The 10 Greatest Love Triangles of Our Time

These are generally considered to be the bad kind of three-way.

by Carrie Dennis, Alex Heigl, and Jeremy Popkin

The love triangle, invented by the Phoenicians (citation needed), is one of the greatest trials a couple can endure (or not endure), along with bear-baiting, getting from Van Cortlandt Park to Coney Island, or shopping at Ikea together. No one, be they king, pauper, or regrettably-mustached '70s guitar virtuoso, is immune to its perils. But the stories spawned from such drama become legend. Here now are the ten greatest love triangles of our time. Pick a side. Or three.

10. Joey Ramone, Linda Ramone, and Johnny Ramone

No matter how tough punk rockers may act, they’re just as susceptible to heartbreak as the rest of us. The story goes that when Joey Ramone found out his bandmate Johnny Ramone was seeing his former girlfriend Linda, he wrote "The KKK Took My Baby Away," a not-so-subtle jab at both Johnny's conservative politics and, er, baby-taking-away habits. Johnny’s eventual marriage to Linda put him and Joey on nonspeaking terms, although the two continued performing together for years. Awkward. — Jeremy Popkin

9. Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, and Jennifer Aniston

Angelina Jolie was Billy Bob Thornton’s hot but weird and totally-okay-with-mouth-kissing-her-brother ex-wife. Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt were championed as the Hollywood couple who had actually figured out how to make marriage and business work. And theirs was a love triangle that would feed the families of tabloid journalists for years to come. When news of the Aniston-Pitt divorce hit in 2005, America sank to its knees. Some say national confidence has never recovered. — J.P.

8. Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and Eddie Fisher

When Elizabeth Taylor met Richard Burton on the set of 1963's Cleopatra, the two entered into one of Hollywood's most tempestuous romances, making them a kind of proto-Brangelina. (Rich-abeth? Eliza-Burton?) Although they were both still married to other people at the time, Liz was no stranger to sordid affairs — she'd stolen her then-husband Eddie Fisher from her friend Debbie Reynolds. She soon divorced Fisher to marry Burton. Fisher's plight is a reminder of a key relationship truth: if someone's willing to cheat with you, they may soon be willing to cheat on you. — Carrie Dennis

7. Notorious B.I.G., Lil' Kim, and Faith Evans

One probably shouldn’t expect fidelity from an MC who raps so reverently about his dick, so consider this the least surprising entry on the list. Lil’ Kim was one of several women with whom Biggie Smalls allegedly cheated on his wife/baby mama Faith Evans. Evans then found herself at the center of further rumors when Biggie's rival Tupac (you may have heard of him) released a track to claiming the two had slept together. Kim would later exploit the dalliance to no end, while Evans would sing the hook on The Police's Puff Daddy's hit "I'll Be Missing You," before... not doing much else, really. The whole thing seems like a surreal rap soap opera but, again, we’re talking about a protagonist whose sincerest expression of affection was called “Me & My Bitch.” — J.P.

6. Brian Jones, Anita Pallenberg, and Keith Richards

Italian actress and fashion model Anita Pallenberg represents the gold standard of groupiedom. After meeting The Rolling Stones backstage at a Munich concert, Anita struck up a relationship with Brian Jones. Following a sex-, drugs-, and, presumably, rock-and-roll-fueled romance, she traded up for Keith Richards, whom she was with for more than a decade. But things weren't all heroin, Chuck Berry riffs, and precariously dangled-cigarettes in Richardsville: Pallenberg had a a fling with Mick Jagger while the pair were scoring Performance, thereby scoring the coveted groupie hat trick and seemingly breaking Richards' heart in the process. To this day, Pallenberg remains an inspiration to anyone who dreams of one day sleeping with most of a world-famous rock band. — J.P.


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