So those rose petals you laid out all the way from her office to your bedroom backfired? Relax. The rich and famous have made much more ridiculously ostentatious moves. From a multi-million-dollar diamond ring to a New York City skyscraper to, yes, an entire country, here are just a few of history’s most over-the-top romantic gestures.
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon What to do if your wife longs for the lush greenery where she grew up and you live in the desert? If you’re King Nebuchadnezzar, you build her a frickin’ monument covered with plants. One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, it remains the nicest way ever of saying, “Please stop talking about how much you miss your parents.”
A Manhattan Skyscraper Filipino president Ferdinand Marcos knew how to make his wife happy: 3,000 pairs of shoes! Oh, and he reportedly bought the Crown Building, a skyscraper on New York’s Fifth Avenue, just to stop Imelda from crying. The couple looted billions from the Philippines during his two decades in power, but at least it went to a good cause.
Band of Love Paul McCartney used to be in a group with some guys who were talented but not always easy to get along with (also, there was Ringo). When it came time for his new band Wings, he insisted on including his wife so they didn’t have to be apart when he was on tour. Which makes us wonder if “Maybe I’m Amazed” should have been entitled “Whipped.”
A Media Empire at Your Service William Randolph Hearst put his publications and general wealth to work boosting the career of his actress sweetie, Marion Davies, inspiring Citizen Kane in the process. It's debatable how much that helped (his influence overshadowed her talent), but she appreciated it nonetheless, remaining with him until his death at 88 in 1951.
One Humongous Rock Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor abandoned preexisting spouses to get married and divorced twice, inspiring scathing tabloid coverage and a Papal condemnation, but they exchanged some nice gifts along the way. How nice? When Taylor auctioned off this 69.42-carat bauble from Burton, it fetched an astounding $5 million in 1978.
K-Fed’s Album When they met, Britney Spears was the world’s biggest pop star and Kevin Federline was a white guy who thought he could pull off cornrows. (He was mistaken.) He also thought he could rap, and Spears gave Playing With Fire her full support, producing/performing on it and, most heroically, possibly listening to it all the way through.
Egypt The legendary Roman general and later dictator Julius Caesar wouldn’t leave his wife for the exotic Cleopatra. He did provide her with a solid consolation prize, however: he enabled Cleo to depose her brother and take sole control of Egypt. Because the only thing better than a throne is winning a sibling rivalry.
“Layla” Love can be complicated, particularly when she’s married. To your friend. Who’s in the freaking Beatles. But the heart wants what it wants, so Eric Clapton created perhaps his greatest song to win Pattie Boyd away from George Harrison. Impressively, Clapton and Harrison remained buds long after the broad was out of the picture, even touring together.
Ann Romney’s Entire Life Mitt Romney has flip-flopped on many issues, but on two points he holds firm: he loves his wife and he’s rich. His most amusing campaign moments revealed details of their lives together: the car elevator at one of their three homes, her Olympic horse and his Rick Ross-like comment that his lady has “a couple of Cadillacs.” She’s not First Lady, but she’s doing fine.