There is something extra sweet and romantic about a long-term couple who can call themselves high school sweethearts. Two people who have been together since they were teenagers have seen it all: Various awkward phases, many embarrassing moments, plenty of ups and downs, and a lot of immature behaviors. But it's even more intriguing when someone in that relationship is a celebrity. When a pair manages to go against all odds and date through high school and beyond, especially if they're in the limelight, it's pretty remarkable.
Though it may sound impossible, there are more than a few celebrity couples who have been together since their teenage years. Some met in high school and stayed together through everything (including fame), while others dated in high school and broke up before ultimately reconnecting later in life. Regardless of their story, each relationship ultimately proves that first loves are always forever. Ahead, here's a look at the celebrity couples who can say they eternally fell in love with their high school sweetheart.
Aaron Judge and Samantha Bracksieck
New York Yankees player Aaron Judge and his wife Samantha Bracksieck met in Linden, California, where they both grew up and went to high school. Throughout their teenage years, the two dated on and off before separately heading to Fresno State after graduation. They eventually got back together, and by 2019, they had made their first public appearance together. In December 2021, the very private couple got married in a secret and intimate ceremony in Hawaii.
Thomas Rhett and Lauren Akins
Country singer Thomas Rhett and his wife Lauren Akins grew up in Valdosta, Georgia, and have known each other since the first grade. The duo went to church camp together at 13 years old and dated for a short time at 15. "We dated once when we were 15 and it didn't work out," Rhett told Taste of Country. "We dated for like six months. We remained best friends even after we broke up. We both dated other people for like five years. When I heard that she had ended her other relationship—this was last spring—I moved in for the kill. We kissed, and that was it."
Following their reunion, Rhett and Akins got married in 2012 and went on to have four kids together.
Steph Curry and Ayesha Alexander
One of sport's biggest power couples, Steph and Ayesha Curry first met back when they were in high school—when Steph was 15 and Ayesha was 14. Though they didn't date at the time, the future Mr. and Mrs. Curry were close friends. During an interview with The Charlotte Observer, Steph said his parents used to tease him about his relationship with Ayesha, saying, "It's funny, our parents used to make jokes about how cute we were together, but we didn't know."
Ayesha later spoke to PEOPLE about how they first met, saying, "We were just kids. He was the cute boy at church that all of the girls were obsessed with, so I made a generalization that maybe he wasn't for me." The pair reconnected at the ESPYs years later, when she was acting and modeling in Los Angeles and he was playing college basketball for Davidson. The couple later got married in 2011 and went on to have three kids together.
LeBron James and Savannah Brinson
Another popular sports couple, LeBron and Savannah James (née Brinson) also knew each other when they were younger, but didn't start dating until later on. At 17 years old, LeBron was playing basketball for St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, while 16-year-old Brinson attended a rival high school. Brinson told Cleveland Magazine that when a mutual friend told her James wanted her number, she declined, saying she would take his information instead. "One day I’m sitting around—I was probably bored or something—and I’m like, ‘Oh, I forgot! I have this number for this guy that I can call. He seemed interested, so let’s see.’”
James also spoke about their past in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in 2018, saying, "Savannah was with me shooting in the gym when I [had] absolutely nothing. [Savannah] was down when I was at my high school, no cameras, no lights. And she was there with me. You wouldn't be talking to me right now if it weren't for her." The couple had two kids together before getting married in 2013, and had their third child a year later.
Lin-Manuel Miranda and Vanessa Nadal
Though Lin-Manuel Miranda and Vanessa Nadal first met in the '90s—both attended Hunter College High School in New York City–the two never actually spoke back then. Miranda told the New York Times that even though he had a crush on Nadal, he was too shy to talk to her. "She was gorgeous and I'm famously bad at talking to women I find attractive," he said. "I have a total lack of game."
The couple later reconnected through Facebook when Miranda invited Nadal to an event, and sparks flew from there. They got engaged in Madrid in 2009, had a beautiful wedding in New York a year later, and have since welcomed two kids into their lives.
Bono and Ali Hewson
One of Hollywood's longest relationships, Bono and Ali Hewson have been together since the 1970s. The two first met when they were teenagers living in Dublin, Ireland, way before he became a world-famous musician. "We were teenagers. We went to the same high school," Bono told Extra in 2016.
The couple stayed together and got married in their early 20s, and went on to have four kids together. "It's been a great ride, a magic carpet ride," Bono told Huffington Post, describing his relationship.
Jeff Daniels and Kathleen Treado
Jeff Daniels and Katheleen Treado first met when they were in high school in Chelsea, Michigan, where they both grew up. They got married in 1979 and have since had three kids together. In an adorable full-circle moment, Daniels and Treado even ended up moving back to Chelsea to raise their three children there. "[Chelsea] was home," Daniels told MLive in 2014. "Kathleen and I had both been raised here; good enough for us, good enough for them."
Patrick Mahomes and Brittany Matthews
From prom dates to becoming a married couple, Patrick Mahomes and Brittany Matthews have been through it all. The couple met while attending Whitehouse High School in Texas, and started dating when Mahomes was in 10th grade and Matthews was in 11th.
The two survived a long-distance relationship in college and made things work as Mahomes' career took off. They got engaged in 2020, had their first child in 2021, got married in 2022, and had their second child a few months later.
Witney Carson and Carson McAllister
Dancing With The Stars dancer Witney Carson and her husband Carson McAllister started dating when they were both seniors at American Fork High School in Utah. They got engaged in 2015 after four years together and got married in Utah in 2016. In 2020, Carson and McAllister announced they were pregnant with their first child, and later welcomed their second kid in 2022.
Kendrick Lamar and Whitney Alford
These high school sweethearts first met and started dating as students at Centennial High School in Compton, California. They got engaged in 2015 and have since had two kids together. The two keep their relationship very private, but Lamar has said Alford is extremely influential in his life. In an interview with the New York Times, Lamar was asked for the name of the one person who could call him out, and he said, "One particular young lady. She's been here since day 1."
LL Cool J and Simone Smith
These longtime lovers first met when they were teens. In 2012, LL Cool J told Jimmy Kimmel that he was about 19 when he met his wife, Simone Smith, the cousin of his friend. In the book What Makes a Marriage Last, he told Phil Donahue and Marlo Smith, "‘I said, ‘Nah, nah, nah,’ And then I looked over and saw Simone and I was like, ‘Alright, I’ll meet your cousin. Bring her over.’ So, I said hello to her and then we kind of vibed—we had a nice moment of eye contact. I said, ‘You should come around.’ She said, ‘You come around.’"
Smith gave him her number, and though she never thought he would call, he did. The two started dating and got married in 1995 eight years later. They now have four kids together.
Ja Rule and Aisha Atkins
Forget high school: these two have been together since they were young kids. In 2002, Ja Rule told Ebony magazine that "the first time I met her I was getting off the school bus, and she was the new girl in school." He also told Blender that things almost didn't work out, saying, "She was cute, but she tried to play me at first," he said. "Then she realized I was one of the cool guys at school, and got with the program."
The two got married in 2001 and have three kids together. In 2011, they spent about two years apart when Ja Rule went to prison for tax evasion and illegal gun possession.
Snoop Dogg and Shante Broadus
Shante Broadus isn't just Snoop Dogg's longtime romantic partner, she's also his business partner. The rapper's wife is business savvy and acts as his manager, a role she's had for a very long time. “Shante has been guiding my career behind the scenes from day one,” the rapper said in a press release, according to Forbes. “She has always been my final gut check with all my decisions, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without her. I am grateful to have her as my official manager, helping to build the Snoop Dogg empire together.”
The two met while they were students at Long Beach Polytechnic High School. Snoop told VladTV that their relationship was old-fashioned, saying, "I had to go over there and meet her mother. I had to go over there and date her for, like, four months before I was able to kiss her. I had to call her on the phone. I had to write love letters." They went to prom together, and in 1997, they got married and went on to eventually have three kids.
Jon Bon Jovi and Dorothea Hurley
In 2017, Jon Bon Jovi told Best Life that he and his wife, Dorothea Hurley, had met when they were teenagers living in New Jersey. "I met my future wife in 1980, in high school," he said. "We were in the same class. Dorothea was going out with one of those guys who joined the service. He left town, and hey, you know the five-second rule when you drop a piece of toast on the ground? I gave him three weeks. We started dating, and that was the end of that." The couple eloped in Las Vegas in 1989 and went on to have four kids together.
Ron Howard and Cheryl Alley
Filmmaker Ron Howard met his wife, Cheryl, when they were both attending John Burroughs High School in Burbank, California. They got married when they were just 21 in 1975. "I felt really lucky when we met," Ron told Huffington Post. "It's crazy—we were teenagers, it shouldn't have worked. We got married young, that shouldn't have worked either, and yet it really and truly has." The couple has four kids together, one of whom is actress Bryce Dallas Howard.
Clayton Kershaw and Ellen Melson
Los Angeles Dodgers player Clayton Kershaw and his wife Ellen Melson met when they were 16-year-old students at Highland Park High School in University Park, Texas. After graduating in 2006, Kershaw was drafted to the Dodgers, and Melson stuck by his side. The two got married in 2010, had three children, and founded Kershaw’s Challenge together.
During an interview with journalist Graham Bensinger, Kershaw talked about first meeting his wife, saying, "I think we were just kind of more friends and became best friends. We just enjoyed hanging out with each other." He added that he first asked Melson out on his way to lunch period. "And I went and told all my buddies in the cafeteria. So it was a good day," he said.