You’ve heard about Alexander the Great, Emelia Earhart, Lenin, and George Washington. History is full of individuals that, in one way or another, changed the history of our world. However, sometimes changing history is a team effort, and these are the couples that changed the course of history.
Adam and Eve
Whether you believe in the creationist myth or not – Adam and Eve are pretty much the world’s first power-couple. They, themselves, might not have changed the course of history, but a lot of history was made and changed in their name and prominence in one of the world’s most widely practiced religions.
Cleopatra and Mark Antony (c.30BC)
You know what blows my mind? We’re closer to the time when Cleopatra lived than Cleopatra was to the time when the great pyramids were built. Now that that mind-blowing factoid is out of the way, let’s talk about Cleo and Mark. The relationship between Cleopatra and Mark Antony was crucial to the establishment of the Roman Empire. Before, it was the Roman Republic, but the power vacuum created by the death of Cleo and Mark allowed Octavian to rise to power and turn the tiny republic into one of the world’s largest empires.
Napoleon and Josephine (1795 – 1810)
History is altered with stories of history-altering infidelity and adultery. In the case of Napoleon and Josephine… well, they pretty much set the benchmark for all future relationships of this kind.
Although their relationship started off as a fierce romance, Napoleon’s world-conquering ambitions took him out of France for long periods of time, and in the meantime Josephine began an affair with Hippolyte. Once Napoleon found out, he had a few affairs of his own. However, even after the two of them divorced, Napoleon insisted that his former wife retain her title of Empress of France. A true power-couple move!
Queen Victoria and Prince Albert (1840 – 1861)
After a very long history of British royalty being out of control (through family feuds, fights for power, infidelity, etc.), the marriage of Prince Albert and Queen Victoria brought some order back to the lineage of the royal family. Although the power of the crown would jump back and forth across family branches for centuries before, Queen Victoria was the first to bring back the old tradition of Orderly Queues back to Buckingham palace.
Gertrude Stein and Alice B Toklas (1907–1946)
If you’ve seen Midnight In Paris (the Woody Allen film), you’ll likely know about Gertrude Stein. If you’ve dug deep into the lives of Fitzgerald and Hemingway, you will have likely come across her name as well. Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas had the most mellow life of the 20’s Paris bunch. They just hung out and loved each other, while also being a connecting and driving force in the art and literature of the time.
Bonnie and Clyde (1930–1934)
Not everyone makes a name for themselves by doing good things. Bonnie and Clyde were partners in life and partners in crime. In America of the 1930s they became infamous after a string of robberies and shoot-outs. Although their relationship had a bitter end (they were caught and shot to death), the years they spent together were definitely an absolutely wild ride.
Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King (1951 – 1968)
Long before MLK became who we know him as today, he met Coretta Scott King at university. In their first conversation he said he’d like to marry her. They eventually did get married, and stayed together until MLK’s death. Even though the FBI had records (fake or not – still unclear) of MLK committing adultery, they stayed together and supported each other.
John and Jackie Kennedy (1953-1963)
Both John and Jackie Kennedy brought something special to the positions of President of the United States and First Lady of the United States. Jackie was a reputable journalist for the Washington Times-Herald before she married John and became the First Lady of the United States. In the history of presidents and First Ladies, John and Jackie were the first true power-couple – both equally popular amongst the population, both participating in public works. They were like a less cool (but still incredibly popular) version of Barack and Michelle Obama.
Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera
Like Napoleon and Josephine earlier on the list, Frida and Diego had a very tumultuous relationship. Frida inspired Diego to make some of his most famous pieces of art, and (in his own words) “Freda became the most important fact in my life. And she would continue to be, up to the moment she died…”
John Lennon and Yoko Ono
I think no other couple in history fought so hard and did so much to make “peace” a trend. Both John Lennon and Yoko Ono were artists, and they used their art and their relationship to show their frustration and anger about the Vietnam War, soon becoming two of the most prominent faces in the anti-war movement in America.