The notion of a power couple may seem like a relatively modern one (think Queen Bey and Jay-Z or Kim and Kanye), but all throughout history there have been some powerful pairs that really got stuff done. Here’s a rundown of some of the best of these dynamic duos.
Marc Antony and Cleopatra
Between the two of them, they had both Rome and Egypt under their control. Despite the fact he had a wife and children back at home, Marc Antony spent much of his time in Alexandria with Cleopatra. The pair of them were pursuing as much power as they possibly could. In 30 BC, after falling out of favor with the government back in Rome, they were invaded by Roman troops and the pair took their own lives. Ultimately they lost, but they still managed to transform and empire.
Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas
These two female Jewish lovers ran a salon from their home that played host to many esteemed artists, including Ernest Hemingway, Thornton Wilder, and Picasso. Gertrude was the more public face of the salon, but between the two they created an artistic haven in a time when their love was not only not accepted but entirely demonized. In the 1970s, two of the first political organizations were named after the respective members of this ultimate power couple.
Marie and Pierre Curie
This pair met in Paris in the 1890s where they became researchers at the School of Chemistry. It was here they began their pioneering work, which led to them discovering the elements radium and polonium. Their work was very physically demanding, and now we know they began to suffer from radiation poisoning, but they persevered despite their ill health. Marie was the first woman to win a Nobel prize, the first person to win one twice and the only person to win one in two different sciences. They both suffered in their pursuit of knowledge – with Marie dying as a result of her extended handling of the radioactive materials.
Bill and Melinda Gates
Bill Gates was one of the co-founders of Microsoft which made him one of the world’s best-known entrepreneurs and a billionaire to boot. Melinda began working at Microsoft after graduating college, and this is where she met her husband. The pair have used their wealth to pursue many philanthropic causes, and in the year 2000, they created the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The foundation’s primary aims are to improve healthcare internationally and reduce extreme poverty. As of the end of 2014, the foundation has an endowment of $44.3 billion, $28 billion of which was donated by the Gates Family themselves.
Without these powerful couples that have lived throughout history, the world would be a very different place – and probably worse for it! Long live the power couple.