The 25 Most Influential Marriages of All Time

The 25 Most Influential Marriages of All Time

Melinda and Bill Gates attend a session at the Congress Center during the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting on January 23, 2015 in Davos. AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
TIME Living The Marriage Book

The pairs who said “I do” and changed the world

The couples on this list are here because, one way or another, they left or are leaving a lasting mark (some, like Homer and Marge Simpson, quite colorful ones). My husband and I have gotten to know these couples very well in the six years we’ve spent researching marriage for a juicy new anthology, The Marriage BookThey are just 25 of the thousands we met—in books, films, photographs, fables—and they’re here because, more than any others, they live in history—or fiction—together. You might ask: What about Bonnie and Clyde? (Never married.) Tracy and Hepburn? (Same.) Vladimir Lenin and…? Christopher Columbus and…? Their spouses may have helped them, but they weren’t essential to their legacies. And plenty of spouses have been a hindrance more than a help: Maybe Einstein might actually have achieved a Unified Theory if he hadn’t seen his wife, Mileva, as “an employee whom I cannot fire.” To be sure, some of the couples on this list did call it quits. But saying “I don’t” doesn’t diminish the influence they had by saying “I do.”