Love and Rock n’ Roll: Iconic Rockstar Couples

There is no question that the rock genre is filled with some of the most extraordinary people who have walked the planet. You will frequently see rockers in relationships with other musicians, and their lifestyle can get pretty crazy. Some couples like Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love or John Lennon and Yoko Ono did more damage than good.

John Lennon, Yoko Ono / Courtney Love, Kurt Cobain / Gavin Rossdale, Gwen Stefani / Meg White, Jack White.

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Although making music is a breeze for these rockstars, dealing with relationships is not their forte, with the pressure of the public and outside forces. Some have made it work, while others have gone their separate ways. Find out what these iconic rockstar couples are like today and how they got their start.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono – Then

When John Lennon met Yoko Ono, his life course changed forever. The two met at a London art gallery in 1966. Lennon was married to Cynthia Lennon at the time, but he was so infatuated with Ono that he divorced his wife. Lennon and Ono started to spend all their free time together, which caused tension between Lennon and his bandmates.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono and May Pang and John Lennon

John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Photo by Bettmann/Getty Images. May Pang and John Lennon. Photo by Art Zelin/Getty Images

Although their relationship wasn’t perfect, they created many films, art pieces, and performances together. Lennon and Ono were deeply involved in each other’s work because they creatively fed off each other. Some people believe she caused the breakup of The Beatles, but they were already on the rocks before Ono came into the picture.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono – Now

In 1973, Ono said she needed a break from Lennon, so she set him up with her assistant May Pang and left for New York. He had an 18-month relationship with Pang until Ono and Lennon reconciled. After they got back together, Ono gave birth to their son Sean Lennon on John’s birthday. They were mostly happy, and Lennon wrote many songs about his love for Ono.

Yoko Ono attends an event.

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Over the next five years of their relationship, Lennon put music on the backburner to raise his son. He returned to music with approval from Ono and released “Double Fantasy” in 1980. The couple was together for 11 years until Lennon’s tragic assassination. Ono continues to pay tribute to her late husband’s legacy with projects and monuments. As a couple, they proved that “love is all you need.”

Paul McCartney and Linda Eastman – Then

After spotting Linda Eastman in 1967 at a club, Paul McCartney was determined to get her attention. He stopped her on her way to the bar and said, “We are going to another club after this. Would you like to join us?” That was his great opening line, and it worked. After their first night together, they didn’t see each other for a year because Eastman went back to the U.S. to care for her daughter.

Paul McCartney and Linda Eastman wear matching outfits.

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While The Beatles were in New York, McCartney and Eastman got together, and he convinced her to come back to England with her daughter. He proposed after dating her for just a year, but they almost didn’t marry because they argued hours before the wedding. Eastman was McCartney’s rock, and despite their ups and downs, they stuck by each other’s sides through tough times.

Paul McCartney and Linda Eastman – Now

When The Beatles broke up, Eastman helped McCartney get out of a very dark place. He once said he doesn’t know what would have happened if she wasn’t by his side. He ended up dedicating his first solo album to her. The pair had three children together, and they were blissfully happy even with the pressure from the public.

Paul McCartney poses with his wife Linda and daughters, Stella, Mary, Heather.

Stella McCartney, Mary McCartney, Heather McCartney. Photo by Daily Express/Getty Images

Sadly, Eastman had breast cancer and passed away in 1988. They spent her final days together in Arizona with their children, and they were by her side when it was her time to go. McCartney cried for almost a year after she passed away because he loved her more than anyone could imagine. Although he is married to someone else, McCartney keeps Eastman’s memory alive for the children.

Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love – Then

When Nirvana was at its peak, Kurt Cobain met Courtney Love. At the time, Cobain was depressed and overwhelmed by the sudden fame. After just a few months of dating, Love became pregnant with their child, and they got married shortly thereafter in Hawaii. The romance was strange, and it didn’t help Cobain’s mental health.

Courtney Love, Kurt Cobain, and baby Frances Bean attend an event.

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After their marriage, Cobain lost his motivation to tour with his band and spiraled into a hole of substance abuse with Love. They drank and did a lot of drugs, but they knew they had to get clean because Love was going to give birth soon. They attended several detox programs but always went back to their vices.

Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love – Now

When their daughter was born, Cobain wanted to quit Nirvana and focus on being a dad. However, his addictions were too strong. The drugs destroyed their marriage, and they only made Cobain’s inner demons stronger. He couldn’t handle the pressures that came with fame, and his wife wasn’t helping.

Frances Bean Cobain and Courtney Love attend an event.

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Love thought about cheating on Cobain, resulting in him taking a handful of pills and ending up in a coma. Cobain recovered but took his life on April 5, 1994, when he was just 27. Many people were devastated by the news, and Love struggled with it for a while. Today, Love and her daughter keep Cobain’s memory alive.

Nancy Spungen and Sid Vicious – Then

Shortly after Sid Vicious joined the Sex Pistols, he met an American girl who would change his life, Nancy Spungen. She was a groupie for another band who had traveled to London, and after the couple met, they were inseparable. The relationship was fueled by sex and heavy drug use.

A portrait of Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen.

Photo by Watal Asanuma/Shinko Music/Getty Images

In 1978, the Pistols traveled to America for a tour with Nancy tagging along. After just eight concerts, the group broke up, so Sid and Nancy moved to London but found their way back to NYC, where the punk scene flourished. At this point, the two were full-blown junkies and quickly spiraling.

Nancy Spungen and Sid Vicious – Now

Nancy and Sid took up residence at the Chelsea Hotel, which was not the greatest place back in the ‘70s. They caused trouble in the hotel, and the former owner moved them to a room next to his office to keep an eye on the couple. Their toxic relationship got even darker, and Sid allegedly beat Nancy with his guitar.

A mugshot of Sid Vicious.

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On October 12, Sid found Nancy in the bathroom bleeding to death from a stab wound to the stomach after a night of people coming in and out of their room. He was arrested and charged for her murder but swore he didn’t do it. Although fingerprints of other people were found in the room, they were never questioned. He died from an overdose after getting out of jail when he was just 21.

Avril Lavigne and Chad Kroeger – Then

In the 2000s, you couldn’t turn on a radio station without hearing Avril Lavigne or Nickelback. In 2012, the tabloids were shocked that Lavigne and Nickelback frontman, Chad Kroeger, had started dating. The two worked together on Lavigne’s fifth album, and they hit it off immediately.

Avril Lavigne and Chad Kroeger walk in the street.

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After just one month of dating, Lavigne and Kroeger got engaged. The couple got married a year later, in the South of France. They couldn’t stop gushing about each other on social media and interviews. Lavigne and Kroeger continued to work together on music, and she wanted to become a mother with him.

Avril Lavigne and Chad Kroeger – Now

Sadly, after just two years of marriage, Lavigne and Kroeger announced their divorce. Despite the separation, they were still best friends. People thought they had the strangest post-divorce relationship because of how close they remained even though they weren’t together.

Chad Kroeger and Avril Lavigne pose together.

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Lavigne says that Kroeger is still like family, and she didn’t expect it to be that way. They have taken each other to award shows and afterparties post-breakup. She still calls him for advice and defends him against internet bullies. It’s probably the best outcome for a divorce, and they each gained a great friend.

Bob Dylan and Joan Baez – Then

When Bob Dylan met Joan Baez in 1961, she had already released her first album and was known as the “Queen of Folk.” When she heard Dylan perform “With God on Our Side,” she said, “I never thought anything so powerful could come out of that little toad.” The pair then began performing together for two years.

Joan Baez and Bob Dylan perform onstage.

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They encouraged each other to engage politically through protest music before their relationship began to fizzle in 1965. Dylan and Baez decided to break up that year, but the two remained close friends and regularly joined each other on stage for duet songs such as “Blowin’ in the Wind.”

Bob Dylan and Joan Baez – Now

Their final performances together were during their 1984 European stadium tour that did not end well. Baez was promised equal pay and the chance to duet with Dylan every night, but those promises were not met. She ended up quitting the tour after an awkward backstage encounter with Dylan.

Joan Baez and Bob Dylan at a press conference.

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Years after the incident, Dylan said he regretted how things ended with Baez. Dylan said he was trying to deal with the madness which had become his career, and she got swept along. He was sad to see the relationship end, and they now have respect and admiration for one another.

Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithful – Then

When Marianne Faithful was just 17 years old, she met Mick Jagger, who was known for his many conquests with women. Rolling Stones’ manager Andrew Loon Oldham noticed Faithful at a party and had Jagger and his bandmates write a song for her. For many, the couple represented everything glamorous about London’s “Swinging Sixties.”

A portrait of Marianne Faithfull and Mick Jagger.

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People thought Faithful was going to be another groupie, but she was much more than that. She and Jagger dated from 1966 to 1970, and their relationship was known to be nothing short of rocky. The pair were known for cheating on each other, and she had one night with Jagger’s bandmate, Keith Richards.

Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithful – Now

After many years of dating on and off, they went separate ways. Faithful said she found her identity beyond Jagger and the drama surrounding their relationship. She said, “I got myself out of that straitjacket I was in during the ‘60s, and I think that’s a great achievement.”

A portrait of Marianne Faithful / A picture of Mick Jagger.

Photo by Dominique Charriau, WireImage, Getty Images / Elisabetta A. Villa, WireImage, Getty Images

It took a long time for her to find herself, but she is proud of herself. It was challenging because her career went into a tailspin following their relationship, and she only made a few appearances for three years. The two now have respect for each other.

Chris Stein and Debbie Harry – Then

There is no denying that Debbie Harry was the hottest woman in the late ‘70s. Many different artists hit on her, but she always had an excuse to turn them down; she was in a relationship with Blondie guitarist Chris Stein. The couple met in 1973 when Stein became the guitarist of the Stilettos, where Harry was one of the singers.

A portrait of Debbie Harry and Chris Stein.

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A year later, Harry, Stein, and a few other bandmates left to form a new group called Blondie. Stein and Harry had a romantic relationship during their time in the band. When Blondie broke up, the couple stayed together while Harry worked on her solo act in 1982.

Chris Stein and Debbie Harry – Now

A year after Harry started her solo career, Stein got sick with an autoimmune disease. Harry decided to take some time off to care for him. Years later, she admitted that they were heavily addicted to drugs when they dated and went to rehab to get clean.

Chris Stein and Debbie Harry speak during an interview.

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In 1989, the pair broke up, but Stein and Harry remained on good terms. She is the godmother of his two daughters, and they continue to perform together. She said, “I love Chris very, very much. He’s got a great sense of humor, a great talent. We were really lucky to meet each other and have this great adventure.”

Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks – Then

Before they joined Fleetwood Mac, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks had been in a relationship for years. The pair met in high school and frequently crossed paths because of their mutual love for music. They reunited years later for the band Fritz and started dating.

A portrait of Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham.

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They had a great relationship at first because it was real love. They released one single together, “Buckingham Nicks,” but it was a flop. She had to work as a waitress to pay their bills until Buckingham got a call from Fleetwood Mac, and he insisted that Nicks join him.

Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks – Now

By the time Fleetwood Mac’s album with Buckingham and Nicks was released, the couple had broken up. Nicks ended the relationship during a recording session for the album “Rumours.” Although their romantic relationship ended, they put the band first and continued to work together for decades.

Stevie Nicks attends an event / Lindsey Buckingham attends an event.

Photo by Dia Dipasupil, FilmMagic, Getty Images / Steve Granitz, Getty Images

However, in 2018, Nicks said she couldn’t work with Buckingham anymore because their tension had built up too much over the years. Nicks had Lindsey fired from the band, and he sued them for what he would have earned on tour. Today the couple no longer speaks to each other.

June Carter and Johnny Cash – Then

With a love story that transcended time, Johnny Cash and June Carter took a long time to realize they were meant for each other. Cash and Carter met backstage at a Carl Smith show (whom she was married to), and Cash was a huge fan of hers. Shortly after, they started touring together with Cash as a backup singer, duet partner, and entertainer.

Johnny Cash and June Carter attend an event.

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By then, she was divorced from Smith but married to another man, and Cash was married to another woman. Eventually, they both divorced their spouses and started dating each other. They fell in love quickly, but Cash struggled with addiction and substance abuse. It was a rough period in his life, but Carter helped him through this time despite struggling with her own addictions.

June Carter and Johnny Cash – Now

Cash proposed to Carter on stage at the London Ice House in 1968 in front of 7,000 people. Together they continued their successful music careers. They shared Grammy awards in 1967 and 1970 in addition to their individual awards. The couple also had a son together in 1970, who would also become a musician.

Johnny Cash, June Carter, and their son perform onstage.

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The couple remained together until they passed away within four months of each other in 2003. On her 65th birthday, Cash said, “You still fascinate and inspire me. You influence me for the better. You’re the object of my desire.” If that isn’t true love, we don’t know what is.

Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa – Then

As two New Jersey natives, Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa ran in similar social circles growing up. They grew up just ten miles away from each other, and Scialfa knew of Springsteen’s bandmates years before she met him. The couple didn’t meet until 1980 in a bar in New Jersey before his career took off.

Patti Scialfa and Bruce Springsteen perform onstage.

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In 1984, Springsteen was planning his “Born in the U.S.A” tour, and Scialfa auditioned to be a backup singer. She became the only female member of the band, and it was apparent to everyone that they had chemistry. However, it took another five years before they got together. In 1990 the couple moved to L.A. and had their first child.

Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa – Now

A year after they had their son, the couple got married and welcomed two more children. After years in L.A., they moved back to New Jersey, where their love story began. The two continue to make music and perform together. It seems like it would be hard for some couples, but they make it look easy.

Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa onstage.

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After three decades of marriage, the couple is going strong. Springsteen and Scialfa find new ways to lean on each other. Springsteen says their relationship has been so successful because Scialfa knows him better than anyone else. She knew what his lifestyle was like from the beginning because she was a musician, and they have a lot of respect for one another.

Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon – Then

If Shanton Miranda had never introduced Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon in 1980, the world may have never had Sonic Youth. Luckily, the couple met, started dating shortly after, and formed their band with Lee Ranaldo. Moore and Gordon are one of the most inspirational musician couples of all time.

Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon attend an event.

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The pair created some of the most pioneering music in the genre. In 1984, Gordon and Moore got married and had a daughter, unlike most other rocker couples. They seemed to have a normal life despite being famous rockstars. They also proved two people could be married in a famous band without tension or band implosion.

Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon – Now

Sadly, in 2011, the couple announced that they were separating. After 27 years of marriage, something stopped working. Many people thought it was due to Moore’s infidelity, but they never said that explicitly. They continued to perform together for a few more shows, but it was uncomfortable.

Kim Gordon attends an event / Thurston Moore attends an event.

Photo by JB Lacroix, Getty Images / Steven Ferdman, Getty Images

Right before their last show, they barely spoke to each other because things had gotten so complicated in their relationship. Moore started a solo career and began touring while Gordon decided to spend time with their daughter before she went off to college. Other members of the band also released solo music.

Sonny Bono and Cher – Then

Cher was just 16 years old when she met Sonny Bono, who was 27 and in the middle of a divorce at the time. At first, their relationship was completely platonic, and Sonny was only attracted to Cher as a friend. However, when they moved in together, it wasn’t long before the dynamics of their relationship changed.

Sonny Bono and Cher are sitting on the couch.

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Just as their romantic relationship began, their career as a singing duo exploded. The pair sang together because Sonny knew Cher could make it as a solo artist, but her stage fright held her back. In 1964, they had a faux “marriage ceremony” but didn’t officially marry until 1969. That same year, they welcomed their first child.

Sonny Bono and Cher – Now

As their career together stalled, their marriage began to fall apart. Sonny was unfaithful, so Cher became involved with the guitarist in their band. Their marriage was just a facade for the sake of the Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour. Finally, in 1974, Sonny filed for separation, and Cher found out most of their money belonged to him.

Cher performs onstage.

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Sonny and Cher’s marriage and friendship disappeared even though they had a child together. When Sonny tragically passed away in a skiing accident, Cher read the eulogy at his funeral. She hoped it would repair all the damage and misconceptions about him. Cher still says that she wouldn’t have become so successful without Sonny.

Jack White and Meg White – Then

Many people think, “but they’re siblings!” However, that’s just what Jack and Meg White wanted you to think. When the White Stripes blew up, Meg and Jack claimed they were a sibling duo, but the two were once married in reality. They met when Jack was in high school, and Meg was working as a waitress.

A band portrait of Meg White and Jack White.

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After dating for a while, the couple got married in 1996, and they both changed their last name to White. It was around that time that they decided to form a band and concocted the brother-sister story. They actually didn’t become popular until after their divorce in 2000.

Jack White and Meg White – Now

Although they divorced, Jack and Meg continued to work together. Even though their marriage was exposed in 2001, they continued to pretend to be siblings. The couple suggested that the lie helped people take them seriously because people care more about the music than the relationship.

Jack White and Meg White smile at the camera.

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After about a decade of performing together, even after their marriage ended, the duo dissolved their band. They both married other people, and it felt like the right time to move on. Meg wasn’t as invested in the band as Jack because he did a lot more than she did.

Josh Homme and Brody Dalle – Then

Josh Homme and Brody Dalle met backstage at a Kyuss concert when she asked if he was in the band. They ended up talking for over an hour, and Homme couldn’t get her out of his head. They didn’t see each other for the next seven years, but when they crossed paths again, sparks flew.

Josh Homme and Brody Dalle attend an event.

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Homme never thought he would get married, but once he met Dalle, he couldn’t live without her. She was his punk rock dream girl, and they were in love. The couple also worked together in the studio on several occasions. The couple finally got married in 2007.

Josh Homme and Brody Dalle – Now

After they got married, Home and Dalle welcomed two children. The duo appeared to be one of the strongest couples in music, collaborating on each other’s music and touring together. For almost 14 years, they were every rocker’s dream couple, but some things don’t last forever.

Josh Homme, Brody Dalle, and their son are standing backstage.

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In 2019, the couple announced they were separating. People were shocked to find out this couple decided to split because they were so strong in public. It just goes to show that no one really knows what is going on behind closed doors.

Nikolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson – Then

After meeting at a Harlem church in 1964, Nikolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson quickly formed a musical partnership. They wrote hits like “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing.” After a few years of being platonic and living together, the couple got married in the early 1970s.

Ashford and Simpson’s publicity shot.

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Simpson was reluctant to marry him because she thought marriage was old-fashioned. She wanted to have a baby first, but they bought two houses instead and tied the knot. They continued to produce, write, and create music. Simpson and Ashford welcomed two daughters during their marriage.

Nikolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson – Now

The Motown duo had a marriage full of love and support. Sadly, Ashford was diagnosed with throat cancer and lost his battle in 2011. Simpson was devastated because she wasn’t used to Ashford not being by her side. After his death, she said, “I’m content to know that the music [we made] is everlasting.”

Nikolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson attend an event.

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Ashford’s legacy was honored after he passed with a HistoryMakers gala. Today, Simpson is 74 years old, and she hasn’t remarried since Ashford passed away a decade ago. She tries to keep his memory alive and often looks back at their highly successful career with fondness.

Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale – Then

Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale met when No Doubt and Bush were on tour with the Goo Goo Dolls in 1995. He threw a party in New Orleans as an excuse to hang out with her. They shared their first kiss that night. In 2002, Rossdale proposed on New Year’s Day after more than six years of dating.

Gavin Rossdale and Gwen Stefani attend an event.

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On September 14, 2002, the pair wed in London, where she wore her iconic pink dress. Their marriage seemed great, but Rossdale made headlines in 2004 when a paternity test revealed that he fathered a child in 1989. Despite this scandal, Rossdale and Stefani welcomed the first of their three children in 2006.

Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale – Now

After their third son was born in 2014, things became rocky between Rossdale and Stefani. There were rumors that he had had an affair with their nanny, but the couple never directly addressed this. In 2015, they filed for divorce. It was hard on both of them.

Gwen Stefani, Gavin Rossdale, and their three children attend an event.

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After the couple divorced, they released a statement that they will continue to co-parent their children. Following their split, Stefani started dating Blake Shelton. Although they have both moved on, Rossdale and Stefani keep things peaceful between them for the sake of their children.

Regine Chassagne and Win Butler – Then

While attending McGill University in Canada, Win Butler met his future wife, Regine Chassagne. A year later, they graduated from school and started dating. The pair co-founded Arcade Fire in 2003, the same year they got married. Their relationship as artists and their love for each other helped the success of the band.

Win Butler and Regine Chassagne attend an event.

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The couple welcomed their first child in 2013, and they continued to make music. The two have endured a lot, with harsh critiques of their music becoming exhausting. However, they have never planned to slow down. Interestingly, the time between their albums is longer because they build a new studio for each record.

Regine Chassagne and Win Butler – Now

Chassagne and Butler are still together, but fans have always feared what would happen to Arcade Fire if they ever ended their marriage. Many duos have tried to work together after a breakup, but the magic usually dies with their relationship.

Regine Chassagne and Win Butler onstage.

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One can only hope that Regine and Win break the curse of celebrity romances and have a lifelong marriage because it seems like everyone is getting divorced. Win credits their successful marriage and band to the fact that they ignore what the press says about their music and personal lives.

Adam Horovitz and Kathleen Hanna – Then

To the public, it seemed like no one could ever take Adam Horovitz of the Beastie Boys. However, when he met Bikini Kill frontwoman Kathleen Hana in 1997, he fell madly in love. The couple started dating shortly after they met and got married nearly a decade after they started dating.

A portrait of Adam Horovitz and Kathleen Hanna.

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When Hanna was diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease, she thought she was dying, but Horovitz was there to help her cope. He put all the pills she needed to take in an organized case, he changed her IV bags, kept the house clean, and cooked every single meal for two years.

Adam Horovitz and Kathleen Hanna – Now

Horovitz stuck by Hanna’s side through all the tough times, including Bikini Kill’s breakup. Hanna decided to form Le Tigre after that, and there was a documentary made about her life. The couple is still married after all this time, and they recently listed some of their properties on the East Coast.

Kathleen Hanna and Adam Horovitz attend an event.

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They split their time between New York and California and enjoy each other’s company. Their relationship hasn’t always been easy, but they make it work regardless of what coast they reside on. They are one of the few successful couples in music to last this long.

PJ Harvey and Nick Cave – Then

Although their relationship was brief, PJ Harvey and Nick Cave’s relationship was iconic. During the mid-1990s, Cave’s drug addiction was spiraling out of control. He said it caused the demise of their short relationship because Harvey gave up on him and his lifestyle.

A portrait of PJ Harvey and Nick Cave.

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After their breakup, Cave was devastated. She called him on the phone to tell him their relationship was over, and he was so shocked that he almost dropped his syringe. The breakup helped him write “The Boatman’s Call.” He struggled with monogamy, and Harvey was too committed to her work for their relationship to last.

PJ Harvey and Nick Cave – Now

It seems like their relationship took a severe toll on Cave because he talked about their breakup for years after it happened. Once he got clean, he spoke about how he still has work to do on himself. It seems like they are no longer in contact with each other, but there was one profound love letter that no one can forget.

Nick Cave attends an event / PJ Harvey performs onstage.

Photo by Jason LaVeris, FilmMagic, Getty Images / Timothy Hiatt, WireImage, Getty Images

In the years that followed their breakup, a love letter circulated on the internet. In it, Cave wrote, “Poly Jean, I love you. I love the texture of your skin, the taste of your saliva, the softness of your ears.” It seems like he was much more invested in the relationship than she was despite his infidelity.