February 13, 1995 12:00 PM

KEVIN COSTNER AND HIS COLLEGE sweetheart ended their 16-year marriage. Richard Gere and Cindy Crawford parted ways. Even Tom and Roseanne called the whole thing off. When it came to romantic love, 1994 was Hollywood’s annus horribilis. So it was with some trepidation that PEOPLE’S editors approached our first special issue dedicated to romance. Nonetheless, says executive editor Susan Toepfer, “it seemed the perfect time to take a look at relationships that are really working.”

Romance, we discovered, is alive and kissing in 1995, lurking in all the old familiar—as well as unexpected—places. Beverly Hills, 90210’s fresh-faced lovebirds, Brian Austin Green and Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, found it in a thunderstorm; NYPD Blue’s seasoned cop Dennis Franz looked across a crowded room. (Thirteen years later, at his 50th-birthday party, Franz finally popped the question to girlfriend Joanie Zeck.)

When they’ve got it, famous lovers aren’t afraid to flaunt it. Our 10 Most Romantic Couples were happy to declare their passion in the pages of PEOPLE—and to cuddle up in a steam room, dance in the daylight and float through a specially constructed Tunnel of Love in a series of exclusive photos.

“We are very romantic, and it was fun,” says actress Lisa Hartman, who still gets a thrill out of any time alone with her husband of three years, country hunk Clint Black. Restaurateur Wolfgang Puck, who married interior designer Barbara Lazaroff in 1984, saves his sugar for the dessert menu. “If PEOPLE magazine thinks we’re romantic,” he says, “then it must be true.” Connubially joined Reps. Susan Molinari and Bill Paxon had their own reasons for gracing the magazine’s pages: to show that careers and love can be combined. “It’s hard to work and also find time together,” says Molinari. “We’re very excited to be picked for this issue of PEOPLE.”

Surprisingly, there were even happily divorced couples who were willing to go on the record (see page 120). Which just goes to show that some relationships can survive in the most unlikely climes. “I think we would have stayed close even if we didn’t have children,” says Egon von Furstenberg, who chats weekly with his ex-wife Diane. “We have a good time.”

Of course, it’s nicer when the good times are under one roof. “We feel not only heralded,” says Connie Sellecca’s husband, John Tesh, “but blessed.”

Happy Valentine’s Day.

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