Recent months have been hell for stories of celebrity splits, from Heidi and Seal to Katy and Russell, Demi and Ashton to Johnny and Vanessa and more. But today being Valentine’s Day, let us take a moment to shine some light on love in the celebrity leagues — where the gestures are grander, the gifts are more lavish, and imaginations can soar unfettered by bank balance considerations.
Jennifer Aniston’s vast legions of fans, who’ve suffered with America’s Sweetheart through the Brad Pitt split and painful John Mayer period, can take heart in her declaration that she is now in a “joyful and peaceful place” with Justin Theroux. If our Jen can find a good man at last, darn it, then there’s hope for all the lovelorn. Last year, she gifted her hunky beau with a $12,000 jacket that had been worn by James Dean.
Who doesn’t feel heart-warmed by new Mom & Dad Beyonce and Jay-Z, whose investments in expressions of love perhaps outstrip the GNP of a small country by now. A few examples: When Beyonce turned 23, Jay-Z blew a half million dollars on a huge hip hop party, complete with live mermaids (okay, they weren’t really mermaids, but not because he couldn’t afford real mermaids!) and an ice sculpture that read “Beautiful B.” For her 25th, he not only gave his lady a big party in New York, the hip hop mogul reportedly spent $1 million to buy her a 1959 Rolls Royce convertible. In 2010, she bought him a Bugatti Grand Sport, for a reported $2 million. His new gigantic sapphire pinky ring, worth an estimated $500,000, is believed to be Beyonce’s gift of thanks to Jay-Z for being such a good daddy to baby Blue Ivy, who is four weeks and three days old today (2/14). In a related story, Blue Ivy is said to already have more than $1.5 million worth of toys, in addition to her trademarked name and hit record release. (Jay-Z’s “Glory” included her first sounds, making Blue Ivy the youngest artist ever on the Billboard charts.)
Romantic might not be the first word that leaps to mind when you think of fried-sounding heavy metal icon Ozzy Osbourne and his potty-mouthed rock matriarch cum talk and reality show queen, Sharon. But the couple has been wed 30 years this year. They’ve made it through drug and illness nightmares that could have rendered asunder a less devoted pair. That’s plenty romantic enough. And how about this? Ozzy buys pearls for Sharon on Valentine’s Day every year. She tells the story of how he was performing in Japan the first year they were a couple, and he went into a shop and bought her a strand of pearls there – despite the fact they had no money at the time. The bill arrived three weeks later, as she related in a U.K. Rate the Music interview, and “I’m like, ‘Oh Ozzy, we’re going to have to work for like six months to pay off this bill!’ So, it’s now become a tradition — pearls.”
Speaking of odd, Shirley Jones and Marty Ingels still strike folks as the unlikeliest of couples – the loud and often grating comic and the genteel Oscar-winning actress and musical star. They weren’t supposed to last but it’s been 35 years this year since they became husband and wife, and they say they’re a testimony to the power of laughter. Ingels also knows the power of a spectacular gesture – having pulled such shenanigans as having a mariachi band performing out on their lawn for one of their anniversaries. He also once purchased an entire candy store in Beverly Hills as a gift for “Shirl,” who happened to like a particular type of candy sold there. Sweet!
Of course, it doesn’t always have to be about money. “Criminal Minds” star Joe Mantegna told us his favorite romantic moment “was in 1975. My love Arlene and I were touring with a play in Europe. We were like hippies, without much money in our pockets. We went up to the top of the Eiffel Tower on October 3 and did a kind of personal marriage thing. We had to go back to Chicago to make it legal, but it’s that October 3 date we celebrate, that we consider our anniversary date. Even more romantic was a date that came 25 years later — on October 3. We were with our two daughters and went to the top of the Eiffel Tower and recited our vows again. What made it more special was that our daughter Mia, who was about 14 at the time, was wearing the same blue jean jacket Arlene had worn that first time.”
And then there’s Julie Benz of “Dexter” and Charlie Sheen’s upcoming “Anger Management” series. She recalls, “In fifth grade, Peter Esselman wrote me a letter that said he would love me even if all my hair fell out and I regurgitated all over myself. And he drew a picture of me with no hair, regurgitating on myself. That’s love.”