Better Halves: Celebrities and Their Accomplished Spouses

by Gwendolen Fairfax

Better Halves: Celebrities and Their Accomplished Spouses

Even if they’re not the famous face in their marriages, some celebrity spouses have careers that are every bit as illustrious as their camera-hogging partners’.


When Natalie Portman introduced the world to her fiancé, Benjamin Millepied, the world gave a collective shrug and wondered, “Who?” But for those in the know about the world of professional ballet, Millepied is a household name; he’s a principal dancer at New York City Ballet (one of the country’s most prestigious companies), as well as a choreographer in his own right. Compared to anyone besides the famously accomplished Ms. Portman, he’d be considered the one with the more impressive resume.


Don Gummer
If you’re married to the most Oscar-nominated performer of all time, your career might seem like small change. But Meryl Streep’s husband, Don Gummer, is a celebrity in the art world. His large sculptures, which are often part of large public art installations, are in museums and elegant buildings around the world.


Francois-Henri Pinault
Few things are better than being married to Salma Hayek, but being a billionaire married to Salma Hayek might qualify. Pinault, who is also the father of Hayek’s daughter, Valentina, is the chairman of French holding company PPR, which owns luxury fashion houses like Gucci, Balenciaga, Yves Saint Laurent, Sergio Rossi, and Bottega Veneta, and owns shares of Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney.


Jillian Dempsey
Dempsey isn’t just a celebrity makeup artist who’s done hundreds of magazine cover shoots and created red-carpet looks for dozens of Hollywood’s biggest stars. She’s not just the founder of Delux Beauty or the global creative color director for Avon, where she also has her own eponymous line of luxury beauty products. She’s also the wife of actor Patrick Dempsey, aka Dr. McDreamy on Grey’s Anatomy.


Dario Franchitti
The Scottish-born racecar driver is a well-known star on the IndyCar circuit and has won the series championship twice; he’s also twice won the famous Indianapolis 500. What’s less well-known is that since 2001, he’s been married to actress Ashley Judd.


Ali Hewson
Although she’s more famous for being married to singer Bono, Ali Hewson is a big figure on the international activist circuit; she’s an advocate for fair trade, child laborers’ rights, sweatshop abolition, and Chernobyl victims. She also founded EDUN, an eco-friendly fashion line intended to foster fair trade with workers in the Third World, as well as assisted her husband in raising money and awareness for victims of AIDS and famine in Africa and for Amnesty International.


Andrew Upton
Upton is an Australian playwright and screenwriter. Although his original works and adaptations of classic dramas have won praise from audiences and critics, he’s most famous for the fact he’s Cate Blanchett’s husband. Together, the couple runs the Sydney Theatre Company, which launched the careers of Aussie actors like Hugo Weaving, Toni Collette, and Geoffrey Rush.


Rande Gerber
Mr. Cindy Crawford is more than just arm candy for a supermodel; he’s the owner of one of the most successful and well-known hotel-bar companies in the country. His celebrity-filled Stone Rose and Whiskey Bar chains of lounges are in upscale hotels in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, New Orleans, Atlanta, Boston, Ft. Lauderdale, and other cities.


Some celebrities marry their high school or college sweethearts. Some marry fellow stars. Some marry bartenders, models, financial executives, or plastic surgeons. But these celebrities chose to share their lives with people who have much more to offer the world than just their gorgeous appearances. We can’t help but notice that many of these are long-standing happy relationships, too. Can it be purely a coincidence?


Photo: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic/Getty