Famous People Who Were Widowed Young

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When saying, "I do," young brides and grooms rarely consider the thought of losing their spouse soon afterwards. Unfortunately, the reality is tragedy can strike at any time, and celebrities aren't immune to losing their significant others, either.

The famous people on our list had dreams of living happily ever after with their partners, but when their spouses were ripped away from them, they were left behind to deal with immeasurable grief. Take Hole frontwoman Courtney Love, for example. She was just 29 when her rocker hubby, Kurt Cobain of Nirvana, passed away. Decades following his death, Love still grieves her late-husband and feels the excruciating pain from the void he left.

Sadly, Love isn't the only celebrity who has lost a spouse at a young age. Some of the deceased were victims of heinous crimes, while others tragically took their own lives. If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). 

Here are the famous people who were widowed young.

Joe Biden became a widower after a deadly car accident

In December 1972, just six weeks after Joe Biden was elected to the U.S. Senate, his college sweetheart and wife, 30-year-old Neilia Biden, and their children, 1-year-old daughter Naomi Christina "Amy" Biden, 4-year-old son Joseph "Beau" Biden, and 3-year-old son Robert Hunter Biden, were involved in a devastating accident. "My wife and three children were Christmas shopping, a tractor-trailer broadsided them and killed my wife and killed my daughter. And they weren't sure that my [two] sons would live," Biden said in a Yale commencement speech (via Vogue magazine).

Miraculously, his sons survived (Beau later passed away in 2015 from brain cancer), according to The Gazette, and 30-year-old Biden was left to continue on as a single parent. 

As difficult as his wife and daughter's passing were, Biden found love again three years later when his brother introduced him to Jill Jacobs. They were married on June 17, 1977, and had one daughter together, Ashley Biden. The couple celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary in 2017, proof that finding love after tragedy is possible.

Natascha McElhone lost her 'fit' husband

The Truman Show actress Natascha McElhone married renowned plastic surgeon Martin Kelly, in May 1998. The couple had two children together, Theodore and Otis, and McElhone was pregnant with their third child when the unthinkable happened. Her 42-year-old husband was "found lying on the doorstep of the family's home," according to a May 21, 2008 report by People magazine. Paramedics arrived but, sadly, Kelly was already gone. Kelly's father-in-law called his death "completely baffling" as the surgeon was "such a fit, handsome, fighting fit young man." A post mortem examination (per The Telegraph) discovered that Kelly suffered from a heart condition called "dilated cardiomyopathy." 

McElhone gave birth to their third son, Rex Kelly, five months after her husband's death, and she went through the labor and delivery all alone. "If Martin couldn't be there, I couldn't replace him with someone, as that would have felt very strange," she told Hello! magazine (via People). The Californication actress, who was just 38 when her husband passed away, told the Independent in 2016 that she was "utterly devastated" by the loss, and that to deal with the sadness, she began writing letters to her deceased husband, many of which were later published in a touching book called After You. 

McElhone also said she hadn't moved on romantically, and that she wouldn't go public with the news if she did. "But yes, that could change, absolutely," she told the Independent. "I'm lucky. I'm good at finding happiness. I look forward with hope."

Faith Evans still communicates with The Notorious B.I.G.

R&B singer Faith Evans met her Bad Boy Entertainment labelmate, Christopher "The Notorious B.I.G." Wallace, at a photoshoot in 1994, according to i-d. After the rapper declared, "I'm gonna marry you," the couple got hitched just nine days after they met, the New York Post reported. Their marriage would be far from picture-perfect, though, as the rapper was allegedly cheating on her with "a bunch of other women" and fellow rapper Lil' Kim, Evans told Vlad TV. 

Despite their turbulent marriage, Evans still holds a candle for The Notorious B.I.G., who was shot to death in Los Angeles on March 9, 1997 when he was 24-years-old, according to the Los Angeles Times. As of this writing, the suspect is still at large.

Evans, who was also 24 at the time of his death, released a posthumous duet album with her late-husband, entitled The King & I in 2017. And, according to the since-remarried singer, she was able to communicate with him during the recording process. "He told me a few times he is proud of what I did," she told i-d. "Towards the end of one recording, I went over and gave a hug to one of the writers I was working with. I was like, 'I think Big just told me to come over and hug you, he's proud.'"

Jean Harlow's husband's death is shrouded in mystery

When she was 21-years-old, Hollywood glam goddess Jean Harlow announced on June 21, 1932 (via The New York Times) that she would marry 42-year-old MGM executive Paul Bern. Bern was was instrumental in propelling her to superstardom, so it was only fitting that they would get married, become a power couple, and dominate the film industry together. Well, that was the plan, at least.

The original blonde bombshell, who starred in iconic films like 1932's Red Dust, was very impressed by her new beau. "He likes me for my mind," she once told the press of Bern, who was her second husband (via Daily Mail). "He isn't pawing me all the time."

Unfortunately, their marital bliss would be short-lived. Less than three months after their wedding, Bern was found dead of a gunshot wound to the head at the couple's Beverly Hills, Calif. home. While it was assumed that Bern took his own life, writer Ben Hecht later theorized the Hollywood exec was murdered by "an unnamed woman." However, author E.J. Fleming's account of the controversy surrounding Bern's death, revealed that upon reopening the state's case based on Hecht's theory, District Attorney William B. McKesson concluded, "[Hecht] was apparently peddling a wild and unconfirmed rumor as fact."

Shocking as Bern's death was, Harlow seemingly didn't take long to get over it. She married her third husband, cameraman Harrold Rosson, weeks after the one-year anniversary of Bern's death.

Anna Nicole Smith was a widow at 28

Oil tycoon and billionaire J. Howard Marshall II became Playboy Playmate Anna Nicole Smith's second husband when the twosome got married on June 27, 1994. At the time of their wedding, People magazine reported the wheelchair-bound Howard was 89, and Anna Nicole was 26. But 63-year age difference be damned, because the pair was reportedly head-over-heels in love.

Anna Nicole told ABC News in 2000, that Howard "took me out of a terrible place and he cares for me and my son, and in return, I took care of him, and I loved him for that." However, it was unsurprising when she was labeled a gold digger following Howard's August 4, 1995 death. A 28-year-old widow, Anna Nicole was left to legally squabble with her stepson, E. Pierce Marshall, over the amount of money Howard allegedly promised to leave her upon his death, according to E! News.

Unfortunately, Anna Nicole wouldn't be able to see the lengthy court battle to its end. She was found dead at the age of 39 on February 8, 2007, at the Seminole Hard Rock Café Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Fla. Her death was later ruled an accidental overdose, according to Today.

Jackson Browne took a 'grief-stricken break' after his wife's death

German-born singer and songwriter, Jackson Browne, known for hits, such as "Doctor My Eyes" and "Rock Me on the Water," became a widower at the age of 27 when his wife, model Phyllis Major, passed away.

Information on Major is sparse, but according Los Angeles Magazine, she and Browne had a son together, Ethan, before marrying two years later. Just four months after they wed, the 30-year-old "committed suicide by taking an overdose of barbiturates." 

Rolling Stone reported the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame artist took a "grief-stricken break" from the music studio following Major's passing. When he returned to the studio, Browne finished his album The Pretender, "composing a remarkable set of subtle and allusive songs while his grief was still raw," according to Los Angeles Magazine. One track on the album, "Sleep's Dark and Silent Gate," seemed to evoke a specific source of Browne's heartache — particularly the haunting lyricI found my love too late. Speaking about the tune in a video of a studio session, Browne described it as a way "to take an isolated incident that happens to you and turn it into poetry that makes it general enough fore everybody else to be able to relate to." 

Courtney Love still misses her 'soulmate'

Courtney Love fell in love with and married Nirvana rocker, Kurt Cobain, in 1992, but their marriage would be brief.

Cobain's drug addiction and depression took a toll on him, and at the age of 27, he was found dead from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head on April 9, 1994, according to the New York Times. He left behind his 29-year-old wife and their 1-year-old daughter, Frances Bean Cobain.

Numerous films have since been made to honor Love's late husband — who she describes as her "soulmate" — including 2015's Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck. The documentary flooded her mind with painful memories, and Love admitted it was hard for her to replicate the love she had with him. "[Watching the film] f*****d me up. I remembered the sexual relationship, which, as you know, is the core of any good marriage," she shared in an interview with V magazine (via Us Weekly). "It almost rendered other intimacies meaningless."

One thing is for certain, Love will never forget her one true love, which was evident by an April 5, 2018 Twitter post on the anniversary of the grunge artist's death. Alongside a photo of Cobain holding their infant daughter, Love captioned the picture: "The universe always rips open on this day...  those ocean blue eyes, we miss you."

Roman Polanski will remain 'faithful' to Sharon Tate

Director Roman Polanksi and actress Sharon Tate married on January 20, 1968, in London, according to People. Though the marriage was bound for tragedy, it wasn't ideal from the start. There were rumors that Polanski was controlling and refused to be intimate with Tate when she became pregnant in 1968, according to the book Sharon Tate: A Life (via People). Sadly, Polanksi would never witness the birth of their child, nor would he have the chance to be with Tate for better or for worse. 

On August 9, 1969, 26-year-old Tate, who was eight-and-a-half months pregnant with their son, was murdered along with "four others at [her] home" by acolytes of cult leader Charles Manson, The Washington Post reported. 

The Rosemary's Baby director was 36 when his wife and child were killed, and he revealed in a book, Sharon Tate Recollection (via the Independent), that he has had trouble moving past Tate's death. "Even after so many years, I find myself unable to watch a spectacular sunset or visit a lovely old house or experience visual pleasure of any kind without instinctively telling myself how much she would have loved it all," he wrote, adding, "In these ways I shall remain faithful to her till the day I die." 

Polanski later became embroiled in another scandal, which caused him to flee the U.S. "after he was accused of raping a 13-year-old girl," according to NBC News. He remarried actress Emmanuelle Seigner in 1989.