For as fickle as Hollywood can seem about love (sorry, Demi Lovato and Max Ehrich) there are some epic love stories that almost seem as if they were dreamt up in a writer's room.
We're not just talking about the Chrissy Teigen-John Legend and Blake Lively-Ryan Reynolds pairings of the world, though we appreciate their ability to poke fun at their #couplesgoals status without taking away from the genuine connection that earned them that distinction in the first place. But sitting just one rung above them on the celebrity marriage hierarchy are the duos that have sailed past silver anniversaries with purported ease, almost shocked that others see it as an achievement.
Asked the secret to her 31-year marriage with Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson told E! News, "I like what my friend said: 'Not getting divorced.' That's how you stay together for a long time." Her husband agreed: "You wake up in the morning and say, 'How can we stay together today? Oh, I know, I'll make you coffee and we'll talk a little bit and we'll get on with it and when we come back to each other at the end of the day, we're happy to see each other.'"
Because sometimes with the right person in the right partnership at the right time, it really is that straightforward. "They say it must be hard work. No it's not," Hanks told People in 2015. "Every now and again you know, you gotta get over some stuff but life is one damn thing after another and it's actually more pleasant to be able to go home with someone you like to spend time with in order to get with it."
So choosing someone you actually want to be around seems like a solid start, but surely there's more to it than that.
Enter actress Marlo Thomas and talk show host Phil Donahue. Celebrating their 40th anniversary earlier this year, the power couple were curious about how other duos tick, chatting up everyone from Judges Judy Sheindlin and Jerry Sheindlin to Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka to fill the pages of their book, What Makes a Marriage Last: 40 Celebrated Couples Share with Us the Secrets to a Happy Life.
We vowed to read through their anecdotes and advice from a combined 1,240-plus years of marriage and offer up the choicest bits for you to have and to hold from this day forward. Will you do us the honor of reading what they said?
This story was originally published on Monday, May 11, 2020 at 12 a.m. PT.