These days, marrying or dating anyone that’s even closely related to you is considered to be one of the most ultimate taboos but, it actually used to be quite common and we’ll explain!
Today, when you think of someone who marries their cousin, you probably think about some country bumpkin named Cletus who wears overalls and only has a couple of teeth. However, this wasn’t always the case! In early history when the population was much smaller, influential people looked to their family members to find love in order to keep their affluence and money out of the hands of outsiders.
As crazy and creepy as it sounds, many of the world’s greatest icons ended up knowingly marrying a relative. So, which celebs actually kept it in the family when it came to love? From some of our country’s founding fathers to queens, rock stars, present-day politicians and even actors, we found 20 celebs who tied the knot with their cousins. Are you ready? Sit back and relax because some of these names are sure to shock you!
1.John Adams (Abigail Smith)
As one of our Founding Fathers, John Adams was an extremely versatile professional who worked as a lawyer, author, diplomat and statesman before becoming the first Vice President of the United States under George Washington.
At the end of Washington’s eight-year term, Adams easily stepped in as the second President of the United States, leading the young nation from 1797 until 1801.
Though known to collaborate with Samuel Adams, one of his many famous cousins, on innovative and revolutionary ideas, his relationship with his third cousin, Abigail, is a much juicier topic for our list. Knowing one another practically their entire lives, John fell in love with the shy Abigail who preferred to read rather than socialize and go out like the other girls. As their love blossomed, the future President proposed, making Abigail the future First Lady of the United States and the mother to their six children.
2.Martin Van Buren (Hannah Hoes)
The next person on our list is another President and, surprisingly enough, is not the last leader of the free world we’ll see!
Martin Van Buren served as the eighth President of the United States from 1837 to 1841 but not before serving as the Vice President and Secretary of State under President Andrew Jackson. Despite having various leadership roles, Van Buren was considered an unpopular leader but served during a very significant time in American history and will always be remembered as the forefather of the Democratic Party.
Van Buren actually kept his love life closer in the family than John Adams as he married his first cousin once removed, Hannah Hoes. Van Buren and Hoes were childhood sweethearts who tied the knot on February 21, 1807 and welcomed their first of six children, a son named Abraham, the same year. Their marriage tragically ended after 12 years when, at the age of 35, Mrs. Van Buren died of tuberculosis, long before her husband ever served as President. Heartbroken and very much still in love, Van Buren never remarried.
3.Johann Sebastian Bach (Maria Barbara Bach)
Known as one of the greatest composers of all time, Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer and organist whose exceptional talent and ability are still appreciated today.
Among over three hundred cantatas and numerous other compositions, some of Bach’s classics include the Brandenburg Concertos, Overture No. 2 in B Minor, and Concerto in A Minor for 4 Harpsichords.
Shortly after taking a position as an organist at the St. Blasius’s Church in Muhlhausen, Bach married his second cousin, Maria Barbara Bach, on October 17, 1707. Though little is known about the couple’s life together, they welcomed seven children into the world, four of whom survived to adulthood and two of whom became composers like their father. Maria passed away of unexpected causes 13 years into the marriage and, just 17 months after, Bach remarried with Anna Magdalena Wilcke.
4.Queen Elizabeth II (Prince Philip)
All Hail the Queen!
As the longest reigning monarch in the history of the United Kingdom, Queen Elizabeth II is already a legend. Ruling several countries including Canada, Australia and New Zealand, Queen Elizabeth first took the throne in 1952 and has since seen 12 of her countries become independent. Now at 89 years old, the illustrious monarch has no plans on leaving the crown to George VI anytime soon.
Long before she took the throne, Queen Elizabeth met Philip who was, at the time of their introduction in 1934, the Prince of Greece and Denmark. Now, at 94 years old, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, is the longest serving consort of a monarch in British history after his marriage to Elizabeth in 1947. The couple are actually related twice as they are second cousins once removed from King Christian IX of Denmark and third cousins through Queen Victoria.
5.Queen Victoria (Prince Albert)
Speaking of Queen Victoria, Elizabeth II isn’t the only the queen in British history who married her cousin.
Victoria served as the Queen of Great Britain and Ireland as well as the Empress of India from June 1847 until her death on May 1, 1876. The daughter of Prince Edward, Victoria became queen when she was just 18 years old after her three older brothers and father passed away, making her one of the youngest heirs in British history.
While Elizabeth II married her second cousin, Victoria didn’t stray as far from the family tree when she married her first cousin, Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, in 1840. Victoria and Albert had nine children together and were married for more than 20 years before Albert’s death. Madly in love with Albert long after his passing, Victoria once wrote in her journal about how her husband was “extremely handsome” and that her “heart is quite going” with love.
6.Igor Stravinsky (Yekaterina Gavrilovna Nosenko)
From former Presidents of the United States to Queens of England, we now visit another composer on our list, Igor Stravinsky.
Born in Russia in 1882, Stravinsky spent a good portion of his life traveling in France and the United States until his death in 1971. With some of his most famous compositions including The Rite of Spring, The Firebird and Petrushka, Stravinsky is considered one of the most influential composers of the 20th century.