Pop culture is chock full of fairy-tale romances — and some of them are even real. Take John Lennon and Yoko Ono, for example. The duo were undeniably meant for each other — regardless of how unusual their relationship might have been. It takes an epic love to break up the greatest band in the history of music. Just kidding — it's not entirely fair to blame the Japanese experimental artist for the demise of The Beatles, though she was responsible for breaking up John's first marriage. John and Yoko's volatile relationship spanned more than 15 years, and though they briefly separated while the superstar romanced personal assistant May Pang, the duo were stronger than ever at the time of John's death on Dec. 8, 1980. In honor of what would have been John's 80th birthday on Oct. 9, 2020, Wonderwall.com is taking a look at more of the entertainment world's most legendary love affairs. Keep reading for more…
Carrie and Big on "Sex and the City"
We dutifully tuned in for six seasons to find out if our favorite fashionista would ever truly win the heart of Mr. Big on the hit HBO series "Sex and the City." Their love story wasn't always sweet — in fact, it was downright frustrating most of the time. But there was something oh-so-relatable about watching Carrie and Big fall in love. While not all of us have been so lucky when it comes to reeling in our real-life Bigs, in the end, Carrie finally got her man. For that, we have mad respect.
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Allie and Noah in "The Notebook"
Has there ever been a sweeter love story than "The Notebook"? We dare you to keep your emotions under control as Noah — played by Ryan Gosling at his absolute hottest — recounts the story of how he overcame incredible odds to win the heart of Rachel McAdams' Allie despite class differences during the 1940s. The catch is that present-day Noah is telling the story to Allie, who has lost the memory of her true love due to Alzheimer's disease. And commence the waterworks!
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Buffy and Angel on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"
Is there a love story more tragic than this "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" tale? Buffy and Angel were the ultimate couple — a selfless teenage girl saddled with protecting the world from the forces of evil who falls in love with a brooding vampire who's been protecting her from afar for years. In Sunnydale, it doesn't get more romantic than that. Of course, as we know, their relationship was doomed — Angel turned into the bloodthirsty Angelus after spending the night with Buffy, and ultimately being together would put more people at risk. They decided to end their romance, even though neither of them actually wanted to. Buffy and Angel forever.
Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton
This movie star might have been married to seven men, but Richard Burton was the only man she married twice. The duo fell in love on the set of their film "Cleopatra" in the early '60s — while they were both married to other people. Their affair became a ceaseless topic of public interest and is often credited with changing the landscape of how the paparazzi cover Hollywood stars. Sadly, despite their passion, Liz and Dick just couldn't make their relationship work. They divorced twice: first in 1974 after a decade together and again in 1976 after less than a year of being back on. "You can't keep clapping a couple of sticks [of dynamite] together without expecting them to blow up," Richard reportedly said of his relationship with Liz after their second split.
Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston
Who could forget the iconic romance between Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt? Brad and Jen, who tied the knot in July 2000, were the ultimate Hollywood golden couple for years. We couldn't get enough of them as they attended award shows together and Brad guest starred on Jen's hit show, "Friends." Unfortunately, as we all know, their marriage didn't last forever. In 2005, Brad and Jen officially split after he fell in love with his "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" co-star Angelina Jolie, whom he went on to marry… and divorce. We're just happy Brad and Jen are on good terms now!
Edward and Bella in "Twilight"
Sure, "human girl falls in love with vampire boy" is one of the oldest stories in the book. But whether you're a Twi-hard or not, you have to admit there's something epic about Edward and Bella's love story — and not just because the actors who portrayed them, Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, fell in love in real life as they were filming "Twilight." How else do you explain the fan mania that surrounded the franchise from 2008 to 2012? He sparkled, she moped, Taylor Lautner bared his abs and the rest is pop culture history.
Jack and Ennis in "Brokeback Mountain"
"Brokeback Mountain" tells the story of two closeted cowboys played by Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger who fall in love in 1960s Wyoming but are prevented from ever truly being together by their desire to adhere to social norms — and their fear of violent homophobia — despite a lifetime of love for one another. We weren't the only ones who were moved by their love story: The film won three Oscars, including best director and best adapted screenplay, at the 2006 Academy Awards.
Ross and Rachel on "Friends"
It took 10 years for Ross and Rachel to face the inevitable truth: that they're totally meant to be together. Through thick and thin — failed marriages, major moves and unexpected pregnancies, including one together! — the duo continually proved that they just couldn't quit each other. The off-and-on couple taught us all the importance of defining what a "break" means and, more importantly, that sometimes the best lovers start as best friends.
Scarlett and Rhett in "Gone With the Wind"
Despite their passion for one another, Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler just couldn't seem to get it together — and that's why "Gone With the Wind" is one of our all-time favorite love stories. By the time Vivien Leigh's vain Scarlett realizes that it's Clark Gable's bad boy Rhett she truly loves, it's too late to heal their broken relationship. When he tells her, "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a d***," we know he means it — and we can't help cheering him on as he stands up to the woman who's been the object of his unrequited love for so long.
Kevin and Winnie on "The Wonder Years"
Childhood pals Kevin Arnold and Winnie Cooper, played by Fred Savage and Danica McKellar, grew up together and fell in love over the course of six seasons on "The Wonder Years." By all accounts, they should have ended up together. But they didn't. In the end, Kevin and Winnie demonstrated a great act of loving by allowing each other to grow independently. (Not everyone marries their high school sweetheart, like Fred's little brother, actor Ben Savage, did on "Boy Meets World" when his Cory Matthews character ended up with Danielle Fishel's Topanga!)
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt
Since they fell in love on the set of "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" in 2004, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie enjoyed a reign as the king and queen of Hollywood until she filed for divorce in 2016. They were more than just ridiculously good looking and successful — they helped the less fortunate, seemed appreciative of their blessings (no complaining about the drawbacks of fame) and managed to live a healthy though somewhat unusual family life. While we were sad to see these two split, we'll always have the memories.
June Carter and Johnny Cash
June Carter and Johnny Cash were close friends — so close that Johnny's first wife, Vivian, cited his longtime friendship with the singer-actress as a reason for their eventual split. Thirteen years after they first grey close, they finally tied the knot in 1968. June is credited with helping the rock legend stay off drugs, though he often relapsed throughout his life. June died on May 15, 2003, and Johnny died less than four months later — some say of a broken heart.
Dawson, Joey and Pacey on "Dawson's Creek"
It was the ultimate teenage love web: Joey loves Dawson but Dawson loves Jen until Joey falls in love with Pacey and then Dawson falls in love with Joey which makes Joey fall in love with Dawson all over again. But who would end up with whom? It took five years to answer that question. Ultimately, it was Pacey who won Joey's heart. "Dawson's Creek" sure set the bar high for our adolescent expectations for love!
Troy and Gabriella in "High School Musical"
Who could have predicted that a Disney Channel musical film would launch the careers of so many stars? But after meeting Troy and Gabriella in the "High School Musical" film series, fans only wanted more of the actors who brought them to life — Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens. From Troy and Gabriella's iconic "Breaking Free" duet to Troy's grand gesture of driving to Stanford from Albuquerque in an effort to convince Gabriella to go to their senior prom, their love was everything. What makes this fictional love story even cuter? The fact that Vanessa and Zac were a couple off screen for quite some time too.
Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy in "Pride and Prejudice"
In Jane Austen's 19th century love story, a stubborn girl of little means slowly falls in love with a rich gentleman, proving that love has no class boundaries. "Pride and Prejudice" has been a favorite of romantics since it was first published in 1813, but we especially adore Joe Wright's 2005 adaptation starring Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen. If happy endings aren't your cup of tea when it comes to epic romances, try another Knightley-Wright collaboration: Their 2012 adaptation of "Anna Karenina" is romantic tragedy at its finest.
Romeo and Juliet
William Shakespeare's 16th-century tragedy provided the template for basically every doomed love story of the past 400 years. But our favorite version of the tale of two star-crossed lovers is Baz Luhrmann's 1996 adaptation, "Romeo + Juliet," starring Claire Danes and Leonardo DiCaprio — and not just because we had the biggest crush ever on Leo back in the mid-'90s.
Ted and the mother on "How I Met Your Mother"
It took us eight seasons to finally meet the titular mother, played by Cristin Milioti, on "How I Met Your Mother," and another season to watch her love story with Josh Radnor's Ted unfold. We knew since 2005 that this moment was coming, and we couldn't wait for Ted to reach his happy ending — though we always knew it would be bittersweet.
Cory and Topanga on "Boy Meets World"
What we love most about these "Boy Meets World" lovebirds? The fact that theirs is a love story years in the making. Cory and Topanga have known each other since they were children and even as kids, it was clear that they would end up together. While they've had their fair share of setbacks throughout their relationship, they've always managed to reconcile and become even stronger in the process. We're still getting emotional thinking about their adorable wedding.
Tom and Summer in "500 Days of Summer"
While it might not necessarily be one of the best known pop culture romances, Tom and Summer's story from "500 Days of Summer" is a standout to us. Theirs was a different kind of love story — they didn't end up together, but their relationship taught them more about themselves than they ever could have imagined. Tom, who was incredibly in love with Summer, eventually let go of their relationship only to realize that she wasn't the one for him. The film, which cautions viewers that it isn't a love story, still manages to teach us so much about love — namely that it's messy and unpredictable but can also be incredibly worthwhile.