Starry Eyed Romances

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  • Adam Shulman - Anne Hathaway wedding

There are some people you would be hard pressed not to like; they are funny, talented, good-looking and entirely approachable. Anne Hathaway fits that bill on every quality, and much more. The big, beguiling brown eyes, porcelain skin, nose, a bit long and wide, full mouth that breaks into a warm, inviting smile draws you right in. Add to that repertoire, an amazing versatility as an actress, Radhika Talwar is a confirmed admirer

One can’t help but have the utmost respect for the way Hathaway managed her career, and her choice of roles. Most viewers will remember Hathaway for her role as Mia Thermopolis in The Princess Diaries, even though she had appeared in a fairly popular TV series before (Get Real). She broke into the profession early, inspired by her mother, Kate McCauley Hathaway’s acting career. Her endearing, geek to princess transformation struck a chord with nearly every woman, because really, everyone wants to be a princess! She launched her career with clean-cut, family-friendly characters, from Ella Enchanted to The Devil Wear’s Prada, before shifting public perception with her work in Havoc and Brokeback Mountain.

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If you have seen her work in Rachel Getting Married and Les Misérables, the transition is stunning. Her characters were a far cry from the fresh-faced innocence of earlier work, and no less captivating. The lovely actress’s gritty, all-too-real rendition of the broken down Fantine, was a performance justifiably worthy of the Academy Award she won. Her dedication to her art, quite likely stems from her compassion; “Fantine is not just a character that lived centuries ago. There’s someone like her a block from us right now. And that should be to our collective, mutual outrage and shame..”

The approachability one feels with Hathaway is not simply because of her warm, friendly face and doe-like eyes. She exudes a humanity, which is reflected in her dedication to charitable work as well. Her work with Step Up Women’s Network, a foundation designed to help women battle depression earned acclaim.

While her professional life was soaring, for all appearances, her personal life appeared just as hot. Her publicised and coveted romance with Raffaello Follieri, the Italian real estate tycoon, could have been a dream come true. The dashing, handsome Follieri emulated heroes of classic romances, by sweeping Hathway off in chartered jets to exotic locale and glitzy dates. A true humanitarian and loyal girlfriend, Hathaway joined the Follieri Foundation as a Board Member. The Foundation was known for its charitable efforts in providing children in Third World countries with vaccinations, and Hathaway was an active member.

It was not all hearts and roses for Hathaway in the romance department though. The scandal following Follieri’s arrest in 2008 is well documented. There is much speculation about Hathaway’s role in his arrest, but she chose to distance herself from him once she was aware of his fraudulence. During the investigation into Follieri’s ponzi scheme defrauding the Vatican of over $100 million, Hathaway’s diaries were confiscated as evidence. The actress said she felt as though “a rug was pulled from under me”. She was officially and publically cleared of any conjecture with the case, and severed ties with all things Follieri, including the Foundation. “As soon as I found out about the arrest, I had to get on a plane to Mexico to do a press tour for ‘Get Smart.’ I then spent a week in shock at a friend’s house. I had to go back and do more press, and I haven’t stopped since,” Hathaway, then 25, was quoted saying.

A TRUE HUMANITARIAN AND LOYAL GIRLFRIEND, HATHAWAY JOINED THE FOLLIERI FOUNDATION AS A BOARD MEMBER. THE FOUNDATION WAS KNOWN FOR ITS CHARITABLE EFFORTS IN PROVIDING CHILDREN IN THIRD WORLD COUNTRIES WITH VACCINATIONS, AND HATHAWAY WAS AN ACTIVE MEMBER.

Adam Shulman - Anne Hathaway wedding

Adam Shulman – Anne Hathaway wedding

Understandably, Hathaway had no desire or intention of being involved with anyone, choosing to focus on her career, and recover her equilibrium. Her heartbreak was private despite the notoriety surrounding the break-up and scandal. “I thought, I don’t have a life right now,” She said in a candid interview after the affair. Fate, it seems had other ideas, and contrived to put her in touch with a young, somewhat unknown actor, Adam Shulman. While his acting career has not made waves, Adam had enjoyed minor success with the sitcom American Dreams and Dukes of Hazzard: The Beginning.

With his youthful blonde good looks, and shy smile, the 33 year old vaguely resembles a hipster Ryan Gosling. Shulman was introduced to Hathaway, by mutual friends in 2008, five months after Follieri was arrested. Hathaway was reportedly smitten almost instantly, catching her by surprise, especially given her desire to shy away from romance for a time. “Adam totally ruined my plan. I was really actually looking forward to a little alone time and then I fell in love like a fool!” she said in an interview.

They began spending a private, fairly normal type of courtship in Brooklyn, visiting neighbourhood restaurants and simply being a regular couple. The pair has often been spotted at Building on Bonds, which is a favourite hangout of theirs, and as regular as it comes. With Follieri, Hathaway had the fairy-tale courtship and glamourous, expensive dates. But the actress seemed far happier splitting bills with her new beau, and being every inch a girl in love. The bitter ending of her previous relationship fortunately did not impact her willingness to put her faith in Shulman; “I found the love I feel for him made me more trusting of everyone, and the more I started to see who I had become,” was her earnest statement. Of course this is inclined to make Shulman all the more endearing for inspiring that level of maturity and inner peace.

The couple were dating for three years before a proposal was forthcoming – right around the time Hathaway was working on Les Misérables. She had made the bold decision to shave her head for the role of Fantine, a move that actually resonated deeper with the audience. “I was very excited when I put the phone down [after agreeing to cut my hair] and he said, ‘Okay darling, there’s probably one thing you’re not thinking about. How do you feel about being a bald bride?'” Possibly one of the most unique and adorable proposals, n’est ce pas?

Hathaway and Shulman married in an inter-faith ceremony on 29 September 2012. Hathaway wore a vintage gown and special headdress, designed by Valentino for the large, elaborate wedding in Big Sur, California. Although Hathaway played coy with the media about her wedding date, their guest list was over a 100 close friends and family members in an understated, outdoor setting.

She may have had the fairy-tale romance with Follieri, but Shulman is clearly her Prince in real life. The pair have been married three years and seem blissfully content.

BLAKE LIVELY AND RYAN REYNOLDS

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Anyone who has watched Gossip Girl (which means, anyone with a life!), will know Blake Lively as the beautiful, everyone-loves-to-hate, Serena van der Woodsen. Tall, blonde, blue-eyed, statesque, Blake Lively is definitely a popular celebrity, with undeniably talent. No stranger to the silver screen, Blake was raised around movie sets, with an actor father (Ernie Lively), and acting coach mother, and four siblings in the show business. “My whole family’s been in the business. My whole family is crazy.” She quips. Like Hathaway, Lively began her career with the family-friendly Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants, and famously landed the role without an audition.

Ryan Reynolds by contrast did not hail from a showbiz background, and success passed him by at the early stage of his career. The hunky, blonde Canadian was all set to throw in the towel, when he along with Chris William Martin took their chances and moved to LA to jumpstart their diminishing careers. The gamble paid off, as Reynolds managed to land one of the lead roles in Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place, a show that enjoyed minor success for two consecutive seasons. More importantly it afforded the hunky Reynolds roles in Definitely, Maybe with Isla Fisher, The Proposal with Sandra Bullock, and DC Comic’s Green Lantern

It was on the sets of Green Lantern that the duo first met, and paired off. However, Reynolds was married to Scarlett Johansson; and Lively was linked with co-star, Penn Badgley from Gossip Girl. While Reynolds and Lively had great on-screen chemistry, they did not initially seemed destined to be together. Even after Reynolds divorced Johansson, they were both in relationships with other celebrities, before succumbing to the inevitable during the publicity tours for Green Lantern in 2011.

Lively being intensely private about her love life “Yeah, I don’t comment on my relationships… My anonymity is something I treasure. Wanting to be an actor and wanting to be famous are different.” kept out of the public eye as best possible. They sneakily pulled off a secret wedding in in South Carolina helped along by Martha Stewart Weddings. Despite disasters like burnt wedding dresses, Lively has fond memories of the day; “And later, my dress was hanging up and Ryan said, ‘Isn’t that beautiful?’ I said, ‘What?’ And he pointed to the burn. My heart just stopped, because it was such a sensitive little subject. And he said, ‘You’ll always remember that moment with Florence singing and the sparklers. You have that forever, right there, preserved.’ Now that’s my favorite part of the dress.”

The couple welcomed their daughter, James Reynolds in December 2014.

WILL SMITH AND JADA PINKETT-SMITH

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In keeping with celebrities meeting on the sets, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith do not disappoint. Jada (then Pinkett) auditioned for the part of Smith’s girl friend in Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in 1990. At the time, Smith was married to Sheree Fletcher (then Zampino), and had just begun his steady ascent to fame with the show. While the role went to Nia Long, it was the beginning of a lasting friendship for the two.

“West Philadelphia born and raised… in the playground is where I spent most of my days,” is exactly true for Will Smith. He has humble beginnings, and was raised in a melting-pot neighbourhood with 3 other siblings. Luckily for fans, his fledgling stint as a rapper with Jazzy D (Remember “Boom Shake Shake” anyone?) led to more lucrative ventures. Having already captured the hearts of fans with his portrayal of the irrepressible, charming rogue, in Fresh Prince, Will opted for more lawabiding roles, notably with Bad Boys to Independence Day and Men in Black.

Jada’s early career in the 90’s consisted of a series of appearances in noteable shows, 21 Jump Street, Doogie Howser M.D. and A Different World among them. “I just want pieces of the world”, she said, when referring to her goals. The spunky, compact, light-eyed beauty has traditionally chosen roles reflect that unbridled, no-holds-barred energy she seems to thrum with.

Will and Jada remained close friends after their initial meeting in 1990, even through Will’s high profile divorce. Jada recalls how at a dinner with mutual friends in 1995, she noticed the change in the Will; “I saw that he had grown from this lanky kid to this really responsible man. We started courting each other and our friendship turned into romance.” They dated for two years before marrying in December 1997, in a private ceremony they managed to keep out of the press with aplomb.

It is not necessary that good looks pass through the generations, but it certainly has been for Jaden Smith (age 17) and Willow Smith (age 15). The Smiths bring a glamorous flair to the concept of “family business”, with both kids pursuing showbusiness young. The success of Jaden’s Pursuit of Happyness with Will and Karate Kid, and Willow’s I am Legend are noteworthy.

In true Hollywood tabloid fashion, despite countless rumours about the couple splitting up, they are still going strong 17 years in. “Marriages go through shifts. And relationships go through shifts because in life, things shift.” Jada quips. Although Will’s name has been linked with other women over time (testimony to his star status), he maintains; “You’re so much stronger when your partner is strong. I honestly believe there is no woman for me but Jada. Of all the women I’ve met – and there’ve been a few – no one can handle me the way Jada does. Once you feel someone locked in on you, it’s no contest. I’m not going anywhere. This is it. I can’t imagine what anyone else could offer.”

GEORGE CLOONEY AND AMAL ALAMMUDIN

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Success came very late for the dashing, wickedly attractive George Timothy Clooney, and in all stages of life. Although he has had numerous appearances in long-running shows (Roseanne), the big break was when he was cast as the delicious playboy, Dr Doug Ross on ER. From there it was nothing but up for Clooney, as he was offered and took on diverse roles from One Fine Day with Michelle Pfieffer, to A Thin Red Line, to the Ocean’s Eleven trilogy. It did not stop there, as he went on to Produce (Syrianna, A Scanner Darkly) and direct (Ides of March, A Monuments Man) several successful ventures.

While Amal Amaluddin may have not been a celebrity in the classic sense, the Lebanese-born British attorney has not been idle. She was involved in the Enron and Arthur Ashe cases with the law firm Sullivan & Cromwell. Many of her Human Rights cases have been high profile, including the Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, and the journalist Mohammad Fahmy, with Al Jazeera Canada who was arrested and held in Egypt.

The beautiful couple were introduced by mutual friends in Italy, during a charity event. Brought together by their interest in human rights and activism, Clooney was drawn to the gorgeous, accomplished human rights lawyer, with a sassy sense of humour. However hard it may be for Clooney fans to believe, the Lebanese-born attorney did not fall instantly into his arms. She channelled the powers that women have had for centuries past, and led him on a merry chase, turning him down twice before acquiescing. With modern day aplomb, they began an email courtship (because Amaluddin refused to give Clooney her phone number), and Clooney’s “I think the reported hottest man in the world should meet with the hottest human rights lawyer in the world” did the job.

Through numerous public appearances together, Clooney broke hearts worldwide, when he confirmed being completely besotted with his new lady love. The self-professed bachelor swore he would never tie the knot again, upon divorcing his wife, actress Talia Balsam. His adamance was a long standing joke with co-stars and friends, even going as far a wager with Michelle Pfieffer and Nicole Kidman. Methinks the gentleman doth protest too much. Clooney and Amaluddin married in a glitzy, Hollywood style, but gorgeous wedding ceremony in Italy, where they met. Clooney is proof positive that good things come to those who wait.

SARAH JESSICA PARKER AND MATTHEW BRODERICK

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If you were out about during the 80’s, you would not have missed Ferris Bueller’s Day Out. With his boyish charm, and approachable, guy-next door manner, Broderick beat out plenty of heartthrobs (Robe Lowe, Johnny Depp and ironically, Robert Downey Jr.) for the role of Ferris Bueller. Although he has not garnered as much notoriety in recent years, he has worked on well-known animations like Lion King, The Bee Movie and The Tale of Despereaux. In his adorably self-deprecating way, Broderick points out “I acquired fame by playing the coolest kid alive. Now the only roles I can seem to get are bleak, insecure men. I do find almost every character I play quite interesting, though.” Referring to his comically awkward characters from Addicted to Love, The Cable Guy and Inspector Gadget.

She’s the one we all love to hate. That amazing closet, those delectable shoes, and the easy, breezy New York flair that simply oozes from her every, classy pore. Carrie Bradshaw, synonymous with Sarah Jessica Parker, is a world famous, late-night viewing name worldwide. Considering her humble beginnings, and being one of eight siblings, Parker’s current spot as a Fashion icon for women internationally, is a major coupe. The petite, blue-eyed fashionista waves off the title rather modestly “I have a team of style experts for being Carrie, but I am not Carrie. I’m not even much of a shopper. I don’t feel I need a lot of clothes. But I work in an industry where appearance is everything and sometimes I have to work hard at looking good.” – her hard work has paid off, big time; you would have to be pretty special to have Manolo Blahnik name a shoe in your honour!

Their meeting came at a much later stage in life, before which, they were both in serious relationships with other iconic celebrities. Parker lived with Robert Downey Jr from 1984 to 1991, before he retreated from the public eye to battle his addiction. She had a brief fling with the late John F Kennedy Jr shortly after. Broderick had been engaged to Helen Hunt, who he co-starred with in Project X, one of his better films in 1980s.

Her brother Timothy Britten Parker, who assumed the role of cupid, steering her to a “nice, stable guy”, introduced the pair in 1996. The two hit it off beautifully, and began dating a few months later. Parker gushed about Broderick; “He’s probably the funniest fellow I’ve met in my entire life. I’m mad for him, totally.” They were engaged shortly after, and married in May 1997, in a former New York synagogue. In true SJP style, the bride made a splash with a black wedding gown. The memorable wedding party, eschewed electricity, giving the affair a party feel.

Eighteen years have been good for the pair, with a son (James Wilkie) and twin daughters (Marion Loretta Elwell and Tabitha Hodge), and many laughs along the way. They have worked well together to juggle their family and careers; “I have a fantastic husband. Here’s the honeymoon part: I still think he’s the funniest, wittiest, most clever man I’ve ever known.” We certainly hope the honeymoon part lasts forever.

Hollywood is certainly not an easy place to begin and build married life, but that has not stopped any of our stars. It is inspiring and heartening to know that the individuals, the human beings who spend their lives bringing us beautiful love stories, can and do have their own. And the moral of the story, readers is; love can happen in the most unexpected places, with the unlikeliest of candidates, at any age.

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