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The interracial-relationship experience is an interesting one. No matter how alike you think you are with your partner, cultural and societal differences still emerge and test your relationship in ways you can’t imagine. But in the end, these differences often make these relationships stronger and the individuals more culturally aware and in tune with the life someone who might not look like you has experienced.
MORE: Every Celebrity Couple Who Got Married in 2018, Thus Far
Celebrity couples such as Chrissy Teigen and John Legend and Jamie Chung and Bryan Greenberg know this experience too, which is why they’ve opened up about the ups and downs of being in interracial relationships and, for some, mixed-race marriages. Ahead, the most powerful times celebrities talked about their interracial relationship.
Chrissy Teigen and John Legend
Teigen is half-Thai and half-white. Legend is Black. In an interview with USA Today, Legend opened up about what it’s like to raise mixed-race children and why he believes race is a social construct. “It’ll be interesting because our child will be mixed, you know? They’ll be part Asian, part white and part black,” Legend said. “So, it’ll be interesting just to give out even the idea of what race means—because it is a social construct that isn’t really based on biology—or even thinking about how they’ll identify themselves and what that’ll mean.”
Teigen echoed some of Legend’s thoughts in an interview with StyleCaster, in which she worried that her daughter, Luna, and son, Miles, won’t know where they fit in because of their multiple racial identities. “I worry sometimes that Luna is going to be so much in the middle that she’s not going to know, but I think by the time she grows up, it’s such a melting pot, this whole world now,” Teigen said.
Serena Williams and Alexis Ohanian
In an interview with The New York Times, Williams, who is Black, opened up about how being in an interracial relationship with Ohanian, who is white, has changed her view on love. “I never thought I would have married a white guy, either, so it just goes to show you that love truly has no color, and it just really goes to show me the importance of what love is,” Williams said.
Williams also got candid about what she’s taught her white husband about racial relations in the United States and how her experience as a Black woman has drastically differed from his.
“I’m an athlete. He’s a business guy. I’m black. He’s white. We are totally opposite. I think we just complement each other. I think we understand hard work in different ways,” Williams said. “Literally all I tell Alexis is, ‘Well, you know, there’s such a difference between white people and black people.’ He always gets to hear about the injustices that happen; that wouldn’t happen if I were white. It’s interesting.”
Jamie Chung and Bryan Greenberg
Chung, who is Korean-American, and her husband, Greenberg, who is white and Jewish, starred together in the 2016 film Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong, which also mirrored their experience as an interracial couple. In an interview with PopSugar, Chung explained how being in an interracial relationship has made her more aware of her husband’s culture and vice versa. “I think we’re more immersed in each other’s cultures. Like before we got married, we took a trip to the Middle East and we went to Israel,” Chung said. “So, that was pretty cool learning more about his culture and his religion. The next trip will probably be to Korea, but it’s kind of fun.”
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
After news broke in 2016 that Markle, a half-black and half-white actor from the United States, was dating Prince Harry, who is white, Markle was confronted with an onslaught of racist harassment. In an interview with BBC, she suggested that the experience made both her and her relationship stronger. “It’s disheartening,” Markle said. “You know it’s a shame that that is the climate in this world to focus that much on that or that that would be discriminatory in that sense, but I think… at the end of the day I’m really just proud of who I am and where I come from, and we have never put any focus on that. We’ve just focused on who we are as a couple.”
In November 2016, Harry responded to the racists in a statement condemning their hateful behavior. “Some of this has been very public—the smear on the front page of a national newspaper; the racial undertones of comment pieces; and the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and web article comments,” Harry said.
Kim Kardashian and Kanye West
Kardashian, who is white, is known for dating many men outside of her race, including her husband, West, who is Black. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Kardashian revealed that her dad, Robert Kardashian, told her as a child that interracial relationships weren’t easy—something that she discovered on her own when her relationship with West and other men of color entered the spotlight.
“My dad explained to me that he’s had a lot of interracial friends, and it might not be the easiest relationship. He said I should prepare myself for people to say things to me,” Kardashian said. “When I was in high school, I’d get magazines and see interracial couples and think, ‘They are so cute.'”
FKA Twigs and Robert Pattinson
FKA Twigs, who is Jamaican and white, and Pattinson, who is white, might be broken up, but when they were together, they received a lot of backlash from many in the UK, where they’re both from, because of their interracial relationship. In an interview with The Sunday Times, Twigs opened up about the racist reaction she received to her relationship with Pattinson. One low moment came when Twigs responded to a fan, who was in an interracial relationship and tweeted a picture of him and his Black girlfriend to Twigs. The man revealed that the woman was dying of cancer and listened to Twigs’s music to cheer her up. Twigs responded to the fan, but trolls soon latched on to the conversation with racist slurs. “They all started attacking her. Within 20 seconds it was just like n—, monkey, ugly, die bitch, all this stuff on his feed. It broke my heart,” Twigs said. “This lady who is really sick and is probably going to die.”
Khloé Kardashian and Tristan Thompson
Like her sisters, Kardashian, who is white, is known for dating many men outside of her race, including her current boyfriend, Thompson, who is also the dad to her daughter, True. On a post on her website and app in 2016, Kardashian responded to a fan who complained about how interracial relationships are “still looked down upon by many people” in “today’s society.” Kardashian echoed the fan’s thoughts and tweeted about how she also doesn’t understand the criticism of interracial relationships.
“I don’t support racism or discrimination of any kind and I especially don’t understand why some people are still against interracial relationships. Like who the F cares anymore?! It’s so crazy because we’re all human beings capable of love so why does skin color have anything to do with it?” Kardashian wrote.
Ellen Pompeo and Chris Ivery
When Pompeo, who is white, first starred on Grey’s Anatomy, she was asked by the producers if she would be interested in her character dating Isaiah Washington, another character who was Black. Pompeo shot down the idea, believing that it was “too close” to her IRL relationship with her husband, Ivery, who is also Black.
“You know they wanted Isaiah Washington to be my boyfriend. Shonda really wanted to put a Black man in the mix. I didn’t think they were really going to put an interracial couple on the show, and I didn’t want him. It was too close to home. I said I wanted that Dempsey kid,” Pompeo told the New York Post.