"Power Couple" redirects here. For the Indian TV show, see . For the Brazilian TV show, see .Fictional couple Luke Spencer and Laura Webber are credited with defining the term supercouple.
A supercouple or super couple (also known as a power couple) is a popular or wealthy pairing that intrigues and fascinates the public in an intense or obsessive fashion. The term originated in the United States, and was coined in the early 1980s when intense public interest in couple , from , made the pair a phenomenon.
The term supercouple typically refers to fictional couples from television dramas and film, such as 's and . With regard to real-life pairings, and the media have focused on wealthy or popular couples, and have titled them supercouples or power couples. Examples are the former pairing of and (which became known by the "Bennifer"), and the former relationship of and ("Brangelina").
Supercouples are defined as popular or financially wealthy pairings that are widely admired in an intense or obsessive fashion and influence society's expectations of what a great love story or relationship should be; they may or may not be romantic or high-profile, and interest in the pairings may be due to a combination of chemistry, , or because they seem fated.
The term supercouple first appeared in 1981, with the wedding of 's Luke and Laura. Thirty million viewers tuned into the event, and the widespread media attention it received from prominent newspapers and magazines set the pairing up as the default model for other soap opera supercouples. The model Luke and Laura originally followed consisted of action stories, romance, and obstacles for the couple to overcome. This subsequently became ideal of fictional soap opera supercouples in America, and extended to other genres. In Queer TV: Framing Sexualities On US Television, Nancy Martin says, "Actively desiring heterosexual pairs not bent on reproduction became a required advertising device and a mainstay on daytime and primetime." In Russian Television Today, David MacFadyen concludes, "Even the busiest, most rambling soap operas are often neatly and conclusively distilled in the public's mind by a 'supercouple' or tiny, central pair of protagonists." Luke and Laura's popularity resulted in fictional supercouples generally being regarded as . The pairings have typically overcome numerous obstacles or significant strife in order to be together.
Though a successful model, the concept has been criticized for hindering the growth of characters' relationships with other love interests; this has resulted in alternate definitions for the term. In her essay criticism of the term, The Siren Call of the Super Couple (ed. Suzanne Frentz, 1992), Diana Reep describes the love of a supercouple as "so perfect that they are incapable of having romantic feelings for anyone else under any circumstances. In addition, the two have no personal flaws or idiosyncrasies that could interfere with their perfect love. Only an evil, outside force could disturb their relationship". While former supervising producer credited the supercouple aspect as the secret to the show's success, his then–executive producer stated, "By definition, supercouple excludes others on the show. Every time they walk into a room, every other character, no matter how important, becomes window dressing, I've never believed in it." Corday added, "Either people are involved in a good story or they're not. They're an interesting couple or they're not."
Celebrity couples may also be regarded as supercouples. Interest in the pairings ranges from media and public obsession to calculation of the couples' combined finances.
Internet and media trends
Fans often use to refer to their favorite couples on online , a significant aspect of the . The "shipping fandom" scene, whose name is derived from the word "relationship", is a general term for fans' emotional or intellectual involvement with the ongoing development of romance in a work of fiction. Though technically applicable to any such involvement, it refers chiefly to various related social dynamics observable on the Internet, and is seldom used outside of that context. "Shipping" can involve virtually any kind of relationship—from the well-known and established, to the ambiguous or those undergoing development, and even to the highly improbable and the blatantly impossible. People involved in shipping (or shippers) assert that the relationship does exist, will exist, or simply that they would like it to exist.
"Portmanteaux first came about with " as a way to blend words, stated Jonathan Gabay, author of the Copywriter's Compendium—a reference guide to the English language. Gabay added that people blend words in this fashion because sometimes there are words an individual wants, but those words do not actually exist. "There's a feeling you are trying to get out", he said. For fictional pairings, examples showcase themselves as and () becomes "LoVe", () becomes "Jeva", and ( becomes "Jate", and () becomes "MiSa", and so on. Some couples are given more complex portmanteaux; on ), the pairing of Barney and Robin is referred to as "BROTP", incorporating their initials, their platonic status as "bros", and the popular term OTP ("One True Pairing"). of the show parodied name-blending trends when he talked about real couples' overexposure to one another; he wondered whether or not his pairing with would be called "Summereth" or "Sethummer".
Gabay said portmanteaux "...giv[e] people an essence of who they are within the same name. In double-barrelled names, the hyphen is almost pushing one name away from the other. Meshing says 'I am you and you are me', which is rather romantic". Occasionally, even come up with names for couples, such as General Hospital's and . The unpopular pairing of the mob boss and his enforcer's sweet younger sister became known as "Soily". Similarly, name-blending exists with celebrities' first names. Said to be a sign of commitment and togetherness, meshing is also seen by some as an attempt to banish what might be considered a "sexist" tradition of a woman taking her husband's name when she marries.
In other Internet trends, fans often take part in making (also referred to as fanvids, a compilation of favorite scenes stylishly intercut as or other various forms of entertainment) and writing (alternative endings and stories to the original story's outcome) for their favorite pairings. Sites such as and help to facilitate this.
According to American soap opera writer and , soap operas are best known and most remembered for romance. The romances in daytime dramas are significantly characterized by bringing couples together, splitting them up, and starting the cycle over again to ensure that viewers remain invested in the pairings, if popular. This is a strategy that often succeeds within the medium. A supercouple storyline is typically detailed by the couple's facing seemingly insurmountable challenges, such as a difference in , strong family interference, simple disagreements, marriages to other people, children with other people, etc.
Two characters comprising a supercouple will usually reunite and marry, while the most significant obstacle for the pairing is the soap opera genre itself; as soap operas typically continue for decades, there is no closure for the pairing unless both characters leave the show together or one of them dies. It is because of this, that after the usual fairytale wedding, if the supercouple remains on the series, writers do not allow the item to live happily ever after as a couple in a would but rather subject them to a continual cycle of being separated and reunited. This factor has contributed to two characters of a supercouple normally divorcing and remarrying each other a few or several times. Author Diana Reep argues that the supercouple phenomenon creates "serious storyline problems" for producers and writers due to characters' being destined for only one lover:
The problem supercouples create for storytellers is that, as characters, therefore, they are unchanging in a narrative form that emphasizes evolving characters and relationships... and as ideals, supercouples bring closure to a relationship in a world that is based in continuing expectations of change.
Creators within the medium generally focus more on the benefits of supercouples rather than the potential problems the pairings can produce. Former co-head writer said that the key to a show's success is "passionate, romantic storytelling and pairings, and that's what creates a supercouple". To him, they embody love and passion.
Although the term was not coined until the early 1980s, some couples prior to that point have been retrospectively termed supercouples; for example, Jeff Baker and Penny Hughes and , from . from are sometimes considered the first supercouple. From 1970 until 1976, Doug and Julie's relationship wavers between love and hate. The chemistry the portrayers exhibited became evident offscreen; the real-life couple, and , were married in 1974. This set off a commotion among thousands of fans, who wrote letters to the show asking that the couple also be allowed to marry in the story. Since the actors were already married, they felt this was a valid request. worked the tension and lengthened the anticipation of the wedding but eventually caved into the audience's pressure. Doug and Julie are married in October 1976 within the series. They are the first soap opera characters to appear on the cover of .
, portrayed by and from , are considered the most famous soap opera supercouple. Their romance enthralled viewers; when they wed on November 16, 1981, American daytime television recorded its highest-ever ratings, with 30 million people tuning in to watch them say "I do". made a during the wedding, and reportedly sent champagne. The couple was featured on the covers of and , and was credited with having brought "legitimacy to daytime serials" and its fans by crossing boundaries and becoming celebrities in the mainstream media. As a result, Luke and Laura have become regarded as daytime television's quintessential and most couple. While has the smallest number of supercouples, the series still had prominent pairings, notably , as well as , one of the central supercouples from the 1980s onward. In 1982, 's became the first supercouple.
and , portrayed by and on the British soap opera , generated an audience response similar to Luke and Laura's. Den and Angie are renowned as arguably Britain's most iconic soap opera couple, having broken the record for episode ratings to 30.1 million viewers in 1986 on the episode of their divorce, a record that remains unbeaten by any British soap opera episode today.
Golden Age: 1980s
The 1980s is known as the "Golden Age" of supercouples. Shows such as All My Children, and along with the aforementioned General Hospital and Days of our Lives were well known for their supercouples. Days of our Lives in particular had a significant number of supercouples — ,,, and all going on at roughly the same time. The show soon featured .All My Children was represented by ,,, and later by .
As the World Turns had the popular couples , Craig and Sierra, , and with being portrayed by future film star . Along with Luke and Laura, General Hospital also boasted and . At the same time, introduced another supercouple, .
The supercouple phenomenon spread to foreign shores, with , portrayed by and on the Australian soap opera . The success of their romance prompted a fellow Australian daytime drama to shelve out their own supercouple, Shane and Angel, and Den and Angie from EastEnders emerged as Britain's most famous soap opera couple.
, NBC's Vice President of Daytime Programming, said he believes in the "it" factor regarding fictional couples. "It's hard to imagine Bo and Hope as a supercouple and divorce that from the magnetic chemistry of and ," he stated. "Or Cruz and Eden from Santa Barbara days and and . Or as Sheridan and as Luis, if I might be so bold as to dub them a supercouple. Actors bring a huge excitement to [their pairing]."
Decline and remolding: 1990s–2000s
Popular, traditional, and altered setups
Popular couplings on soap operas exist today, but there are few termed supercouples by fans or the soap opera media. Usually, the term is reminiscent of the 1970s and 1980s. As such, supercouples that are still on serials today are mostly from the 1980s, or early 1990s. After the mid-1990s, the supercouple phenomenon slowly faded and the nature of soap operas today allows few couples to define the nature of the show anymore as original supercouples once did.
Days of our Lives executive producer said that while he feels that "" is still important to the genre, the supercouple title "disappeared from my vocabulary when Al Rabin [his supervising producer] left the show."All My Children and One Life to Live creator argued, "[Supercouples are] still a vital component whenever possible." She stressed the importance of creating "young love [stories], the " of tomorrow.
Shows have attempted to revive the success of supercouples through modern couples. There are instances when a character becomes a part of two popular pairings, where both couples which include the character develop the same or close to the same amount of positive fan reaction from viewers. This causes a certain rivalry between the two couples, with both vying for the title of supercouple. An example of this was especially evident with the mid-1990s storyline of General Hospital's , , and , often referred to as "the hottest love triangle in soap opera history" by the soap opera media. The couple combinations within the love triangle were equally in demand, and which of the two is a true supercouple remains in dispute. Though debated, both couples are referenced and listed as supercouples by the soap opera medium. The Sonny character eventually acquired second supercouple status in the pairing of , becoming a part of two successful on-screen romances.
In other instances, a character is part of two equally popular couplings, but the storyline does not lend itself to the scenario being referred to as a love triangle. of the soap opera Days of our Lives is romantically desired by the two men, and . However, she was not considered to be actively involved in a love triangle, and both couples ( and ) resonate with fans and appear to be at least equal in comparison and popularity.
In today's soap opera medium, there are couples which come close to gaining supercouple status in terms of popularity. Although these pairings have perceived chemistry and potential, the couple's story is cut short, often due to the actors leaving to pursue jobs outside of soap operas or due to the writers changing direction in a storyline. These couples do not last long enough onscreen to garner the long history of what is often considered a genuine supercouple. Such couples include (All My Children), (All My Children), (As the World Turns), Simon and Katie (As the World Turns), (General Hospital), (Guiding Light), and ().
Soap opera columnist Carolyn Aspenson stated that the "supercouple formula" should be redefined. She argued that tragic couples such as Leo and Greenlee are a better love story than if they had stayed together with a "boring" everyday life. "A super couple shouldn’t be designed to be a couple that beats the odds and sticks it out no matter what," she said. "We’re left with nothing on those terms. Instead, try redefining a super couple by the intensity of their love, their loss and their ability to move on without their other half. It leaves us frustrated, heartbroken and yearning for more. To me, that is the definition of a super couple."
Gay and lesbian
Soap operas traditionally featured only romance. For American soap opera, this began to change with characters , , and from All My Children. Bianca's unveiling as a lesbian was unique for daytime television. By being a core character and the daughter of legendary , "the show initiated an innovative discourse about the possibility, location, and representation of lesbian and gay characters in a television genre historically predicated on the celebration of heterosexual courtship, romance, and family life".
In 2003, Bianca's relationship with Lena resulted in American daytime's first lesbian kiss. The two became American daytime's first lesbian couple, and received significant press. Though 's romance was well-received, popular, and the couple became responsible for several historic moments within daytime television, it was Bianca's relationship with close confidante Maggie that thoroughly captivated viewers. The romance was considered unique and especially significant due to the show's insistence that Maggie was not gay; the show's insistence did not deter viewers from wanting the two romantically paired, and they often wrote in to the network () pleading and demanding that Bianca and Maggie become an official item. Eventually, hints that Maggie might not be heterosexual started to appear throughout the series, complicated by Maggie insisting that she is not gay but is rather "into guys" and only guys. The audience saw this as a case of a woman in denial of her sexual orientation. Fan mail for the Bianca and Maggie pairing was prominent. The show continued to tease the audience with subtext that implied that the two romantically desired each other, which included friendly and intimate kisses between the two characters. Bianca and Maggie's scenes were often written so that the pair would be on the verge of becoming a couple, even with declarations of clear romantic love from one to the other, but never quite making it there. This coy approach by the writers infuriated viewers, but they remained entranced by the pairing. The couple's popularity grew beyond soap opera press, as newspapers and television magazines became fascinated by the love story as well. , , and were among the media taking interest. The pairing eventually became the most popular gay couple in soap opera history, which surprised industry insiders who had not believed that a gay pairing could be as significantly in demand as heterosexual pairings. Though Bianca and Maggie's romance was not made official until both were offscreen, it made clear to writers and executives who had been conflicted about including gay and lesbian love stories that the daytime audience was interested. subsequently became American soap opera's first supercouple.
Soap opera analyst C. Lee Harrington stated, "While the past decade has witnessed a growing number of lesbian, gay, , and characters in primetime dramas and situation comedies, daytime soap operas offer unique challenges (and possibilities) regarding the inclusion and 'normalization' of varied sexualities in entertainment television." Daytime television has been ahead of primetime for some time in exploring diverse or controversial storylines and characters, with the one glaring exception being . Gay and lesbian issues or characters were invisible in 1950s and early 1960s TV. When it came to the mainstream shows, audiences were built up as "replications of the idealized, middleclass nuclear family, defined as heterosexual couples with children" (Buxton, 1997, p. 1477). Because of this perception of what was ideal, networks geared programming toward it, feeling that viewers were exactly like these images on their television screens.
In contrast to primetime, daytime dramas have different obstacles to developing innovative programming, with their advertising sponsors being more conservative, their audience smaller and "genre restrictions that emphasize continuity and respect for history over innovation". Soap opera tried its first chance at including a gay character back in 1983 on All My Children. Actress portrayed Dr. Lynn Carson, who "" as a lesbian to patient and confidante Devon Shepherd McFadden (). The two women admit to having romantic feelings for each other, and that is as far as the relationship goes.
A prominent obstacle for gay and lesbian characters on daytime television is interference from television network executives who fear a decline in their ratings. The characters are often denied fulfilling and lasting romances with others of the same sex. "Before Bianca's gay character was written into All My Children, the purpose of gay characters was to make a point or explain homosexuality for the audience—a task handled within the course of a few episodes," said Zach Hudson of . "The distraught parents or angry bullies who caused the early gay characters so much turmoil would suddenly see the light. Then the story—and the character—would simply vanish." It was not until Bianca that prominent gay characters and couples seemed possible within American daytime. Since then, American soap operas have tried to replicate the success of the Bianca character with the introduction of their own gay and lesbian characters. One soap opera in particular, As the World Turns, has been successful in launching the first popular romance between two men on an American daytime drama, . In late 2007, the two make television history by carrying out the first kiss between two male lovers on an American soap opera. The popularity of the pairing borders on the same fascination level that centered around Bianca and Maggie's lesbian romance. Not even months into the romantic aspect of their relationship, TV Guide named the male duo a top power couple.
became one of the latest soap opera characters to come out as gay, and joined Bianca and others as visible gay characters in daytime. One year before Luke and Noah, the British soap opera had already embarked on issuing their own gay male supercouple, between characters ; the storyline became one of the show's most successful, gaining "legions" of fans. The budding same-sex romance on between became popular with fans in 2009. That same year, introduced its own male gay supercouple with and . On international television, the German soap opera gained international popularity, with the storylines involving and , and later with the couple of and .
Beginning in 2011, Days of our Lives broke new ground when it decided to have the character come out as gay. The soap chronicled Will's struggle to accept his sexuality. The show also highlighted many obstacles the LGBT community face, such as bullying, hate crimes and gay slurs. The show cast actor, in the role of , the second openly gay contracted character in a daytime soap opera. Sonny would eventually become Will's ongoing love interest. To the surprise of the actors and writers, Will and Sonny (or now commonly referred to by the ""), were greeted with fan support, and were eventually titled a supercouple and "power couple". The show pushed the envelope even further when it decided to air Will's first same-sex sexual encounter on-screen (which would become the first of many). went on receive the 2012 , becoming the first actor ever to receive a for playing a gay character. He won his second consecutive Emmy for the role in the same category in 2013. Smith received his first Daytime Emmy nomination for his role in 2013 pitting him against Massey for the same award. In his acceptance speech, Massey thanked Smith. The show won the for Outstanding Daily Drama in 2013. In August 2013, it was announced that Massey had filmed his final episode as Will Horton, and that a recast had already been made.Days had initially planned not to recast the role, but changed its mind due to fear of advertiser and fan backlash.
In either aspect, fictional gay and lesbian romances have been argued as making an impact. "These stories have the ability to reach the many different generations of viewers who watch daytime and share with them stories of our lives," stated Damon Romine, media entertainment director for the organization. "What viewers are seeing is that more and more of their own neighbors and friends are dealing with these issues, and the soaps are merely reflecting the reality of the world we live in."
A used for primetime couples is the plotline. In the television series , characters and ( and ) are seen fighting for years, through ex-lovers and a host of other interferences. Krystle winds up in a coma and Blake spends years in jail, but their love eventually wins out over their problems. This resulted in the couple subsequently becoming one of television's classic supercouples. Other early primetime power couplings include ( and ) from , and ( and ) from , and and ( and ) from , among others.
Television shows also produce tragic love stories, such as and from the series . The pairing's persistent fight to be together is considered to have cemented their place in supercouple history. Voted #2 on 's list of Top 10 Favorite TV Couples, and #5 on 's list of Greatest TV Couples of All Time, the sites categorized the pairing as "the ultimate" couple. The pairing's main predicament—unable to experience sexual intimacy without Angel losing his humanity—has been summarized by IGN:“ After all, when you're a Vampire Slayer, it hardly seems like the appropriate person to fall for would be a Vampire. But fall for Angel Buffy did, setting up one of the most involving and tragic love stories we can remember on TV. After all, it's pretty rare for one half of a great couple to go from gentle and caring to sadistic and murderous in the course of a single night...and spurred on by having sex with the girl he loves no less. ” Tragedy comes about when Buffy has to face off with her true love Angel in order to save the world; episode ""
Creator of the series, , said, "'', Parts 1 and 2...really sort of charted the main points of the Buffy/Angel relationship in all its difficulty and romance." Buffy's portrayer, , said, "I think deep down Buffy will always love Angel and she will never love anyone the way in which she loves him. I think they found a wonderful supercouple in Buffy and Angel."
Certain shows may not be adequately suited for a tragic-love storyline. For comedies, the approach of pairing mismatched couples is also often applied, and for dramas, there tends to be a "will-they-won't-they" setup. Website Cinemablend states that there are two general formulas for a "will-they-wont-they" setup. "The first one is when one person pursues the other, then finally gives up and dates someone else," the site stated, "and the other scenario is when the two characters are so different and often do not get along with one another, they fight and argue constantly, but then one thing or a series of 'things' happen and they are forced to put up with each other." Examples of popular couples cited for having displayed this formula are Buffy and (of Buffy the Vampire Slayer), and (of the show ), and (of the show ), among others.
There are numerous shows that tend to pair up two unexpected characters with other. For instance, and from the drama . Pacey and Joey did not like each other at all first, and Joey was in love with her soulmate , but they eventually fell in love and became a supercouple of the show. and and and from and are regularly quoted as TV's first powercouples.
A well-known "will-they-won't-they" setups is the relationship of supercouple and from the science fiction/thriller series . Mulder and Scully, two agents investigating cases that involve the , are showcased as having a relationship which borders on subtle hints of romance throughout the series without the two being heavily romantically involved. Though anticipation for Mulder and Scully to romantically commit to each other had existed for years among the show's fanbase, the pairing's romantic intimacy was not written as soon as fans would have hoped for; when the two are finally shown sharing a kiss in 1999 after seven seasons of buildup, some viewers felt the show waited too long to script the event. Critics state that in such cases, if a series extends sexual tension for "too long" before finally acting on romantic intimacy between the characters, it can result in viewers feeling that the best part of the pairing's buildup was their "will-they-won't-they" status.
With some fictional supercouples from soap opera or primetime, the couple may have started out as an unexpected pairing and with or without a paradigm. Due to viewers becoming excited over the prospect of chemistry between the two, the show's producers and writers later decide to pair them.
Given that films inherently have a shorter amount of time to develop characters and carry out storylines, the task of convincing the audience that the film's couple are adequately suited for each other can be challenging. This is especially evident in cases where there is not enough plot focusing on the buildup of the characters' interaction, which can make the love story seem contrived. A memorable line or spoken between the characters has been suggested as a remedy to this, since it can elevate a pairing's popularity.
Films may resort to the notion that romance is a solution to life's problems or is unchangeable, tapping into a "love conquers all" appeal; for example, in "doomed" romances where the underlying message is that the love the couple shared endured even though their time together was cut short. A film supercouple can be a couple appearing with the same actors over the course of few or several films, making the actors the supercouples rather than the characters.
The media often focuses on celebrity pairings. Celebrity couples who are viewed as fascinating or create a power coupling due to finances are singled out as supercouples. Since the term was coined, classic couples have been regarded as supercouples, including and . magazine stated that Gable and Lombard were "more than just Golden Age window dressing. The love they shared for six years was that Hollywood rarity: the real thing." They were titled "The King of Hollywood and the Queen of Screwball Comedy", respectively, and eloped during a break in production on Gable's in 1939. Lombard died three years later in a plane crash on her way home from a war bond rally. and were the stars and producers of , and have since been credited as an onscreen and offscreen supercouple. They divorced in 1960 after 20 years of marriage. Author Rabbi Daniel Lapin stated that Gable and Lombard, and , and , and and , were couples recognized as "the greatest love stories of the century."Former supercouple Heche (left) and DeGeneres (right) at the 1997
The supercouple title has been similarly prolific with modern celebrity pairings. In 1997, rapper/actor married actress . The couple were titled a supercouple due to their combined film star allure and perceived . In 2003 and 2008, People magazine categorized them as a supercouple due to their long marriage and widespread celebrity status. Smith spoke of the power of love as a connective force to magazine. "The truth about life is that we're all alone," he said. "But when somebody loves you, that experience is shared. Love is the only real connective tissue that allows you to not live and die by yourself." Additionally, in 1997, and began dating and were described as "the world's first supercouple". Their relationship lasted three years. In 1998, met actress , and married her in a private wedding ceremony in on July 29, 2000. They were titled a supercouple, regarded as one of the film industry’s most powerful, and their marriage was considered a rare Hollywood success. In January 2005, Pitt and Aniston announced they decided to formally separate after seven years together. Two months later, Aniston filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences. In 2000, married actress on November 18, 2000, and the pairing, born twenty-five years apart, were considered a supercouple.
Former pairing and incited unprecedented media attention for an American modern-day supercouple during their 2002-2004 courtship. The two were referred to as the first superstar couple of the Internet age, and the pairing's popularity resulted in their being known by the "Bennifer" (for Ben and Jennifer) to the media, as well as to fans using the name combination. The term Bennifer itself became popular, and started the trend of other celebrity couples being referred to by the combination of each other's first names. The pairing eventually succumbed to overexposure, which caused public interest in their romance to result in less admiration and negatively affected their careers. In 2007, Affleck stated:
[The romance] was probably bad for my career. What happens is this sort of bleed-over from the tabloids across your movie work. You go to a movie, you only go once. But the tabloids and Internet are everywhere. You can really subsume the public image of somebody. I ended up in an unfortunate crosshair position where I was in a relationship and [the media] mostly lied and inflated a bunch of salacious stuff for the sake of selling magazines. And I paid a certain price for that. Then, in concert with some movies that didn’t work...Former supercouple Cruise and Holmes
A celebrity supercouple to emerge after Bennifer was "TomKat" (the coupling of celebrity stars and ), and other countries had already adopted the supercouple term. The United Kingdom had and (Grant 'n' Hurley) and ( and ). Japan had and ; Jinnai established himself as a television regular and a "pin-geinin" or solo comedian while Fujiwara, a former Miss Japan, became known as a successful actress and "one of the business's biggest earners with a string of commercial contracts, regular TV and stage roles, and also active in charitable causes". They were titled "one of the 'super couples' of Japanese showbiz" and "held their elaborate traditional wedding on February 17, 2007 at the Ikutajinja shrine in Fujiwara's hometown of , with hundreds of reporters and thousands of fans craning for a glimpse outside" and "invited 600 guests to the the following April for a wedding reception that cost over ¥500 million. The event was broadcast live on TV and had a high audience rating of 40% in the region".
Another American couple regularly titled a supercouple are rapper and R&B singer . Their marriage in New York City in early 2008, was reported by People. Knowles and Jay-Z were listed as the most powerful couple for magazine's 100 most influential people of 2006. In January 2009, Forbes ranked them as Hollywood's top-earning couple, with a combined total of 2 million. They also made it to the top of the list the following year, with a combined total of 2 million between June 2008 and June 2009.
The spotlight and attention given to American celebrity supercouples reached its height in 2006, when the celebrity phenomenon dubbed "Brangelina" triggered media obsession surrounding screen stars and . The two emerged as a prominent supercouple, and the mania that followed was described as having "reached the point of insanity, far overshadowing the hoopla that attended such couples as 'Bennifer' and 'TomKat'". The obsessive media attention surrounding Pitt and Jolie's union was initially the result of rumors regarding Pitt's involvement with Jolie during the shooting of their 2005 film . Speculation that Pitt had been romantically involved with Jolie while still married to Jennifer Aniston was daily gossip and thought to be the reason for Pitt and Aniston's divorce. Jolie, however, stated that there was no romance between her and Pitt during filming and that she would never be intimate with a married man.
An official item soon following Pitt's divorce from Aniston, Pitt and Jolie became more of a media fascination for their social activism and ever-growing family, with the couple adopting from foreign countries. The anticipated birth of Pitt and Jolie's first biological child together, Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt, was cited as the most influential celebrity baby, as the public pondered what the combined physical features of two people commonly cited as the world's most beautiful celebrities would produce in a child. The first baby pictures for Shiloh set a world record. People paid more than .1 million for the North American rights, while British magazine obtained the international rights for roughly .5 million; the total rights sale earned up to million worldwide, and was the most expensive celebrity image of all time. All profits were donated to an undisclosed charity by Jolie and Pitt. On July 26, 2006, in New York unveiled a of two-month-old Shiloh; it was the first infant re-created in wax by Madame Tussauds. In 2008, the Shiloh Hello! image was eventually "topped" by images of her siblings, twins Knox Léon Jolie-Pitt (a boy) and Vivienne Marcheline Jolie-Pitt (a girl). The rights for the first images of Knox and Vivienne were jointly sold to People and Hello! for million, making the images the most expensive celebrity pictures ever taken. The money went to the Jolie/Pitt Foundation.
Robert Thompson, director of the Centre for the Study of Popular Television, said the coupling of A-list stars like Pitt and Jolie, or in years gone by Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, was "a paparazzi's dream come true". He added that "as silly as it sounds, this new tendency to make up single names for two people, like 'Bennifer' (Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez) and 'TomKat' (Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes), is an insightful idea'. 'Brangelina' has more cultural equity than their two star parts."
In , and actress started dating in 2013, and tied the knot in December 2017, forming one of contemporary India's most famous and talked-about supercouple. They have been referred to as 'Virushka', in line with Hollywood pairings such as 'Brangelina'. Similarly, actresses and are a former supercouple. Other Indian power couples, usually associated with the Hindi film industry, include: and ; and ; (cricketer) and ; and ; and .
Polly Vernon of British newspaper summed up her analysis of what makes a celebrity supercouple in her May 25, 2000 article:
The basic appeal of the accomplished supercouple can be reduced to this: by hooking up with another, carefully selected celeb, you can eliminate your bad points, compensate for your own shortcomings, and hint at a softer, more vulnerable side. Attach yourself to someone smarter, prettier, more fashionable, hipper, funnier than you are, and you will automatically acquire these missing qualities by osmosis. They, equally, will benefit from your particular brand of star quality. Your public perception will become more complete, more exciting. Together, you are quite literally, the ultimate individual.
Emergence and expansion
Video game creators have realized the asset of incorporating supercouple romances within their products by stringing together epic stories of love and intrigue. While writing epic romances into video games is not a new phenomenon, the idea of capturing a video game player through emotionally charged moments via the death of a hero's lover in order to produce feelings of attachment to the fictional environment has expanded, especially within action-adventure/ (RPGs). The goal is to make the gamer actually become emotionally invested in the characters and their actions, ultimately resulting in heightened gaming experience. Video game designer , when speaking of the main component he wanted in his game , spoke of more than just the romantic aspect, stating, "We want you to feel loved. You can have sex and you can have a baby. That baby will grow up and will kind of look like you."
In the early days of gaming, the idea of love and romance was used as little more than a plot point to urge the hero to complete the set of tasks put before him., hero of the series of games, has to rescue from the main villain. and from made gamers wonder why the two were not romantically together while rooting for the couple. features the protagonist Billy Lee, as he attempts to rescue his girlfriend (Maria) from his evil twin brother (Jimmy), leader of a sinister street gang. This era of game-playing was not well known for equal opportunity in .
Eventually, video games grew to become a respectable and rich source of storytelling. "Larger disk space, greater production staffs, and more impressive budgets allowed more fleshed out characters, more elaborate plot points, and greater instances of interaction between characters." The genre that benefited from this the most is the role-playing medium. The medium made romantic themes a prominent element of its story-telling, which became one of its staples. This subplot is featured through the exploits of supercouples, the primary pair of lovers.
"Usually, the 'supercouple' turns out to be the main hero and heroine of the game, though this is not always the case." The , for example, has become famous for creating several romantic pairings from the hero's party in addition to the hero and heroine. In a role-playing plot, often the romantic feelings the characters feel for one another somehow becomes entwined with the main plot itself. In , Justin, the main character, is compelled to fight against seemingly insurmountable odds in order to rescue the girl that he is in love with. In , the romantic feelings Shirley has for main character and brother in law Senel is a focus of the game, even though the latter seems oblivious of the former's true feelings even after they are accidentally engaged in the ending of the primary story mode. "When the love between the supercouple somehow becomes threatened by the machinations of the antagonist, the heroes fight back with everything they have and usually prove, once and for all, that 'love conquers all.'"
The has several notable couples, such as and his relationships with childhood friend and flower girl . and have been called video games' greatest, as well as its most tragic, star-crossed love story. The couple is also one of the most well-known video game couples in the history of video gaming. In 2005, stated that without the game, "Aeris wouldn’t have died, and gamers wouldn’t have learned how to cry".
Other popular couples from the Final Fantasy games include and (from ), and (from ), and (from ), and his lost love , and Aerith Gainsborough in the prequel Final Fantasy VII game , and from , and and from .
Love stories such as and (from ), which takes on more of a subtle approach, and couples defined more by their conflicts than their happiness, have also impacted the gaming industry. Video game insiders state that the need for these love stories within the gaming realm is valid and is a great addition to the gaming experience in most cases.
Literature and toys
Romantic and tragic themes found in modern supercouple stories have often been borrowed from classic literary couples. , due to their enduring legacy and popularity, are considered an ideal supercouple for aspects of forbidden or tragic love, and the relationship between has been described as fitting the power-couple trope.
In the genres of toys and comic books, toys were given their first prominent supercouple with the creation of and by , in 1961, and comic book supercouples such as (created in 1938), (created in 1956) and (created in 1966) are still popular today.
The kinds of characters being described as supercouples is broadening. For example, listed two non-household name superheroes ( and ) in a recent gay relationship as one of their superhero supercouples of 2010, alongside several of their more traditional pairings.
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