13 Celebs Who Married Their Cousins
Marrying your first cousin is legal in 25 states in the United States, and back in the day it was even commonplace. Although there is now a certain stigma attached to having a romantic relationship with a close relative, these famous people chose to buck that trend.
Jerry Lee Lewis
Jerry Lee Lewis, the accomplished musician who rocked the world with “Great Balls of Fire,” married his 13-year-old cousin in 1958. The marriage lasted 13 years, and Lewis was married four more times since then.
The beloved Founding Father married his third cousin, Martha Wayles Skelton, and had six children together, two of which survived to adulthood. It’s said that the ten years they were married were the happiest of Thomas Jefferson’s life. Martha made Thomas promise to never re-marry.
Edgar Allan Poe
Poe has been know for being a little creepy at times. The fact that he married his first cousin, Virginia Clemm, when she was 13 doesn’t help with the “creep” factor. Add to it that he nicknamed her “sissy” and “sis,” and some of his work starts to make a lot more sense.
Queen Elizabeth II
Okay, so royalty always marries their cousins, right? Sort of. But Queen Elizabeth is related to her husband, Prince Philip, as both second cousins through King Christian IX of Denmark and third cousins through Queen Victoria of England. There might have been some concern with the health of their children if you just saw Prince Charles, but the rest of them seem to have turned out alright.
Ask people about Rudy Giuliani and they will know him either as “the guy that hates homeless people” or as “the guy who hosted SNL and appeared on Seinfeld”. Other, smarter people know him as “the guy who unknowingly married his second cousin and childhood friend.”
Jesse James is known as one of the last great American outlaws. He robbed trains and hid in caves. He also married his cousin, Zerelda Mimms, who was (creepily) named after Jesse’s mother.
Einstein was so smart that his name became a synonym for someone who is really smart. Well, in addition to being a genius, Einstein married his first (and second) cousin, Elsa Lowenthal. Good for him?
Kevin “I’m cooking” Bacon found out in recent years that he is a distant (very, very distant) ninth cousin of his wife, Kyra Sedgewick. Just an example of how distant this relationship is: President Barack Obama is more closely related to Brad Pitt, Dick Cheney and George W. Bush than Kevin Bacon is to Kyra Sedgewick.
Johan Sebastian Bach
While not a “modern” celeb, Bach was the hottest thing in Baroque music at one point in his life. He was also the hottest thing out there with his second cousin Maria Barbara Bach, whom he married in 1707.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
The 32nd President of the United States, good ‘ol FDR, married his fifth cousin Eleanor Roosevelt. FDR’s parents were also sixth cousins. Gotta keep up with the Roosevelts.
Best known for his contributions to evolutionary theory (and his love for finches and tortoises), Charles Darwin married his cousin, Emma Wedgewood, in 1839. Seems like the father of natural selection would understand some of the dangers of marrying a cousin.
Christopher Robin Milne
Christopher Robin Milne, the inspiration of “Christopher Robin” in Winnie the Pooh, married his first cousin Lesley de Selincourt. He spent most of his life avoiding the fame that came with being the inspiration for his father’s books.
John F. Fitzgerald
Fitzgerald was a Massachusetts congressman and early supporter of the Boston Red Sox. He also married his second cousin, Mary Josephine “Josie” Hannon. He later helped his grandson, future president John F. Kennedy, win his first congressional race.