Athletes and Hollywood celebrities don’t normally complement each other. They have wildly different careers, different interests, and little in common to chat about. It’s a little like high school – you wouldn’t catch the jocks partying with the drama club.
Yet, it happens. Star athletes and Hollywood celebrities do seem to hang out. They often attend the same parties, and celebrities tend to get seats at games only a few feet from the players. Their world is a mutual admiration society. The celebs are impressed by the athlete’s skills, and the athletes are eager for a taste of Hollywood-level stardom.
So sometimes, athletes and performers date. And sometimes they even marry. These couplings, however, seem doomed to fail. They’ve rarely been successful. Perhaps that’s not surprising, given the explosion of publicity surrounding the merging of two separate, attention-grabbing worlds.
Does it ever work? Take a look at how it worked out for these memorable sports-and-celebrity couples who took the romantic plunge.
15. Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio
A tabloid sensation, this pair were the celebrity power couple of their generation. When they first met in 1952, Joe had retired from baseball and the much-younger Marilyn was still on her way up. Marriage came in 1954 but it didn’t last.
DiMaggio was possessive and violent, while Marilyn didn’t want to be just a wife who catered to the needs of Joe and his baseball buddies. It was all over in under a year and Marilyn moved on to other troubled relationships.
Despite the divorce, DiMaggio and Monroe kept seeing each other over the years. He reportedly had flowers delivered to her grave twice a week till his death in 1999. And his last thoughts were said to have been about Marilyn.
14. Mike Tyson and Robin Givens
The boxing champ and the sitcom star, dubbed Beauty and The Beast, were tabloid gold in the 1980s. They seemed like an odd combo of sophistication and brute strength.
Wed in 1988, their marriage was a mess from almost the beginning. Tyson resented his wife’s spendthrift nature and the interference of his mother-in-law. Givens claimed physical abuse, and detailed her disastrous relationship with Tyson on a Barbara Walters TV special.
It was all over in one year. There was no prenup agreement. Givens claims that she never received a dime from Tyson, though other sources claim she raked in $10 million.
13. Wayne Gretzky and Janet Jones
They were Canadian royalty, and still are. This couple first met in 1984 when Wayne was a guest judge on Dance Fever and Janet was a dancer. They reunited at a Lakers game in 1987, and got hitched the following year. The marriage of the actress, best known for movies like The Flamingo Kid and A Chorus Line, and the hockey superstar was a lavish affair. It was also carried live across Canada.
When Wayne moved to the Los Angeles Kings few months later, Janet was framed by hockey fans as a Yoko Ono character who manipulated the move so that she could pursue her acting career in Hollywood. Instead, she had babies. They couple are still married today, with five kids added to their family.
12. Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries
When TV and tabloid star Kardashian married NBA player Humphries, it wasn’t so much a marriage as a media blitz – and a high-rated, two-part E! special. While Kim has denied her 72 day marriage to Humphries was a publicity stunt, her own publicist said it was (and was sued). Adding fuel to the fire of this rumour, Humphries filed for a marriage annulment based on ‘fraud’. The details of their final separation agreement were never released.
Real or fake, the marriage proved a big ratings hit with viewers. But the public quickly turned on Kim when it all fell apart. She has moved on though – to the even more publicity-friendly Kanye West.
11. Wladimir Klitschko and Hayden Panettiere
This couple are a bit baffling. The 5-foot-2 cheerleader from Heroes dating the 6-foot-6 heavyweight champion – how does that work? They look like Rocky and Bullwinkle walking down the street together (if Bullwinkle worked out a lot).
Panettiere met the Russian boxer in 2009 at a party. And despite a temporary break-up a few years ago, the pair have been together ever since. She even goes to watch him beat the stuffing out of other guys. The two are engaged and had a baby, Kaya, last December.
10. Kaley Cuoco and Ryan Sweeting
Ryan probably doesn’t get recognized on his own too often. The tennis pro has never ranked higher than #60 in the world. But on the arm of his beautiful wife Cuoco, who continues to star on the top-rated The Big Bang Theory, he’s a real tabloid fave.
The couple met in 2013, and married less than six months later. Kaley even took his name, now calling herself Cuoco-Sweeting. There have been many rumors of a child, but none of them have proven to be true. Cuoco told Extra earlier this month that they plan to start a family in a few years. Till then, it’s just tennis and sitcoms.
9. Carrie Underwood and Mike Fisher
The Grammy-winning American Idol singer met then Ottawa Senator back in 2008 when the hockey player showed up at one of her concerts. Hockey players get backstage passes of course.
They hit it off immediately, which is a bit of a surprise. What the heck do the hockey player and the Christian singer have to talk about? Their 2010 wedding was attended by everyone from hockey teammates, to singerTim McGraw, to Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul. They announced last September that they are expecting a child which, if you do the math, should happen anytime soon.
8. Ashley Judd and Dario Franchitti
The sexy movie star was a constant presence at the race track when her driver husband was winning big and winning often over the last decade. They married in 2001 and seemed happily married right up till their separation in 2013.
Truth is, we know very little about their relationship, as the couple had a pact not to talk to the press about their private lives. What a novel idea. Though they have now gone their separate ways, they remain close. Judd was reportedly at Franchitti’s hospital side after a career-ending car crash in 2013. A reconciliation has not yet happened, however.
7. Hilary Duff and Mike Comrie
This month, Duff made it official. She filed divorce papers from former NHLer Comrie, effectively ending their four year marriage. They’d been separated for nearly a year, but Duff had publicly talked about a reconciliation as recently as last fall.
Many tabloids reported the divorce filing followed a wild night on the town for Comrie.
They were a cute couple in their heyday, which began in 2007. They married in 2010 and had a child, Luca, in 2012. Duff is apparently seeking custody of the kid in the divorce. But don’t count them out just yet. Until the papers are signed, anything could happen with this on-off couple.
6. Elisha Cuthbert and Dion Phaneuf
The star of The Girl Next Door and TV’s Happy Endings has always been a hockey fan. She even had a blog on the NHL web site at one time. But Toronto Maple Leaf Phaneuf wasn’t Cuthbert’s first hockey dalliance. She once dated hockey player and bad boy Sean Avery. He got suspended for three games after some crude remarks about ex-girlfriend Cuthbert.
That experience didn’t seem to sour her on hockey players. Her relationship with defenseman Phaneuf began in 2008. Fairly private as a couple, they got married in 2013 on Prince Edward Island, where they have a summer cottage.
5. Dustin Johnson and Paulina Gretzky
Paulina’s mom was also a star who fell for a sportsman – her parents featured at number 13 on this list.
Celebutante Paulina is more famous as a tabloid and Twitter star than for any accomplishments. She first met high-ranked golfer Johnson in 2012, and after seven months they were engaged. But their relationship hasn’t been all smooth. Johnson took some time off last year to deal with personal issues that may have involved his reputation as a partier. Paulina’s dad Wayne Gretzky is said to have suggested Johnson clean up his act.
Last month, Dustin and Paulina welcomed a baby girl, Tatum, into their lives.
4. David and Victoria Beckham
They were the most famous couple in the world when they married in Ireland back in 1999. He was the good-looking British soccer superstar, and she was Posh Spice of the chart-topping Spice Girls. The paparazzi had a field day.
Posh and Beck’s wedding was reported to have cost more than a $1 million, employed 437 people, and featured two golden thrones for the couple to sit on. Despite being in a tabloid fish bowl on both sides of the ocean, David and Victoria are still married, and have four kids to show for it. The odds were very much against them still being together in 2015.
3. Kerry Washington and Nnamdi Asomugha
You wouldn’t think the Scandal star would have any time for a personal life – what with her TV and movie roles and all of them award shows she attends. But she found time to not only marry NFL football star Asomugha in 2013, but have a child (Isabelle) in 2014.
The football cornerback, who played for Oakland and San Francisco, will have lots of time to raise that kid when his wife is on set. He retired in 2013. He’s currently pursuing a career in sports broadcasting and acting. His wife should be able to help him out a little on that front.
2. Shakira and Gerard Pique
She’s the platinum-selling singer/dancer from Colombia whose hips don’t lie. He’s a superstar soccer player with FC Barcelona and the Spanish national team. They met on a 2010 music video set when Shakira was recording her theme song for the World Cup. Wow. A beautiful girl who likes soccer? Gerard must have thought he’d died and gone to heaven.
The relationship didn’t become official until a year later when Shakira tweeted the romantic news to her followers and fans. They have had two children – Sasha and Milan.
1. Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen
No one can claim Giselle was after football quarterback Brady for his money. Bundchen was a hugely successful Victoria Secret’s Model and Vogue Magazine cover model when she met her footballer husband. She is often listed among the most beautiful and most powerful women in the entertainment field. And of course, she dated playboy, Leonardo DiCaprio.
The story goes that Brady and Bundchen met on a blind date in 2006 – though it’s hard to believe that Tom had never seen Gisele’s picture on the cover of every magazine in the world. The pair apparently hit it off and were married in 2009. They have two kids (Ben and Vivian), a stepson (John) and a whole room full of football trophies.
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