Famous relationships that enhanced each other’s life and work
There are many great romances that have been retold throughout history because of their passion and pathos. The sheer scale of their drama is what makes them timeless. How can we forget the lustful longings of Cleopatra and Mark Antony or the fateful frustrations of Napoleon and Josephine? As fiery as their attractions might have been, many of history’s great love stories have ended in tragedy. We’re here to celebrate some of the other great famous relationships from history, the ones that while not ending in tragedy didn’t always catch the eye of Hollywood or end up in history books. These are couples where each partner made the relationship better because of their gifts and sacrifices for each other.
Marie and Pierre Curie
Marie met Pierre Curie working as a chemist and physicist in his lab. Pierre was instantly smitten with Marie and considered her his muse. Although he proposed to her, she initially rejected him. As time went on, Marie’s attachment to Pierre grew stronger, and they eventually married. Together, they would go on to pioneer research in radioactivity, a term which they also created. This work won them the Nobel Prize and made Marie the first woman to ever earn such a distinction. Later, Marie would go on to win a second Nobel Prize, making her the first person to ever do so. Amazingly, the Curie’s daughter, Irene, would go on to win her own Nobel Prize in chemistry with her husband, Frederic Joliet-Curie, in 1935.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning
In 1845, Robert Browning, a struggling poet and playwright, wrote to Elizabeth Barrett, already a widely published and famous poet herself, to express his admiration for her work. After Elizabeth discovered Robert had been repeatedly rejected by countless publishers, she read some of his work and found it to be quite good. She even spoke out publicly on Robert’s behalf, although they’d never met. After months of writing letters, they finally decided to meet and quickly fell in love. Elizabeth’s father was not in favor of the match because at 39, Elizabeth was seven years older than Robert. Together, they stole away to Italy and were married, where Robert’s career flourished. A sickly woman for most of her life, Elizabeth credited Robert’s love for dramatic improvements in her health. The couple remained together until her death in 1861.
Charles and Emma Darwin
Charles Darwin knew his famous treatise Origin of the Species would shake the foundations of institutionalized religion and people’s belief in God, but what he was most concerned about was his wife, Emma. As a devout Christian, she was still his greatest confidant. In fact, it was she who read every draft of the famous book and provided him with careful and objective notes. Although their personal beliefs might have been very different, it was their love and respect for each other and their opposing views that kept them together for life.
Annie Oakley and Frank Butler
A famous sharp shooter, Frank Butler, published an advertisement seeking any other shooter that could beat him in a contest. After he’d defeated a large number of contestants, Phoebe Ann Mosey walked through the door, gun in hand. Originally, Frank balked, but Phoebe ended up beating him. Frank asked Phoebe to join him in his touring act with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. She accepted and performed under the stage name, Annie Oakley. Within a year, Frank and Phoebe were married, and she was America’s first female star.
Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson
When Edward of Wales met American, Wallis Simpson, in 1931, they fell in love very quickly. When Edward’s father died in 1936, he became king of England. Unfortunately, as the new monarch, it was impossible for Edward to marry Wallis because she was divorced. Such an action would have rocked the Church of England, the monarchy, and parliament to its core. Unable to reconcile himself to a life without the woman he loved, Edward abdicated the throne to his brother, George VI. He later married Wallis and moved to France where they lived under the titles of Duke and Duchess of Windsor