Famous Women Who Broke Tradition in Their Relationships
No two families look alike, but many couples still choose to stay close to social norms when it comes to the choices they make in their relationships. However, there are always a few trailblazing folks who do things their own way to shake things up.
While it can be especially tough for women to make these choices, the truth is that those who make their own rules make space for new and different kinds of families — and that’s a good thing! People should feel free to do what’s right for them, especially when it comes to family life. Regardless of judgment or tradition, these women stayed true to what they felt was right for themselves, and we love them for it.
Zoe Saldana’s husband took her last name.
A lot of famous actresses don’t end up taking their partner’s last name. It makes sense because a name means a lot, especially when it’s how the world has come to know them. But after actress Zoe Saldana wed Marco Perego in 2013, the pair broke with tradition, and he started going by Zoe’s surname.
At first, she tried talking Mr. Saldana out of it, worried that he might catch some flack. But he told his wife that he didn’t “give a ****” what anyone thought.” Now that’s true love, baby.
Kristen Bell wouldn’t marry Dax Shepard until same-sex couples could marry.
Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard are one of Hollywood’s most adorable couples. But they wouldn’t marry until everyone had the right to do it. In a 2012 interview with The Advocate, Bell said she didn’t feel comfortable taking advantage of a right that was denied to some of her best friends.
The following year, the Supreme Court decided that an important portion of the Defense of Marriage Act, which would’ve altered the ability of same-sex couples to marry in much of the U.S., was a no-go. The couple didn’t wait long to celebrate the court’s decision by getting hitched themselves. She proposed to him in a tweet because love is love!
Britney Spears proposed to Kevin Federline after two months of dating.
Who can forget Britney Spears and Kevin Federline’s whirlwind romance? While the couple didn’t make it last, Spears surprised everyone when she proposed to Federline after only a short two-month courtship back in 2004.
Federline reportedly jokingly said “no” at first, then proposed to her just a few minutes later. Unfortunately, the marriage only lasted about two years, but it will live on in our memories forever.
Pink proposed to Carey Hart on the racetrack.
The relationship between Pink and her husband, motocross racer, Carey Hart, has been turbulent over the years. Pink has spoken openly (and written songs) about the challenges of monogamy, and they’ve even taken a couple of lengthy breaks. In addition to their on-again-off-again status, their relationship is nontraditional in another sense — Pink was also the one who did the proposing.
She wrote “Will you marry me? Serious!” on a sign and held it up while Hart was on the racetrack at the Pro 250 class finals in Mammoth, California. Of course, the racer pulled off the track to accept her proposal. While this couple’s love seems to be about as true as it comes, it has been anything but traditional, thanks to Pink being Pink.
Judge Judy proposed to her husband — and let him set the wedding date.
Because, of course, she did. She’s the JUDGE, after all. When the courtroom star, Judith Sheindlin, who is known for her no-nonsense attitude proposed to her husband, Jerry Sheindlin, he probably wasn’t all that shocked, even though it was even more unusual to do in the 1970s.
But judges are fairly accustomed to making important decisions. She also let him pick the day: Flag Day (or June 14). In another odd twist, the two divorced one another in 1990 and then got remarried later that same year. Some couples just really like to play by their own rules!
Drew Barrymore got divorced three times but found a different ‘fairytale ending.’
Actress and free-spirit, Drew Barrymore has had a handful of marriages, but the “Santa Clarita Diet” star remains single at the moment. She was married to Jeremy Thomas, Tom Green and most recently, Will Kopelman, with whom she has two children.
Barrymore has said of her third divorce that she wouldn’t do anything differently, though, and while the ending was sad, she got her own kind of happily ever after. “If that DeLorean time machine pulled up every day, I would do it all over again. After all, I did get my dream. Two healthy girls,” she wrote in an Instagram post.
Goldie Hawn never married Kurt Russell.
Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell are one of Hollywood’s golden couples. But they attribute a lot of their lengthy relationship’s success to the fact that they never married. While they started dating back in 1983, she told People magazine that “monogamy is a very tough order” and that they would likely be divorced by now if they had decided to tie the knot.
Still, that doesn’t mean they aren’t committed. In fact, they seem to define #couplegoals with how deep their love goes. Hawn’s kids have even been known to refer to Russell as their dad. How cute is that?
Oprah never married Stedman Graham, even though they were engaged.
While Oprah and Stedman Graham have famously been dating since 1986, the pair also famously never married. They were briefly engaged in the ’90s but the engagement didn’t stick. Oprah has spoken out about her choice to remain unmarried a handful of times, essentially saying she felt a traditional relationship would hinder her in her goals. “What I realized is, I don’t want to be married because I could not have the life that I created for myself,” she told Shonda Rhimes in an interview.
If anyone knows anything about relationships, it’s probably Oprah. So, more power to this power couple.
Portia de Rossi took Ellen DeGeneres’ last name.
Ellen and Portia are both famous in their own right, but their relationship has its own kind of fame, too. They’re a well-known same-sex couple, particularly because Ellen talks about their love often on her daytime TV show. It seems the two are truly compatible and share so much.
But a little known fact about Ellen and Portia is that they also share their last name, which is less common in Hollywood, especially when both partners are the same sex.
Maggie Gyllenhaal announced her pregnancy and engagement to Peter Sarsgaard at the same time.
For most couples, first comes love, then comes marriage. But Maggie Gyllenhaal has never played by anyone else’s rules.
The indie actress announced her engagement to now-husband, Peter Sarsgaard at the same time she announced her first pregnancy with her daughter, Ramona, in 2006. The pair didn’t marry until a few years later in 2009.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s husband, Marty, stayed home with the kids.
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had a lot to accomplish in her career, and her supportive husband knew that. Ginsburg has said that her and her late husband, Marty, shared housework and the tasks of raising children equally, which, at the time, was definitely not the standard.
More than that, when Ruth’s law career began taking off, around the same time as the women’s movement during the late 1960s, he became the full-time parent so she could focus on work. “Marty realized that what I was doing was very important,” she told a captive audience at Georgetown University.
Gloria Steinem waited until her 60s to get married.
It makes sense that feminist author and journalist Gloria Steinem spent much of her life avoiding marriage. She was famously quoted saying, “The surest way to be alone is to get married,” and often said that marriage was an institution sure to destroy your relationship.
But Steinem, who always does exactly what she wants, changed her mind and surprised everyone when she got married at the age of 66 to David Bale, the father of actor Christian Bale. Sadly, her husband passed away after only three years of marriage.
Susan Sarandon became a single mother at age 38.
Actress Susan Sarandon was diagnosed with endometriosis in 1983 and was told she couldn’t have children. While Sarandon was focused on her career, she found herself unexpectedly pregnant at the age of 38 by Italian film director Franco Amurri, whom she met in Italy.
She said she barely knew him and told Amurri he could be as involved with the baby as he wanted. Sarandon gave birth to her daughter, Eva, before having two sons years later but always considered her surprise baby a blessing.
Gwyneth Paltrow lives only half the week with her new husband.
Gwyneth Paltrow has been married before, then divorced, and even helped us coin the phrase “conscious uncoupling.” So, she may know a thing or two about what a marriage needs or, at the very least, what she needs in a marriage. The star remarried last year to husband, Brad Falchuk and recently revealed that the couple only lives together about half the week.
Part of the reasoning behind this is that both she and her partner have kids from previous marriages, so they are taking their time blending their families. But Paltrow also said she likes doing things her own way and that she wouldn’t change a thing. And honestly? Having a bit of space half the time doesn’t sound that bad.
Elizabeth Taylor got married eight times.
Elizabeth Taylor had many loves in her life, and marriage was definitely one of them.
Even though she was married eight times, two of those were to the same man, Richard Burton (pictured). The two had an epic, yet tumultuous romance that lasted many years. She married him once in 1964. They made several films together, then divorced in 1974. They later married secretly in October 1975 but split up again a year after the ceremony.
Jada Pinkett Smith doesn’t believe in the concept of marriage.
Unlike Elizabeth Taylor, Jada Pinkett Smith plans on never marrying anyone besides Will, but that doesn't mean she believes in the traditional concept of marriage. In fact, the Smiths break a lot of marriage norms, with rumors having long spread that the two have an open relationship (even though it has never been proved).
What is true is that the two have spoken very openly about the struggles in their relationship, saying that in order to stay together they had to nix the idea of marriage altogether. “Will and I have decided to even throw away the concept of marriage,” she said on the series, “Red Table Talk.” “It's a life partnership in the sense that we created a foundation together that we know is for this lifetime.”
Mindy Kaling is a single mother and has no intention of revealing the father of her baby.
Mindy Kaling gave birth to her daughter, Katherine, in December 2017. Throughout the pregnancy, she refused to reveal who the baby's father was, and 1.5 years later, she still has no intention of doing so.
“My feeling is that until I speak to my daughter about that, I’m not going to talk to anyone else about it,” Kaling told The New York Times.
Raising Katherine on her own, Kaling credits motherhood to making her more patient.