The hashtag “#relationshipgoals,” usually appended to a picture of an enviable (and enviably famous) couple, has become an inescapable part of social media just in time for Valentine’s Day: Every high-profile relationship, it seems, has someone who looks at it as a model.
And yet some relationships are more #relationshipgoals than others. Hollywood, known for producing news about acrimonious breakups, has also given us several pairings that live on, for various reasons, in the popular imagination. These couples are as enduring, if not more so, than the films or songs they produced — and they give us all something to which to aspire.
Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton
This couple may be better-known for their breakups than the time they spent together; two of Taylor’s eight marriages were to Burton, and both ended in divorce. But when the pair, who starred in several movies together, were together, they were visibly and tempestuously in love, more or less inventing modern tabloid celebrity with their globe-trotting and pleasure-seeking. And, unlike other hyper-famous couples that ended up burning out public interest, Burton and Taylor capture the public imagination to this day.
Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronyn
The couple, best known for appearing in Cocoon together and for her Oscar win for Driving Miss Daisy, did almost everything together in the later stages of their fifty-year marriage, from Broadway plays to the alien comedy Batteries Not Included.
Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy
The pair never married — indeed, Tracy, who did not want to divorce, was estranged from his wife throughout his relationship with Hepburn, a fact that kept the relationship from being remarked-upon. But the pair have entered the realm of Hollywood lore both with their enduring collaborations onscreen and the nature of the pair’s bond, with Hepburn reportedly having nursed Tracy in the final months of his life.
Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman
Newman was one of the biggest stars on earth at his peak, and bucked the playboy image of a Hollywood icon by remaining not merely loyal to his Oscar-winning wife but vocal about it. His line “Why go out for a hamburger when you have steak at home?” has entered the lexicon.
Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks
The pair of actors have become symbols of a particular kind of sedate, adult stardom; Hanks and Wilson are publicly supportive of one another’s endeavors, which include for him higher-profile leading roles than ever and for her a nascent recording career.
Meryl Streep and Don Gummer
This couple, despite her megastardom, live out of the spotlight, having raised four children together. Streep has been vocal about the sense of loss she felt after the death of boyfriend John Cazale, but by all appearances has quietly rebuilt her life in the subsequent decades with Gummer. In her most recent Oscar speech, in 2012, Streep opened her speech with a tribute to Gummer, so that the orchestra would not drown her out: “I want him to know that everything I value most in our lives you’ve given me.”
Beyoncé and Jay Z
The pair are openly supportive of one another’s endeavors, including a joint tour last year and reported joint album coming soon. Whatever happens with that record, there’s a long history of the pair publicly declaring both affection and awe for one another; Beyoncé’s self-titled album, in particular, is a full-length tribute to the power of monogamous love.