Celebrity couples are a subject of endless fascination. The relationships unfold under the harsh scrutiny of the public eye, and the high-profile pairings often end in drama and tears. There are many different ways that a celebrity couple can be controversial: from incidents of bad behaviour or even abuse to unanimous public disapproval or public wonderment at an odd pairing.
Not everyone believes we have a right to pry into the love lives of celebrity couples, and questions of the morality surrounding our voyeuristic intrigue have become pressing in 2014 due to the latest phone hacking scandal. When images of celebrities in various states of undress, taken in private and for the benefit of their significant others, were leaked on online forum 4Chan in August of this year, the world was divided. The old arguments arose; celebrities make a living from being in the public eye, and as such they are commoditised, and we have a right to peer into every corner of their lives. On the other side; the universal right to privacy applies across the board, and celebrities should be allowed to balance their work and their private life without compromising one or the other. However you feel about it, though, tales of celebrity couples will continue to sell magazines, make the paparazzi rich and cause endless controversy as long as the concept of 'celebrity' still exists.
There are many controversial celebrity couples hitting headlines in 2014, who have faced public ridicule and backlash for a myriad of reasons. Check out our list below to find out who are the Most Controversial Celebrity Couples of 2014.
5 Lorde and James Lowe
New Zealander Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O'Connor, known as Lorde, went from being an unknown artist to an international superstar after her hit song Royals dominated the airwaves last year. Lorde has gone from strength to strength since, following her chart success with an internationally acclaimed album. She has won multiple awards, including two Grammys and a Brit Award for Best International Solo Female Artist. The thing that drove Lorde’s success, however, was her incredibly young age: Lorde was just 16 when she released her first EP, and was 17 by the time she was a household name.
However, it was her age that led she and her boyfriend, James Lowe, to face a public backlash. Lorde first stepped out with Lowe in 2013, and public reaction was largely negative. At 24, Lowe is eight years her senior. This was not the only controversy the couple have faced. Lowe soon became the subject of a tsunami of online abuse (mainly via Twitter) ranging from racial slurs to superficial insults. While the couple have stayed strong, Lowe has spoken about the online hate campaign against him, stating that these negatives are only a 'small part' of their relationship.
4 Cheryl Fernandez-Versini and Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini
In the early noughties, Cheryl Tweedy became a member of what was soon to become one of the most successful girl groups in British history - Girls Aloud. Known in the industry as Cheryl Cole since her marriage to footballer Ashley Cole, Cheryl recently grabbed the headlines with her new partner Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini.
Fernandez-Versini is a wealthy French restaurateur. Fans were shocked when Cheryl and Jean-Bernard wed after only three months of low-profile dating. Cheryl had previously been in a turbulent relationship with English soccer player Ashley Cole, a relationship that dominated tabloid headlines. Perhaps this is why fans were so shocked - her marriage to Fernandez-Versini was so low-profile, even the ceremony took place in secret. Cheryl confirmed their marriage with a short tweet and has not spoken publicly about their relationship since. “I usually do not discuss my personal life but to stop the speculation I want to share my happy news... Jean-Bernard and I married on 7/7/14. We are very happy and excited to move forward with our lives together.”
3 Kim Kardashian and Kanye West
Kim Kardashian and Kanye West are two of the most well-known celebrities in the world, but it goes without saying that the pair have a vast number of haters out there. While Kanye has faced controversy for his arrogant attitude, Kim has suffered a tirade of online and media abuse for being world famous without any actual credentials. Despite the success of Kim’s reality TV series ‘Keeping Up With The Kardashians’, Kim first became a household name after her role in a sex tape with then-boyfriend Ray J. The vast difference between the couple’s career paths (Kanye, despite his arrogance, is often regarded as the most influential rapper alive today) has become a subject of ridicule. This came to a head when Kim and Kanye graced the cover of Vogue in early 2014. Anna Wintour, Vogue’s editor, had previously stated that Kim would never be allowed to grace the pages of the iconic magazine. After Wintour’s change of heart, however, there was a public backlash against Vogue. Many fans of the magazine claimed that the couple did not represent the haute-couture culture that the magazine represents. Buffy the Vampire Slayer star Sarah Michelle Geller famously stated over Twitter that she was cancelling her Vogue subscription.
2 Lauren Morelli and Samira Wiley
Orange Is The New Black is the Netflix show that stole weeks of our lives; addictive, controversial and gorgeous. The latter two adjectives can also be used to describe the newest high-profile couple in celebrity-land. Lauren Morelli, above right, is a writer on the Netflix show - previously married to a man, she came to terms with her sexuality when writing about a lesbian couple on the show, and filed for divorce from her husband. In September 2014, it emerged that Morelli is dating one of the show's stunning female stars, Samira Wiley. In an essay Morelli wrote for Identities.Mic in May of this year, she revealed she "went through it all on set: I fell in love with a woman, and I watched my life play out on screen".
1 Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Martin
This time last year, Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow were considered one of Hollywood's most stable couples - a safe, if slightly boring, point of certainty in the uncertain world of A-list marriages. JLaw was Hollywood's golden girl, in the midst of a cute and cuddly on-off relationship with charming British co-star Nicholas Hoult. Cut to September 2014. Martin and Paltrow are going through a confusing 'conscious uncoupling' and Paltrow is involved with Glee creator Brad Falchuk, whom she met while working on the show. Jennifer Lawrence has become the victim of a heinous phone hacking scandal, her relationship with Hoult seems to be off once and for all, and she has been consistently linked to Paltrow's (ex?) husband. The story has all the makings of a seriously scandalous Hollywood love affair. However, the rumours - though persistent - are as yet unsubstantiated. It's a safe bet that the paparazzi are hot on the new couple's trail.