These Celebrity Couples May Hold All the Secrets to Love After Being Together for More Than 50 Years

This Valentine’s Day, we celebrate Dolly Parton, Samuel L. Jackson and more stars who have been with their spouses for more than five decades. See their tips for a long, lasting relationship.

By Mike Vulpo Feb 14, 2023 8:00 AMTags
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True love doesn't have to have a happy ending, because true love has no ending.

In the small town of Hollywood, it sometimes seems like more couples are breaking up than staying together. But for more than a few famous pairs, no amount of fame and fortune can throw a wrench in their love story.

Just look at Samuel L. Jackson and LaTanya Richardson, who first met at Morehouse College in 1970. As their careers flourished, so did their romance and unbreakable bond. 

"It's the commitment to that other person and what that means to you," he told Sunday TODAY's Willie Geist in June 2019. "Marriage changes the dynamic of how we see ourselves because we have to start thinking of someone else. The selfishness of who you are has to be subjugated in a very interesting kind of way."

For Samuel and LaTanya, who have been married for 43 years, being parents to daughter Zoe Jackson, 40, is also a motivation to be their best selves.   

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Celebrity Couples We Admire

"What kind of person do I want to present to the kids?" Samuel asked himself. "What kind of family unit do we want to look like?"

This Valentine's Day, E! News is celebrating celebrity couples who have been together for more than 50 years. Keep reading to see their advice for long, lasting relationships.

Dolly Parton & Carl Thomas Dean

She's a superstar performer known around the world. He's a private man who stays away from the spotlight. But together, they've built a marriage that has lasted more than 56 years. "I like it when people say, 'How did it last so long?'" Dolly told ET Canada in December 2022. "I say, 'It's stay going.' There's a lot to be said about that. So we're not in each other's face all the time. He's not in the business, so we have different interests, but yet we have the things we love to do together. So it was meant to be. He was the one I was supposed to have and vice versa."

Samuel L. Jackson & LaTanya Richardson Jackson

There's no breaking the bond of these college sweethearts. "In the beginning, we always said the most revolutionary thing that Black people could do was stay together, raise their children with the nucleus of having a father and a mother, since everybody likes to pretend that that's not the dynamic of the African American family," LaTanya told People in March 2022. "That it's just children out here being raised by women, which we know is false. In order to change that narrative, we made a decision to say, ‘We are going to stay together no matter what. We'll figure it out.'"

Bonnie Bartlett & William Daniels

When you find joy in life's daily activities, Bonnie says your marriage could last forever. "We're very happy," she told People when celebrating 72 years of marriage in January. "We sit in this house and we do things. He reads his New York Times and he does Cameos mostly. And we do conventions and things like that. We just like to be with each other. And we would do anything for each other."

Ron & Cheryl Howard

These high school sweethearts celebrated their 50th anniversary in November 2020. "There's no technique," Ron told People just one year earlier. "There's no tactic other than communication is really important. You have to learn to communicate and have difficult conversations in constructive ways."

Christopher & Georgianne Walken

After meeting during a production of West Side Story in the '60s, this couple continues to savor every moment together with gratitude. "Every once in a while, I'll be looking out the window, and I'll think, 'I feel pretty good,'" Christopher told New York Times Magazine in February 2022. "My bills are paid, my wife is healthy, the weather's nice. That's really all I care about: when, apropos of nothing, I happen to look out the window and think, 'This is good.'"

Alan & Arlene Alda

After 65 years of marriage, the couple has found their groove away from the spotlight in Long Island, New York. In an interview with The New Yorker, Alan said he and his wife enjoy playing chess during the day and ladder ball before dusk. Then, it's a nice dinner and a quality TV show.  It's not noisy in the country," he said in June 2022. "I don't have to show up places. Places come to me."

Martin & Janet Sheen

Through sickness and in health! After Martin recovered from a heart attack and nervous breakdown in the late '70s, he recalled a few words his wife told him. "It was very serious, and she handled it like a pro," he told Closer Weekly in 2016. "She had me laughing in the most dire circumstances. She said, 'Don't take yourself so seriously.' Every day is a celebration with this dame."

Lily Tomlin & Jane Wagner

After meeting in 1971, Lily and Jane have been inseparable. When asked to share advice for other couples, Lily kept it simple. "We all have a secret," Lily told reporters in 2019. "It's just the secret is that you're committed and care and you want it to work out. You don't want to walk away from something that's important."

Bob & Ginny Newhart

In addition to sharing a Catholic faith, the couple credits humor for keeping their marriage strong after saying "I do" in 1963. "There's something about laughter and the longevity of a marriage," Bob told CBS Sunday Morning in 2020. 

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