15 Celebrities Who Married A Cousin

December 10, 2014  |  
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Today, only six states allow marriage between first cousins, but bans on marrying one’s cousin only just started popping up in the last century. And in some countries it’s still allowed! Here are 15 celebrities who married a cousin.


Credit: WENN.com

Rudy Giuliani

The former governor of New York famous for being unmerciful on criminals married his second cousin, unbeknownst to him. Giuliani thought Regina Peruggi was a third cousin, but he later discovered she was his second.

Queen Elizabeth II


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Queen Elizabeth II

The current Queen of England and her husband Prince Phillip are second cousins, once removed, through King Christian IX of Denmark and third cousins through Queen Victoria.

Edgar Allan Poe

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Edgar Allan Poe

The author of such twisted tales as “The Fall of the House of Usher,” married his first cousin, Virginia Clemm, when she was just 13 years old.

Jesse James

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Jesse James

The famous outlaw Jesse James broke more laws than we know (well, at least it would have been illegal today)—James married his first cousin, Zerelda Mimms, with whom he had two children. Zerelda was even named after James’ own mother.

Albert Einstein

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Albert Einstein

Einstein held a lot of knowledge, but no knowledge of the dangers of procreating with a close relative. Einstein married Elsa Lowenthal (she had her last name from a previous marriage) who was Einstein’s first cousin on his mother’s side and second cousin on his father’s side.

Kevin Bacon


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Kevin Bacon

The star of “The Following” and his wife of over 20 years, Kyra Sedgwick, recently discovered they are very distant relatives—9th cousins, once removed.

Jerry Lee Lewis


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Jerry Lee Lewis

The rock and roll singer of “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On” shook things up in a bad way with his career when he married his 13-year-old cousin when he was 22. He lost many fans over this move.

Johann Sebastian Bach

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Johann Sebastian Bach

The famous German composer married his second cousin on his father’s side, a Maria Barbara Bach. The two had seven children together but only four survived childhood.

Thomas Jefferson

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Thomas Jefferson

One of our Founding Fathers married his third cousin, a Martha Wayles Skelton. Skelton was a widow when the two married, and after giving him six children, she would leave Jefferson a widower.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

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Franklin D. Roosevelt

Our 32nd president married his fifth cousin, once removed, Eleanor Roosevelt. The two met as children but become close at a party at the White House hosted by the president at the time, and shared relative, Teddy Roosevelt. FDR’s own parents were sixth cousins.

H.G. Wells

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H.G. Wells

The author of the eerie “The Island of Dr Moreau”—a science fiction novel about a doctor who creates human-like beings out of animals—did some dangerous mixing of genes in his own life and married his first cousin, Isabel Mary Wells.

Charles Darwin

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Charles Darwin

Darwin studied evolution extensively in animals but apparently not in humans. Darwin married his first cousin Emma Wedgwood, with whom he had 10 children.

Robin Milne

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The star of “Winnie the Pooh”

The inspiration for the “Winnie the Pooh” character Christopher Robin is the author’s real son, Christopher Robin Milne. Milne married his first cousin Lesley de Selincourt, but has said the two never met in childhood.

John F. Fitzgerald

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John F. Fitzgerald

Member of the United States House of Representatives and grandfather of John F. Kennedy, Fitzgerald married his second cousin, Mary Josephine Hannon.

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