UPDATE: If you’re wondering why the images below are now blank, that’s because Kanye West has, once again, deleted his Instagram. Read more here.
Yesterday was Valentine’s Day and Kanye West was one person who evidently found himself on the receiving end of Cupid’s arrow. After removing his entire social media presence back in May 2017, ‘Ye made a most welcome return to Instagram, sharing a photo of his part-cute-part-slightly-underwhelming handcrafted card for wife Kim. (Who knows, maybe he forgot to buy her something and made it at the last minute, pairing it up with a bouquet of flowers from the local gas station?)
But Kanye wasn’t done there. Before people had time to properly react, he then embarked on a posting spree — a nine-hour posting spree, to be exact — saturating the platform with photos of famous couples. Some were iconic (Brangelina), some were sad (Prince Charles and Princess Dianna) and some were WTF (Madonna and Sean Penn? Really?). Eventually, it became apparent that — rather than just inexplicably uploading random photos — his end goal was to turn the feed into a shrine for Kim, highlighting their own status as a modern-day power couple.
By utilizing highly subjective and undeniably nostalgic reasoning, we’ve spent the best part of the day debating Kanye’s 55 couples, eventually arriving at our top 10 favorites in order. Peep them, and let us know if you agree or disagree with the selection below.
10. Paris Hilton & Deryck Whibley
Cast your mind back to 2003: the year where Motorola RAZR cell phones were the shit and people would genuinely wear Von Dutch trucker hats non-ironically. With gross-out teen comedies all the rage, the movies’ accompanying pop-punk scores would soundtrack the lives of Nintendo GameCube-loving, double polo shirt-wearing youths everywhere. This resulted in bands like Yellowcard (*shudder*) and All American Rejects (no comment) blowing up across the globe.
Platinum-selling Canadian rockers Sum 41 were effectively the gold standard, meaning that frontman Deryck Whibley was something of a catch — just ask Paris Hilton, America’s pre-eminent It-girl of the time. The pair dated briefly while the heiress starred on The Simple Life, before unceremoniously breaking it off. When asked by Livewire if he still spoke to Hilton in 2004, Whibley replied, “Uh… no.” Talk about love’s young dream.
9. Jeff Koons & Ilona Staller
You might know him for suspending basketballs in water or building giant inflatable balloon dogs, but back in the late eighties, Jeff Koons’ marriage with pornstar and political activist Ilona Staller, a.k.a. La Cicciolina, was a major talking point.
Allegedly, Koons became obsessed with Staller when he first saw her photograph in a German magazine. After marrying, the pair starred together in Made in Heaven, an art exhibition which saw the artist depict his sexual relationship with his wife, blurring the boundaries between fine art and pornography, and challenging the notions of artistic taste.
The marriage ended in 1994 as Staller wanted to continue to perform as a porn actress while Koons favored monogamy. A messy divorce and legal battle lasting 14 years then ensued. Not that Koons would ever be stuck for cash…
8. Victoria Beckham & David Beckham
For those who grew up outside the U.K. in the ’00s, it can be difficult to appreciate the magnitude of fame enjoyed by the Beckham’s at their peak. She was the pop-conquering, fashion-slaying Spice Girl, while he was the Manchester United and England captain with a penchant for scoring seemingly-impossible goals.
De facto royalty in the eyes of the British media, the pair were only too aware of their reputation when they threw a wedding complete with his-and-her gold thrones at Rowneybury House, aka Beckingham Palace, in 1999.
Despite some hiccups, the Beckham’s marriage is still going strong, with their personal brand estimated to be worth some half a billion. If that’s not reason enough to stick together, what is?
7. Jada Pinkett Smith & Will Smith
“Two tattoos: one read ‘No Apologies,’ The other said ‘Love is Cursed by Monogamy'” raps Kanye West on Watch the Throne track “No Church in the Wild.” If some speculation is to be believed, that’s also a belief held by Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith.
For years, rumors have swirled that the pair enjoy an open marriage, something that neither has made that big deal of ever properly trying to refute. 20 years down the line, however, and Jada and Will are still going as strong as ever. And come on. They also gave us this guy:
6. Madonna & Basquiat
When the vast majority of people find out for the first time that Madonna and Basquiat — yes, that Basquiat — dated for a spell in the early ’80s, their reaction is often the same: “WTF???”
But date they did, in what was rumored to be a brief and fiery affair. Little is known about how both came together, but rumor has it they met while Basquiat was making a name for himself as a graffiti artist on the streets of Lower Manhattan, while Madonna was still trying to break her way into the music industry.
Madge despised the artist’s heroin use, but in an interview with Howard Stern, she spoke of how influential he was on her career. “I remember getting up in the middle of the night and he wouldn’t be in bed lying next to me,” she said. “He’d be standing, painting, at four in the morning, this close to the canvas, in a trance. I was blown away by that, that he worked when he felt moved.”
5. Biggie & Faith Evans
Provided he’s the guy behind lyrics such as “So give me a ho, a bankroll and a bag of weed: I’m guaranteed to fuck her ’til her nose bleed” and “Beating motherfuckers like Ike beat Tina,” Biggie Smalls is hardly the first name that comes to mind when putting a list of all-time great marriages together. Yet, for a short while, the rapper was genuinely enamored with label-mate Faith Evans; the pair allegedly marrying having known each for just nine days.
Despite rumors that Smalls had entered into affairs with fellow artists Lil’ Kim and Charli Baltimore, the couple remained married from 1994 right through until his murder in 1997. They bore one son together, with Evans producing posthumous tribute song “I’ll Be Missing You” with Sean Combs, aka Puff Daddy.
4. Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt
For 12 wonderful years, Brangelina was living evidence that true love was real and Hollywood couples stayed together forever. Sadly, the real-life Mr. and Mrs. Smith would eventually call it quits in 2016, to much global outcry. If you need proof of how invested people were in this relationship, consider the fact that the BBC literally ran an article titled “Brangelina break-up: The world reacts”
Still, we’ll always have the memories, not to mention the countless images of them absolutely slaying the red carpet. If recent reports are to be believed, however, the divorce settlement is becoming increasingly messy, with bills soaring. Contrary to what you’ve heard, in some cases love does cost a thing or two.
3. Winona Ryder & Johnny Depp / Kate Moss & Johnny Depp (tie)
Johnny Depp’s roll call of former lovers is legendary, but arguably his most iconic relationship moments came during the early ’90s when the actor was romantically involved with Winona Ryder and Kate Moss, respectively. How do you choose which couple was the coolest between these two, exactly? You don’t, is the answer, hence why we’ve included both.
Ryder and Depp first dated in the early ’90s when she was 17 and he was 26. At the time, she was the ultimate ’90s kid, while he was… well, Johnny MF’ing Depp. Engaged for three years, famously, Depp got a tattoo reading “Winona Forever” on his arm, which he eventually modified to “Wino Forever” upon their separation. During Depp’s recent divorce case with Amber Heard, Ryder defended her ex after he was accused of being abusive. “He was never, never that way towards me. I only know him as a really good, loving, caring guy who is very, very protective of the people that he loves,” she stated.
When Moss and Depp met in 1994, the age gap was even wider still: he was 31 and she was 20. Rumored to have been a volatile relationship from the get-go, the couple — who will forever remain an example in how to style his and hers leather jackets — split in 1997.
2. Courtney Love & Kurt Cobain
The alternative scene’s immortal king and queen, it’s been said that Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain were Sid and Nancy for the ’90s generation, or the grunge John and Yoko. Engulfed by fame, fortune and drugs, this relationship was always destined to burn out rather than fade away. Tragically, on April 8, 1994, Love would report her husband’s suicide, having shot himself with a 20-gauge shotgun in the greenhouse of his Seattle home.
As is often the case in shocking celebrity deaths, conspiracy theories abound. Many still believe that Love was directly involved in her husband’s demise, while others insinuate she bears the brunt of responsibility for the abundance of heroin in their lives. We’ll never know the full story, but what is beyond evident is that, for a brief time, the union of Nirvana and Hole’s respective bandleaders (plus their baby daughter Frances Bean Cobain) represented the alternative scene’s first family.
1. Michelle Obama & Barack Obama
We’ll be honest: deciding who came first on this list wasn’t even a remotely difficult choice. 100 years from now, when you look up the word “relationship goals” in the dictionary, we’re pretty sure the definition will simply read “Michelle and Barack Obama,” with an accompanying photograph of this:
In an age where things like Donald Trump, global warming and that horrendous door opening robot thing exist, Michelle and Barack Obama are a living reminder that there is some good in the world. “You’re not only my wife and the mother of my children, you’re my best friend. I love your strength, your grace, and your determination,” wrote Obama in a recent birthday post. Finally adding, “And I love you more each day.”
Here’s to a life of happiness and good life together, Barack and Michelle. Excuse us while we go cry.
- Main and Featured Image: John Shearer / MTV / Getty Images