Finding love as a celebrity isn’t always easy, but these lucky celebrities were way ahead of the curve. While childhood romances rarely make it to the altar, there are those rare occasions when they do. Then there are the rarest relationships that make it past the altar and all the way through the rise to fame.
Even if these relationships fizzle out after a few years, it’s still an accomplishment. Many fans may not realize that their favorite celebrity has been coupled up since before learning how to drive. From meeting at teen clubs and college parties to meet-cute encounters at football games, these celebrity love stories will leave you weak in the knees.
Let’s check out all of the Hollywood stars who married their high school or college sweethearts!
LeBron James & Savannah Brinson
Basketball legend LeBron James can shoot his shot both on and off the court. While he first met his wife Savannah Brinson when they were both in high school, it wasn’t exactly love at first sight. The now-married couple attended rival schools, so there was a bit of animosity in the air at first. Savannah was a cheerleader and a softball player, while Lebron was an up-and-coming basketball player.
One day Lebron asked Savannah out for dinner at Outback Steakhouse, and she agreed to go with him. But it wasn’t until LeBron called her to return her leftovers that Savannah knew something was brewing between the two. “I’d totally forgotten about them, and he brought them to me,” she told Harper’s Bazaar. “I think he just wanted another excuse to come and see me.”
Paula Patton & Robin Thicke
Many people assume that Paula Patton and Robin Thicke met after reaching celebrity status, but the pair actually met at an all-age dance club when they were 15 and 14 years old. “I knew she was special the night I met her,” Robin later admitted. The singer showed off his moves while singing Stevie Wonder’s Jungle Fever, and the rest is history.
Well, that is, until they got divorced in 2015. After Robin’s success with his controversial hit Blurred Lines, and an even racier performance with Miley Cyrus at the MTV Video Music Awards, things started to fall apart. A photo of Robin with another woman soon surfaced, cheating rumors began to circulate, and the couple finally called it quits in February 2014.
Mariano Rivera & Clara Rivera
Mariano Rivera has a lot to be thankful for. Not only does he have a successful baseball career under his belt, but he has also found everlasting love with Clara Rivera, whom he met in elementary school. While the pair started out as just friends, they began to date when they got older. They married in 1991 and later moved from their native Panama to New York in 2000.
While Mariano and Clara share a seemingly happy marriage, there’s a lot that goes on behind closed doors. In 2014, Mariano admitted to cheating on Clara on multiple occasions, and he has even fathered two kids out of wedlock. In 2019, the mother of these children sued Mariano for not paying child support. Clara, however, stood by her husband the entire time.
Russell Wilson & Ashton Meem Wilson
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson may have just welcomed his third child with singer Ciara, but before starting a family with the love of his life, Russell was actually married to his high school sweetheart. Russell met Ashton Meem Wilson in high school in 2006, and then again at a summer party. The pair started dating soon after and married at the beginning of 2012. Sadly, the couple announced their split after two years of marriage.
Rumors soon surfaced that Ashton cheated on the quarterback with his then-teammate, Golden Tate. However, Golden denied rumors that he had any part in the breakdown of his friend’s marriage. “That is laughable for anyone who knows us. Russell and I were good friends when I was in Seattle, on and off the field –he knows the rumors about me were unfounded, damaging to my reputation, and an attack on my character,” Golden told reporters.
Snoop Dogg & Shante Taylor
Remaining a committed couple despite fame and media scrutiny is no easy task. However, rapper Snoop Dogg and his wife Shante Taylor have managed to stay together through thick and thin. The couple first met in high school and have remained together during Snoop’s rise to fame, but not without controversy.
After seven years of marriage, Snoop filed for divorce, but they somehow managed to work out their differences. The couple even renewed their wedding vows in 2008. Snoop and Shante have three kids together: sons Corde and Cordell, and daughter Cori. The rapper also has a fourth child, Julian, whom he fathered out of wedlock in 1998. Regardless of their ups and downs, Snoop and Shante are as strong as ever.
Jon Bon Jovi & Dorothea Hurley
While teenage girls all over the world were in love with ‘80s heartthrob, Jon Bon Jovi, he was already taken. Bon Jovi and his wife, Dorothea Hurley, met in high school, but the brunette was actually dating his friend at the time. The couple soon started dating and eventually got married in Las Vegas in 1989.
While his marriage upset many fans, Bon Jovi knew what he wanted and never changed his mind. The couple has been together for over thirty years and have four children together. “She’s the glue,” he told TODAY. “I’m the crazy visionary with all kinds of things flying, and the seams are all splitting. She’s the one following me with the glue and the thread and needle, keeping it all together.”
LL Cool J & Simone Smith
Rapper LL Cool J, who was born James Todd Smith, met his wife just after high school. “I was just 19, something like that,” the rapper said during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live. “It was Easter, and I was driving down the block in my mother’s car.” When the hip-hop star saw a friend, he slowed down his car to say hello. The friend offered to introduce LL Cool J to his cousin, and the rest was history.
The couple dated for eight years before saying “I do” in 1995. In 2004, Simone was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer and had to undergo invasive surgery. While this experience could have torn their relationship apart, the couple told Oprah in an interview that it actually strengthened their marriage.
Elizabeth Banks & Max Handelman
Actress Elizabeth Banks is best known for her role as Effie Trinket from the Hunger Games movies, but to her husband, she’s his other half. The actress met Max Handelman in 1992 on her very first day of college at the University of Pennsylvania. The couple wed in 2003 after Elizabeth partially finished converting to Judaism.
The couple welcomed two children via surrogate, Felix and Magnus, and are still together today. “Twenty-seven years. It’s the thing I’m most proud of,” Elizabeth told reporters at the Huffington Post. “I do think people grow together, or they grow apart. We definitely grew together. We were constantly making decisions that kept us close.”
Sasha Pieterse & Hudson Sheaffer
Despite the seven-year age difference, actress Sasha Pieterse has been with her husband Hudson Sheaffer for years. Neither she nor her husband has spoken publicly about how they met, but it’s speculated that they met through mutual friends during Sasha’s teen years.
“He’s incredible,” she told People Magazine while competing on Dancing with the Stars in 2017. “I’ve known him for so long, and it’s so incredible having someone like that supporting you and knowing without a doubt that they are going to be there no matter what happens.” Sasha is now pregnant with the couple’s first child and is expected to give birth in October 2020. Congrats to the happy couple!
Joey Fatone & Kelly Baldwin
Before joining what is undoubtedly the most successful boyband of the ‘90s (sorry all of you Backstreet fans out there), Joey Fatone was just your average high school kid. He met his now ex-wife Kelly Baldwin in 1993 while the two were in high school.
The teens dated for two years, but when Joey joined NSYNC, the couple experienced a rough patch. Joey and Kelly dated on-and-off until Kelly became pregnant with the couple’s first child in 2000. After the birth of their daughter and the release of NSYNC’s second album, No Strings Attached, Joey proposed, and the couple wed in 2004. While Joey and Kelly welcomed their second child in 2010, the couple quietly separated in 2014 and officially filed for divorce in 2019.
Jeff Daniels & Kathleen Treado
Funnyman Jeff Daniels has been married to his college sweetheart, Kathleen Rosemary Treado, for the past 40 years. The couple met while studying at Central Michigan University, but actually grew up in the same town in Michigan. They wed in 1979 before welcoming their three children: Ben, Lucas, and Nellie.
Although Jeff hit it big in Hollywood, it was important for him to give his children a normal upbringing. In the late 1980s, Jeff and Kathleen moved their family back to Chelsea, Michigan. “It was a very dramatic move in 1986 to move to Michigan, but that was to keep the family number one. And that worked,” Jeff told People Magazine. Well, it paid off because Jeff and his wife are still together.
Heather Morris & Taylor Hubbell
Glee alumna, Heather Morris, definitely has a love story that singles today can relate to. Heather and her now-husband went to the same high school in Arizona, but never crossed paths. It wasn’t until Heather moved to Los Angeles that Taylor sent her a message on her social media account. The pair hit it off and soon started dating.
In a 2011 interview, Heather said, “I want to marry him so bad. That’s what I really care about. I want to marry Taylor and have kids with him. I love acting, but if it affects my relationship, then I won’t continue doing it.” Well, Heather got her wish. The couple wed in 2015 after the birth of their first child, Elijah.
Ja Rule & Aisha Atkins
Rapper Ja Rule’s career may have had its ups and downs throughout the years, but he’s always had one constant in his life: his high school sweetheart Aisha Atkins. A few years after graduation, the couple threw a fabulous ‘40s gangster-themed wedding, complete with champagne, cigars, and great music.
The pair have three children together: Brittney, Jeffery Jr., and Jordan. They reportedly follow a “new parenting style” at their New Jersey home, which means that the couple doesn’t enforce many rules with their kids and are very open with one another. Despite everything Ja Rule has gone through over the past few years, including going to prison and co-founding the notoriously fraudulent Frye Festival, she stayed by his side.
Jack & Kim Johnson
The year was 1993, and singer-songwriter Jack Johnson was sitting with a friend in the dining room at UC Santa Barbara. Just as he lifted up his head, a girl named Kim walked past him. Jack said that the two made eye contact so intense that she sat down next to him, and the rest is history.
The pair wed in July 2000 and currently live on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii. Although the couple refuses to release any information regarding their children, it is known that they have three children: two boys and a girl. Jack and Kim are dedicated to their charity work and have opened up a couple of foundations that promote environmental, music, and art education. You go, guys!
Sofia Vergara & Joe Gonzalez
Modern Family actress Sofia Vergara may be happily married now to True Blood hunk Joe Manganiello, but this isn’t her first marriage. The Colombian-born star married her first husband and high school sweetheart, Joe Gonzalez, when she was only 18 years old. While Sofia and Gonzalez share one son together, the pair divorced in 1993 after only two years of marriage.
Much like her character Gloria on Modern Family, Sofia and her son moved to the United States, where she was a working single mom. In 2014, Sofia was engaged to marry businessman and socialite, Nick Loeb, but the White House Correspondents’ Dinner that year changed everything. Her now-husband Joe was in attendance, and the two crossed paths. The pair have been together ever since.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus & Brad Hall
As the story goes, actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus met her husband, Brad Hall, at Northwestern University. The actress joined a theatre group called the “Practical Theatre Company,” which was co-founded by Brad. “He looked like Björn Borg or something,” Julia said in an interview with Good Housekeeping magazine.
“I remember thinking early on that this was the guy for me, but I didn’t dare tell anyone, for fear they would say, ‘That’s ridiculous. You’re so young, you don’t know what you’re talking about.’ So I kept that little secret close to my heart.” Saturday Night Live discovered the two budding actors and hired Julia and Brad in 1982. While Julia enjoyed working with her husband, she didn’t think that she fit in well on set and quit after two seasons.
Ron Howard & Cheryl Alley
Ron Howard is one of the most successful child stars in Hollywood. The critically acclaimed director first met his wife Cheryl at John Burroughs High School in Burbank, California. “I met her, and there was never anybody else,” Ron said in an interview with People Magazine. The couple, who have been together for over four decades, say that the secret to their long-lasting relationship is communication.
While Hollywood usually drives couples apart, Ron says that they are now stronger than ever. “She’s unbelievably supportive and always has been,” Ron said. “Our compatibility has endured through all kinds of experiences.” The pair have four children, including Jurassic Park actress, Bryce Dallas Howard, and five grandkids.
Bono & Ali Stewart
The international superstar may be known as Bono, but he met his wife when he was plainly known as Paul Hewson. The U2 singer met Ali Stewart at Mount Temple Comprehensive School in Ireland when Bono was 13 years old, and Ali was 12. “He worked very hard at being the heartthrob. He came up to me within the first day and asked, did I know where his class should be going?” Ali told Dublin Live.
Although she thought he was trying too hard to be a lady’s man, she knew a few days later that he was the one for her. “I remember that on the fourth day at school, I saw him walking across the courtyard, and it was bing. That is the guy for me,” she said. “But we waited until we were 15 before we actually started going out.”
Samuel L. Jackson & LaTanya Richardson
Pulp Fiction star Samuel Jackson met his wife LaTanya Richardson in 1970 while the two were studying at colleges that were close to one another. While the couple has been happily married for almost 50 years, LaTanya said it wasn’t exactly love at first sight. She told CBS News that she thought Samuel was “flamboyant, self-involved, and emotionally detached.”
Luckily for the pair, the first impression Samuel made didn’t last, and the two fell in love. The couple wed in 1980, and while their married life wasn’t always smooth, overcoming their troubles has brought the Samuel and LaTanya closer together. “Oh, God, oh, God. It’s a ride. It’s been a ride. It’s fun. It’s sad. It’s happy. It’s creative. It’s a conversation,” the actor’s wife said.
Eli Manning & Abby McGrew
NFL quarterback Eli Manning met his wife Abby McGrew while the two attended school at the University of Mississippi. Eli proposed to his fashion designer girlfriend in 2007, and the two were married after the upset victory in Super Bowl XLII the following year.
The couple wed in front of 60 of their close family and friends at the One & Only Palmilla, which is a resort along the Sea of Cortez in Mexico. Eli and Abby have four kids together (three daughters and a son) and currently reside in New Jersey. Abby and the couple’s children were frequently seen at Eli’s football games and were present during his retirement ceremony in 2020.
Rainn Wilson & Holiday Reinhorn
Rainn Wilson, who is better known to fans as Dwight Schrute from The Office, met his wife Holiday Reinhorn while attending the University of Washington. The pair both attended an acting class, fell in love, and have been together ever since. Rainn and Holiday wed in 1995 on Washington’s Kalama River.
The nuptials were, of course, unconventional. The bride arrived at the ceremony on a raft covered in flowers, and guests ended the night by jumping into the river. “It was a pretty glorious event and looking back on it, I wouldn’t change a thing,” Rainn wrote in his memoir The Bassoon King. “It was a bizarre and profound expression of our love. And a hell of a lot of fun.”
Mark Zuckerberg & Priscilla Chan
Before Mark Zuckerberg famously dropped out of Harvard in 2004, he was almost expelled. But it worked out for the best because that’s how he met his future wife, Priscilla Chan. “I had just launched this prank website Facemash, and the ad board wanted to ‘see me.’ Everyone thought I was going to get kicked out,” Mark said in his 2017 commencement speech at Harvard.
His friends even threw him a going-away party that ended up being more much more memorable that Mark could have imagined. While waiting in line for the bathroom, he met Priscilla. “In what must be one of the all-time most romantic lines, I said, ’I’m going to get kicked out in three days, so we need to go on a date quickly,” Mark said in an interview with the Today Show.
Eminem & Kimberly Anne Scott
Eminem’s tumultuous relationship with his ex-wife Kim Scott has been well documented throughout his career. The former couple met at a house party when they were both young teenagers. Soon after, Eminem and Kim decided to run away together, only to be brought back by Eminem’s mother. While their relationship started off happy, things went downhill pretty quickly.
The on-again, off-again couple went through financial troubles that went along with living in a poverty-stricken neighborhood in Detroit. The couple officially ended their marriage in 2001, after Kim attempted suicide after the release of Eminem’s song, Kim. The couple, however, got back together in 2006, only to divorce again later that year. Although their relationship is over, the former flames share a daughter together, Hailie Jade Scott, who was born in December 1995.
Anthony Mackie & Sheletta Chapital
Avenger’s actor Anthony Mackie met his now ex-wife Sheletta Chapital while the two were in elementary school. During a 2015 interview on The Late Late Show with James Corden, Anthony explained, “I met my wife when I was seven. She was so mean. She used to beat me up for my lunch money. My mom would give me a quarter for lunch, and I would go to school and give it to my girlfriend.”
The former couple parted ways after school but later reunited when the actor was 28 years old. The pair bumped into each other at a concert and swapped numbers. The couple married in 2014 but secretly divorced in 2017. Sources say that the couple separated amicably.
While these love stories give us a glimpse into some of our favorite celebrities’ lives before they were famous, not all celebs made the list. We do, however, have access to some of their high school yearbook photos. Let’s check it out!