Even the married and partnered can get a bit sick of all the hearts and chocolate that proliferate in February. So, if you're cynical about love — or believe that you must meet the wrong person to get to the right — do we have a list for you. Alfred, Lord Tennyson famously wrote, "Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all." We wonder what these former couples would say about that.
In the summer of 2000, Ellen DeGeneres’s three-and-a-half year relationship with actress Anne Heche hit the skids. Commonly dubbed Hollywood’s most famous lesbian couple, the relationship sadly unraveled, culminating in reports that a Heche was found wandering aimlessly down a dirt road in the Northern California town of Cantua Creek in a not-quite-sane state. Since the break up, Heche went on to marry two different men and is now the mother of two children. Ellen has been married to Aussie actress Portia de Rossi since 2008.
Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir married Voronov in December 2011, but the on again/off again partnership dissolved by spring 2014, after allegations of abuse and domestic difficulties spread across the tabloids. It was truly a scandalous saga, with allegations ranging from destruction of Birkin handbags, to nude photo leaks, to more heinous accusations including biting, STD rumors, and dognapping. During one of their “on” cycles, Weir said, “Love is dangerous. Love is safe, Love is ugly. Love is beautiful. To love hard is the greatest gift, even with all its flaws. Keep shining." In September 2014, Voronov filed a defamation suit against Weir, claiming that Weir falsely accused him of attempted rape and sexual misconduct.
This relationship, recreated in the Emmy-winning 2013 HBO movie Behind the Candelabra, started when the internationally renowned pianist hired Thorson, 22 at the time, to serve as his chauffeur and personal assistant. After rumors spread that the men were lovers, Liberace went on a public campaign to deny that he was gay. In 1982, Thorson filed a $113 million palimony suit against the entertainer that lasted more than four years, before Liberace settled out of court for $95,000. The entertainer died in 1987, shortly after the settlement was made, from pneumonia brought on by HIV. Last year, Scott Thorson was sentenced to prison for failing a court-ordered drug test, while on probation for burglary and identity theft.
Grammy- and Oscar-winning singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge met Popular actress Tammy Lynn Michaels in 2001, and the duo stayed together for nearly a decade. Together the pair had twins (Etheridge had two children from her previous relationship with Julie Cypher), battled Etheridge’s breast cancer, and took on marriage equality in the wake of California's Prop. 8, refusing to pay taxes after the marriage ban was passed in 2008. After they separated in 2010, the exes engaged in a bitter feud over custody of the children, and the financial details of their separation agreement. Michaels, often took to Twitter to claim the children would have “empty stockings” at Christmas and that Etheridge could afford to pay more than $13,000 a month in spousal support, and $10,000 a month in child support. Michaels’s motion for a new settlement agreement was denied by a judge in 2013, and the pair ended up in court again later that year, battling over vaccination plans for their children. Michaels filed legal documents seeking sole parental responsibility for making health decisions for the twins, but the judge found that the current custody agreement was binding, and that both parents must agree on all health decisions.
Tennis great Billie Jean King began an affair with her assistant Marilyn Barnett in 1972, and the two were a couple until 1979, when King asked Barnett to move out of their joint home. In May 1981, Barnett filed suit, asking for half of King’s career earnings made during their relationship. Barnett also asked for part ownership of a beach house in Malibu. King eventually won the suit, but her career suffered a major setback when the details of the case outed her. At the time, she wanted to retire from tennis, but couldn’t because she lost all her endorsements in a 24-hour period (an estimated $2 million). “I lost everything,” she told the Boston Globe in 2006. “I had to play just to pay for the lawyers, I was in shock.” King rebounded and is currently partnered with former pro-tennis player Ilana Kloss. Amazingly, King and Barnett reconciled recently and are on better terms.
These two brilliant French poets fell madly in love at the close of the 19th-century, with Verlaine leaving his family to live with Rimbaud. The passion was too intense — they were prone to vicious fights, one of which ended with Verlaine shooting Rimbaud and the former serving two years in jail. The relationship ended when Verlaine went to the clink, but the tempestuous relationship created some great prose.
This woman of Wimbledon plays hard and loves hard. Navratilova met Judy Nelson, a married mother of two, in 1982. They become friends, fell in love, and Nelson divorced her husband and moved in with the tennis star. After seven years together, they split, with Nelson dropping a multi-million dollar "galimony" lawsuit on Navratilova. Even though a compromise was reached, the two didn't speak for 17 years. Navratilova faced another contentious break-up decades later. After her relationship with Toni Layton went bust, Navratilova was served with another lawsuit. Layton said she was abruptly dumped and wanted spousal support. "The bitter legal battle" eventually ended with a $3 million settlement for Layton.
The vocalist (George) and drummer (Moss) of Culture Club, the hit-making British pop band, were involved romantically during the group's '80s heyday. George has spoken often about the turbulent relationship, which involved physical and verbal abuse, and caused internal strife within the band. After four years, it was over. Moss, now a dad to three kids, had planned to reunite with George and his fellow bandmembers for a 2014 tour, but it was canceled when a polyp was discovered in George's throat.