The XX Factor

A Power Ranking of Our Most Precious Commodity: Remaining Power Couples

Brad Pitt and a chair where Angelina Jolie used to sit on June 12, 2014, in London, England.

Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were one of history’s great power couples, right up there with Lucy and Desi; Antony and Cleopatra (the latter of whom Jolie still might get around to playing in a movie one day); and dare we say it, Adam and Eve. They didn’t invent this game, but they surely perfected it. The two towered over others who might hope to call themselves power couples with their spectacular credentials: Both were beautiful and fully A-list, Hollywood stars in an increasingly post-star era. They were famous enough on their own to turn a relationship with any nonfamous into a formidable pairing, making their combined star power all the more potent. But all great things must come to an end—or at least that’s what we tell ourselves every time another one of our beloved power couples calls it quits. The dissolution of this particular union has thrown the world’s tenuous power couple power rankings into complete disarray. Who will we look to now for leadership, to model domestic bliss, to stand together on the red carpet reflecting and enhancing each other’s radiance?


Before we get to the winners, we’ll list the runners-up and noncontenders.

Couples We Ruled Out Just Because

Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel
Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis
Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani
John Travolta and Kelly Preston

If Their Existence as a Couple Were Ever Confirmed for Long Enough, They Would Surely Make the List

Rihanna and Drake
Mindy Kaling and B.J. Novak

Too Niche, but We Admire Their Work

Joanna Newsom and Andy Samberg
Wallace Shawn and Deborah Eisenberg
Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer
Eileen Myles and Jill Soloway

The Power Couple Is Really One Power Spouse Carrying the Other

Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson (love you, Rita, just being realistic)
Neil Patrick Harris and Whoever NPH Is Married To


Power Couple Where One-Half Is an Athlete and That Means Nothing To Me

Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen
Victoria and David Beckham
Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union
Russell Wilson and Ciara

Solid Power Couples Who Didn’t Make the Top 10

Joe Manganiello and Sofia Vergara
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith
Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas
Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick
Leslie Mann and Judd Apatow
Samantha Bee and Jason Jones
Lena Dunham and Jack Antonoff
Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy
John Krasinski and Emily Blunt
Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell
Ina Garten and Jeffrey Garten
Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan-Tatum
Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi
Chris Pratt and Anna Faris
Alexis Bledel and Vincent Kartheiser


And Without Further Ado, the Top 10 Power Couples for a Post-Brangelina World

10. Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally: If they broke up, admit it, we’d have to declare love officially dead.

9. Angela Bassett and Courtney B. Vance: Maybe it’s just this post-Emmys glow, including fond memories of Vance referring to Bassett as the girl who rocks his chain. Ryan Murphy, keep these two employed, on our TVs, and on our red carpets!


8. Sarah Paulson and Holland Taylor: More post-Emmys glow, but how much do you love the idea of these two awesome actresses, who maybe you didn’t even know were gay, as a couple?

7. Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds: Begrudgingly, they earn a spot. Famous, A-list, beautiful, rich, but oddly generic.


6. Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander: They do have that dual-movie-star thing going on, with the added European factor, which brings the kind of fame it’s hard to outshine. But will they ever really bring the drama, the international adoptions, the diplomacy? They could break up soon, for all we know! You guys, don’t make us regret this!

5. Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys: Note that the top four include no heterosexual white couples. It took a spy baby for such an old-fashioned partnership to crack the top five.


4. George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin: The only still-famous-from-the-’90s actor in the top 10 and his glamorous Lebanese-British international barrister wife. I can’t wait for them (well, her) to take down ISIS!

3. Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West: Their exact ranking may rise and sink within this list, but they’ve earned a spot in the top 10 for the way they embody modern fame.

2. Beyoncé and Jay Z: Our queen and king.

1. Michelle and Barack Obama: Maybe it’s just the twilight of the Obama years talking, but with Brad and Angelina out of the picture, can anyone touch these two?

Read more in Slate about #Brangelexit.