Being a teenager is tough, no matter where, when or how you grow up. We can all agree on that. But in a galaxy of teenage angst and emojis, one of the shining stars is blossoming puppy love. Everyone remembers their teen firsts checklist: first date, first kiss, first boyfriend/girlfriend, etc. But what about teen marriage?
Our couples featured on Teenage Newlyweds might have the chips stacked against them as they attempt to unravel the ins and outs of married life, but teenagers have been getting married for centuries. And while we’re used to the idea of couples marrying for love, in the past it’s been used as a way to keep power, property and posterity in a family. Check out some of the famous young marriages that happened throughout history.
Marie Antoinette. (Photo by Time Life Pictures/Mansell/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)
Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette
So this definitely isn’t your average love story, if you want to call it a love story at all. Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were married at 15 and 14 years old, respectively, in 1770. The second cousins were married to unite the countries of Austria and France, which used to be enemy territories. And after their wedding, it was all downhill from there. The young couple were know for their lack of intimacy and Louis was considered a weak king when he took the French throne in 1774, which helped lead to the French Revolution. He was charged and beheaded for treason in the late 18th century, with Marie Antoinette facing the same sentence not long after.
Nefertiti and Akhenaten. (Photo by Gerbil/Wikimedia Commons)
Nefertiti and Akhenaten
Queen Nefertiti was known for her beauty, but did you know that she was a teen bride? She’s thought to have married Pharaoh Akhenaten when she was 15 years old, and they lived a pretty happy life together. The power couple started the movement worshipping Aten, the sun, as the most important god (to the point that Akenaten changed his name from Amenhotep to honor Aten). They also showed public displays of affection and were seen as equals in many ways, which wasn’t very common in ancient cultures. Despite her popularity and power, Queen Nefertiti disappeared without a trace. There are plenty of theories about what happened, but the teen bride remained an Egyptian icon for centuries to follow.
Elizabeth Taylor and Conrad “Nicky” Hilton. (Photo by Ed Clark/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Elizabeth Taylor and Nicky Hilton
At the height of her fame, actress Elizabeth Taylor married hotel heir Conrad “Nicky” Hilton in 1950 at the age of 18. This was the first of several tough marriages for Taylor, but the fact that she was barely legal probably made this one especially difficult. The celebs met at a nightclub in Los Angeles one year before getting married, and divorced one year later. Taylor moved on to even bigger success as a movie star, complete with a scandalous love life, while Hilton went on to marry another 18-year-old in 1958, Patricia McClintock.
Margaret Beaufort. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Oddly, Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond and Derby, was married before she even knew her name. Lady Margaret, who became instrumental in the Wars of the Roses and would become the mother of King Henry VII, was married to John de la Pole before she was 3 years old in 1444, although Beaufort herself never recognized the marriage. When she was a bit older, she married again, this time walking down the aisle at age 12 to marry Edmund Tudo, who was twice her age. Unfortunately, Tudo was taken prisoner less than a year later and died shortly after. And even though she was left seven months pregnant and a widow at the age of 13, she still loved her husband. She married one more time to Sir Henry Stafford at the age of 14.
Marilyn Monroe and Jim Dougherty. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Marilyn Monroe and Jim Dougherty
International actress, model and icon Marilyn Monroe married hometown sweetheart James Dougherty in 1942, right after her 16th birthday. Dougherty, five years older than Monroe, only knew her as Norma Jean, the love of his life. Unlike some of the other teen couples on the list, Monroe and Dougherty were actually in love, despite the fact that they married so Monroe wouldn’t have to go back to a foster home. After years of bliss, Monroe started on the path to fame and opted for a divorce in Las Vegas. The couple officially split in 1946.
What did you think of the teenage husbands and brides through the ages? Follow along as young, modern-day coupleswork out their new marriages in Teenage Newlyweds, every Tuesday at 10/9c, and catch up on full episodes here!