| 4.6°C Dublin

Meet the odd couples

For every picture-perfect celebrity couple like Brad and Angelina, there are many more that have made the public do a collective double take. And while some have stood the test of time and defied their critics, many others found the gulf of difference between them too much to overcome.

While models hooking up with playboys is nothing new, Calum Best and Georgia Salpa made for an unusual celebrity pairing. The son of one of the greatest players ever to grace a football pitch, Best has made the most of his playboy image, dating a host of famous and beautiful women along the way. Salpa, on the otherhand, was one of the most in-demand models on the Irish circuit. The pair met on the set of reality TV show Celebrity Salon earlier this year and appeared to spend most of the past six months doing magazine photo shoots. Although their union, apparently on the rocks after Best was linked to DJ Donna Air last weekend, was an unlikely romance, it certainly wasn't the strangest . . .

Shane Warne, the legendary cricketer and womaniser, once reported to have romped with two models and a blow-up doll, was the last person you would have expected to see with the demure Liz Hurley. However, the pair became an item last year and the former Aussie star bowler has since undergone a physical transformation, losing two stone in four months and having his weathered skin sandblasted to a peachy smoothness to rival the glowing complexion of his model/actress girlfriend Hurley.

Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley moved in circles of Hollywood royalty. Her father introduced the pair in 1975 when she was seven and Jackson was 17. But when their quickie marriage in the Dominican Republic became news in 1994, the world didn't know what to make of it.

While Presley was in the middle of a divorce from Danny Keough, Jackson was facing child molestation charges.

Often reported as 'sexually ambiguous', Jackson was accused of staging an elaborate PR stunt. Presley answered the questions on everyone's lips during a TV interview: "Do we have sex? Yes, yes, yes."

Despite a very public smooch on the stage of the 1994 MTV Video Music Awards, during which Jackson proclaimed "And they said it wouldn't last!" the pair filed for divorce 18 months after they wed.

They also said it wouldn't last between Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore, but so far the pair have seen off their detractors. The two met when Moore was 42 and Kutcher 27. As news of their romance broke in 2003, twice-divorced Moore was cast as the cougar who bagged herself a jockish toy-boy.

Six years after their lavish wedding, the pair are the consummate 21st-century couple; their PDAs (public dispays of affection) are played out via Twitter, while Kutcher is known by Moore's three children as 'MOD --my other Dad'.


Elsewhere, Woody Allen became a father figure to Soon Yi Previn when he started dating her adoptive mother, Mia Farrow, in 1979. Previn would have been nine years old at the time. By 1992, however, Farrow had learnt of Allen's affair with her daughter when she entered his apartment and found explicit photos of Previn. When confronted by the press, Allen bluntly responded: "It's real and happily all true."

To call their romance unconventional would have been understating the case. In 1995, the two married in a low-key ceremony. They have adopted two daughters of their own, Benchette and Manzie. And, while the shock of their romance has faded, they remain one of Hollywood's more controversial couples.

There may have been no age difference issue when Julia Roberts met Lyle Lovett in 1993, but still their hook-up raised eyebrows. At the time, Roberts was the undisputed princess of Tinseltown who had been on the arm of many a Hollywood hunk, among them Daniel Day-Lewis, Liam Neeson, Jason Patric and Kiefer Sutherland. Lovett was a low-key country crooner who wasn't blessed with leading man good looks.

They married three weeks after they met. Said Roberts at the time: "I met him and fell in love with him. It was the perfectly correct decision for me at the time."

But when Lovett announced from the stage in 1995 that "no matter how well you may have planned, things don't always come out as you intended", the writing was on the wall for the kooky couple. Sure enough, they divorced two years after they married.

Naturally, the princess-rockstar matching is a time-honoured one; think Axl Rose and Sophie Anderton, or Emma Watson and Razorlight singer Johnny Borrell.

In 2008, teen queen Mandy Moore (27) started dating hipster rock singer Ryan Adams (36) before marrying a year later. They seemed a curious pairing; she was much loved on the teen-flick circuit and had toured with the Backstreet Boys. Adams, meanwhile, was an esteemed singer, producer and poet. However, the couple make for a perfect match.

"I feel very supported and loved and at peace," she says. "My life has reached this really beautiful point where I can look around and go: 'Wow. I'm so lucky.' I got my own little happy ending."


Few romances will ever rival the amount of publicity generated by magician David Copperfield and supermodel Claudia Schiffer. According to PR guru Max Clifford, he initially set up the supermodel with the magician and they ended up falling in love and getting engaged.

"I encouraged Dave and Claudia to get together and I got massive, worldwide coverage out of it, which was good for both of them." The pair were engaged for six years and eventually called it a day in 1999.

As bizarre as these couples seem, they pale in comparison to the one Hollywood couple that proved there is truly no logic in love. When Anna Nicole Smith met billionaire Howard J Marshall at a strip club in Houston in 1991, they began a three-year relationship. Given that she was 26 and he 89 on their wedding day in 1994, it was the collective gasp heard around the world. Perhaps not surprisingly, the relationship -- and ensuing legal woes over his estate -- helped to propel the fledgling actress into the limelight. One thing's for certain; she's not the first and she won't be the last.