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Badass Women Way Cooler Than Their Famous Husbands

Updated June 14, 2019 14.3k views12 items

In some celebrity marriages, one partner is more famous than the other - even when they're equally balanced power couples in everything but media coverage. In the case of badass celebrity wives, they deserve as much - if not more - attention thanks to their accomplishments. The remarkable women included here are married to men whose work you probably know by heart. Some of these wives are central to maintaining their husbands' careers or work in showbiz, but others operate in non-Hollywood realms and have their own (very impressive) pursuits.

How do successful celebrity couples meet? Some do it on blind dates, but many meet their partners at work. Whatever the case, the women included here are accomplished individuals who help change the world while moving forward in their careers. Look for them the next time their husbands step onto a red carpet, because they deserve the red carpet treatment, too.

  • Photo: Stefan Schäfer, Lich / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

    Ali Hewson married U2 singer Bono in 1982, but that's not what makes her worthy of attention. Hewson has remained dedicated to saving the world to varying degrees since the 1980s, and she's put boots on the ground in locales like Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Ethiopia for projects to ease famine and conflict.

    Hewson has also worked on various projects helping victims of the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown. She narrated and produced the documentary Black Wind, White Land, a piece about the effect of Chernobyl on the people of Belarus, and personally delivered medical supplies to areas affected by the disaster. She has actively protested against the Sellafield nuclear plant in Cumbria, England, as well.  

    In 2005, Hewson co-founded EDUN, a high-end sustainable fashion brand that works with designers and manufacturers in Africa.

  • Throughout the early 1990s, Deborra-lee Furness worked predominantly as an actor on Australian television, which is where she met her husband, Hugh Jackman. While Jackman continued to focus on acting, Furness shifted her priorities to humanitarian efforts.

    In 2008, she started National Adoption Awareness Week, which transitioned into the Adopt Change organization - a nonprofit that advocates on behalf of children in the Australian adoption cycle.

    In 2014, Furness co-founded Hopeland, a nonprofit that works to prevent parent-child separation and reunify families. And Furness and Jackman are the adoptive parents of two children. 

    In 2017, Furness received a United Nations Women for Peace Association Award for her humanitarian work. 

  • Photo: Metaweb (FB) / Fair use

    Deborah Snyder Produces Major Blockbusters

    Deborah Snyder, the wife of action film director Zack Snyder, got her start as a producer while working in advertising for Backer Spielvogel Bates. She hired Zack as a director for a Reebok campaign that needed a cinematic feel, and the two began a working relationship that slowly transitioned into a romantic partnership that's lasted more than two decades. 

    Snyder co-founded the couple's production company, Cruel & Unusual Films, which has produced movies including Man of Steel300, and Watchmen. Snyder also kept a firm hand on the production of Justice League when Zack left the film following the loss of their daughter. 

  • Photo: John J. Kruzel/American Forces Press Service / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Liza Powel O'Brien Is A Playwright Who Helps At-Risk Youth

    Before marrying Conan O'Brien, Liza Powel O'Brien began her professional career working as a copywriter for the large advertising agency Foote, Cone & Belding. The couple met when Conan taped a skit in the company's offices. O'Brien, who has a master's degree in fiction from Columbia University, has since transitioned into a career as a playwright.

    O'Brien works with at-risk youth by appearing on the selection committee for the Children’s Defense Fund’s Beat the Odds program, a project that champions students who overcome extreme adversity. 

    Conan keeps his home life incredibly private, including how he dealt with the loss of The Tonight Show. After wrapping on the show and finishing a raucous tour, Conan fell into a deep depression, and his wife made it her mission to dig the host out of his funk. Liza told Rolling Stone she had “all sorts of grand designs” about how to keep her husband busy so he would work himself out of the blues.