Celebrity Secrets for a Happy Marriage

These long-term couples are serving up some serious relationship wisdom

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Bono: Encourage Honesty, Even When it 'Hurts'

Bono and Ali Hewson attend the Dior Homme Menswear Fall/Winter 2017-2018 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on January 21, 2017 in Paris, France.
Bono, Ali Hewson. Vanni Bassetti/Getty

The U2 frontman recently wrote his memoir Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story, and shard that his wife of 40 years, Ali Hewson, was his first reader and critic, even when he had written things that might be tough for her to read — because he valued her honest feedback.

"Ali will remember things I've half-remembered and remind me of conversations I've almost forgotten," he told PEOPLE. "She's been in all the important scenes in my life since I was a teenager and she'll often have a better view of my life than I do. She's my witness. I'm hers. That hurts sometimes."

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James Brolin: Be a Master Negotiator

James Brolin and Barbra Streisand during Screening of "My Brother's War" at Hitchcock Theater in Los Angeles, California, United States
Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection

"I think everybody needs to be a negotiator," the actor told PEOPLE about the secrets to making his 24-year marriage to the legendary diva work. "Everybody needs to have patience and know when to take a walk."

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Julia Roberts: Design Your Bathroom Wisely

Julia Roberts and Daniel Moder
Julia Roberts and Danny Moder. Kevin Mazur/Getty

The actress, who is celebrating her 20th anniversary with husband Danny Moder this summer, told Jess Cagle on his Sirius XM show that her trick to a long-lasting marriage is very simple: "Two bathroom sinks and lots of kissing."

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Judy Collins: Sleep in Different Rooms

Judy Collins and Louis Nelson
Judy Collins and Louis Nelson. Amy Graves/WireImage

The singer-songwriter and her husband have been married for 18 years, and Collins credits that partly to sleeping apart. "It's the snoring!" she tells PEOPLE.

Still, the pair spend lots of quality time together. "We do all kinds of things and are always together. He's just an amazing person," she tells PEOPLE. "We love to walk, and we've walked Central Park and along the Hudson River a lot in the past couple of years. We love to go to the movies and to the theater. We love to go to museums, and we love socializing with our friends. We do this as much as possible."

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Ree Drummond: 'Always Touch Feet At Night"

The Pioneer Woman Magazine Celebration with Ree Drummond
Monica Schipper/Getty

On Valentine's Day 2022, the Pioneer Woman shared three simple secrets to keeping one's marriage as strong as hers is: "1. Listen to each other. 2. Touch feet in bed right before you go to sleep, even if you're mad. 3. Never, ever ski together. ❤️ Well, it's a start, anyway!"

It's not the first time she's offered up her foot-touching tis; she previously told PEOPLE that it's key to reconnecting after a fight: "Even if one of us a little bit miffed, and or if someone's not feeling it…if our feet touch, I always know, 'Okay, it's all good.'"

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Ayesha & Stephen Curry: Keep Dating

Ayesha Curry and Stephen Curry
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty

Ten years into their marriage, the Golden State Warriors star and cookbook author have some tried-and-true tricks for keeping things "spicy."

Speaking to Access Hollywood, they shared how they keep their spark alive.

"For us, it's just not forgetting to date each other, make the time to get dressed up and go out and do all the things. That's what keeps it spicy," Ayesha said.

"I'm just hanging out and admiring you, and seeing how beautiful she looks," added the three-time NBA champion. "If you keep it spicy like that then I think that's how we got 10 years and hopefully 10 years more."

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Wendi McLendon-Covey: Skip Valentine's Day

Greg Covey and actress Wendi McLendon-Covey
Vivien Killilea/WireImage

The key to a lasting marriage? According to The Goldbergs actress, it's skipping Valentine's Day celebrations.

On a February 2022 appearance on Live with Kelly and Ryan, McLendon-Covey revealed that she and her husband of 25 years have never celebrated the romantic holiday.

"Listen, I've been married 25 years, just like [Ripa]," she said. "And here we are 25 years later, not celebrating Valentine's Day, which is the key to a lasting marriage."

The actress previously told PEOPLE, "We don't celebrate Valentine's Day because what's the point? Every day is pretty good, you know?"

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Henry Winkler: Listen Well

Stacey and Henry Winkler
Kevin Mazur/Getty

The actor has been married to his wife Stacey since his Happy Days years, crediting their 45-year marriage to something very simple: being a good listener.

"I have to tell you something. I truly believe the ear is the center of all relationships. It's not the heart, it's not the mind, it's the ear," the Barry actor once told Parade magazine. "Listening is the beginning and the end."

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Sacha Baron Cohen: Keep Things Playful

Sascha Baron Cohen
Sacha Baron Cohen and Isla Fisher. Rick Rycroft/AP

The comedic couple — who have been together since 2001 and married since 2010 — have often quipped about the key to their longevity. In celebration of their 20th anniversary, Cohen joked on Instagram, "Happy Anniversary my love. I'm writing this rather than getting you a card. Our duration is largely due to our location - after all Hollywood is the bastion of lengthy marriages."

Wife Isla Fisher gave similar insight into their long-lasting love in a previous anniversary post, writing, "A lot of people have asked me the secret to our longevity, and I say; it's all in the synchronized snacking technique."

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Martina McBride: Like Each Other!

John McBride and Martina McBride
Jason Davis/Getty

The country star says the secret to her 30-plus-year-marriage is very simple: She really likes her husband John!

"It really helps if you find someone you like, not just love," she tells PEOPLE, adding that it feels especially important now that their kids are older. "I'm glad we like each other, because when you're at your empty nest at the end of the day, it's important to have somebody who you can just be silent with."

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William Daniels: Celebrate the Other's Strengths

Bonnie Bartlett and William Daniels
Bonnie Bartlett and William Daniels. David Livingston/Getty Images

The Boy Meets World actor, who has been married to college sweetheart (and fellow actor) Bonnie Bartlett for 70 years, says that basking in the glow of her talent has always been enough for him.

"I think our relationship is based on mutual respect," he told Forbes. "I think she is smarter than me, a better actor than me, and so I just hang on, you know, and try to get along,"

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Samuel L. Jackson: Practice Empathy

89th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals
Steve Granitz/WireImage

The actor, who celebrated 40 years of marriage with his wife LaTanya Richardson Jackson in August 2020, said that he didn't buy the speculation that Hollywood marriages were more likely to face challenges than the average union.

"People say, Oh, the temptations are greater," he said, before pointing out that all marriages are about commitment: "Being mature enough at a certain point to say to yourself, How would that other person feel if I gave into this desire? Marriage changes the dynamic of how we perceive ourselves, because we have to start thinking of someone else. The selfishness of who you are has to be subjugated."

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Ralph Macchio: Commitment Is Key

ralph macchio and his wife
Ralph Macchio and his wife, Phyllis. Gilbert Carrasquillo/Filmmagic

The actor credits wife of 30-plus years Phyllis Fierro for allowing him to find the right balance between acting and family time. And he says the secret to their decades-spanning union is very simple.

"It's the belief through the easy times, through the tough times, whatever we encounter, that we are meant to be together," he told PEOPLE. "We know that we will overcome all because we believe in that, the foundation of that."

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Bob Newhart: Make Each Other Laugh

Bob Newhart and wife Virginia
Courtesy Bob Newhart

The legendary comedian has been married to wife Ginny for almost 60 years, and to him, the recipe for a successful relationship is simple, and humor is the key ingredient.

"There's something about laughter and the longevity of a marriage," he recently said on CBS Sunday Morning.

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Angela Bassett: Marry the Right Person

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The actress, who wed Courtney B. Vance in 1997, opened up about her marriage to PEOPLE (the TV Show!).

"Staying together so long, whether in the industry or not, I think the important thing is that you gotta marry the right person. Make sure you're both looking in the same direction, basically," she says. "You're not clones of each other, but you have similar belief systems and, you know, pleasant personalities. Because we all have strengths and weaknesses, and we want to support one another. But I think also recognizing that we have our individual dreams and desires and hopes and ways of doing things."

"Be easy, as easy as you can be on yourself," she continued. "And some of us that are hard on ourselves, be easy on yourself and be easy with others."

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Maury Povich & Connie Chung: It's All About Respect

connie chung and maury povich
Landon Nordeman

The TV hosts - and power couple of 40-plus years - say they have differing approaches to conflict resolution (he goes to sleep happy, while she holds grudges) but they're aligned on what counts: "We've always respected each other's careers and we've always respected each other's space and values," Povich said. "There's no need for any do-overs. Maybe that's the reason why we're still married."

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Jeff Bridges: Celebrate Your Differences

Susan Geston Bridges and Jeff Bridges. Matt Baron/REX/Shutterstock

Jeff Bridges tells PEOPLE it was "love at first sight" with his wife of 45 years, Susan, whom he met while filming The Rancho Deluxe in 1975.

The trick to keeping that spark going, nearly half a century later? Mutual respect. "We are quite different as people, and we celebrate that rather than making it drive us apart. I respect her wisdom, and I'm sure the girls do too," says Bridges. "I've really been blessed."

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Ron Howard: Rely on Good Communication ... and a Little Luck

Ron Howard, Cheryl Howard
John Shearer/Getty

The couple has been together since their first date as juniors at John Burroughs High School in Burbank, California: "There was never anybody else" for him after they met, he told PEOPLE.

So what's the secret to their 50-plus-year-love story? "People say, 'How'd you do it?' There's no technique. There's no tactic other than communication is really important. You have to learn to communicate and have difficult conversations in constructive ways," the director said.

Howard added, "Beyond that, there's an element of luck because people either grow together or they don't and I don't think you can force that."

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Sting: 'Be Married to Your Best Friend'

sting and trudie styler
Kevin MAzur/Wireimage

After nearly 40 years together - 30 of them married! - you better bet that Sting and his wife Trudie Styler have some advice for us all.

The singer told PEOPLE, "People say to me, 'How has it lasted this long?' I say, 'Well, it's kind of a miracle, but we don't take it for granted.' "

"We're friends, too," he continued. "We love each other, but we actually like each other - and that's an important distinction there. Love is passion and all of that stuff, but actually liking somebody and enjoying someone's company is something slightly different, and it lasts longer. So you can have both, and I think that's important. Be married to your best friend."

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Rachael Ray: It's Okay to Yell It Out and Then 'Move On'

2017 A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Cure Parkinson's
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Ray and her husband John Cusimano have been married for more than 15 years. How do they do it?

"We actually like each other, have a lot of the same interests, and find it sexy to share bad behavior, like staying up too late, eating the wrong foods, and listening to loud music - rap, opera and any of our 3,000 records - wherever we are," Ray told PEOPLE.

She added, "We love being together and not acting our age! We don't trust quiet people."

There's one other good piece of advice from Ray: Fight it out and make up quickly.

"When we are mad at each other we scream," Ray told PEOPLE. "If John is being an a-hole, I tell him, then I feel better. And John does the same thing. We share a great sense of humor which helps."

At the end of the day, it's simple: "We yell to get it out, then move on."

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Harrison Ford: Don't Talk, Just 'Nod Your Head'

Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart
Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart. Steve Granitz/WireImage

The Call of the Wild star has been married to Calista Flockhart for 12 years in June 2020, and he has one simple piece of advice. "Don't talk," he joked in an interview with Parade. "Nod your head."

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Alec Baldwin: Spend as Much Time Together as Possible

The Dom Perignon Lounge At The Santa Barbara International Film Festival Celebrates The Opening Night Film "The Public"
Michael Kovac/Getty

Baldwin, who has been married to wife Hilaria since 2012, opened up about niece Hailey Baldwin's plans to wed Justin Bieber at a September 2018 Toronto International Film Festival event. "People who get married young - and they are very young - I want them to just spend time with each other. Obviously, him, in particular, has this crazy superstar career," Baldwin told etalk.

"I'm quite a bit older than both of them, but I got married recently, a few years ago. And my wife and I had four kids in four-and-a-half years. We have a lot of little kids," the father of seven added of his family. "The thing is, all the work I do now is based on my family. There's movies I got offered where they say, 'Come leave town for five weeks. And no, we can't travel your family with you. We don't have that in the budget.' And I pass because I don't want to be away from my family. And I hope they realize that."

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Denzel Washington: Know Who's the Boss

75th Annual Golden Globe Awards - Arrivals

The actor's first professional role (on the 1977 TV drama Wilma) included one very big job perk: meeting his future wife Pauletta, who he married in 1983.

Now, nearly 40 years and four children later, the Oscar-winning actor shared with PEOPLE his secret to wedded bliss: "Do what your wife tells you and keep your mouth shut."

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Jake Chessum

Sitting down with PEOPLE for a cover story, Michael J. Fox and Pollan revealed how they've made their love last through sickness, health and three decades in the spotlight.

Asked about the key to a long marriage, Pollan said, "Just give each other the benefit of the doubt. He assumes I'm doing the best I can."

As for what Fox advises couples? "Find the best things about you and the best things about life and celebrate them."

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24th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards - Arrivals
Frederick M. Brown/Getty

The Book Club actress told PEOPLE that husband Ted Danson keeps the romance alive in their 26-year marriage by paying her sweet compliments every day.

"He does tell me every single day of my life I'm beautiful, and I do know a lot of women live without that," Steenburgen said. "And it does matter, someone just telling you that."

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Candace Cameron Bure and Valeri Bure. Araya Diaz/Getty Images for Zondervan

"The reality is the glue for us is Jesus," the Fuller House star told PEOPLE of the secret to her and husband Valeri Bure's longstanding marriage, while attending the 2018 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards. "It's the Bible. You know, when there are arguments or we're compromising and in ways, it's always like, 'Well, let's just go back to the Bible.' It's the foundation for us. So it's not about winning or losing. But doing this journey together."

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Jim Spellman/WireImage

Appearing on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star opened up about her relationship with Harry Hamlin - and how they've kept the spark alive over the course of their 25-year marriage.

"I don't really know. I really don't know the answer," she admitted. "I think that we are complete opposites. And I mean, we have nothing in common!"

"You know what you have in common that wildly comes across?" chimed in host Andy Cohen. "You are crazy about each other." The reality star couldn't help but agree with Cohen. "We are," said Rinna. "We are crazy about each other, and you can't create that, you can't make it - it either is, or it isn't."

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CDFA/ Vogue: Fashion fund Design Challenge, New York, USA - 18 Oct 2016
Zach Hilty/BFA/REX/Shutterstock

Following an argument, the supermodel and husband Justin Ervin say they always play "the nice game" to make up. The game consists of one person complimenting the other with the person on the receiving end of the good vibes following suit. "You know that feeling after you have a fight and you still have that tension? This is how we get rid of it," Graham told PEOPLE. "It calms you down from that fight and you just go right back into real life."

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24th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards - Arrivals

The couple of more than 10 years hit the red carpet at the 2018 Screen Actors Guild Awards, where Rockwell shared the secret to his and longtime love Leslie Bibb's longstanding relationship. "Communication and great sex," he said.

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David Lynch Foundation Hosts "National Night Of Laughter And Song"
Paul Morigi/WireImage

Despite being a high-profile, award-winning actor in Hollywood, The Greatest Showman star told PEOPLE he always makes wife Deborra-Lee Furness - whom he's been married to for more than two decades - his priority. "Even at the Oscars, I walk out, I put my hand on my heart and I always look to Deb in the audience," he said. "Straight afterward, I will not see anybody in my dressing room until Deb's been in. Because that is my foundation, that is the rock, that is the foundation of our family, and therefore my life."

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52nd Academy Of Country Music Awards - Arrivals
Frazer Harrison/Getty

During an appearance on Today to promote their new collaborative album The Rest Of Our Life, when asked what made their relationship work so well, McGraw immediately pointed at his wife of 25 years before saying, "Well, she tolerates a lot, I think that's probably the main reason."

"You tolerate a lot too. I'm not the easiest person," Hill added, before admitting that one of the biggest secrets might just be that, "We do actually like one another."

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18th Costume Designers Guild Awards - Arrivals
(Photo by Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage)

Although yes, it's what's on the inside that really counts, the Jane the Virgin actor can't help but celebrate his wife, Heidi Balvanera's physical beauty. "It happens that I'm in love with my wife. I like my wife very much and I think she's super hot, the hottest girl in the world. So I think that's it," Camil told PEOPLE when asked of the couple's secret to a happy marriage, joking: "I should not say anymore because then I'm going to go a little triple X here."

He added: "I love her and she is a wonderful woman, she is a brilliant mother. She is the foundation of the family. I'm very lucky to have found that."

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The actress and husband Alan Hamel have been together for 50 years, so the couple knows a thing or two about the formula for a successful relationship. In her book, Two's Company: A Fifty-Year Romance with Lessons Learned in Love, Life & Business, Somers not only reveals she and Hamel have sex twice a day, but also shares her advice for couples who want to spice up their relationship. "Listen to one another, give each other a lot of attention, keep it exciting, date," she says. "My marriage is very romantic. … We might sit here and have a tequila. … We dance, I cook, we sit out and watch the moonlight on the ocean."

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"Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garcons: Art Of The In-Between" Costume Institute Gala - Arrivals
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty

When it comes to their hectic work schedules, Lively and husband Ryan Reynolds make sure they don't let their projects get in the way of their relationship. "My husband and I don't work at the same time, so we all go together as a family," she told PEOPLE. "If we're away as a family, it's never more than for a day. We stay together."

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NBC's "74th Annual Golden Globe Awards" - Red Carpet Arrivals
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Sure, life gets in the way sometimes, but the Thor actor and wife Elsa Pataky, who share three kids together, always make time for date nights.

"Once you have children, every instinct and every moment of your time is consumed by that. You've got nothing for each other," Hemsworth told GQ Australia. "So, make sure you have date night even if it's once in a blue moon, because most of the time you're just too tired and you'd actually prefer to sleep."

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For years after tying the knot, Light - who currently lives in New York - and her husband of 35-plus years, Robert Desiderio - who resides in California - have navigated a long-distance marriage. "It's been the best," she told PEOPLE. "I highly recommend it. He loves California, and I would never ask him to leave there and he would never ask me to leave here."

"Now, mind you, I go back and I shoot Transparent and I'm there four or five months, so I'm there all the time, so then when I'm done there, I come back here and he's flying here today, so we're going to be together for a few days and then I'll go back to California, so it really is this kind of supportive … we're on each other's team," shared Light.

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The 2016 ESPYS - Red Carpet
Kevin Mazur/Getty

"Besides being super attracted to each other, I think there's a sense of flirting with each other and still keeping that spice alive," the country crooner shared of her relationship with husband Eric Decker. "I think women sometimes stop flirting with their husbands and you can't. Men want to want feel good - they want to feel like their women love them. When they come home from work, don't start nagging them with questions. Go up to them and give them a big kiss and ask them how their day was."

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89th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

For the actress, bonding over shared beliefs and interests with husband Justin Timberlake is of utmost importance. "We have similar values; we believe in loyalty, honesty," she revealed to Marie Claire. "We like to have fun. We like a lot of the same things."

"Also, in the business, we're all very career-oriented, and you have to be a little selfish. I understand that about my peers - about being focused and driven - and if you can find that and someone who shares the same values as you, it's like: Score!"

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Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty

"One of us plans [a date] and the other has no idea where we are going," Keys told PEOPLE on how she and husband Swizz Beatz keep their union strong. "We've found some undiscovered gems and moments to take hikes or walks or just discover new things about life and each other. Those are my favorite times."

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Perry Hagopian

Married since 2003, Fixer Upper stars Chip and Joanna Gaines swear by their weekly date nights, which take place each Tuesday and always include ice cream runs. "We tend to frequent our local holes-in-the-wall for street tacos and queso," Joanna told PEOPLE. "After dinner we get ice cream and drive around Waco to go down memory lane and visit our old stomping grounds."

They also start each day by sharing a cup of coffee on the porch together before the kids wake up. "Marriage requires effort and time and talking and connecting," shared Joanna. "You have to maintain it."

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Los Angeles World Premiere Of Warner Bros. Pictures "Focus"
Gregg DeGuire/WireImage

Marriage isn't easy — just ask the actor and his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, who've been married for more than a decade. "We've been asking ourselves [what's the secret to marriage] and really at the end of the day it's just not quitting," the Collateral Beauty star told Entertainment Tonight.

"If there is a secret I would say it is that we never went into working on our relationship," he explained. "We only ever worked on ourselves individually. And then presented ourselves to one another better than we were previously."

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Kering Foundation: VIP screening of Sonita
Dave Benett/Getty

For Hayek and husband François-Henri Pinault, foregoing extra social events is the key to a successful relationship. "I married the right guy," she told reporters at Harper's BAZAAR's 150 Most Fashionable Women celebration. "That is probably the most important thing. We support each other in everything we do. We want the other one to strive. Makes you happy when the other one strives. And you know what, we don't have a very strong social life, because we really like to spend time together. So we do spend a lot of quality time together."

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Courtesy Sarah Michelle Gellar

"We were just friends. That's one of the reasons I think our relationship has always been so good," Prinze Jr. revealed to E! News of his pre-marriage dynamic with wife Sarah Michelle Gellar. "We were just friends for a good two years before we ever went on a date. She knew what kind of guy I was. She knew what my morals were, what my priorities were and vice versa. We already kind of knew all the faults in the other person."

He added: "We ended up being the perfect balance. But it didn't happen until years after and there was a solid foundation built, and that's probably the main reason why we've always been cool and groovy."

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Rimes and husband Eddie Cibrian's key to a happy relationship may seem pretty straightforward, but the performer stressed its importance during an interview with PEOPLE. "We respect each other; respect is a big deal, and once you lose that, you've kind of lost everything," the country crooner revealed. "He's a wonderful father and a really good man. He's kind to me, and I reciprocate."

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Celebrities Visit SiriusXM - March 22, 2017
Cindy Ord/Getty

Self-proclaimed opposites Bell and husband Dax Shepard credit going to couples therapy early in their relationship for helping them work through initial trust issues and the occasional disagreement. "We have a very healthy marriage and we got there by doing therapy when we needed it, and constantly doing fierce moral inventories," she told PEOPLE. "We both take responsibility when we are wrong, and I think it is easy to work with him because I married him, because I enjoy spending time with him and I trust him. That is exactly what I want in someone that I work with."

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Anthony Harvey/Getty

The former athlete and wife Victoria Beckham wed in 1999 and have been together ever since. As for the secret to their successful relationship? "We've been together for 18 years, we've been married for 16 years," the father of four told ABC News in 2015. "So you trust each other's judgment. I think that has worked for us."

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52nd Academy Of Country Music Awards - Red Carpet
Kevin Mazur/ACMA2017/Getty

When it comes to marriage, falling in love is a given - but maintaining the spark comes down to something deeper for Kidman and husband Keith Urban. "Just love each other, lavish each other with love," Kidman shared with PEOPLE of the secret to her happy relationship with her singer-husband. "Also we just happen to like each other too. That works."

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Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic

The Sex and the City star and her husband, Matthew Broderick, who've been married for 25 years, attribute their marital success to privacy. "The secret is, we don't discuss it. To reporters or anybody else. That's it!" the actress told the Huffington Post. "We don't hold it up as an example and we don't air our dirty laundry."

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Barry King/Getty Images

We've heard it time and time again: communication is the key to a healthy relationship - and it remains The Path star and wife Lauren's No. 1 piece of advice. "People get in fights because they don't communicate, because you don't want to hurt the other person," he told ELLE. "If you do want to hurt the other person, then shame on you - you're an a--hole. My wife and I do not argue. We communicate. We talk. But we've never fought in our entire relationship."

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