Badass Women Way Cooler Than Their Famous Husbands
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: Greg Doherty/Contributor / Patrick McMullan/Getty Images
MacKenzie Bezos Won An American Book Award
After growing up in San Francisco, CA, with dreams of being an author, MacKenzie Bezos (then MacKenzie Tuttle) studied fiction under Toni Morrison (Beloved, Song of Solomon) at Princeton. Morrison later told Vogue that Bezos was "really one of the best" students in her creative writing class, which is not small praise coming from a Nobel Prize winner for literature.
After attending Princeton, Bezos met her future husband, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, and wrote two novels: The Testing of Luther Albright (2005), which won an American Book Award, and Traps (2013).
In 2014, Bezos founded Bystander Revolution, an anti-bullying website.
- Photo: Michael Kovac/Stringer / Getty Images Entertainment
Kate Norley Is A War Veteran
Unlike many of the women on this list, Kate Norley, wife of John Oliver, doesn't work in the same field as her husband. Norley is an Iraq War veteran who served as a combat medic in Fallujah, focusing on the mental health of soldiers preparing to return to battle. After her time in Iraq, Norley transitioned into an advocate for veterans' rights.
Aside from helping veterans, Norley also works with Team Rubicon, an international non-governmental organization that sends first responders to disaster sites across the world.
- Photo: insidethemagic / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0
Robert Downey Jr. might be Iron Man, but Susan Downey does a lot of the heavy lifting in their relationship. After graduating from USC, she entered the film industry and became a producer before she was 30. In 1999, she was named vice president of production at Silver Pictures, working on films including Ghost Ship and Cradle 2 the Grave.
She went on to produce significant hits for her husband, including Iron Man 2 and the Sherlock Holmes films.
The Downeys married in 2005. Downey Jr. credits his wife with his success and keeping him sober. He told Ireland's Herald:
The old saying is true - behind every good man, there's an incredible woman. I owe a huge amount - if not all - of my success to Susan. We make a great team, and all that luck I spoke about, that's Susan.
Emma Thomas, like many producers, exists on the periphery of the spotlight, despite being responsible for making sure everything comes together perfectly in a film. Thomas has been working with her husband, director Christopher Nolan, since they attended University College London together.
She's produced every feature-length film her husband has made and all but one of his short films. She's even responsible for getting him to read the collection of stories that formed the basis of the Oscar-winning Dunkirk.
While filming Dunkirk, Thomas was on location with the crew, braving the stormy beach waters off Malo-les-Bains, doing what she refers to as "facilitating an atmosphere" where Nolan can create.
- 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.
- Photo: Eva Rinaldi / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0
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.