How to stay married when you're famous

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WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - APRIL 13:  Musician Paul McCartney (R) and wife Nancy Shevell arrive at the world premiere of
Paul McCartney is celebrating 10 years of wedded bliss with Nancy Shevell (Reuters)

Being famous and happily married is a rarity, as countless A list couples can testify. From Brad Pitt to Johnny Depp, Madonna to Gwyneth Paltrow, and plenty more besides, the pressures of fame and an A list lifestyle has seen a vast number of celebrities marooned on the rocks of divorce. 

The ones who get it right, however, seem to have hit on a magic formula that helps them weather all the storms of life together - even if it's second, third of fourth time around.

After his first wife Linda died in 1998, Paul McCartney, 79, had a whirlwind romance with actress and activist Heather Mills, marrying her in 2002. 

It ended in tears, but since marrying an old friend, US heiress Nancy Shevell in 2011, who is 18 years his junior, he has seldom looked less than contented. This week they celebrated their tenth wedding anniversary.

Singer Paul McCartney and his bride Nancy Shevell are showered in confetti as they leave after their marriage ceremony at Old Marylebone Town Hall in London October 9, 2011.  Former Beatle Paul McCartney wed for the third time on Sunday when he and New York heiress Nancy Shevell were married in a civil ceremony in London.   REUTERS/Kieran Doherty  (BRITAIN - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)
McCartney and Shevell tied the knot at Marylebone registry office. (Reuters)

McCartney has said, "It would be great if it was smooth and wonderful all the time, but you get pockets of that, and sometimes it’s — you could be annoying. 

"To Nancy I’m pretty complex, with everything I’ve been through."

Other happy couples in the rock firmament are Rod Stewart and Penny Lancaster. Despite an age difference of 26 years and his previous marriages to Alana Stewart and Rachel Hunter, Penny seems to have the magic touch and has brought calm to the rackety life of the ageing singer since they married in 2007. 

She volunteers as a Special Constable, and Rod recently said, "I don't sleep, I don't sleep when she's out on the beat. Until I know, she's safe in the car.”

Rock singer Rod Stewart poses with his fiancee, model Penny Lancaster, in the northern Italian coastal town of Portofino June 15, 2007. Stewart's publicist confirmed this week to Reuters that the couple are to be married in the picturesque town on June 16. REUTERS/Dario Pignatelli    (ITALY)
Rod and Penny pose in Portofino, Italy in 2007, just before getting married. (Reuters)

After his marriage to model Rachel Hunter broke down, Stewart 'swore' he'd never marry again, but asked why he changed his mind over Penny, said, "She's adorable... irresistible. Look at that face."

Fellow superstar Elton John is equally happy with his civil partner David Furnish, whom he met in 1993, after years of addiction and broken relationships. He has said, "if I hadn’t have gone through them, I wouldn’t be sitting here having the great life I have now. I would have never met David, I would never have had children. I spent 16 years getting f***ed up and 29 years getting better." 

They have two children Zachary and Elijah, born by surrogate. Elton has also said "I knew he was the one because he is not afraid of me. He always tells me exactly what he thinks.”

Elton John and his husband David Furnish (L) arrive at the 2017 Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Viewing Party in Los Angeles, California, U.S., February 26, 2017.   REUTERS/Brian Snyder
The happiest couple in showbiz? Elton and partner David. (Reuters)

But is it simply a case of waiting until later in life, when the temptations of rock stardom are easing off, and the old urges are dying down - or is it purely down to being ready to commit to the right person, and having a sense of perspective on fame and all its attendant nonsense?

Read more: 50 Rules For A Happy Marriage

Many happy celebrities are married to someone who's not in the business. Oscar winner Meryl Streep has been married to sculptor Don Gummer since 1978, and though two of their four children are now actors, he has never shown interest in a movie career,.

In her Oscar winner's speech in 2012 she said "I want him to know that everything I value most in our lives, (he's) given me."

Cast member Meryl Streep smiles next to her husband Don Gummer at the premiere of
Meryl and her supportive husband Don. (Reuters)

When two actors do make it work together, such as Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick, or Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, it's often the case that one has a less stellar career than the other, or they take turns to shine, while one keeps the homes fires burning.

Other long-term successes include Michael J Fox and Tracy Pollan, and Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson.

Watch: 2 words for a happier marriage

Oprah Winfrey has been with partner Stedman Graham since 1986 though has never married him. She has said, "If you ever interviewed him, he would tell you that had we married, we would not be together today...Because he’s a traditional man and this is a very untraditional relationship.”

Oprah Winfrey and partner Stedman Graham arrive 
at the 2015 Vanity Fair Oscar Party in Beverly Hills, California February 22, 2015.  REUTERS/Danny Moloshok (UNITED STATES  - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)  (VANITY FAIR-ARRIVALS)
Oprah and partner Stedman have never married (Reuters)

For Michelle and Barack Obama, meeting young was the key- knowing each other before global fame and power meant they had a secure base and knew each other inside out, before the demands of the world hit.

Starting as friends, too, like Cindy Crawford and businessman Rande Gerber, who have been married for 23 years, is a huge help. 

 "We started off as friends, and I know that Rande and I, we will always be friends, no matter what," Cindy said.

Read more: Your genes may determine whether or not you have a happy marriage

And being committed is just as important according to Nicole Kidman, who after a troubled marriage to co-star Tom Cruise, has been married to country star Keith Urban for 15 years. She supported him through rehab soon after they got together, and says, " "We just love each other, lavish each other with love."

"We’re always working through stuff, but it’s very much love based, so there’s an enormous amount of give and take. 

"I want him to have the best life he can have, and he responds the same way. We really love parenting together.”

Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban attend HBO Big Little Lies Season 2 Premiere at Jazz at Lincoln Center (Photo by Lev Radin/Pacific Press/Sipa USA)
Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban have been in love for 15 years. (Reuters)

For many, clashing egos, schedules and endless on-set temptation proves too much for a marriage to withstand.

Those who do succeed are the ones who compartmentalise their peculiar lives - at home, they're just themselves, and work is left behind. 

The ultimate movie couple, who set the standard for every happy Hollywood marriage, was Paul Newman and his wife actress Joanne Woodward. 

E36460702: Paul Newman And Joanne Woodward After Benefit Performance Of
Newman and Woodward: The gold standard. (Getty Images)

They met performing in a Broadway play together in 1953, and then starred in movie The Long, Hot Summer, where they fell in love. 

They married in 1958 and the union lasted until Newman's death in 2008.

 He once said, "I have steak at home. Why would I go out for hamburger?'

Watch: Key to happy marriage? Russian couple wed for 70 years have the answer

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