6 Famous Marriages in American History

There’s nothing better than feeling inspired by a loving marriage, especially when you’re excitedly planning your own big day. Throughout history, our country has seen so many memorable and swoon-worthy marriages. ‘Tis the season for Hallmark channel movies and happy endings, but take a quick break from binge watching your favorite holiday love story to take in some of these real life tales of romance:

Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King

The marriage of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King is the story of a power couple determined to make the world a better place. Together, Rev. Dr. King and his wife worked to promote a more peaceful world. After Rev. Dr. King’s tragic death, Coretta Scott King continued to work as a preacher and activist. 

The two first met as students in Boston before marrying in Alabama in 1953. From the beginning, the marriage was considered to be progressive for the times. For instance, the vows that Mrs. King spoke at the ceremony did not include the traditionally read promise to “obey” her groom. 

In the midst of their extraordinary dedication to the civil rights movement, Rev. Dr. King and Mrs. King still welcomed four children into their lives: Yolanda, Martin Luther III, Dexter, and Berniece. 

Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson

Break-ups happen left and right in Hollywood, but there are still some marriages that remain even under the pressure of Tinseltown. Film stars Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson married more than 30 years ago in 1988 and are still going strong today. The two met on the set of 2 different productions before sparks flew, but they were quickly unstoppable. Hanks and Wilson have two children together, while Hanks has two additional children from his relationship before Rita Wilson. In 2001, Hanks told Oprah Winfrey, “Our relationship isn’t magic — the way it’s shown in movies. In real life, our connection is as concrete as me sitting here.”

Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash

Another Hollywood marriage that stood the test of time was the marriage of Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash. Anyone who has ever seen the movie Walk the Line can attest to the intensity of this couple’s marriage, but the two stood by each other despite the many problems that surfaced throughout the relationship.

Both performers, Johnny Cash met June Carter after an Elvis Presley concert at the Grand Ole Opry back in the late 1950s. They married in 1968, but only after Johnny Cash finally managed to convince June Carter to marry him. He asked several times! They both had children from previous relationships, but ultimately had one son together, John Carter Cash. Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash both passed away in 2003, leaving behind a fiery legacy of love. 

President John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy

The marriage of John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier remains one of the most iconic marriages in American history. JFK became the 35th American president in 1960 and Jackie Kennedy was instantly adored as a symbol of elegance and grace. The two originally met at a dinner party, and while their relationship was certainly filled with the same secrets and controversies that typically plague political relationships, they stuck together through tough times. The Kennedys lost two of their children in infancy. They had two other children who were under the age of 6 when John F. Kennedy was tragically killed. While theirs is a love story that ended tragically, the marriage of JFK and Jackie Kennedy is still considered to be one of the most iconic in American history. 

Edith Windsor and Thea Spyer 

New York brides Edith Windsor and Thea Spyer were married in 2007 after more than 40 years together. They were in their 70s at the time and excited to finally enjoy the country’s changing views on same sex marriage. 

When Spyer passed away a couple of years after their wedding, Windsor was horrified to receive a bill for hundreds of thousands of dollars in estate taxes. The federal government wasn’t recognizing their marriage, even though the state of New York did. Windsor was brave enough to fight the tax, knowing that her partnership had been as valid and worthy of recognition as any other marriage. Ultimately, the supreme court agreed, carving the pathway toward federal recognition of same sex marriage. Soon, other protections were extended to same sex couples in the country as a result. In 2015, thanks to a lawsuit by grooms James Obergefell and John Arthur of Ohio, it was ruled that same sex marriage should be recognized by all states. 

Herbert Fisher, Sr. and Zelmyra Fisher

Herbert Fisher, Sr. and Zelmyra Fisher held the Guinness World Record for the longest American marriage. In 2011, the year Herbert Fisher, Sr. passed away at 105 years old, the couple had been married for an astounding 84 years. Zelmyra Fisher also died at 105 years old, just two years after her lifelong love. What advice did the couple leave behind for future couples? “Respect, support, and communicate with each other,” the couple shared on Twitter in 2010. “Be faithful, honest, and true. Love each other with all of your heart.” Well said.

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