The Marriage Secrets of Famous Couples

Celebrities Share Their Secrets to a Happy Marriage

Pierce Brosnan and wife Keely Shaye Smith
Michael Tran / Getty Images

Although the headlines of the rich and famous often focus on the divorces of famous couples, many celebrities enjoy long-lasting marriages. What is their secret to happy matrimony? Let's find out and get relationship tips from your favorite stars in their own words.

Christina Aguilera

In an Interview With Ellen Degeneres: "We have something called naked Sundays ... You have to keep marriage alive, spice it up...We don't need to go anywhere, we're just with each other. We do everything naked. We cook naked."

Eddie Albert

In a personal journal: "By the time I leave this Earth, I should have improved our relationships here and now, so that in the next generation sons, daughter and friends have my shoulders on which to stand, so it's easier to make their contribution."
Source: ABC News

Anne Bancroft

On the key to long-term marital success: "Just working hard."
Source: News Star

Yogi Berra, Married to Carmen Short

"The main thing is we've always been dedicated to each other while keeping a sense of humor about everything."
Source: Yogi Berra, Dave Kaplan. "When You Come to a Fork in the Road, Take It!" 2001, pg 22.

Clint Black, Married to Lisa Hartman

"We keep a lot of candles in our bedroom. I want us to always stay honeymooners."
Source: Redbook

Pierce Brosnan, Married to Keely Shaye Smith

"I love romance: I bring Keely breakfast in bed on a tray with a single flower from our garden. I did that when we first started dating, and I still do it."
Source: Colleen Rush. "Revealed! 97 Secrets to a Happy Marriage."

Ossie Davis

"Run away for secret weekends. We're always talking about going away for a four-day weekend. We do this occasionally. We check into a hotel in downtown New York and pretend we're tourists. And, nobody knows who we are. We have a nice little suite and we indulge ourselves. We go to the theater and eat out, go to all of the places we don't get a chance to go to."
Source: Broadway to Vegas

Ruby Dee

"How to ride the rough waves in a relation long enough for the waters to get calm? When does it sink in that overcoming difficult times gets easier with practice? How do you drag some of the good feelings, good times vibrations into the stormy places? To love someone long and deep is a "consummation devoutly to be wished"!...It is day by day, one step at a time. It may not mean two bathrooms, but just some space, some privacy, some area to be alone....Unlike the wedding event, that takes place in a day, marriage is a long process that goes on at some level every day for the rest of your life....We have to learn how to live together...I thought I loved you, Ossie, when we got married, but as I see now, I was only in the kindergarten of the proposition. To arrive at love is like working on a double doctorate in the subject of Life."
Source: "With Ossie and Ruby: In This Life Together", pages 430-431

Joan Didion

About John Dunne: "I did not always think he was right nor did he always think I was right but we were each the person the other trusted."
Source: Seattle Times

Jerry Falwell

About making a marriage work: "Macel and I decided years ago, we are going to do whatever we have to to make this marriage work. It's been 42 years now...and we are committed to another 42, or whatever God allows...I never have to guess how Macel feels about something - she tells me!...Learn to talk without fighting. You can win the argument and lose your marriage! Marriage is a relationship, not a contest. There are no winners unless you both win! Talk together, pray together, then play together."
Source: Sermon. "Maximizing Your Marriage"

Sarah Michelle Gellar, Married to Freddie Prinze Jr.

"We are each other's best friend."

Billy Graham, Married to Ruth Bell

"Ruth and I don't have a perfect marriage, but we have a great one...For a married couple to expect perfection in each other is unrealistic."

Patricia Heaton, Married to David Hunt

"We don't answer the phone after 5 o'clock ..."

Faith Hill, Married to Tim McGraw

"You can't sit back. My husband and I have made the choice that our marriage is the most important thing to us. We respect what we have and understand how we need to feed it."
Source: Redbook

Kathy Holmgren

On interdependence in marriage: "The older I've gotten, I realize that each one of us, we have to find our own life. If he's happy in what he does, that makes for a better partner for me. And he feels the same way about me. So he's really very nice about giving me opportunities to enrich myself and to really do the kinds of things that I like to do....It's real important for each one of us to have our own life so that I don't depend on him for my happiness. I have to be happy on my own. But we really do like to spend time together, so it's not like we lead separate lives. Whenever we can be together, we would opt for that, because we really like each other."
Source: Packer Plus Online, 12/97

Mike Holmgren

About priorities: "...My priorities in life are faith, family, and football—in that order...but I will not risk losing my marriage or my family for my career. If pro football ever begins to undermine what matters most in life, then I'll go back to coaching high school. It's that simple!"
Source: Decision magazine, October 1997

Garrison Keillor

About why he married Jenny: "And my wife. I married my wife because she makes me laugh. You should never marry someone who doesn't make you laugh."
Source: AARP

Madeleine L'Engle

About privacy in marriage: "I learned fairly early in my marriage that I did not have to confide everything on my mind to my husband; this would be putting on him burdens which I was supposed to carry myself. When a bride insists on telling her lover everything, I suspect she is looking for a father, not a husband. Some of my life was mine to be known by me alone."
Source: "Two-Part Invention: The Story of a Marriage" page 73.

About romance in marriage: "A love which depends solely on romance, on the combustion of two attracting chemistries tends to fizzle out...A long-term marriage has to move beyond chemistry to compatibility, to friendship, to companionship. It is certainly not that passion disappears, but that it is conjoined with other ways of love."
Source: "Two-Part Invention: The Story of a Marriage" page 76.

Sir John Mills

On what has kept their marriage alive: "Always remembering all the dates, sending a bouquet of flowers every week and keeping the marriage fresh. And we have happy hour every evening at six o'clock. She has her drink, a Horse's Neck, which is a tiny jot of brandy, ginger ale with lemon and ice."
Source: This is Local London

Michelle Obama

About fidelity in their marriage: "I never worry about things I can't affect, and with fidelity ... that is between Barack and me, and if somebody can come between us, we didn't have much to begin with."
Source: Ebony, March 2006 v61 i5 p58(4)

Michelle Pfeiffer, Married to TV Producer David E. Kelley

"We tend to our marriage. You have to spend time away from the kids and stay up late and talk, go to the movies or do the crossword puzzle together. My husband and I still have date nights, and I look forward to them all week."

Kelly Preston, Married to John Travolta

"You have to keep creating a marriage. We talk about everything. We grow and change together, because nothing ever stays the same; you've got to continue evolving."
Source: Redbook

Dana Reeve

About her relationship with Christopher: "We have always loved to have conversations and we still do - sometimes lengthy, esoteric, and deep; sometimes nostalgic, sometimes just stupid or gossipy....It is so important as a caregiver not to become so enmeshed in the role that you lose yourself. It's neither good for you nor your loved one. I make sure I pursue my own interests and career, and Chris encourages me to do so."
Source: Chris Reeve Homepage

Will Smith

On the key to domestic bliss: "Really, really good sex. I'm really good at it. (Also) we talk a lot. Sometimes people hear us talking and think we over-talk situations but communication is everything."

Aaron Spelling

About marriage: "With Candy, I finally realized that my work must be secondary to my marriage....Candy's the only one I've ever shared with....If you really love somebody, you have to reveal yourself. You can't hide behind masks, which is what I always did before."
Source: "Aaron Spelling: A Prime Time Life" pg. 75.

Patrick Swayze

"I suppose it's about keeping love alive, learning how to fall in love over and over again, not taking each other for granted, forgiveness, trust."
Source: Lester Middlehurst, "Drink, suicide and why I turned against Hollywood",, 11/29/2005.

Dennis Weaver

On the sense of freedom in marriage: "Gerry and I developed an understanding of each other, a feeling of compassion and patience that has run quiet and deep. We each enjoy our own sense of freedom...If the feeling of ownership creeps into a marriage, it will blow out the strongest flame of love."
Source: "All the World's a Stage" pg. 75.

Joanne Woodward, Married to Paul Newman 

"Sexiness wears thin after a while, and beauty fades. But to be married to a man who makes you laugh every day, ah, now that's a real treat."

Catherine Zeta-Jones, Married to Michael Douglas

"For marriage to be a success, every woman and every man should have their own bathroom!"
Source: Woman's Day, 02/12/2008, page 14.

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