Friday 19 December 2014

The ultimate power couples

From Taylor and Burton to Brangelina, we're enthralled by power pairings, writes Aisling O'Connor

Actors Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt in the matching his'n'hers tuxedos.
Actors Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt in the matching his'n'hers tuxedos.
David and Victoria Beckham
First lady Michelle Obama and President Barack Obama
Liz Taylor and Richard Burton
Singer Beyonce and rapper Jay Z perform onstage during the 56th GRAMMY Awards
Vegan dabblers, Beyonce and Jay-Z. Photo: Getty
Michelle and Barach Obama
Brad and Angelina

Nothing had a hope of upstaging the arrival of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie at the BAFTA Awards on Sunday. Not the screaming 'LEO!' chant, not Hollywood ingénue Lupita Nyong'o glowing green in Dior, and not Bradley Cooper's hair – or indeed Oprah's.

If there was any thunder to be stolen on that red carpet, Brangelina bagged it in one fell swoop.

Bedecked in his'n'hers tuxedos, the two effortlessly reminded the world why they are the most famous pair on the planet. Such is the magnitude of this power couple that they are both wearing the trousers.

The phenomenon of the power couple has enraptured the public for generations. But in our celebrity-fixated world, it now seems that famous couples are two a penny. However, the marked difference between the 'average' celeb twosome and a power couple rests upon one key factor – bankability.

Individually Brad and Angelina did very well for themselves, taking home solid fees for their fan-stirring on-screen sex appeal. But the genius casting of Hollywood's hunk-next-door and the ultimate Tinseltown bad girl made for a heady concoction on the set of Mr & Mrs Smith back in 2005. The drama bubbled over into real life as Brad's marriage to America's sweetheart, Jennifer Aniston, collapsed and he subsequently shacked up with Angie and her adopted children.

FEA_2014-02-19_LIF_042_30718466_I4.JPG

Brad and Angelina

Soon Brad and Ange had fused into 'Brangelina'. Instead of two becoming one, the new moniker acknowledged that the pair were a hot property adding up to more than the sum of its parts.

Hand-picking endorsements such as Angie's 'St John' and Brad's 'Chanel' campaigns, they used their public profiles to smart effect. Angelina's dedication to humanitarian causes earned her a role as a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, while Brad founded the 'Make It Right Foundation', which financed and constructed homes in the wake of the Hurricane Katrina disaster in New Orleans.

The air of mystique around the inner workings of this relationship – fuelled by rumours of passionate rows – and their commitment to charity and creative arts has maintained Brangelina as a household name nearly 10 years on.

When they first got together, fans were divided into 'Team Jolie' and 'Team Aniston' but the negativity felt by many toward Angelina has dissipated over the years – especially after her openness concerning her double mastectomy.

Time has not really altered the essence of what makes a power couple – from Marie and Pierre Curie winning the Nobel Prize to Brangelina scoring $14m from People magazine for exclusive picture rights to their twins.

New research shows that we are not marrying up or down, we are mating with same socio-economic class. Perhaps we are taking lead from culture's most influential couples.

One thing is for sure, being in a power couple sounds a lot sexier than two becoming one, then getting swallowed by the couch.

Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton

The most turbulent love affair of the 20th Century was without a doubt that of Liz Taylor and Richard Burton. The sex symbol and 'actor's actor' were hot property each in their own right when they fell in love at first sight on the set of Cleopatra (1963).

The couple had 10 explosive years of marriage, marrying twice before divorcing for good in 1976. In that time their extravagant lifestyle enthralled the public – his intense talent and reputation for hard-partying and her beauty and passionate love-affair with fine jewellery.

Irish Independent

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