The day after my birthday in June of 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court brought joy to LGBT people across the nation when it legalized same-sex marriage. I remember watching the news that day in awe — so many people came out to cheer and wave rainbow flags.
Couples were kissing and crying and racing to the courthouse to tie the knot, some after spending decades in unrecognized relationships. It was a beautiful sight.
Many activists and advocates paved the way for that historic day, and it was a testament to their courage that the U.S. was able to make such progressive change. Oftentimes, lesbian celebrities — whether they intend to or not — play an important role in normalizing same-sex couples.
As more celebs come out and start families, the media is flooded with cute lesbian couples who show people that love is love, and it’s really as simple as that.
To celebrate being out and being in love, we thought we’d share with you a list of the top 16 famous lesbian couples whose romantic stories tug at the heartstrings.
1. Ellen DeGeneres and Portia di Rossi
Comedian Ellen DeGeneres has been a well-known advocate for LGBT issues ever since she came out in 1997 on the fourth season of her hit show “Ellen.”
At the time, it was a bold and lonely move to identify as a lesbian, but after almost two decades, Ellen has found acceptance and love in both her personal and professional life.
In 2008, after a four-year relationship, Ellen married Portia di Rossi, best-known for her role as Lindsay Fünke in “Arrested Development.”
Whether they’re lounging together on the couch at home with their four dogs and three cats or joking around at a vegan cafe, this couple is just as cute as can be.
2. Jodie Foster and Alexandra Hedison
Actress Jodie Foster made a splash at the 2013 Golden Globes when she came out (though she refrained from using the words “gay” or “lesbian”) in her acceptance speech for the Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award.
The very next year, she made headlines again by marrying actress and photographer Alexandra Hedison, most famous for playing Dylan Moreland in the Showtimes series “The L Word.”
Jodie and Alex are a private couple, preferring to snuggle indoors with their dog Ziggy than play the role of celebrity. Recently, Jodie has taken a step back from acting to focus on spending more time with her wife and kids.
Jodie may value her privacy, but she can’t hide the adoring way she looks at Alex, which is why these two lovebirds made #2 on our list.
3. Dorothy Louise “Del” Martin and Phyllis Lyon
Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon were a cute lesbian couple before it was cool. Back in 1950, the women met in San Francisco and found they had a lot in common: both were Berkeley grads, bother majored in journalism, and both were interested in political activism. They would go on to found the Daughters of Bilitis, the first social and political organization for lesbians.
The couple became well-known advocates who fought for decades to legalize gay marriage. Although they moved in together and had lived in domestic bliss since 1953, it wasn’t until 2004 that they were able to marry in California — a marriage that was later voided by the California Supreme Court.
Happily, Del and Phyllis did eventually say vows that stuck on June 16, 2008, just a few months before Dorothy died at the age of 87.
“We really only had problems our first year together,” Phyllis recalled. “Del would leave her shoes in the middle of the room, and I’d throw them out the window.”
4. Wanda and Alex Sykes
When Wanda Sykes came out at a Las Vegas Proposition 8 rally in 2008, she said she felt like a unicorn — a lesbian of color. Then in 2009 when she became a mom with her wife Alex Sykes, she found her place.
Wanda met Alex Niedbalski on Fire Island, New York. As they rode the ferry to the island, Wanda caught sight of the woman she would marry. “It was just fate, to be honest with you,” she said of that moment.
Today, they’re happily married and raising twins, Lucas Claude and Olivia Lou. “Alex is taking care of everything that goes in, and I handle everything that comes out,” Wanda joked. Though their schedules are tight, this cute lesbian couple always carves out time to spend together.
“I truly love my family, and it’s the best situation I’ve ever been in,” Wanda said.
5. Lauren Morelli and Samira Wiley
“Orange is the the New Black” has more than few cute lesbian couples on screen, but the show actually spawned a real-life, honest-to-God, leaving-my-husband-for-you lesbian relationship between Lauren Morelli (a writer for the show) and Samira Wiley (the actress who plays Poussey Washington).
Lauren’s journey to discover her sexuality, she said, is tied closely to her work writing for the show. In May 2014, she finally accepted who she truly was, and although it was a difficult thing to admit, she seems pretty blissfully happy now in Samira’s arms.
At age 31, Lauren is now able to live openly and authentically with her partner as they walk hand-in-hand on the beach or attend awards shows decked out in elegant gowns.
“I claimed my own self-worth,” Lauren said. “I’m happy in a way I don’t think I’ve ever been.”
6. Ellen Page and Samantha Thomas
Twenty-eight-year-old actress Ellen Page practically glows when she talks about her girlfriend Samantha Thomas, a surfer and artist.
This dynamic pair enjoys hockey, surfing, and sharing outdoor adventures. Ellen said what’s great about their relationship is the support for each other’s booming careers.
Samantha happily attends movie premieres while Ellen eagerly goes to her girlfriend’s art gallery installations. It doesn’t matter if they’re walking their dog around the neighborhood or strolling through the streets of Rome, Ellen and Samantha seem to always be holding hands.
“Walking down the red carpet holding my girlfriend’s hand is pretty special,” Ellen said. “It’s pretty awesome.”
7. Tig Notaro and Stephanie Allynne
In 2013, comedian Tig Notaro fell for her straight friend Stephanie Allynne while shooting a Netflix documentary called “Tig,” and in a surprising turn of events, Stephanie returned her affection. It all unfolded gradually on camera as a close friendship became something more.
“I was falling in love with her,” Stephanie recalled, “and I didn’t know how to identify it because I thought I was straight.”
The pair felt comfortable teasing each other from the get-go, never taking offense to any joke. Stephanie said her “aha” moment came when Tig was feeling down and Stephanie automatically reached for her shoulders to comfort her. She said it was an electric moment the likes of which she hadn’t felt before.
In October 2015, the couple got married, and in July 2016 they brought home newborn twin boys, Max and Finn. “Once you follow your heart, it’s all of a sudden so easy,” Stephanie said of her journey into Tig’s arms. “I look back on that time and I’m like ‘Oh, my gosh, why was that so difficult to say yes to, like, the greatest life ever?’”
8. Nancy Earl and Barbara Jordan
You know it’s love when you can’t get married, aren’t accepted by society, but stay together anyway. That’s the story of Barbara Jordan and Nancy Earl who met in the ’60s and lived as domestic partners for over 30 years.
Barbara Jordan was the first black female to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, and President Bill Clinton even expressed a wish to nominate her to the Supreme Court if not for her failing health.
Behind this powerful woman was Nancy Earl, an educational psychologist. Nancy acted as an occasional speechwriter for Barbara, offering her help and care throughout their lives. She saved Barbara from drowning in their backyard pool.
As her life partner, Nancy was always by Barbara’s side — even though they were never “out” as a couple. Despite controversy, despite health complications, Nancy stayed by her true love until Barbara’s death in January 1996.
9. Sara Gilbert and Linda Perry
Actress Sara Gilbert is best-known as Darlene Conner from the ABC sitcom “Roseanne,” but now she takes on her most important role as she and singer-songwriter Linda Perry start a family all their own. After getting married in 2014, Sara gave birth to their son, Rhodes Emilio Gilbert Perry, the very next year.
It’s clear that these new mothers absolutely adore their baby boy. Linda even incorporated the tyke’s coos, giggles, and cries into an album called “Deer Sounds.” This family album is kid-friendly, but it also has a sweet message for parents about watching their little ones grow up.
“He wrote his own piano concerto,” Sara said laughingly on “Entertainment Tonight,” describing her son banging on the keys with his feet and hands.
“He’s going to be the youngest Grammy winner,” Linda added with a smile. How adorable is that?
10. Rachel Maddow and Susan Mikula
In 1999, Rachel Maddow was a doctoral student working odd jobs when she met the love of her life. Put in contact through mutual friends, Susan Mikula hired her to do lawn work on her two acres of land. “It was all very ‘Desperate Housewives,’” Rachel joked.
From their first date at an NRA Ladies Day on the Range Event to their current weekend commute to a farmhouse in Massachusetts, Rachel and Susan enjoy doing their own thing (with black lab Poppy never far behind).
The couple seems to make a habit of going against the grain. Reportedly, these women aren’t in any rush to get married anytime soon — they’ve been together for decades and feel secure right where they’re at.
“I feel that gay people not being able to get married for generations, forever, meant that we came up with alternative ways of recognizing relationships,” Rachel reflected.
11. Dani Shay and Ali Stroker
Dani Shay and Ali Stroker met as contenders in the “Glee Project,” a reality competition for singers hoping for their big break. Over the course of five days of callbacks, before Ali was shockingly sent home, the couple fell head over heels in love.
Dani and Ali, nicknamed “Danali,” don’t care about labels or fanfare. They just care about each other. Dani said her bond with Ali defies convention or assumption. “I never expected I’d be with someone in a wheelchair,” she said, “but when I met her, it was immediate. I guess the point I’m trying to make is the body doesn’t matter. It goes beyond that.”
In tribute to her newfound love, Dani composed her first single “One” about their whirlwind love affair, and Ali made a guest appearance in the music video to announce their coupledom.
“Like I say in the song,” Dani said, “within the first five days, it grew from immediate connection and friendship, laughing hysterically together to talking deeply and understanding each other in ways that felt like — it literally felt like meeting someone you’d known for so long.”
12. Robin Roberts and Amber Laign
In 2014, “Good Morning America” anchor co-host Robin Roberts tied the knot with longtime girlfriend Amber Laign, a massage therapist.
On their first date in 2005 (a blind date set up by mutual friends), Amber had no idea who Robin was, and that suited them both just fine. Laid-back and upbeat, this couple enjoys dancing barefoot on the beach and staying well out of the limelight.
Although they show up on the red carpet hand in hand, Robin says that Amber doesn’t like the spotlight and prefers to support her from the background. In sickness and in health, these two stay side by side.
“There is no fuss with us,” Robin gushed. “We’re so happy. We’ve been happily in a relationship for 10 years and are looking forward to the next 10.”
13. Jane Wagner and Lily Tomlin
When Jane Wagner and Lily Tomlin met in March 1971, it was a perfect match: a writer and an actress putting their heads together on a comedy album. As they worked together, their compatibility and chemistry were undeniable.
Jane would go on to write multiple screenplays that starred her muse and great love.
After 42 glorious years of committed partnership, Jane and Lily got married in a private ceremony on December 31, 2013. “You don’t really need to get married,” said Lily, now age 76, “but marriage is awfully nice.” Theirs is a patient and wry love, full of collaboration and laughter. The duo complement each other’s talents in a really special way.
“We share similar feelings about people and about the world,” Lily said to People Magazine in 1988. “She’s able to verbalize it, and I’m able to physicalize it.”
14. Seimone Augustus and Michelle LaTaya Varner
So we’ve seen cute actor couples, singer couples, and political activist couples, and now I give you the most adorable sporty lesbian couple: Seimone Augustus and Michelle LaTaya Varner. These chicks are a fearsome and fun duo. In her career as a professional basketball player, Seimone has won a gold medal in the Olympics and WNBA championship, but her proudest achievement is winning the heart of Michelle, a fellow basketball star.
“When you find happiness outside of basketball,” Seimone said, “when your personal life is intact, of course, your career is going to fall into place, and it has been like that for me.”
In 2012, Seimone proposed to her girlfriend, and the pair immediately began planning a lively event in Hawaii with leis, hula performances, and red velvet cake. The setting of their wedding was a nod to Michelle’s mother who is Native American and Hawaiian.
These women are trailblazers as openly lesbian athletes, breaking down barriers with playful affection.
15. Jenny Shimizu and Michelle Violy Harper
You might know Jenny Shimizu as that chick who dated Angelina Jolie in the ’90s, but she’s since moved on to model Michelle Violy Harper. This stylish duo turns heads everywhere they go.
After meeting at a party in 2012, the good-looking couple fell for one another. Jenny and Michelle enjoy dressing up in matching and flamboyant outfits and then making eyes at the cameras, as if to say, “we know exactly how good we look together.”
In August 2014, Michelle and Jenny donned their best looks yet (the former in a full-skirted gown and the latter in a dapper tux) to profess their love and say their wedding vows. Angelina was invited, but she respectfully declined to attend the happy event. Jenny now gets to enjoy what she describes as a “hetero luxury” — marriage.
“Yes, I’d marry for real,” she said back then, “but only if I find the person I want to share the rest of my life with. It’s a commitment to be taken very seriously.”
16. Melissa Etheridge and Linda Wallem
Musician and TV writer Melissa Etheridge was divorced from her husband and in need of help raising her four kids, so she turned to her best friend of 10 years, Linda Wallem.
“We were best friends,” Melissa said. “This is the first time I’ve ever done it that way.”
She realized her love for her friend while running around the house making lunches and looking for sippy cups. She looked in Linda’s eyes and realized, “We were like a married couple without the benefits, so why not have the benefits?” After dating for five years, the couple got married at the foot of the Santa Ynez Mountain range in California. Melissa serenaded Linda with a new song written especially for the occasion: “Who Are You Waiting For.”
“It’s the most supportive, healthy relationship I’ve ever been in,” she said, “so I’m not surprised that my music is reflecting that.”
Lady’s Choice: Adorable Lesbian Couples Show That Love is Love
As we enter a new age of tolerance in the wake of the Supreme Court rulings, it’s truly wonderful to see so many happy couples getting to live the lives they want. It’s not just lawmakers, but people like these celebrities who are to thank for gay marriage being legalized across the country.
These 16 cutest lesbian couples of all time have made a unique impact on society by being open and loving in the public spotlight.
Whether they’re actors, models, politicians, or singers, lesbian celeb couples make a push toward acceptance and pave the way for others to tell their own personal love stories. With panache, grace, and pride, these couples show the rainbow of beautiful forms that love can take.
Portia Di Rossi said it best in her quote: “I really honestly think that anybody who is openly gay and visible is powerful. It doesn’t matter what you do — you are impacting people.”