Celebrity women often do not become celebrities until after they’ve been married and taken their husband’s last name, and once they become famous, they typically keep that same last name whether they’re married to that person or not. As such, it’s probably kind of weird, I would imagine, for ex-husbands seeing their celebrity ex-wives carrying around their last names, even after they marry a second, a third, or a fourth time. But it happens, and here are 10 examples of women becoming much more famous than the husbands from whom they got their last names.
Joanna Kerns — Joanne DeVarona took the last name or Richard Kerns, a television producer. They were divorced the year before Joanna landed the role as the mom in Growing Pains.
Brenda Blethyn — Brenda Bottle took her first husband’s name, a graphic designer Alan James Blethyn, and post-divorce, Blethyn was nominated for two Oscars, two Emmys, and four BAFTAs (one of which she won).
Pat Benatar — Patricia Mae Andrzejewski took the name of her first husband, Dennis Benator, an assistant director (Phone Booth, Once Upon a Time in America). The four-time Grammy winner released her first album the year after they divorced.
Raquel Welch — Jo Raquel Tejada was married four times, but took the last name of her first husband, James Westley Welch. I have no idea who he is, but Raquel has done well for herself in films like like Bedazzled, Bandolero!, 100 Rifles, and Myra Breckinridge.
Suzanne Somers — Suzanne Mahoney divorced her first husband (Bruce) nine years before she shot to fame on Three’s Company.
Joy Behar — Josephina Occhiuto divorced her first husband, Joseph Behar — a long-running actor on General Hospital — in 1981. She didn’t work in the business until after her divorce, and eventually landed on The View.
Phylicia Rashad — Phylicia Ayers-Allen actually took her third husband’s name — he’s a former football player and a current sports commentator. They were married throughout the Cosby Show run, divorcing in 2001.
Faith Hill Audrey Faith Perry married a music publishing executive Daniel Hill in 1988, and they divorced soon after the release of her first album. I’m not sure how Daniel Hill is doing these days, but Faith Hill has sold 40 million albums.
Demi Moore — Demetria Gene Guynes took the name of her first husband, Freddy Moore, a minor actor with only a few roles. They divorced in 1985, around the time that St. Elmo’s Fire launched her to super stardom and marriages to Bruce Willis and Ashton Kutcher.
Susan Sarandon — Many assume that Susan Abigail Tomalin is the sibling of Chris Sarandon (Prince Humperdink in The Princess Bride). In fact, Chris Sarandon was Susan’s first husband, and since their divorce in 1979, Susan has made much better use of the last name.
(Hat Tip: Mrs. Julien)