Stars Who Ended Up With Their High School Sweetheart

This feature references sex addiction and mental health issues. 

In an industry where splitting up with a significant other is all too common, it's always special whenever you see celebrities sticking alongside their other half over the years. As it turns out, there are many stars out there who found their soulmates all the way back in high school — during a time when the rest of the world didn't yet know their names.

Many of these same celebrities attribute their success to that special person who has supported them throughout the highs and lows of building up their iconic careers. As basketball star LeBron James once told The Hollywood Reporter about his wife, "Savannah was down when I was at my high school, no cameras, no lights. And she was there with me. You wouldn't be talking to me right now if it weren't for her."

Here are just a few of the celebrity couples who are still going strong with their high school sweetheart today.

Kendrick Lamar's high school sweetheart keeps him humble

Throughout Kendrick Lamar's long and successful rap career, he's always made sure of one thing. "You want to always, always have real people around you. Period," he said during an interview on "The Breakfast Club." "Whether it's male or female. Everyone that's been around me has been around since day one." And that group certainly includes his high school sweetheart, Whitney Alford.

The two began dating while attending Centennial High School in Compton, California, and got engaged in 2015. While they have kept their personal relationship on the private side over the years, Lamar's fans can still hear all about his love story in his music. For instance, fans have theorized that the rapper's first love song, "She Needs Me," was potentially written about Alford. After all, there are many similarities between the successful woman described in the lyrics and Lamar's real-life love: Five years after graduating high school, Alford went on to study accounting at California State University, and the two have been inseparable ever since, even through some hard times.

On his 2022 album "Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers," Lamar opened up about having been unfaithful to Alford, and his experiences with sex addiction. On Instagram, his other half thanked him for his honesty. "I'm proud of the work we've done individually and as a family ... Healing can begin." He even honored his family by placing Alford and their two children alongside him in the album artwork.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

LeBron James' wife supports him from the sidelines

It was while LeBron James was just a junior at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Ohio that he met his now-wife Savannah James (née Brinson), and even though they attended rival high schools, he was still interested in getting to know the softball player and cheerleader right away. Unfortunately, she wasn't necessarily into the idea at first. "One day I'm sitting around — I was probably bored or something — and I'm like, 'Oh, I forgot! I have this number for this guy that I can call,'" Savannah reminisced during an interview with Cleveland Magazine. "'He seemed interested, so let's see.'"

Following that fateful phone call, the basketball star invited her to one of his high school games, and from there, his successful sports career only grew just like his love for the high school sophomore. "Savannah was with me shooting in the gym when I [had] absolutely nothing," LeBron told The Hollywood Reporter. And she's been supporting him from the sidelines ever since, stepping away from the public eye to keep the spotlight on her husband instead.

Today, the couple shares three children, and Savannah is focused on maintaining a sense of normalcy for their famous family. After all, that is exactly how their love story started. "We were two kids who started dating, as any two high-school kids would," she told The Cut. "Believe it or not, I didn't know that he was going to be what he is today."

George Strait likes to keep his lady out of the spotlight

Country star George Strait knows exactly what he's talking about when he sings all of his love songs, all thanks to his high school sweetheart Norma Strait. The two met during their time at Pearsall High School in Texas. As the country singer recalled during one of his concerts, "She was 17, really hot, so we fell in love." 

From there, the two high schoolers knew they wanted to be together forever and headed to Mexico to elope before welcoming two children into the world — George Strait Jr. and Jenifer Strait. Tragically, in 1986, Jenifer died in a car accident, aged 13. Since then, the Strait family has kept their personal lives much more private. In an interview with The New Yorker, the country singer explained how he didn't want to talk about the painful incident, and has since turned down multiple interviews with media outlets and shared much smaller glimpses of his wife with fans instead. Even so, Norma once made a special appearance in her husband's music video "Codigo," which was shot in the same area where they eloped.

Even after more than 50 years of marriage and touring the country together, as the musician's famous song states, "We Must Be Loving Right." "We love each other and we still like each other," the country singer told People. "A lot!"

Patrick and Brittany Mahomes went to prom together

Long before Patrick Mahomes was ever playing in the Super Bowl, he was simply a high schooler from Texas trying to impress his girlfriend Brittany Matthews. "Just a normal teenage kid showing up at the family dinner type stuff and being nervous and everything," the football player recalled during an interview on "The Drive" radio show. However, he really had nothing to be nervous about. These lovebirds have remained tight through plenty of formative life events including hitting up their Whitehouse High School prom together in 2013, dating long distance while attending separate universities, and spending time apart while they each chased their respective sports dreams.

They had a daughter, Sterling Skye Mahomes, in 2021, and a son, Patrick "Bronze" Lavon Mahomes, followed months after their wedding in 2022. In the great journey of their relationship, they've even experienced two different Super Bowl wins together. Not many couples can boast about that! Today, it's hard to believe that only a few years ago in high school that they were just starting up their life together. "[Patrick] played safety [and] I was a cheerleader in a small town called Whitehouse, TX," Brittany told her Instagram followers in 2020. "Oh, how times have changed!"

Snoop Dogg and Shante Broadus renewed their vows

Snoop Dogg may be known for his song "Young, Wild & Free," but he has been in the same romantic relationship since he was in high school. It was during his time at Long Beach Polytechnic High School that he met his wife Shante Broadus. They even attended prom together all those years ago.

In fact, the rapper attributes the success of his relationship to the moment in time that they met. "The era that my girl came from, there wasn't all that social media and all that," he said during a radio interview with Vlad TV. "I had to go over there and meet her mother. I had to go over there and date her for, like, four months before I was able to kiss her. I had to call her on the phone. I had to write love letters."

The two tied the knot in 1997, and Broadus quickly became more to him than just his high school sweetheart — in fact, the savvy businesswoman has helped to guide him through his career since the very beginning. And long before he became the man that the world now knows as Snoop Dogg. "I was there with him when he started all this," she explained to W magazine. 

Through all of the ups and downs in their decades-long marriage — including briefly separating in 2004 — Broadus has never left his side. In 2008, the rapper even surprised her by renewing his vows in a special second ceremony.

Bono's childhood sweetheart inspired his music

For Bono and Ali Hewson, their love story began after walking together to a bus stop when they were only high school students. When they began dating during their time at Mount Temple School in Dublin, Ireland, it was a monumental year for the both of them. "He was my first real boyfriend," Hewson gushed to The Telegraph. For Bono, it happened to be the very same year that his band U2 began playing together, and crazily enough, their first performance was in their school's gymnasium while Hewson was watching from the stands.

As the band began to experience success, Bono and his high school sweetheart were still going strong — and he was deeply afraid such contentment could be detrimental to his creative process. "I was in love and becoming terrified that I would never write a truly great love song because my heart was full, not broken," he wrote in his memoir "Surrender." Even so, the singer-songwriter has created loads of successful music. He has even channeled the love he has for his wife into the lyrics of some of his most beloved songs, including "All I Want is You" and "Sweetest Thing." In fact, all of the proceeds that are made today from his 1987 hit "Sweetest Thing" are still given to the charity of Hewson's choice: Chernobyl Children's International, for whom Hewson sits on the board of directors. 

Mitt Romney's high school sweetheart is his 'hero'

When Mitt Romney was a senior at Cranbrook School, he was headed to a party where his life was about to completely change. There, he laid eyes on a sophomore named Ann. "And it really was love at first sight, if you want to say it," she reminisced during an interview with PBS. "Or we really did fall madly in love."

Though they were together throughout high school, Mitt's college studies at Stanford and then in France kept them apart for three and half years. Ann had no idea where their relationship was going to go from there. When they did eventually meet up again at an airport almost four years after each of their high school graduations, they realized that they really did belong together. "And it was such an amazing car ride home because we both said, 'We've waited so long. Why should we wait any longer? Let's just get married now, like now,'" Ann recalled.

The two did just that. These high school sweethearts tied the knot in 1969 before entering the U.S. political scene together as a part of the Republican Party. Throughout Mitt's decades-long political career, Ann has stuck beside him through each of his campaigns — and he's also stuck by her side during some serious health issues. In 1998, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and in 2007, she survived breast cancer. "I love her, but she's also my hero," Mitt said during an interview with CNN. "... She's a remarkable person."

Alan Jackson is still inspired by his sweetheart

It isn't always love at first sight, and 16-year-old Denise Jackson definitely wasn't feeling it when she initially met Alan Jackson when they were students at Newnan High School in Georgia. "I do remember the first time he called me for a date. For some reason I just didn't want to go out with him so I said 'no,'" she recalled during an interview with TNN. "... Probably a couple months after that first telephone conversation he called me back ... I don't know what changed, but something changed in me."

When Denise did finally agree to a first date with the aspiring country star a few months later, he took her around town in his white Thunderbird, and the rest is written in music history — literally. "There's been a zillion songs that have pieces of our good days and bad days inspired, and they continue to," Jackson said in a statement published by Country Now. Those good and bad days were also documented by Jackson in her tell-all book called "It's All About Him: Finding the Love of My Life" (via People) where she discussed the journey of forgiving her husband for his various infidelities. 

To honor their 10th wedding anniversary, Alan wrote her a special love song to celebrate their bond for his debut 1990 album, "Here in the Real World." His ballad "I'd Love You All Over Again" quickly found itself topping the country music charts, setting Jackson up for both a successful career and his marriage with his high school sweetheart ever since.

Ron Howard wooed his sweetheart at the movies

A young Ron Howard had always dreamed of telling stories on the big screen, but he never would have dreamed up his own remarkable love story that began when he was only a junior in high school. His now-wife Cheryl Alley has supported him ever since they walked the halls of John Burroughs High School together. "I felt really lucky when we met. It's crazy — we were teenagers, it shouldn't have worked," Howard later told HuffPost. "We got married young, that shouldn't have worked either, and yet it really and truly has."

In true filmmaker fashion, the two teenagers had their first date at a local movie theater to see the second release of Stanley Kramer's "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" in the '70s. After tying the knot in 1975, they welcomed four children into the world who have spent time experiencing success in the entertainment industry as well — "Jurassic World" star Bryce Dallas Howard, professional golfer Reed Howard, actor and children's book author Paige Carlyle Howard, and her twin sister, Jocelyn Howard. After nearly half a century of marriage, Howard and Alley's marriage is still strong. "I met her, and there was never anybody else," the filmmaker told People.

Catelynn Lowell's reality television love story

As the world grew up watching "16 and Pregnant" star Catelynn Lowell on their television screens, she was growing up with her high school sweetheart Tyler Baltierra by her side. The pair met shortly before starring on the MTV reality series, and ever since, their love story has been broadcasted to the world. "It's crazy to look back at how young we were when we started this journey," Baltierra shared with his Instagram followers.

When they were only halfway through high school, they found out they were expecting their first child. "At that time, I didn't even have a cell phone. I didn't even have my driver's license yet. I didn't have a car," Catelynn recalled to E! News — but she did have Tyler. After proposing to Catelynn two separate times after ending their first engagement, the two reality stars eventually went on to tie the knot in front of fans during a special television episode of "Teen Mom OG" in 2016 and have since welcomed three more daughters into the world together.

Like any long-haul couple, the two have continued to love and support each other through some tough times. Both Lowell and Baltierra have been open about their respective experiences with mental health issues, for which both have received treatment. And while they briefly separated in 2018, the couple had previously denied they were divorcing, with Lowell telling Us Weekly, "We are a solid couple that will work through anything life throws at us."

If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

Ja Rule met his high school sweetheart in woodshop

Aisha Atkins had no idea who Ja Rule was when they met in high school. To her, he was simply a boy from her woodshop class named Jeffrey Atkins. Recalling his first interaction with his future wife, the rapper told Blender, "She was cute, but she tried to play me at first. Then she realized I was one of the cool guys at school and got with the program." The two dated throughout their four years attending Martin Van Buren High School in Queens, New York. In 2001, they went all out with their nuptials during a Godfather-themed wedding as 800 of their closest friends and family members watched them read their vows. 

Over the years, the two have become parents and even stuck it out through some very public legal battles together. They've included Ja Rule's involvement in the disastrous Fyre Festival (for which he was cleared of any wrongdoing in a $100 million class-action lawsuit in 2019, per The Guardian), and the IRS suing the couple over an alleged $3 million tax debt (as of this writing, Atkins and Ja Rule never publicly responded to the accusations), per Radar. "I've known that woman for a long time," Ja Rule wrote in his memoir, "Unruly: The Highs and Lows of Becoming a Man" (via Time) "It's good to meet your soulmate, so to speak, at an early age, and go through life together, growing together. I watched her grow up, she watched me grow up."

Matt and Abby Howard's love story started at camp

Before Matt and Abby Howard took the world of TikTok by storm, they were both high school theater kids. Though they lived two hours apart, fate brought the two eighth graders together at the same theater camp one summer in St. Louis, Missouri. But as Abby explained on the "Couple Things" podcast, "I had a massive crush on Matt, but he didn't pay me any mind."

It wasn't until they were about to enter into their senior year of high school that Matt realized there was something pretty special about this girl he spent every summer acting alongside. "And so I asked her on a date for my 18th birthday," he explained. Despite having to date long-distance throughout their senior year, they continued to enjoy dates with one another as often as they could. 

Luckily, the Howards chose to attend Missouri State University together following their high school graduation and even chose to align their college majors to allow them to spend extra time together. It was during a trip to Disney World that they got engaged at age 19, and the two social media stars tied the knot in 2020. Two years later, they welcomed a son into the world before announcing online in 2023 that a second baby was on the way.

Witney Carson has been dancing with her husband since high school

A few years after Witney Carson fell in love with dancing, she fell in love with a classmate named Carson McAllister at American Fork High School in Utah. "I really don't know how or what I did to deserve such a caring, kind-hearted, hilarious, loving husband," she gushed to her Instagram followers. She's since become a permanent dance partner on "Dancing with the Stars" — all while her high school sweetheart has supported her from just behind the cameras.

The two eventually tied the knot in 2016 with Carson's "Dancing with the Stars" co-stars in attendance. In fact, in true professional dancing fashion, she and McAllister surprised all of their guests with a fully choreographed accompaniment to their first dance as husband and wife. All in all, no detail was left untouched by the dancer on their wedding day. "I loved getting to pick the decor and the flowers," she told The Knot. "I think that's what makes a wedding, and I got to use my creativity, which I love to do!" The couple shares two sons together, welcoming Leo in 2021, and Jet Carson two years later. We can only imagine they will be dancing alongside their parents, soon enough!

Thomas Rhett's love story almost didn't happen

Country star Thomas Rhett met his future wife when he was only a first grader. Fast forward to age 15, and he was taking Lauren Akins, that same girl, out on a date. Unfortunately, it didn't work out. "We dated for like six months," he shared with Taste of Country. "We remained best friends even after we broke up. We both dated other people for like five years."

When it came time for Akin's sister to graduate, Rhett was invited over to her graduation party where he ran into his high school sweetheart for a second time — or, as fate would have it, a second chance. "I'd loved that girl since high school, and I told her father how I felt," Rhett said during an interview with HITS Daily Double. "He said, 'If you don't tell her, I'm going to.' It was a total Ryan Gosling moment."

From that moment on, the two of them have stuck together. They dated for another six months before tying the knot in 2012. They've since expanded their family and are the proud parents of four daughters. "I could not [have] dreamed up a better life if I tried," Rhett told his Instagram followers.