their marriage, and Manny’s particularly rocky phase of vices in his rise to fame.
23 Years – Richard Gomez and Lucy Torres
The household name Richard Gomez is an actor, model, athlete, and politician. He was a fencing gold medalist in the 2005 Southeast Asian Games and a former President of the Philippine Fencing Association. Richard eventually became the mayor of Ormoc City in Leyte in 2016 and was re-elected in 2019.
His prosperous film career began in 1984, earning him the love and adoration of many, including his future wife, Lucy Torres. Lucy is also an actress and politician, having starred in 12 shows and been elected as Representative of the 4th District of Leyte.
But before all that, she was merely a young girl who had the biggest crush on her favorite celebrity. According to Lucy herself, she has loved Richard since she was 12 years old. She first met him in person in 1993, during the shooting of her first TV commercial with him. They were married in 1998, now have one child, Juliana, and are considered to be one of the most high-profile marriages in the country.
Dawn Zulueta has starred in more than 40 films and 28 TV shows. She has also won and been nominated for dozens of awards.
Her husband, Antonio Lagdameo Jr, is a politician and successful businessman. Before his political career, he was employed at Manhattan’s Manufacturers Hanover Trust and National Westminster Bank in New York. He also served at Cambrick Trading in London as a Director and as Vice President of Anflo Management & Investment Corp.
They first met when they were teenagers and eventually formed a romantic relationship as young adults–a classic friends-to-lovers story. The couple was married in 1997 and has shared almost 24 years of marriage. They both have two children, Ayisha Madlen and Jacobo Antonio.
25 Years – Sharon Cuneta and Francis Pangilinan
One of the most successful and prolific actors and musicians in the industry, Sharon Cuneta has released more than 40 albums, hosted more than 10 TV shows, and starred in almost 60 films. She also received dozens of awards and accolades, including being the only actress in the Box Office Hall of Fame.
Sharon first met politician Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan during her brother’s wedding. They started dating in 1994 and married two years later, in1996. Kiko and Sharon have 1 son and 3 daughters, including Sharon’s daughter from her first marriage, KC. The couple has been happily married for about 25 years now.
25 Years – Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie Scott
Moving into the realm of the international, Jeff and McKenzie Bezos were married for 25 years before their union ended in divorce last 2019. The couple met in 1994, before the now-economic giant Amazon was even formed, and got engaged 3 months into the relationship. They got married after another 7 years.
Sadly, after what a Twitter post described as a “long period of exploration and trial separation,” the two parties saw it fit to end their marriage, preferring to continue their separate lives as friends.
News reports have since detailed the division of their assets, properties, and luxury homes, and it looks like MacKenzie isn’t parting ways without her fair share. She married school teacher Dan Jewett just earlier this year, while Bezos himself is in a relationship with TV personality Lauren Sanchez.
Bill and Melinda Gates first met in 1987. Melinda had been recently employed as a product manager at the company. They started dating soon after and married on New Year’s Day in 1994.
Sadly, after 27 years of marriage, the billionaire couple publicly announced their intent to divorce on Twitter last May 4, 2021. Rumors swirled around as to the reason for their divorce, but the official statement only says that they “no longer believe we can grow together as a couple.”
The two are both successful entrepreneurs and revolutionaries. They’re also founders of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – one of the most influential organizations in the world when it comes to philanthropy. Although they’re separating, no changes have been announced on their management of the Foundation. They have already made arrangements for the split of their properties and luxury homes, though.
30 Years – Kelly Preston And John Travolta
Kelly Preston and John Travolta are both well-known names in the entertainment industry. John worked on notable films like Pulp Fiction and Grease. Kelly, meanwhile, was best known for her role in Jerry Maguire. They’re also high-ranking members of the controversial group and self-proclaimed religion, Church of Scientology.
Their marriage has survived various trials, including the loss of their firstborn, Jett, in 2009. Sadly, Kelly Preston died due to stage IV breast cancer in 2020. Their love for each other flourished for 30 years until Kelly’s death and has blessed them with 2 surviving children.
33 Years – Tom and Rita Hanks
Tom Hanks is practically a household name when it comes to movies. Rita, his wife, is a prolific actor in her own right, as well as a producer, songwriter, and singer.
The couple first met in 1981 on the set of Bosom Buddies, a sitcom they were both in. At the time, Tom was still married to his first wife, and Rita was still engaged to her then-fiance. Sparks flew when they met again 3 years later, both of them now single.
They were wed in 1988, which means they’ve been married for 33 years as of 2021. They have two kids together, Chet and Truman.
33 Years – Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick
While both actors are pretty prolific workers who starred in a lot of movies, Kyra Sedgwick is well-known for her role in The Closer, while Kevin Bacon is always remembered as the star of Fox’s The Following.
Sedgwick was not too fond of Bacon at first, allegedly because of his ‘attitude.’ On the other hand, Bacon reminisces that his blustering personality when they first met was probably due to his attraction to the actress.
The couple has been married since September of 1988, which means they’ve been married for almost 33 years now.
33 Years – Michael and Tracy Fox
Both Michael and Tracy Fox are prolific actors. Michael is most well-known for the cult classic film trilogy “Back to the Future,” while Tracy starred in several films such as A Good Sport, Fine Things, and Promised Land.
This celebrity couple did not have a whirlwind romance. Prior to dating, they met on several occasions for work, but it was always the wrong timing. They finally started officially dating in 1987 and married in 1988. Fortunately, the two have stayed strong ever since, despite Micheal’s ongoing battle with Parkinson’s disease.
Philippine Senators Manny and Cynthia Villar have been married for over 46 years. Considered household names in the Philippines, this power couple has been heavily involved in business and politics for decades now. Both are respected Senators and businesspeople in their own right.
They also founded the Villar Group of Companies, which includes Vista Land, one of the largest property developers in the entire country. Brittany, with all its beautifully designed luxury homes, is a subsidiary of Vista Land.
The two first met as classmates at the University of the Philippines Diliman. They were reportedly in a steady relationship 7 years before their marriage, a total bond of 53 years. According to Cynthia, the secret to their marriage is having a simple life and sharing the same interests.
61 Years – John and Elizabeth Gokongwei
This list of successful marriages among high-profile people wouldn’t be complete without this billionaire couple.
It was in 1949 when the then small-time businessman John Gokongwei Jr. first saw Elizabeth Yu. He was 23, she was 15. For him, it was love at first sight. For her, not really. After 4 “grueling” years of courtship that John described as “harder than doing business,” the two became a couple in 1953 and finally married in 1958.
93 and 85 years old, respectively, they both passed away in November 2019, only one week apart from each other – John dying on the 9th of November and Elizabeth on the 16th. They were blessed with 6 children in their 61 years of marriage.
69 Years – Henry and Felicidad Sy
Another inspiring Filipino high-profile couple was Henry and Felicidad Sy. The two are best known for their nationwide chain SM Malls, which has now grown to become a multi-armed corporation that dabbles in a variety of industries, from banking to real estate.
The couple started their love story around 1945 when Felicidad was 16 and Henry was 20. He first saw her as he was biking, and it was love at first sight for the budding entrepreneur.
The pair married in 1950, and their bonds stayed strong until Henry passed away at the age of 94 years old in 2019. Their marriage lasted an impressive span of 69 years, making it one of the longest-lasting high-profile marriages.
Stan Lee has long been regarded by his multitude of fans as a highly talented writer due to his world-acclaimed comics. Although this is certainly praiseworthy, his 69 loyal years of marriage to his wife Joan Boocock is something equally impressive.
Stories say that it was Joan who inspired his creation of Marvel Comics. She apparently suggested that he made more human superheroes with flaws that other people can find relatable. Joan formed the basis of many of Stan’s characters, especially the earlier iterations of the Fantastic Four, and was fondly referred to by fans as “the Marvel Muse.”
In addition to this, Joan has dedicated most of her life in support of her husband’s career and even acted and voice-acted for several versions of Stan’s creations. The entire industry mourned her death in 2017, just as they did with Stan’s death in 2018.
73 Years – Kitty Wells and Johnnie Wright
Country singers of no small renown, this famous old-timey couple makes the list for their long marriage of 73 years. Kitty Wells and Johnnie Wright are two of the most influential singers of the genre, releasing their respective music that impacted and defined the genre for years to come.
Since 1937, the pair has had one of the most high-profile marriages and has managed to surpass innumerable hardship until they died in 2011 and 2012, both of them in their 90s.
79 Years – Irving Benson and Lillian Waldowsky
Finally, the marriage between comedian Irving Benson and his wife, Lillian Waldowsky, holds the record for the longest celebrity marriage at a total of 79 years. The couple was married from 1939 until their deaths in 2016.
Irving Benson was a famous comedian who is regarded as one of the last comics of the burlesque and vaudeville era. He’s had dozens of appearances on “Tonight’s Show” by Johnny Carson and had a running gag with Milton Berle. Through it all, Lillian steadfastly supported his career.
It’s no secret that famous and successful people, in particular, have a reputation for unhappy marriages. But just like any other group, they too have their fair share of golden examples to look up to. From local to international, we see a display of companionship and commitments that span through decades and translate into beautiful high-profile marriages.