In the dating world of regular people like you and me, there are several levels to gauge where the relationship stands. You’ve got the phase of firsts, moving in together, getting engaged — you know the drill. But in the celebrity world, there exists another oh-so-coveted stage that solidifies a couple’s place as one of the great loves of Hollywood history: the celebrity couple nickname. And although many of these romances actually don’t work out, their ‘ship names prove to be everlasting.
Where did this storied tradition begin? We can’t be sure with all certainty. What we do know is that typically someone on social media or a member of the media at some point blends the names of celebrities in a relationship to form a cute (read: hashtaggable) nickname. To our recollection, this trend really took off circa 2002 to 2004 with then-supercouple Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck, aka “Bennifer” 1.0. When Affleck later moved on and married Jennifer Garner, we got Bennifer 2.0. And so on and so forth, right up to present-day pairs like Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, affectionately referred to as “Kimye.”
Of course, this is all very cutesy and in no way a metric of how successful a relationship truly is. However, it does make fans feel more invested in the pairing, and having the support of the public is much better than the alternative. “As silly as it sounds, this new tendency to make up single names for two people, like ‘Bennifer’ and ‘TomKat,’ is an insightful idea,” Robert Thompson, director of the Centre for the Study of Popular Television, told The Age at the onset of the fad. “‘Brangelina’ has more cultural equity than their two-star parts. You get interested in this whether you want to or not. It’s by osmosis.”
So, with that said, let’s take a look at some of the more memorable celebrity couple nicknames to ever hijack headlines (and fans’ hearts).