Have you seen celebrity couples looking lovey-dovey on the red carpet or in a candid photo and wondered—how much is real affection, how much is acting? Well, with these 10 famous twosomes, we think they’ve really got something! Maybe it’s a burning, lusty love—or a quieter, soul-mate kind of passion, but it all looks like great chemistry to us! See if you agree.
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt
Never mind the rumors about scandals and imminent breakups—there’s no doubt these two have fireworks, and they’ve lasted longer than anyone predicted. Why? Maybe because they’ve got a second layer to back up their very obvious physical connection—the “we-make-each-other-better” bond. Besides their passion for each other, Brad and Angelina share such causes as children’s welfare, gay rights, the rebuilding of New Orleans and more. When they put their wonder-twin star-powers together, they become super-activists—and seem to be more in love than ever.
Pam and Jim from The Office
OK, so they’re not exactly real, but—don’t you just adore them? First he yearned for her, then she mooned over him. TV tradition says their long-awaited hookup should signal that the series goes into a tailspin, but it hasn’t happened. What sets these two apart? Their quippy, smart relationship is based in real friendship. And just because they’re together doesn’t mean they’ve stopped being funny, teasing, and oh-so-slightly mean when Michael is being a total idiot. Anyway, who wouldn’t love a couple adventurous enough to brave Dwight’s creepy bed-and-breakfast? That shows true fortitude.
Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi
These two seem to have that “we just love being around each other!” kind of chemistry. Indeed, Portia de Rossi (who’s perhaps best known for her stint on Ally McBeal) has said the following of meeting Ellen: “That had never happened to me in my life, where I saw somebody and [experienced] all of those things you hear about in songs and read about in poetry. My knees were weak.” The duo can be seen these days looking radiantly happy together—and de Rossi can often be seen in Ellen’s studio audience), just proving that togetherness is what this couple’s chemistry is all about.
President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan
No matter what side of the party line you’re on, you have to agree: They were always the First Couple of PDA, with one White House worker commenting that “they never stopped courting.” Her focus on him was so intense during his speeches and appearances, it was nicknamed “The Gaze.” But it was the publication of his letters to her, I Love You, Ronnie, that really brought home the deep love of the former President for the woman he called “Mommie.” Pair that with the resolve and grace she showed during his long, slow descent into Alzheimer’s, and you’ve got a couple for the ages.
James Carville and Mary Matalin
Hey, it’s an election year, so we had to ask about these two: How the heck do they do it? She’s a Republican homecoming queen who was campaign manager for the first President Bush and top advisor for Dick Cheney. He’s a former Marine “ragin’ Cajun” who did the same for Bill Clinton’s Presidential bid and is still a major figure in left-wing politics. And they’ve stayed married since 1993. The sparks between them show in The War Room, a documentary about the Clinton campaign, as their love blossoms among the campaign rivalries. They claim they never talk about politics at home—could that be the secret? Whatever the case, this is one instance where agreeing to disagree sure didn’t rein in the romance.
Heidi Klum and Seal
Tim Gunn exhorts designers to “make it work” on Project Runway, which Heidi hosts, but this great-looking pair doesn’t seem to have to work at their red-hot relationship at all! Their connection was immediate, complete and irresistible when they saw each other in a hotel lobby. Never mind that she was pregnant with a recent ex’s baby—they had a beach wedding in 2005 and have produced two more babies, with Seal, the singer, taking on the daddy role for all three. When it comes to style, sexiness, and stunning looks, Heidi and Seal have it all—just look at them in red-carpet photos, where they never let go of each other as the flashbulbs pop. Yep. That works.
Nicolas Sarkozy and Carla Bruni
Europe sure knows how to keep people interested in affairs of state! Sarkozy isn’t just the law-and-order loving President of France—he was also very recently divorced when he met his new lady friend. Carla Bruni is a supermodel who’s been linked to Eric Clapton and Mick Jagger as well as some French celebs, and who dumped at least one lovesick man for his then-married grown son. When two sexy dervishes wed, the result is a reality soap opera that plays out daily in the French press. It’s enough to make you drag out your French-English dictionary! But whether you approve or disapprove, it’s clear that these two are just wild about one another.
Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning
The most legendary literary romance is almost forgotten today. But it’s a doozy. Elizabeth Barrett Browning was a poet confined to her bed after a spine injury, writing verses that Robert Browning read. He wrote to her; she wrote back. And from that, an incredible love blossomed. Her overprotective father disapproved of the match, but after two years of epistolary yearnings, Robert married her and whisked her off to Italy, where they had a baby boy and lived happily ever after. Buy the books of their letters and poems to one another and you’ll be a true believer in the literary merits of great chemistry.
David and Victoria Beckham
Love under the spotlights: She’s the only Spice Girl whose real name you still remember, and he’s the Michael Jordan of soccer. Dismiss them as a plastic pair if you want, but we say there’s something between these two that’s fun to watch and always surprising—and always very glamorous. This “It” couple’s fashion choices are chronicled on both sides of the Atlantic, and their pop-cult moniker has entered Cockney lexicon (Posh n’ Becks means “sex,” and Becks n’ Posh means a nosh). Think whatever you like about their fame, but they clearly revel in their camera-ready romance—and their almost-decade-long union and three young sons.
Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward
As classic couples go, this is the gold standard. While higher-profile marriages crashed and burned (sometimes multiple times), Paul and Joanne quietly thrived. You could say it’s because they settled outside of Hollywood, in the rustic splendor of Connecticut, but it’s probably the sexy spark evident between them in photos from their early days (they married in 1958), to their film work together, to their latter-day appearances. In a recent interview, he said their long-lasting love was due to “great impatience tempered by patience. When you have been together this long, sometimes you drive each other nuts, but underneath that is some core of affection and respect.” Sounds like chemistry to us.
Amy Keyishian is a California-based writer whose work has appeared in Cosmopolitan and other national magazines.