LGBT or lesbians, gays, bi-sexual and transgendered communities, have finally begun to make a name for themselves as public figures. This has allowed a good portion of the world to understand that not being straight is and never will be a violation of any law, no one is committing a crime and tolerance is making a comeback in a big way. Fashion designers, actors, musicians, writers and the list goes on and on. When it comes to making an impact, the LGBT community has scratched almost every surface and continues to do so. Knowing how to leave an impact, directors like Ryan Murphy, journalist/lawyers like Harvey Levin, public figures and talk show hosts like Ellen DeGeneres, Portia de Rossi and Neil Patrick Harris continue to use their success as a stepping stone to promote ideas, actions and dreams they believe in. With the help of a loyal partner by their side, they have the support to take society to new heights. Neil Patrick Harris described his experience with being gay as a “long internal journey “in his autobiography cleverly titled, Choose Your Own Autobiography. Named in The Guardian as one of the most successful out gay actors, Harris proves that power comes in all shapes, sizes and sexualities. The list below is 12 of the most successful, powerful and influential LGBT couples to hit Hollywood and beyond; read on.
12. Alan Ball & Peter Macdissi
Writer, director and producer Alan Ball, is known for hit television shows like Six Feet Under and True Blood and is the writer of the cult hit American Beauty. Ball often works with his partner Peter Macdissi, who is an actor for the stage and screen. This powerful duo shines a light on issues affecting the LGBT community by writing it into a script, having a representation of a gay character in one of their many popular shows and being a strong voice in the community. Out Magazine named Ball one of the contenders on their list of 100 most impressive gay men and women, in 2008. There is nothing better then getting recognition for something that you believe in.
11. Ryan Murphy & Brad Falchuk
Okay, so here’s to cheating a little; although not partners in life, they are partners in success. Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk have created some of the best award winning shows to grace our television screens. Glee, American Horror Story and the upcoming Scream Queens, are some of the more popular collaborations. Murphy however, is out and proud and has openly fought for gay and lesbian rights, including one incident where he pens an open letter in response to a Newsweek article “Straight Jacket” that insinuated that gay actors should not play straight roles. “Who cares who you are or who you sleep with — men, women, sheep — frankly, it’s none of our business or concern. The actor with the best audition should get the part.”
10. Rosie O’Donnell & Michelle Rounds
So what do an outspoken actress/talk show host and a corporate headhunter for an IT company have in common? Apparently Starbucks and a Pomeranian. Let’s clarify; Rosie O’Donnell walked into a Starbucks and saw Michelle Rounds in line, holding a cute little Pomeranian. Long story short, she sparked up a conversation and two years later, they are married and new parents. This powerhouse couple is not afraid to be activists for what they believe in, especially when it comes to adoption for same-sex couples. Rosie also co-founded a family friendly cruise line for gay and lesbian parents, called R Family Vacations, that allows gay and lesbian parents to feel comfortable and accepted on their version of a family vacation.
9. Harvey Levin & Andy Mauer
Never the ones to out their personal relationship, Harvey Levin, a former lawyer and genius behind the wildly popular gossip site and entertainment news show TMZ, and Andy Mauer, a chiropractor, formed a strong connection. Mauer always finds a way to support his man in whatever he does, including cheering him on at the 2013 NLG JA fundraiser, as he told his story of coming out and divulged his fears of being rejected. What makes these two so powerful? It’s mainly Harvey, as he has taken entertainment news to new heights. He and his team do it all, photos, writing and television. TMZ is one of the most visited sites for celebrity news, sports and even some political inquiry.
8. Tom Ford & Richard Buckley
Self starter, fashion designer and producer are just some of the words commonly used to describe Tom Ford; the man who everybody wants a suit from. When Tom met Richard Buckley, a magazine editor and confident older man, it was love at first sight; Ford claimed it took him the length of an elevator ride with Buckley to know he was going to marry him. Together, this couple has had a tight grip on the fashion world; Tom has done wonders for the classic gentlemen’s suit (Jay Z even wrote a wrap about him) and Buckley a former editor-in-chief for Vogue Hommes International. Since meeting 27 years ago, the two have fashionably fought together for LGBT rights and even threw a baby into their fabulous lives.
7. Nick Denton & Derrence Washington
The founder of Gawker, Jezebel and Gizmodo, Nick Denton has had a hold on the media for quite some time now. Derrence Washington, an accomplished stage actor and aspiring on screen actor met Denton in 2011, and it’s been bliss ever since. Joining together in a lavish ceremony at the American Museum of Natural History, in the summer of 2014, Denton and Washington are using their marriage as an example of true love coming in all shapes and sizes. Denton has tried in the past to shine a light on gay rights, by profiling gay actors, artists and musicians on his sites. After all, equality comes from all aspects.
6. Scott Rudin & John Barlow
These two are at the top of the theater game. Scott Rudin is a writer and John Barlow is a theater publicist, and the two joined to form one of the best professional duos in a while. Although known as a supposed tyrant to work with, Rudin has produced a number of successful films, including There Will Be Blood, School of Rock, The Royal Tenenbaums and The Firm; His partner Barlow of about 16 years, has had his own triumph in the entertainment world. He is the former part owner of public relations firm Barlow-Hartman, who at one point, represented almost every Broadway show that was making headlines including; The Producers, Gypsy and more recently, Rock of Ages.
5. Ilene Chaiken & LouAnne Brickhouse
Co-creator, writer and producer of The L Word; a show that displayed a true rendition of what it is to be gay, bisexual and straight in Los Angeles, Ilene Chaiken showed society that putting a title on sexuality does not make a difference in who the person is. Partner LouAnne Brickhouse, the former Vice President of Production at Disney, responsible for bringing us films such as Maleficent and The Odd Life of Timothy Green, along with Chaiken, has been dubbed the new American couple by Marie Clair. The magazine referred to both their success and their family, that includes 2 children from Ilene’s previous relationship.
4. Rachel Maddow & Susan Mikula
Rachel Maddow was the first openly gay recipient of the Rhodes scholarship and since then, she has only gone up! MSNBC television host, Maddow is a force to be reckoned with. She is straight up, honest and isn’t afraid to give you the real facts. Rachel’s partner Susan Mikula, an artist and photographer, met Rachel in a “desperate Housewives” situation when she hired her to do some yard work. Fifteen years later and they are still going strong; splitting their time between New York and Massachusetts, Maddow has worked hard to make a name for herself and has been rewarded by appearing on such list like Advocate’s 40 under 40, which covered out media professionals and Out Magazine’s Annual 50 Power List.
3. Anderson Cooper & Ben Maisani
CNN big wig Anderson Cooper broke many hearts when he came out of the closet in 2012; however, he also gained a lot of support and more admirers. You can now commonly see him blissfully roaming the streets on a bike with his significant other Ben Maisani, a gay bar owner who he has been with since 2009. Cooper and Maisani complement one another and since coming out, Cooper has been at the top of his game. On top of challenging political figures on his hit show Anderson 360, he has also been showered in awards from a GLAAD to an Emmy to a Peabody, all while having his devoted partner by his side.
2. Ellen DeGeneres & Portia de Rossi
Current reigning queen of the talk show game, Ellen DeGeneres is a powerhouse, and what powerhouse doesn’t have a bad boo beside them? Portia de Rossi and Ellen look like they get the most fun out of life. Portia, an accomplished actress with hits like Ally McBeal and Arrested Development under her belt; these two do nothing but complement one another. Both advocates and spirited supporters of gay and lesbian rights and back to back award winners, no one can say this couple has ever had a down time. Ellen generously uses her power to give to others, both on and off the silver screen.
1. Neil Patrick Harris & David Burtka
Probably the hippest couple on this list (hence their control of the number one spot), child actor Neil Patrick Harris transitioned quite nicely into the role of Golden Globe and Primetime Emmy winner several times over, for shows like How I Met Your Mother and Glee. Since coming out in 2006 and announcing his marriage to his partner in crime David Burtka, in 2007, the two have gone on to show us that they have probably the cutest family in Hollywood. Better yet, they have gone on to show us that one man CAN do it all. Harris sings, dances, is downright funny and he’s a father with a loving partner; their support for one another inspires tolerance. Besides, who do you know that wins an Emmy for a short guest spot on a TV show? Doogie Howser, MD does it again.
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