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"Whenever [his wife] was around, he had this grin on his face like he couldn't believe his luck. We couldn't believe it, either."
Ranger Andy, Fallout: New Vegas, on Boone and his late wife

A very common trope, particularly in animation and sitcoms, is for a woman to be far more attractive than her significant other. This is largely a result of Hollywood-style casting for women's roles in which average-looking women are virtually unknown, leaving a large number of hotties needing work. Therefore even Hollywood Homely women who aren't supposed to be gorgeous are portrayed by supermodel-class women. Similar cases are almost unheard of for men. Since "average joes" and "funny fat guys" can still get work (especially when they're the producer as well as the lead), this pervades almost all forms of media, making this one of the most wide-spread cases of a Double Standard around.

This is very common in Dom Com situations, and in cartoons and comic strips, it pervades due to Tertiary Sexual Characteristics; the men can look round and dopey, or simplistic given the artists' art styles, but the women have to be differentiated. This requires round hips, big bosoms, full lips, and exquisitely-designed hair, resulting in a beautiful woman and a cartoonish husband.

A popular use of the trope is to have the hot wife be beautiful on the outside only, and on the inside she's a manipulative, materialistic, spiteful bitch who doesn't deserve her Henpecked Husband's kindness, especially if he is just a Meal Ticket for her. This could lead to An Aesop that looks aren't everything and that appearances are often deceptive (Although, this isn't so great on several levels when you think about it).

See also Beast and Beauty, Give Geeks a Chance, Nerd Nanny, No Accounting for Taste, Hot Consort, Attractiveness Isolation, and Kavorka Man; and don't forget that Most Writers Are Male. May overlap with May-December Romance, if the man is old on top of being ugly (or is ugly simply as a result of being old). This trope often gives birth to the Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter. Contrast Model Couple and Hot Guy, Ugly Wife.

No Real Life Examples, Please. And note that it's Ugly Guy, not Average Guy [1].

Examples of Ugly Guy, Hot Wife include:


  • Lampshaded and celebrated in an ad campaign for fast-food chain Del Taco: "Here's to every 4 who married a 10."
  • In a line of beer commercials featuring football referees, one poor guy was penalized for "Disproportionately hot girlfriend!"
  • A recent ad for Kohler depicts a beautiful young woman grappling with the attention of several handsome young men, but unable to chose between them. She comes home one even to find that her schlubby, balding plumber has installed an exquisite Kohler faucet in her kitchen. The next scene is of them getting married, with the man absolutely ecstatic and the three young men she had shunned looking completely flabbergasted.

Anime and Manga

  • Mazinger Z: In episode 89 we meet an impersonator of Kouji and Shiro's mother. In episode 92 we meet Kouji and Shiro's supposedly late father that would be one of the Great Mazinger main characters. His wife was definitely beautiful. He... not so much. Although maybe he was more handsome when he was younger and not a cyborg.
  • In Itazura na Kiss, Chris, a beautiful English lady of noble blood, marries Kinnosuke, a not-so pretty Osakan chef. Most people wonder how a guy like Kinnosuke could have gotten a girl like Chris. The fact is that both she and her sexy American mother, Maria, have terrible taste.
  • In the manga of Air Gear, the incredibly ugly Onigiri proves a huge hit with the ladies in an air trek aerobics program, and has an incredibly attractive and borderline obsessive girlfriend. Then she dumped him... for the gigantically fat Buccha. And then she dumped him for a guy who was somehow even fatter. Little parts of Onigiri and Buccha died after the experiences.
    • This example illustrates yet another potential problem with this setup. If you're a big fat guy who manages to land a hot girl with a fat fetish, you're in serious trouble when somebody bigger comes along.
  • Azumanga Daioh plays this trope on the personality axis — the creepy Lolicon Ephebophile teacher Kimura-sensei is revealed, to his students' amazement, to be married... and his waifu is lovely, to boot. As the students theorize that she must be a real harpy, Yukari-sensei instead predicts — correctly, as it later turns out — that she must be a saint in order to put up with him. It also helps that she is a Cloudcuckoolander.
  • While not married, worth noting is Danjuro Eiga & Miyako Miyazaki of Bamboo Blade. Miyako is a bombshell, while Danjuro has a head shaped like an acorn. To top it off, "Miya-Miya" (as Danjuro calls her) is very loyal to her man, having joined the kendo club solely to be with him, and also deathly afraid of letting the darker side of her nature become known to him.
    • It should also be noted that Kojiro stated that an ugly man should have a hot girl.
  • In Eyeshield 21, Hatsujo, who is sort of unattractive, has a very beautiful girlfriend, just like every member of his team. Whenever the Cupids lose, we all know they're the real winners there.
  • In Galaxy Express & other works by Leiji Matsumoto, the impossibly beautiful Space Pirate Queen Emeraldas is hopelessly in love with the impossibly ugly Tochiro.
  • In Dragon Ball, Bulma's mom and dad embody this trope — he's old and wrinkled (looking like Albert Einstein), and she's ridiculously cute. Ditto for Krillin and Android 18 — she's an attractive blonde, and he's five-feet-tall and has no nose (at best he's Ugly Cute). Kami only knows what Mr. Satan's wife looked like to have a daughter like Videl — he's muscular, but exceptionally hairy and weird-looking. Of course, Mr. Satan and Bulma's dad were both rich and famous. Krillin however, was apparently a very persistent Dogged Nice Guy, although his sparing her life out of "she's cute" probably helped.
  • Hilariously subverted in Hajime no Ippo, where Ippo's sempai Masaru Aoki has a penchant for ugly women. At first it's just a consequence of his beautiful ex-girlfriend Miyuki having cheated on him when in highschool, but once he does settle down with female Gonk Tomiko (Kumi Mashiba's workmate), he does get to like her for the Genki Girl she is.
    • To mark on the point even more, when Aoki finally got to challenge the champion of his boxing class, it turned out that Katsukata Imae had exactly the same penchant for ugly girls. Just look at his girlfriend Sachiko.
    • Played straight with the Itagaki family though, the mom's a smoking Hot Shonen Mom, the dad is, well, probably the biggest Gonk in the series. And a real Gonk, unlike Tomiko who is more realistically plain, papa Itagaki is honestly freakish. Justified Trope in that, aside of their looks, the Itagaki parents share very similar personalities and horrible senses of humor.
  • In Legendz, this is not only explicitly spelled out, but the ugly guy in question is himself concerned about the obvious disparity. "What the Hell does she see in me?" In fact, Meiko's Yandere-style obsession with the extremely fat and Gonky Jerkass Hosuke is all around extremely questionable; NOBODY has a clue what she likes about him.
  • Even when young, Genya Nakajima, the father of Subaru and Ginga in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Striker S, is average-looking at best. Meanwhile, his wife is a female in a Moe Moe anime series.
  • Taken to a ludicrous extreme in Narutaru. Not only is Sato's fiancé ugly & slow-witted, he is apparently afflicted with Downs Syndrome.
    • Some would say that Shinji and Misono, Shiina's parents, counted in their youth. Doesn't really matter, It Got Worse soon.
  • It's revealed late in Ranma ½ that Genma somehow has ended up married to Hot Shounen Mom Nodoka Saotome. Lampshaded when Ranma, upon hearing this, punches his father in the face for having the gall to even suggest the possibility.
    • Even the other characters find it unbelievable. When they learn that Nodoka is visiting, the Tendos greet and welcome a portly, round-faced matron... who was there to pick up the take-out trays from her restaurant. When the real Nodoka appears, everyone is awestruck by her beauty and grace.
    • Rumiko Takahashi mentioned in an interview that Genma was handsome and cool as a young man. Nodoka simply aged better.
      • Also, Genma Saotome isn't quite as unattractive as fanon makes him out to be. He is bald and bulky, but his features are basically plain and there are plenty of topless shots of Genma that reveal the majority of his bulk, at least, is actually muscle. Genma's ugliness primarily comes from his panda form (which is porky) and his frankly rotten personality. We're talking about a man who basically stole his son away from his wife, using his authority as her husband to make her accept a ridiculously vague Seppuku pledge, knowing that her own sense of honor would force her to go through with it and allow him to do so. Alone with his son, highlights of Genma's idea of parental care include using his superior size and abilities to take food from his son and eat it himself, wrapping his son in fish sausage and locking him in a pit full of starving cats multiple times until he was psychologically scarred by the experience, forcing him to swim to China, and then throwing him into the Spring of Drowned Girl after his own suggestion to spar over Jusenkyo got him knocked into the Spring of Drowned Panda. In the series, as well as generally making Ranma deal with problems he's caused, Genma has also knocked his wife out cold. Twice. Once to keep her from seeing a fight Ranma was having with an imposter claiming to be him, the second time to steal and pawn a family heirloom with twenty yen.
  • By the same author, Urusei Yatsura has Mr. Invader, of the Oni. While a pleasant enough fellow, he's got the build of an American Football player going to seed, a set of tusks, and is about two or three times the height of a human. It's possible he actually might be the Oni equivalent of a Gonk, as, with the exception of the "Heian Era Oni" from the New Year's Special episode (who are stated as being a different species), none of the other male Oni look like him. Admittedly, with the exception of Rei, none of them are exactly handsome, either. Rei, meanwhile, is such a Chick Magnet that he has dozens of women going gaga over him... despite the fact he's a dimwitted Big Eater who can barely say more than one word at once and turns into an ushitora (a monster that resembles a hybrid of a cow and a tiger).
  • And arguably Ataru and Lum. It's been shown repeatedly on numerous occassions, that Ataru can become just as handsome as his arch-rival bishounen Shutaro whenever he decides to get really serious about something, with said phenomenon being noticed and lampshaded by the rest of the cast when it does happen.
  • Greg and Mischa from Eureka Seven. They were divorced prior to Greg's initial appearance, apparently.
  • As a Take That to the massive amounts of Mr. Fanservice in most Boys Love manga, a particular one-shot features a gay man who has had a penchant for ugly men since his youth, seemingly oblivious to society's take on beauty throughout. When the story begins he is fondly reminiscing (Shoujo Sparkles and all) his first love (a towering, awkward, acne-faced sports freak of a teenager)... Not a few pages later, he runs into his said first love. Who has, amusingly, turned into a rather attractive beautician (not heartstoppingly gorgeous; he seems to have gotten over his teenage awkwardness, instead choosing to be cheerful, and as a beautician, has certainly learned about style). Soon after, the main character has a Freak-Out over how gross-looking his first love has become, and Hilarity Ensues.
  • Minky Momo's mother is much better-looking than her short, pudgy father.
  • George Ushiromiya's parents are Hideyoshi and Eva. Eva still looks good despite pushing 50, while Hideyoshi looks his age and is quite pudgy. However, this is played with in that Eva is a Rich Bitch and Hideyoshi is a Nice Guy who married into the family. The surprising part? They actually love each other a lot.
  • In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, following a timeskip, Dayakka and Kiyoh are married. Also, Makken is the husband of the Hot Scientist, Leite. They even have three kids together.
  • Big Bad Shishio and his (consort?) Yumi from Rurouni Kenshin. His entire body is burned and charred (and he was pretty good-looking beforehand!), and he goes around almost completely covered in bandages. She's really beautiful and totally devoted to him.
  • Tokita and Atsuko in Paprika. She's the protagonist and Hot Scientist; he gets stuck in standard size elevator doors.
  • Pretty Wanda and her Gonk boyfriend eventually end up Married At Sea in Pokémon Special. At the very least, we know that the boyfriend is a sweet guy since he made sure not to disrupt the easily scared Whismur when digging at Rustboro cave.
  • Kaoru of Nana to Kaoru knows he's not much of a catch (short, plain, introverted and bad-tempered), which is why he takes every effort to prevent Nana, his gorgeous childhood friend, from discovering his attraction. Yet she's falling for him regardless. The frequent bondage/S&M sessions between them are, oddly, how she discovered he's a good person.
  • Dozle Zabi and his wife, Princess Zenna, from Mobile Suit Gundam. Just look at the guy. To his credit, he's a loving husband (save for a... certain situation described below), a doting father to his daughter Minerva and A Father to His Men. (Indeed, Dozle is the most normal guy in their whole family.)
  • Wapol from One Piece is a short, fat and generally absurdly looking guy (and that's only his appearance, not speaking of his personality) who marries with the One Piece world's equivalent of freakin' Miss Universe (might just be her name, though, as Boa Hancock later proves to be the One Piece world's true Miss Universe) after becoming a rich corporate business executive.
    • There is also King Nepture and his wife Princess Otohime. This is what he looks like and what she looks like. We can see where Princess Shirahoshi gets her looks from.
      • Adding to the fishmen and merfolk concept; Keimi and Hachi. They aren't technically a couple, but Keimi - a cute mermaid - does seem to have a crush on Hachi, who is a six armed octopus fishman and far older than her. This is one of the few canon crushes, by the way.
      • Pretty much every fishman/mermaid and so far merman/mermaid couple falls under this. Also considering the almost random nature of seafolk genetics, and the fact that Queen Otohime was somehow able to give birth to Shirahoshi, this might also fall under Bizarre Alien Reproduction and Bizarre Alien Biology.
  • In just about every single work by Adachi Mitsuru, the heroine's parents are this. The heroine gets all of her looks from her mom since it just wouldn't make sense for anything male to want to get in your pants when you get your looks from "that." Heck, sometimes it would only make sense if the mom had cheated somewhere in their marriage. This would, of course, make the heroine The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter.
  • Played with in Tenjho Tenge. While Souchiro's mother Makiko Natsume is naturally beautiful, the horrible scars marring her face make for a strange inversion of the trope since her ex-husband Sohaku is now more attractive than her.
  • Antonio and Margarita in El Cazador de la Bruja. Antonio is average looking and a bit portly, though he does have blond hair and blue eyes. Margarita is drop dead gorgeous, sexy, exotic, and always dressed stylishly and made-up impeccably.

Comic Books

  • In the Asterix comic books, the 93-year old Geriatrix has a young and beautiful wife.
    • It's subverted, however in that Geriatrix is completely whipped, with him constantly doing all of her household chores, spoiling her, and following her every command, in spite of his advanced age. Since Asterix is a cartoon for adults, it's also implied that his wife is freed from the usual "wifely obligations." So it's something of a trade-off.
    • Or probably not, given how the comic shows Geriatrix being perfectly able to fight Romans, party, drink and chase skirts as soon he gets out of his wife's eyesight.
  • Not married, but The Joker and Harley Quinn probably count. While not conventionally ugly, The Joker certainly looks twisted and freakish. Harley, on the other hand...
  • Deadpool and his girlfriend Vanessa, aka Copycat. (Note that she's a shapeshifter, though...) Also Deadpool and Siryn, although they never even really got past mutual attraction towards one another.
    • Don't forget Deadpool and Death.
    • Deadpool and Outlaw arguably count, although it's more Ship Tease that anything else.
    • Also, Thanos and Death. Yes, Deadpool and Thanos are romantic rivals and they are literally Death Seekers.
  • Snake-Eyes and Scarlett, in the GI Joe comics. Though he possesses near-superhuman athletic potential and muscles like a fitness model, he's horribly scarred, at least on his face. (In one example, most of his face was cut off, and he deliberately stopped the bleeding by igniting gunpowder on his face.) Meanwhile, she's a smokin' hot redhead who arguably puts up with way too much of his weird shit than can be justified by ninja sex.
  • Mad Scientist Doctor Thaddeus Sivana, nemesis of Captain Marvel, could be charitably described as a hideous little troll of a man who makes Dennis Kucinich look like Fabio. His wife Venus Sivana, on the other hand, lives up to her name.
  • Wolverine from the X-Men. In the comic book, he's a short, hairy, gruff mountain man with poor hygiene who smokes. (It's implied his healing factor takes care of the health problems from his poor hygiene.) And it seems about half the beautiful powerful women in the Marvel Universe have slept with him or wanted to. Not even his former girlfriends' high mortality rates keep the ladies away.
    • Averted(?) when he makes a cameo in Runaways. Molly, who had previously been repeatedly stating that she would grow up to join the X-Men and marry Wolverine, meets him. She promptly flings him out of a church in disgust after spending all of three minutes with him.
    • The term "animal magnetism" is usually used whenever this is brought up, both in canon and among fans.
    • One of the worst cases of Depending on the Artist. Not many artists remember that Wolverine is about 5' 3" and is covered from neck to ankles in hair, leading to him being drawn more like Hugh Jackman with a full body wax.
  • The Kingpin — fat-looking and monstrous in size, has his gorgeous wife Vanessa and is totally devoted to her.
  • In Love and Rockets, Fritzi's two-time husband and "one true love" is Scott the Hog. He's fat, snaggle-toothed, and apparently has a short penis that barely works. She's beautiful, has huge breasts, a slim waist and curvy hips.
  • Obadiah Horn and Sahara from Elephantmen. She's a tall, slim, curvy African goddess, and he's a rhino-human hybrid.
  • Another villanous example from Marvel: the Absorbing Man (originally a member of Thor's Rogues Gallery) and Titania (She Hulk's Arch Enemy and Evil Counterpart).
  • Runaways: Chase, the tall, blond athlete, ends up with Gert, the one girl on the team who isn't conventionally beautiful and thin.


  • This device goes all the way back to the early days of silent movies, where Fatty Arbuckle's love interest was the lovely Mabel Normand.
  • The Mystery Science Theater 3000-featured Attack Of The Giant Leeches has Dave and Liz Walker. Between this trope and Liz' complete lack of affection for Dave, it comes as no surprise when she's caught cheating.
  • The Bollywood movie Partner takes this to a ridiculous extent with the beautiful heiress Priya and the doofy dork Bhaskar getting together in the end.
  • 2012. Russian oligarch Yuri and his girlfriend Tamara. She acknowledges that Yuri will likely never make her his wife.
  • The movie Johnson Family Vacation. Mr Johnson? Overweight and average looking Cedric The Entertainer. Mrs. Johnson? Miss America 1984 Vanessa Williams.
  • Before the Devil Knows You're Dead paired the overweight Philip Seymour Hoffman with the shapely Marisa Tomei. Ironically, it's she who is extremely insecure and in constant need of his assurance that he loves her.
  • Roger Rabbit of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? isn't exactly ugly for a cartoon rabbit, but he is married to the insanely hot Jessica Rabbit--who isn't bad, she's just drawn that way. Lampshaded beautifully in the movie by a line from Jessica. Just look at one of the page quotes at the top of this article to find it.
    • And when Eddie later jokes that Roger is presumably "a better lover than a driver", Jessica replies, in all sincerity, "You'd better believe it, buster."
    • Inverted for the toon characters, who still see Jessica and Roger as an example of the trope...but to a one they all wonder how Jessica managed to land someone so out of her league.

 Eddie: She's married to Roger Rabbit?

Betty Boop: Yeah. What a lucky goil.

    • Turned dark in the original novel, Who Censored Roger Rabbit?, in which it was revealed to be not quite true love.
  • Played for laughs in Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle; the title characters are picked up by a disfigured man called "Freakshow" who is married to a rather beautiful girl. When Harold and Kumar ask her about this, she explains that they met in a church choir, and he has a lovely singing voice.
  • Any movie with Seth Rogen in it. Voodoo is probably involved. (Although Knocked Up played it for laughs.) He quite recently lost weight and toned up, though, so time will tell how he looks compared to his next female costar.
    • Superbad was probably the earliest example of Seth Rogen looking good (despite the cop mustache). Ironically this was one of his roles where he did not play a lead and did not hook up with a gorgeous blond.
  • The John Wayne western movie War Wagon. The youngest member of the gang gets snarled at when he smiles at what he thinks is the grizzled old codger's pretty daughter. It turns out she's his wife, whom he bought off her parents in exchange for a horse. But the old codger gets killed and the kid forgoes his share of the gold to ride off with her instead.
  • Lampshaded all the time in the case of Austin Powers. Austin is probably one of the least attractive male characters in all of the films, but is apparently seen as highly attractive by almost all female characters.
    • When his former partner's daughter questioned her about this, she explained that in The Sixties he was cock of the walk because of attitude rather than looks. As to why he still is in the present day....
      • However, Mrs. Kensington does give a rundown of some of the rest of Austin's positive qualities, things which often are cited as positives of refined, upper-class men. She doesn't add that he's also famous, caring, devoted (and even more devoted when he's convinced of the virtues of monogamy), honorable, heroic, and apparently rich as fuck-all.
  • Magnolia has the elderly and rather withered movie executive dying of cancer played by Jason Robards married to a gorgeous trophy wife several decades younger than him played by Julianne Moore. The twist is that it started as a typical 'marrying him for his money' arrangement, but then she genuinely fell in love with him to the extent that out of guilt she even tried to have his will changed so that she would no longer be his heir.
  • Subverted with Shallow Hal, in which the schlubby Jack Black * thinks* he's the "Ugly Guy" because he sees his girlfriend Rosemary as the lovely and svelte Gywneth Paltrow, when in reality, she's considerably overweight.
    • Played straight by Hal's disabled friend who has a sickly thin old woman for a girlfriend. She's actually pretty but rotten on the inside. Disabled isn't ugly, though, at least not the way the trope uses "ugly." Walt, the disabled character has spina bifida, but he actually isn't bad looking. He's very athletic, and while he's older than the woman he's dating, and probably than Hal, he's not bad-looking at all. He's stinking rich, too, which is why the woman is dating him. It's not the fantasy mismatch of the truly ordinary-in-every-way guy with the beautiful woman.
  • In the 2009/StarTrek movie, Spock's parents are played by Ben Cross and....Winona Ryder. So Yeah. Cross is still good-looking for an old man and Ryder was made up to look like a suitably older woman (though why they couldn't just get an actual older woman is anyone's guess), but really.
  • Fast Times at Ridgemont High. the ugly, creepy science teacher played by Vincent Schiavelli turns out to have an astonishingly hot wife (played by Lana Clarkson).
  • Laurel and Hardy have various wives throughout their films. They are disproportionately attractive, but compensate by being either extremely bitchy or outright evil.
  • Parodied in The Other Guys, where Will Ferrell's character is married to the smoking-hot Eva Mendes but doesn't seem to notice how gorgeous she is ("You'll have to excuse my wife, she's a battle-axe"). Maybe his mother is Sophia Loren and his sister is Giselle Bundchen. His partner played by Mark Wahlberg, on the other hand, does notice, and is baffled at how Ferrell's character snagged such a hot wife. Apparently Ferrell's guy is just a natural chick magnet (as pointed out by Wahlberg).
  • In Gothika, Halle Berry finds herself in a mental asylum accused of murdering her husband. Her husband Charles S. Dutton.
  • The Dilemma. Vince Vaughn and Kevin James are average-looking at best and are both overweight, but their ladies are played by the lovely Jennifer Connelly and Winona Ryder, respectively. The New York Times review of the film cited the absurdity of this.
  • In Death Becomes Her, Madeline Ashton (played by Meryl Streep) takes a potion that makes her permanently young and beautiful, while her husband Ernest (played by Bruce Willis) ages worse than normally, being an alcoholic. Madeline makes up for it, however, by being pure evil.
  • At the conclusion of Rear Window, the pretty and nubile ballet dancer who has spent the film fending off the advances of numerous male model types is seen joyfully welcoming home her short and stocky lover.
  • In Time Bandits, the group encounters an old, broken down and hideous ogre whose wife is, inexplicably, Katherine Helmond. Helmond's character was originally supposed to be a female ogre until Helmond suggested that she be a normal woman, with no explanation.
  • In Stand and Deliver the craggy-faced, potbellied and bald math teacher played by Edward James Olmos has a beautiful wife (as does Olmos in Real Life). This shows that his intelligence and self confidence have allowed him to get what he wants out of life, just as he wishes for his students.
  • Couples Retreat featured an extreme version of the trope with an enormous, morbidly obese man and his hot twenty-year old floozy of a girl (he wasn't even rich — but he acted like he had money, buying her a motorcycle). Lesser examples include the pudgy, slobby, older Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn being hooked up with the gorgeous Kristin Davis and Malin Akerman, respectively. Only one couple in the four featured in the movie could be described as a pair of attractive people — Kirsten Bell and Jason Bateman. One critic even pointed out the implicit sexism going on here — women providing Fan Service while dumpy men were shown for female viewers.
    • Vaughn and Favreau actually were thin and decent-looking early on in their careers. Favreau has had weight issues for much of his life which would explain his looks but Vaughn's is a bit harder to figure out.
  • In Buffalo '66, Vincent Gallo's character kidnaps Christina Ricci and forces her to pretend to be his wife when he meets his parents after a few years in prison. Gallo's character is unkempt, poorly dressed, and has a rotten attitude. Ricci's character still manages to fall in love with him and vice versa.
  • Deck The Halls featured a tremendous example with the famously portly, ugly and bald Danny Devito being married to Kristin Chenoweth, who, while short like Danny, is very beautiful, and portrayed as such.
  • The Postman Always Rings Twice in both the original and the 1981 remake. Beautiful Cora, the main female character, was married to an ugly, old, boring husband. She was played by Lana Turner (1946) and Jessica Lange (1981) respectively, arguably two of the most sexy women of their time.
  • Not quite the same since they're not married, but Riff-Raff in The Rocky Horror Picture Show has the smoking hot Magenta as his lover, though by conventional standards he's unattractive himself (very thin, balding, hunchbacked etc).


  • Such an old trope that even deconstructing it is Older Than Print, as shown by Geoffrey Chaucer in two of The Canterbury Tales: The Miller's Tale and The Merchant's Tale.
  • In 1984, Winston Smith, a 39 year old man, somewhat over the hill by Oceanic standards, physically bent out of shape, and sporting what is apparently a highly unsightly varicose ulcer, manages to have a 4 month affair with Julia, almost ten years younger, described as being in much better physical condition, notably possessing stunning hair and breasts. Considering that both suffer crushing sexual repression and arguably have borderline nymphomaniac traits as well, they seem suited for each other. Julia's a member of a harsh chastity brigade, and sees sex as her best way of sticking it to The Man. So she's not terribly picky.
    • She is, as Winston points out, "a rebel from the waist down."
    • Possibly averted, if you consider that Julia may have been setting Winston up.
  • Fiancé example: Zephaniah Cromwell and Emily Gibson in Cloud of Sparrows. Emily is strikingly beautiful (at least by American standards), while everybody in the novel considers Cromwell incredibly ugly.
  • Good Magician Humphrey of Xanth and all five and a half wives (long story). Humphrey, even as a young man, has always been short, gnome-like, and grumpy, while his wives have ranged from "merely" pretty (Sofia Socksorter) to inhumanly beautiful (Dana Demoness)
    • Xanth has a few examples, as some attractive women (and they're pretty much all attractive in those books) have married actual monsters. Tandy and Smash the Ogre for instance. He's half human, but still looks mostly like an ogre (who are ugly enough to curdle milk by looking at it).
    • From the same author, in Incarnations of Immortality, Thanatos (aka Zane), the incarnation of death is described as a fairly ugly man, the woman he dates, Luna, is described as one of the most beautiful women of her generation (this is stated as fact and recognized by immortal powers such as Satan, not a subjective opinion). It helps when the Incarnations of Faith & Time team up to do some match making.
  • Drugs and Dominoes reveals that Keith Gandor (who, while not exactly ugly, is a very sinister-looking mafioso) is married to a gorgeous and talented pianist named Kate — who loves him despite his less-than-legal activities, no less.
  • In Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga, it must be noted that both Count Aral Vorkosigan (stocky, thick featured, scarred... the author once described him as Mussolini with hair) and his son Miles (under five feet, hunchbacked, and having a disproportionately large head) both managed to marry women who are quite attractive in addition to their other positive attributes.
    • It should be pointed out: though each man is or will be a count, just heartbeats from the throne (or serving as Regent), they each marry their considerably-more-attractive wives for love. This is especially clear in Cordelia and Aral's case, since the reader learns his best and worst traits along with his future wife.
  • The first woman Lord Byron's 16-year-old Don Juan sleeps with is the 23-year-old frustrated hot wife of a 50-year-old ugly guy.
  • Derk and Mara in Diana Wynne Jones' Dark Lord of Derkholm. She's the 'glamourous enchantress', he's... middle-aged, overweight and balding. In fact, his concerns that she's going to leave him are one of his primary character drives. In truth, she loves him immensely, and they go back to being Happily Married in the end. The sequel Year of the Griffin even shows (by the presence of two new children) that they're still busy.
  • The Malloreon, by David Eddings, ends, among other things, with Beldin, a deformed, short hunchback with a bad temper who is always described as incredibly dirty, finally going off with Vella, a Nadrak dancer. True, they both changed into hawks, but she was still in love with the guy from day one.
    • A subversion of the trope may be Poledra and Belgarath. Though she appears little, she's described quite favourably. On the other hand her husband is an old wrinkly man whose grooming habits only seem respectable in comparison to his aforementioned associate Beldin. Then, near the very end of the series, he appears in a loincloth and every woman in the party who isn't his daughter notices just how well the 7000-year-old man has taken care of himself.
  • Also by Eddings, The Elenium features grizzled old knight Sparhawk marrying beautiful princess Ehlana. Also, short bandy-legged nomad Kring ends up with Ehlana's Hot Amazon bodyguard Mirtai.
  • Though Birgitte and Gaidal Cain of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time aren't actually married, they have a generations-spanning relationship together (they usually reincarnate at the same time). Cain is, to put it lightly, not as handsome as the legends about him say, while Birgitte is described as fairly attractive. It helps that she's attracted, as Mat figures out, to dog-ugly men (whether this is a cause or an effect is unstated).
  • Mr. and Mrs. Delacour in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
    • Later, their daughter, Fleur, doesn't reject Bill Weasley after he is scarred in battle, because the scars mean nothing except "that [her] husband is brave."

  Fleur: "I am good-looking enough for both of us, I theenk!"

  • In the chapter of The Faerie Queene dealing with pure and unpure sex, Edmund Spenser attacked this trope, mercilessly showing all the problems it would, in the medieval viewpoint, lead to (paranoid jealousy from the guy and cheating by the wife).
  • Extreme example of Ugly Guy Hot Girlfriend in the Discworld Novel Thud! With exotic dancer Tawneee (yes, that's Tawneee with three E's,) and Nobby Nobbs, who requires signed papers from the Patrician to certify that he's human[2]. It's later explained that no man had ever asked her out before, all of them assuming she'd be out of their league, which led her to believe she was unattractive. Nobby on the other hand, is so used to rejection (as EVERYONE is out of his league) that he asks her out expecting rejection she's so desperate that she accepts. Despite this, she actually likes him. And he is later implied to have dumped her.
    • Nobby Nobbs is a very simple man, who might have been putting on a brave face for his friend Colon, but Tawneee simply couldn't cook.
  • In Stardust, the protagonist blindly chases after a fallen shooting star for the girl he likes, who had become pregnant with an ugly old rich man's child not long before (with even her friends being aware of it).
  • In "the Pillars of the Earth" the lovely Ellen had Jack Shareburg,who was described as being 'unsightly' with carrot colored hair and pale skin. although they never really stated if they were married or not and later their son Jack who looks like the father is described as being handsome and While in france, he runs into his grandmother, who mistakes him for his father
  • Played tragically in Eva Luna, where Nice Guy with cleft palate Riad Halabi marries a pretty Old Maid named Zulema. Their marriage is very unhappy.
  • Perdido Street Station has Isaac dating Lin who has a very attractive body, minus the scarab head.
  • In the Charlotte Bronte novel "Villette", Lucy Snow meets a group of three men and three women while traveling. She is absolutely flabbergasted to realize that most unattractive man in the group (in terms of looks AND personality) is married to the prettiest young woman (proving that even back then, people found such a pairing highly unrealistic), and further stunned to realize that the woman is quite happy and content.
  • In Death: Belle and Douglas Skinner from Interlude In Death. It seems averted at first because while Belle is definitely attractive, Douglas is not so hard on the eyes himself considering that he is a lot older than her. Then it gets played straight when a life-threatening illness he's been struggling with finally proves to be too much for him.
  • Sisterhood series by Fern Michaels: played straight with Elizabeth "Lizzie" Fox and Cosmo Cricket. Lizzie is stunningly beautiful. Cosmo...well, he has feet as big as canoes (maybe even shaped like them), he has a big nose on a flat face, he has ears as round as pancakes, and he is apparently so fat or bulky that he needs to have his clothes tailored for him.
  • Though the goblins in the Hollow Kingdom Trilogy see their ugliness and deformity as a sign of strength, they always choose beautiful wives whether they are elves or humans.
  • John Le Carre's George Smiley (described in his earliest appearances as a "frog" or a "toad") and his much younger wife, Lady Ann. As things turn out, Ann spends most of the marriage sleeping with other men.
  • Mercedes Lackey's Heralds of Valdemar books presents petite, sweet faced, and generally harmless-looking Queen's Own Herald Talia; and the love of her life Herald Dirk who is big, strong, has a lovely voice and (at least in Talia's opinion) beautiful eyes... but beyond that is explicitly described as homely at best. A major complication during Arrow's Fall was his inability to realize that she would prefer him over his far more handsome highborn friend Herald Kris.

Live Action TV

  • Almost every single male character from The Sopranos is married or in a relationship with insanely hot women, while usually also cheating on them with other even hotter women. Subverted with Johnny Sack: due to his high rank in the New York crew it's assumed that like all the others he has a hot wife with affairs on the side. In season 4 we see however that his wife is a rather large woman who he loves deeply and does not cheat on.
  • Everybody Loves Raymond is, of course, the shining example of this trope, as many of its sitcom imitators have copied this almost exactly. The uncharming, pasty, flabby, big-nosed Ray Romano is paired with decidedly better-looking Patricia Heaton (especially notable in later seasons, when Ray wasn't aging so gracefully, and Patricia had used a bit of surgical help to maintain her appearance). This was directly addressed in one episode, which had Debra accidentally implying that she was more attracted to the tall, dark, handsome, and well-groomed Robert, much to Ray's consternation. It also got Flanderized in later seasons, as the characters shifted and Ray became stupid in addition to unattractive, and Debra became cruel and shrill in addition to beautiful.
    • According to Heaton, she helped her cause in her audition by being one of the few actresses who was willing to kiss Ray Romano during the test reads.
    • Don't forget their best friends, Bernie and Linda, who were perhaps an even more extreme example of the trope. Bernie was played by homely overweight Tom Mc Gowan while Linda was played by thin insanely gorgeous Maggie Wheeler.
  • Implied in the Dollhouse episodes "Man in the Street" and "A Love Supreme" in the Internet tycoon Joel Mynor's relationship with his late wife, Rebecca, who Joel recalls "was beautiful and she knew it."
  • The Drew Carey Show features an endless parade of incredibly beautiful, intelligent women throwing themselves at Drew, who is perhaps the biggest "fat loser-dork" in TV history (despite the fact that the real Drew Carey used to be a Marine. Eventually he marries, and has a child with, perhaps the most beautiful one of all-- accomplishing both at the same time no less).
    • Curiously, there was an equal number of unattractive or plain-looking women (Wanda Sykes, and elderly Shirley Jones) that he hooked up with. One love interest and near-wife, who was hot when they met because she had recovered from a food addiction, winds up slipping off the wagon because she's dating a guy who eats a lot, she gets very fat, and they end up breaking up specifically because it shows her she can't date someone like him who shamelessly overeats.
      • Note that Drew loved her throughout, and up until the very moment she walked out of his life was sincerely pleading that he found her beautiful and didn't care how heavy she was. While Drew never claimed that he didn't like typically attractive women, the series repeatedly showed that he didn't really care about that once he fell in love with someone.
  • According to Jim, with Jim Belushi and Courtney Thorne-Smith.
  • Not technically this, since his actual wife isn't that attractive, but Allo Allo has the mundane Rene having an affair with the beautiful Yvette and Maria (amoung a few others)...and it's even implied that they like him more than he's attracted to them.
    • This is probably because the show takes place in France (though made by Brits), which has a reputation for having women predisposed to... let's call it gratuitous love.
    • Most of the women seem to find Rene exciting more than physically attractive. Which makes sense, since being the main character he's at the center of everything that goes on.
  • Bewitched - Successful advertising career or no, Darrin (regardless of who played him) never really had any business being married to Elizabeth Montgomery's Samantha.
    • For that matter, before he met Samantha, Darrin was engaged to an heiress played by Nancy Kovack. (In real life, winner of eight beauty titles.)
  • The George Lopez Show features the plumper Lopez with a model-class wife that's way out of his league. He seems entirely aware of how lucky he is, and it's lampshaded often. George's best friend Ernie has had a crush on her since high school, and she knows it.
  • And of course, probably the grandfather of this trope, Ralph and Alice Kramden on The Honeymooners. Upstairs neighbors Ed and Trixie Norton probably qualify as well, especially since Trixie's backstory says she was a burlesque dancer before falling for the sewer worker.
    • Note that the original sketches in Gleason's variety show were an aversion, with Alice being played by a much older actress (Pert Kelton). After Kelton was forced to leave the show due to Cold War blacklisting, Mr. Gleason changed it to a hot wife in the series for 1955 made-for-TV Fan Service.
    • Audrey Meadows, during a TV interview (it may have been a special after Gleason died), said she wanted the part of Alice but Gleason, seeing her stills, decided she was "too attractive." So she arranged for a friend to bust in with a camera at an unspecified time of night, wake her, and take her picture, no makeup, bleary eyes and all. The rest is history.
    • Despite the Race Lift, the movie version plays this trope straight also. Ralph Kramden is played by Cedric The Entertainer. Alice? The insanely gorgeous Gabrielle Union.
  • Raymond copycat The King of Queens is reasonably interesting in this regard. Star Kevin James? Average in looks department and overweight. Hot wife? Leah Remini, who despite fluctuating weights in some seasons, is overall a Maxim cover-girl worthy model. This is arguably the show's most famous trait to casual watchers.
    • Kevin James also serves as a Real Life example, as his wife is model Steffiana De La Cruz. Of course, in real life, James is a rich and famous comedian, not a delivery man like in his show.
    • Kevin James' character also snags the "hot girl" in the film Hitch.
      • The entire plot of Hitch centers around a pick-up artist who coaches unattractive men on how to win the hearts of their dream women.
    • One episode accentuates this into absurdity--Kevin James loses a noticeable but not extreme amount of weight, and one of Carrie's friends seriously suggests that he's now as physically attractive as she is, and Carrie doesn't seem too happy to hear this.
    • One episode featured Leah's character bringing out an "old" picture with his face photoshopped onto a ripped body. So apparently he got fat after they got married.
    • Another episode contradicts that in that if features the first time he came to her house for dinner and in it, he was still overweight.
  • Stage magician Paul Daniels and his lovely assistant Debbie McGee, as lampshaded on the talk show Mrs. Merton: "So, what first attracted you to the millionaire Paul Daniels?"
  • My Name Is Earl features Randy and Catalina. Originally he chased her, until a green card marriage led to them sleeping together. Using advice from Joy, Catalina makes herself extremely unattractive to him, while Randy proceeds to be the best lover she ever had. Afterwards she fails to keep him interested because he is turned off by how bad she was.
    • Another one: when Earl is working in a fast-food restaurant, his Jerkass boss keeps abusing him. Earl then visits his house and discovers he has a hot wife who even has a mug labeled "World's Best Lover". But as luck would have it, Earl discovers he has two hot wives. By punching the boss in the face, he puts him in hospital, where both hot wives go to join him at bedside, see each other and dump him in disgust. Hilarity Ensues!
  • NYPD Blue's Andy Sipowicz. Twice. Wife #2 - Sylvia Costas (Sharon Lawrence). Two decades his junior. Wife #3: Connie McDowell (Charlotte Ross) - so out of his league they might as well be different species. Andy Sipowicz has dozens of beautiful women throwing themselves at him, it seems.
    • In between he briefly dated Gibson's niece, Cynthia. She is described as "plain" and seems fairly desperate. Her actress, Juliana Donald, was in her mid-thirties, so it's not impossible for her to have a little Christmas Cake anxiety — but she was certainly not bad looking, so to act like an overweight bald guy fifteen years her senior was the only person willing to date her (and that mostly as a favor to Gibson) was a bit ridiculous. If anything she was out of his league.
  • Roseanne's aversion is worthy of mention here; Dan Conner (John Goodman) is average in appearance, as is Roseanne herself. The idea of a family of average, normal-looking people had a lot of appeal with the public... and yet is still too shocking for the networks to make another (at least until Mike and Molly...).
    • Of course, interestingly, there was a list show on E! which showed famous people before they got famous, and John Goodman did some commercials before he became famous, and before he became fat. One of the female commentators said he looked kinda sexy back then.
      • John Goodman does also happen to be considered the patron of the Bear scene in the gay community. Rule 34...
      • Roseanne is a shock-comedienne who plays off of her wanting appearance, ala Phyllis Diller, in anti-heroinne fashion.
      • However, Roseanne had a few plastic surgeries and a makeover in real life, leading to her becoming prettier on the show. During the revival, though, she regained much of her old homeliness due to old age.
  • Sex and the City: Charlotte (played by the ridiculously beautiful Kristin Davis) finds the love of her life (and the best sex of her life) the second she stops going for handsome boy's club types and lowers her standards for her divorce attorney, the chubby and bald Harry. Of course, this being Sex and the City, he's still rich.
    • Kristin Davis also played Jerry's girlfriend on Seinfeld — until, that is, George caused her toilet to turn into a geyser while she's using it-- causing the germophobic Jerry to say "have a nice life."
  • Still Standing, with Mark Addy and Jami Gertz. It's particularly egregious in the High School Class Reunion episode, when the wife is worried about not measuring up to the Alpha Bitch. She inexplicably abandons her usual tight shirts and jeans to wear unflattering, baggy clothing and a bad hairstyle. The Alpha Bitch, played by the already-pretty Beth Littleford, wears the wife's usual clothes. The next episode has the wife right back to her usual clothes and hair.
    • If I'm thinking of the right episode, most of that took place at a charity-event pancake breakfast, that took place the morning after their reunion party. The baggy clothes and hairstyle might have came from simply waking up and finding something comfortable.
  • 3rd Rock from the Sun features Don & Sally. Played with in that Sally, being an alien, has no idea Don is supposed to be ugly (despite the fact that he's played by Wayne Knight), and finds his power as a police officer sexy.
    • In fact, Sally thinks everyone in society is just as smitten with Don's "good looks" as she. One episode has Sally thinking she is too unattractive to believably be with someone like Don.
      • Although, Don was shown dating at least one very attractive female after he and Sally broke up.
    • And in one episode it turns out that her attraction is entirely thanks to Don being a cop, which they both realize after several dates with him out of uniform severely lower Sally's interest.
  • That 70s Show has Bob Pinciotti... who, not only started the series with a hot wife (played by Tanya Roberts), but also had a romance with Jackie's mother (played by Brooke Shields). At some point he even was seeing both of them at the same time.
  • A Gender Flip in the British sitcom The Vicar of Dibley, which sees plump Dawn French paired with tall, dark and brooding Richard Armitage--granted, she's the protagonist, and it was only in the season finale, but still. In Real Life, Dawn French was married to Lenny Henry. The show played a little with the issue. Her significant weight gain and eventual loss was even made part of the storyline. So this can depend on which episode you watch.
  • Will and Grace poke fun at this, with Jack and Karen searching for a new sitcom after the finale of Sex and the City. Whilst they are channel hopping, they spin through several "Fat guy, skinny wife" shows before hitting upon a "Ugly guy, skinny wife" show.

  Karen: "Ugly guy, skinny wife? * shakes head* No, America is not ready for that just yet."

    • For that matter, Karen and Stanley. Yeah, we never actually see Stanley on camera, but everyone on the show says he's a whale.
  • A show about women's sex lives and the toys they used to enhance it featured one couple that seemed to be a middle-aged British woman who was probably rather pretty ten years ago and a Spanish or Italian male underwear model in his early to mid twenties.
  • This trope gets lampshaded quite heavily in an episode of Rescue Me, when Billy (one of the firefighters) dies. At his funeral, they find out that he'd had 2 ex-wives, both of supermodel quality. The episode had a sub-plot of a measurement contest, which Billy had declined to take part in. After having talked with the ex-wives, the chief declared Billy the posthumous winner, stating "Our friend Billy... was packing 10."
  • Curb Your Enthusiasm has both Larry and Cheryl, and Jeff and Susie. Larry is bald, lanky, and the little hair he has left is long since gray. Cheryl is much younger than Larry and very beautiful. As for Jeff and Susie, Jeff is very overweight, and his wife, while not attractive personality wise, is quite pretty. This is a natural reflection upon their success and wealth.
    • When Cheryl leaves Larry in season 6, he dates several attractive women, including Lucy Lawless.
    • More justified than most here in that he actually plays a rich, successful comedian and writer.
  • The men of Seinfeld:
    • Troll-like George Costanza dated models and other hot, thin women, but eventually got engaged to someone more in his league in the looks department- Susan Ross. Subverted in that George was always painfully aware that these women were out of his league (how he managed to hook up with them is still a mystery) and always ruined the relationship with his crippling insecurity and generally idiotic behavior. One noteworthy example (which seemed to be lampshading this trend) has him being approached by a gorgeous woman who had initially mistaken him for her boyfriend. Already stunned at the idea that a man like him could end up with a woman like this, George is further gobsmacked when the woman indicates that he's BETTER looking than her boyfriend, saying that George appears to be both taller and in better shape than the man in question.
    • The man himself, Jerry, likewise dates a bevvy of beautiful women, including supermodels, despite being a supposedly-average comedian; and Jerry's not much more of a catch than George in terms of looks and personality.
      • This list shows just how extreme an example this is. The list of notably gorgeous women who were his girlfriend at some point is truly remarkable. Jane Leeves, Courteney Cox, Teri Hatcher, Lori Loughlin, Christine Taylor, Kristin Davis, Debra Messing, Amanda Peete, Marcia Cross... it's good to be the Seinfeld.
    • Kramer didn't do too badly either, although this was explained by his Kavorka Man appeal.
    • Jerry's nemesis Newman (played by Wayne Knight of the 3rd Rock from the Sun example cited above) was also occasionally seen dating very attractive women as well. In fact, in one episode, Jerry was stunned to discover that his girlfriend of the week used to date him--and that it was HE who dumped HER, because HE didn't feel that SHE was pretty enough to suit HIM. Utterly discombobulated by this, Jerry dumps her.
  • Friends: Although David Schwimmer is not ugly, throughout the series, we are given the impression that Rachel is WAY out of his league and it's a miracle he was ever able to end up with her. In fact, their relationship is often described as "every geek's dream that he can land a babe like her." Furthermore, Ross is consistently portrayed as the "Ugly Guy" is nearly all of his relationship when he's at-worst odd-looking, not ugly.
    • Chandler receives the same treatment (despite being played by the handsome Matthew Perry) in his relationships and throughout the course of his relationship with Monica--in one of the early episodes Phoebe even mentions this trope in conversation with him:

  Phoebe: "You know how you always see these gorgeous women with these really nothing guys? You could be one of those guys!"

      • Somewhat justified in that Chandler and Joey are classified as "the funny one" and "the cute one," respectively. Chandler isn't necessarily ugly; he's just not the best-looking guy on the show.
  • From Mad About You, the beautiful Leila Kenzle with Richard Kind, who bears a marked resemblance to Magilla Gorilla.
  • Seen in Homicide: Life On the Street, even though interestingly enough, we never see the man in question. When a beautiful woman reports her husband's disappearance and presumed murder, suspects include his equally gorgeous mistress (who's innocent). One of the detectives expresses complete shock and confusion as to how a "2", as he describes the victim, was able to not only snag two "10's", as he describes the women, but was also able to string them both along when they both could have easily dumped the cheating lout.
  • Used in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. "Uncle Phil" is played by the portly James Avery, while "Aunt Viv" is played by the gorgeous and svelte Janet-Hubert Whitten (and later Daphne Maxwell-Reid), although an episode that flashed back to over a decade previous showed that Avery's character was slimmer and more conventionally attractive before he got into the wealthy world of high-powered law--and Vivian makes it abundantly clear to Will that Phillip's weight does not affect her feelings for him. It's also worth noting that while Phillip is a large man, it's because he is a large man who could snap other guys in half over his knee if he wanted. This is also true of his actor, 6'4" former Navy man James Avery.
  • Seen in the short-lived sitcom "Daddio", which had the schlubby Michael Chiklis playing househusband to a pretty attorney.
  • Short, chubby Gibby on ICarly has a tall, pretty and thin girlfriend named Tasha.
  • Inverted quite sharply, then played with on Thirty Rock. Played with after the one-night stand between Frank and Jenna in "Retreat to Move Forward", where the slovenly Frank is embarrassed to have slept with the attractive Jenna. Of course, he had his reasons...
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine--At least to human eyes, Rom is goofy-looking even for a Ferengi, albeit nicer than most. By the end of the series, he has married the Bajoran Dabo girl Leeta.
  • Jay and Gloria on Modern Family. Constantly lampshaded in the show, and many of the other characters (particularly Claire) assume she is a Gold Digger until they get to know her better.
  • The early-'70s sitcom Arnie paired balding, middle-aged Herschel Bernardi with blonde stunner Sue Anne Langdon.
    • Played Straight with Eleanor, played by reasonably attractive Margaret Colin, gets married to a guy played by Wallace Shawn. Blair is outraged at having such an ugly stepfather, until she discovers his conniving personality makes them a good match.
  • Welcome Back, Kotter. Gabe and Julie Kotter, ladies and gentlemen.
  • I Love Lucy has this in the Fred (William Frawley) & Ethel (Vivan Vance) pairing. Vance may not have been strict supermodel material, but she's twenty years younger than Frawley - and it shows even with Vance playing down her own attractiveness to avoid ticking off Lucille Ball. However, she's still quite lovely, especially compared to the dumpy Fred who cares little about his appearance.
    • Before she took the part, Vivian Vance played the femme fatale in her movie career and was quite beautiful.
  • The early 70s sitcom The Don Rickles Show featured Louise Sorel as the star's wife.
  • Arrested Development had Tobias (David Cross) married to Lindsay (Portia de Rossi).
    • It's also implied with the Veals, but since Mr. Veal is played by Alan Tudyk...
  • Scrubs discusses the trope with the Patient of the Week being a smoking hot woman married to a rather large guy. What does she see in him? He was the only guy there after she dated the attractive jerky guys. J.D. often gets accused of this by watchers of the show, but he's not actually ugly — it's just Hollywood casting for hot girls that makes everyone a model.
  • While The Munsters looked like people from a halloween party, Herman was a frankenstein monster and Lily is a hot vampiress.
    • Of course, Lily sees Herman as gorgeous and worries about other women stealing him away due to this. And considering how they all consider their pretty niece as 'odd-looking', their view of beauty is skewed from the cultural norm.
  • Examined in a sketch on Mad TV, where Dr. Phil asks the fugly husband of a beautiful (but dumb, though that was presented as a positive) how it happened: "Are you crazy rich? Are you a registered hypnotist? Do you have a freakishly large penis?"
  • Bob and Amy Duncan of Good Luck Charlie.
    • Actually, pretty much every standard Disney Channel tweenybopper sitcom uses this trope for the parents.
  • In No Ordinary Family, the large Michael Chiklis is paired with the smoking hot Julie Benz.
  • Mr. Belvedere has George Owens, played by Bob Uecker, who frequently jokes about his homely appearance in real life, paired with gorgeous Marsha played by Ilene Graff. She is beautiful and appears to be a generation his junior.
  • Merlin introduced Tristan and Isolde at the end of the fourth series. Isolde was young and hot. Tristan looked at least ten years her senior and was rather small and shaggy looking.
  • Home Improvement has Tim's brother Marty and his wife Nancy, at least according to Tim and the other guys. Since actor William O'Leary was actually fairly good-looking, one can assume the guys were picking on him for kicks.
    • Played straight with Tim's other brother Jeff and Jill's sister Carrie, however: the former is balding, constantly unemployed, and talks about his gross foot problems shamelessly around company, while the latter is a vivacious, pretty, and successful photographer.
    • Tim and Jill themselves avert this. While neither is a strict knockout, both are fairly attractive.
    • The overweight, homely Al and the slim and pretty Ilene were this for several seasons, until they broke up. Later averted with Al's next love interest, Trudy, who was also chubby and plain.
  • Cory on Boy Meets World sees himself and his love interest Topanga as this trope in-universe; the former despises his curly hair and big nose and is fully aware of how the latter went from a cute girl to a knockout. Thankfully, the show makes it clear Cory is just insecure about himself and that he and Topanga love each other beyond appearance.
    • Averted with Amy and Alan, who are both portrayed as good-looking people.


  • In Joe Jackson's "Is She Really Going Out With Him?", the singer marvels at the "pretty women out walking with gorillas down my street".
  • Sparks' "Ugly Guys With Beautiful Girls" is all about this trope.
  • Tripod's "Ugly Men" is also all about this.


  • The Ur-Example might be Hephaestus of Greek mythology, the ugliest god — even outright deformed or crippled — who married Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love and Beauty herself. The Greeks weren't exactly shy about exploring the consequences, either — Aphrodite was constantly cuckolding her husband, who, like most immortals (except Hera), just mostly put up with it (he did ask for her) and spent as little time around her as possible. He did play several relatively harmless pranks on Aphrodite in revenge for illicit affairs, such as trapping her and Ares (her lover) in an indestructible net that he constructed. One story claims that he puts up with it because she can become a virgin again by bathing in the ocean. There are multiple versions, however:
    • In Homer's account Hephaestus demands his bride-price back after catching them, which basically means they divorced. Homer also has him remarry the goddess Thalia.
    • In another, Hephaestus demanded Aphrodite's hand in marriage in return for getting Hera off a magic throne he stuck her on in revenge for literally throwing him out of Olympus for being an ugly baby, and yet another is that Zeus ordered her to marry because she was causing trouble among the gods and she picked Hephaestus because he's the god of jewelry (another legend has Zeus choose Hephaestus because he was the most stable of the male Olympians... which says something about the rest of the immortals, since at a later point he tried to rape his half-sister Athena when she showed him some attention).
    • The whole Hephaestus-Aphrodite relationship gets complicated. Depending on which versions of what stories you pick, Hephaestus could be anything from a bitter old pervert to a loving husband who was stuck with, well, Aphrodite for a wife (Goddess of Love, both constructive and Destructive.) But hey, he was an Engineer...

Newspaper Comics

  • Even going back to their flapper days, Dagwood has no business with a beauty like Blondie.
  • In Garfield, Jon and Liz are also a good example of this; although at the moment, they're just dating. Jon is not particularly ugly, but he's incredibly dorky and has a horrible taste in clothes.

Professional Wrestling

  • Diamond Dallas Page and his (now ex) wife Kimberly. She was a Nitro Girl (cheerleader), fitness model, and appeared in Playboy, and was packing an amazing rear end, lots of toned muscle and a nice face. He was big, flabby, wrinkly, and covered with "green mess" style tattoos.
  • Kane had this as a face while with Tori, as he was a giant masked monster.
  • The Undertaker: Both his ex wife Sara and current wife Michelle Mc Cool are hot, while he...isn't. Michelle McCool-Callaway and Mark Callaway are a different story, though.
    • Taker and Mc Cool are really more of a real life example; they were never an onscreen couple.
    • The Undertaker is considered ugly?
  • In WCW, during a really stupid angle where Cactus Jack (Mick Foley) had amnesia, his wife made an appearance begging him to remember her. Only thing is, the writers felt that Foley's wife Colleen was way too attractive to be convincing as the wife of a burly, ragged looking guy like him, so they hired a frumpy actress to play her instead.
    • Mick himself lampshades this trope in his first autobiography. They met while Mick was on the independent circuit, too. Mick didn't even make the first move-Colleen asked him out via some truckers who'd seen him wrestle.
  • The WWE was doing this with Otis, who is a rather plump powerhouse and very unkempt, and Mandy Rose, who till then was known as the "golden goddess" and being beautiful was part of her gimmick before they just aborted everything by separating them. The Miz was blamed for this in story.

Tabletop Games

  • In Warhammer 40000, Isha, the Eldar goddess of life is stuck in a Hades & Persephone-type relationship with Nurgle, the Chaos god of disease, who is best described as one big pustule. The other examples on here don't even come close. She isn't happy about it, but Nurgle seems to genuinely love her (in his own sick way), and Emperor knows the other alternatives were worse - Slaanesh (whom Nurgle rescued her from), for instance. Plus, Isha uses his-ah- way of showing affection to help the rest of the Galaxy(or at least the Eldar) with cures.
    • Her equivalent in Warhammer is either the same... or Nurgle's daughter, who cures people so daddy can make them sick again. No one's sure.

Video Games

  • Easily possible in any game including romantic subplots that allows you to design your own character's appearance.
  • Mario and Princess Peach, Mario and Pauline, Luigi and Princess Daisy, Wario and Mona, Wario and Princess Shokora (with a rather uncomfortable notion in that her looks depend on how well he went through his Wario Land 4 adventure and that he's a lot less enthusiastic about being kissed by her if her looks are more on level with his).
  • In Dynasty Warriors, Meng Huo, fat king of the Nanman barbarian tribe, is married to a hot babe Zhu Rong, daughter of the god of fire.
    • Meng Huo is also a Badass Large Ham who probably has another large ham between his legs.
    • Subverted in a way, but only if you read the character info. Zhuge Liang was never described as anything noteworthy in regards to his looks, but his wife Yue Ying, despite being given a very stately and beautiful character model in the game, was supposedly a very NOT attractive woman. Zhuge Liang isn't exactly Mr. Fanservice, but he's certainly not as ugly and offputting as Meng Huo.
  • Seen in Grand Theft Auto 4, with the short, fat, unsuccessful Roman Bellic and his attractive longtime girlfriend (later wife), Mallorie.
  • Bartre and Karla in Fire Emblem: Blazing Blade, though to be fair Bartre's not so much ugly as he is homely (especially compared to most of the handsome faces in this particular army!)
    • To say nothing of anyone Arden ends up with in Genealogy of the Holy War.
    • Pretty much whenever you pair a guy who is of the warrior, pirate, or armor knight class (though there are exceptions, especially among the warriors). A good example would be the Gentle Giant Benny from Fire Emblem Fates and all of his ladies, especially younger girls like Mozu or Elise or Ms. Fanservice women like Camilla or Charlotte.
    • While Meg in Radiant Dawn can't hook up with any of the playable guys, her crush on Zihark inverts this. She's short, chubby and homely, while Zihark is quite handsome.
  • Gen-An Shiranui of Samurai Shodown is one of the ugliest Fighting Game characters in history. His wife Azami is a Jungle Princess. One of his win quotes is even "No one calls me a freak and lives! ...except my wife, that is." And inferred from Haomaru's ending in the first game, the Shiranui (hint, hint) pairing will inevitably bring to the world the foremost name in Stripperific Fan Service.
  • Adell's parents in Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories. Even with the extra eye and tail, Mom is hot enough to attract the attention of far younger men. Dad, on the other hand, is a zombie "but without the stench."
  • Sergeant Allen O'Neil's wife in Metal Slug. However considering Allen is an unkillable, manly, Badass, with an incredible physique, its Justified Trope.
  • The Kramers from Final Fantasy VIII. Cid is a grandfatherly, slightly ogre-ish fellow, and his wife Edea is ridiculously hot and at least twenty years younger. Golddigger much?
    • Except Cid isn't rich. All of the money he got to establish Garden was from the big ugly what-his-name, and that was after her change.
  • A rather tragic version: Vega's parents, according to his backstory in Street Fighter II. A very young Vega saw his very ugly stepfather go Yandere and murder his beautiful mother, apparently under the belief that she was cheating on him; he went Ax Crazy and killed his stepdad to avenge his mom, this being his Start of Darkness.
  • Interspecies Romance example: A minor NPC in Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings is a Seeq married to a Viera. Seeq are hideous pig like things, Viera are beautiful bunny girls.
    • The Seeq is also quite friendly and supportive of the party's quest to save the Aegyl. OTOH, his wife is as cold and aloof as most of her race and just wishes her husband would leave the ship already. Which just raises more questions about how the hell they hooked up in the first place.
      • Keep in mind you talk to them on an airship and Virea are native to the forest. It's possible she just doesn't fly well.
  • Torneko Taloon and his hot wife in Dragon Quest IV. One NPC even complains about how unfair it is.
  • Two examples in Dragon Quest IX. In both, the male is the usual "old man" sprite. In the couple that appears in Coffinwell, the wife is a bunny girl. In the Dourbridge couple, she's a dancer. They're treated differently, though: in Coffinwell, they seem to genuinely care for each other. In Dourbridge, the wife is an obvious Gold Digger, and her husband overcharges outrageously in his store to keep her happy.
  • Ryu (the main character) and Patty's parents in Breath of Fire II. Their mom is a hot young winged women who can turn into a gigantic dragon while their dad, while not necessarily ugly, is a normal old human.
  • Hades and Persephone in the God of War series. Even though Hades isn't portrayed as an evil god, he's pretty dumpy, covered in spikes and hides his disfigured face with an intimidating helmet. Persephone, meanwhile, is a beautiful queen who tries to destroy the world in revenge for being stuck as Hades' wife.
  • Assassin's Creed II: Bartolomeo D'Alviano has seen many battles in his lifetime, and his heavily scarred face - and scratchy voice that sounds like he's been gargling sand - reflect that. Ezio is understandably surprised when he sees that his wife Pantasilea; A) is a woman and not a sword and B) is very attractive.

Web Comics

  • Luk River and Hala from "Irregular Elis", a lucky man married with a hot mom alien.
  • Jason and Aubrey from Something Positive. Before they got together, Jason was also quite the lady's man, apparently due to some mathematical formula that lets him seduce anyone he wants. Also, he's implied to have a Biggus Dickus.

Web Original

  • Aphrodite and Hephaestus of O-Cast, based on the aforementioned Ur-example in Greek myth.
  • In Thalias Musings, how Aphrodite sees her Arranged Marriage to Hephaestus. Hephaestus is considered the least attractive of the Olympians, especially compared to his brother Ares. However, it's implied that this designation is highly relative.
  • In the Whateley Universe, supervillain Gizmatic is a short, nerdy, ugly dork with a 'shy chin' who has a still-hot wife. His son Jobe Wilkins looked so much like Gizmatic that some people speculated cloning could be involved.
    • Then there's Techwolf's parents: Red Wolfe looks literally like a werewolf 24-7, while his wife is an attractive woman.

Western Animation

  • Peter and Lois Griffin of Family Guy, with a little Lampshade Hanging, as the couple was once described in a news report as "a fat man inexplicably married to an attractive redhead", along with an artist's impression of what they might look like - Fred and Wilma Flintstone. Lois, of course, came from a ridiculously wealthy family and could have hired a different gigolo every night, if she were looking for a hunk.
    • It's often confusing how Peter is still alive, or why Lois didn't dump him years ago for any number of perfectly valid reasons, including but not limited to his insistence in continuing behaviors that bother her, openly mocking and belittling her in both public and private, ignoring her wishes at every conceivable opportunity, wasting family funds on whatever little whim strikes him... suffice to say Peter's ugliness does not stop at his appearance.
    • Brian has even questioned why they are together. Of course, Brian is jealous of Peter. Lois said it was Peter's ass...well, there's certainly enough of it.
    • Word of God is that Peter and Lois share a similar sense of humor. This seems evident a number of times when Peter makes a Double Entendre (or single entendre), and Lois snickers at it.
    • It may also have something to do with Lois' apparent masochist tendencies.
    • If you think about it, the series also inverts it somewhat (and replaces "wife" with "girlfriend"). Within the FG universe, Meg has been described as either plain or (post-Flanderization)outright ugly. And yet over the years she's had several decent looking boyfriends. Hell, Lois tried to seduce one.
  • The Honeymooners animated counterparts, Fred and Wilma Flintstone of The Flintstones.
    • Speaking of which, Betty and Wilma expected this trope to hold true of their new neighbors, the Gruesomes, after meeting Mr. Gruesome. It didn't.
      • Wilma Hung a Lampshade on it by asking for Fred's agreement with the trend. To which he replied, "and vicey versey".
      • Beta Couple Betty and Barney do uphold the trope, though, much like Wilma and Fred.
  • Peg from Goof Troop is seen by many fans as being really hot. Same can't be said for her overweight husband Pete.
  • Lucky and Dyl Piquel from Bonkers.
  • Jack and Maddie Fenton from Danny Phantom. The answer (to the "what does she see in that big idiot?" question) may lie in the episode which shows an alternate universe in which Maddie ended up with Vlad Masters rather than Jack Fenton. She is with Jack because they share many if not ALL the same interests.
    • Jack, unlike a lot of guys on this page, is also extremely devoted and very competent at his job. And Maddie isn't much better with normal things than Jack is. Plus, Jack seems just like a large man (his stomach isn't wider than his shoulders) than fat and dumpy.
  • Richard "Dick" Marion Daring and Karen Jane "K" Mildred Daring from The Replacements, as Dick is a big, pudgy, hairy idiot (though not nearly as bad as many other cartoon examples), and his wife's a hot spy.
    • Shelton´s mom and dad from the same show is a more obvious example.
  • Luanne Platter from King of the Hill is an attractive but mostly dumb blonde eventually married an ugly bucktoothed middle aged hillbilly known as Lucky.
    • Also elderly Cotton Hill and his wife Didi. Dale and Nancy fit as well. Dale is scrawny (but "flexible" as Nancy puts it), with a gut, beady eyes, and bald ("and not in that attractive way, like Sean Connery"), and Nancy's a frequent Ms. Fanservice target with her string bikinis. But it's his staggering idiocy, devotion to absurd conspiracy theories, and all around giblet-headedness that make you wonder how the two ever got together. Of course, Nancy spent over a decade cheating on Dale with the very hunky and charming John Redcorn....
    • Bill and his ex-wife Lenore totally fits this...nowadays. In her sole appearance, Lenore was shown to be very attractive, while Bill is fat, bald, has poor hygene, zero self-confidence, and a stalker-like crush on his best friend's wife. However, flashbacks show that in high school Bill was handsome, fit, confident, and popular, and it's all but outright stated that being crushed by the woman he loved made him stop caring and enter a downwards spiral into suicidal depression.
    • Averted by Peggy and Hank, who are both decidedly average-looking.
  • Marge and Homer from The Simpsons fit this description, although Marge's attractiveness has been played up over time.
    • Not only that, but Homer has managed to attract several bombshells over the course of the show. They seem to see him as hot. Or maybe it's his personality, which is odd, given the way he acts the rest of the time.
    • Homer's ugliness also varies according to the plot. Homer's often been shown to be rather good-looking if he took better care of himself (lose some weight gain some hair). Take his near-identical older brother for example. The only characters who consistently describe Homer as ugly are Patty & Selma, both of whom are biased and one of them is a man-hating lesbian (and that's putting it nicely), and in an earlier episode, even they got dumbfounded by Homer's looks when he got hair and dressed respectfully. Similarly, many of the women in the Simpsons family, including Homer's mom, are described as good-looking. Heck, even Bart is apparently not too bad-looking, being able to seduce Ranier Wolfcastle's daughter Greta.
    • Not to mention, Homer has usually been shown as more attractive in his younger years when he started dating Marge.
    • Milhouse and Lisa in "Holidays of Future Passed."
  • Tripping the Rift has Chode, a disgusting purple alien with incredibly hot Six. Then again, Six is a sex robot that he owns, and we have no definition of Chode's relative attractiveness by the standards of his own species (as opposed to us humans, who aren't really qualified to judge). Also, an episode claimed that men and women are both held up to unreasonable standards for attracting the opposite sex, it's just that with women it's looks and men it's money.
  • The Venture Brothers. subverts this, as while she may be hot, most men seem put off by Dr. Mrs. The Monarch's (or just plain old Dr. Girlfriend) 6-packs-a-day voice. As for the men who aren't put off by her voice, The Monarch doesn't treat her like a trophy.
    • Another example would be the scrawny balding Dr. Thaddeus Venture and the rather attractive blond Myra Brandish. While the latter had a strong Bodyguard Crush on the former, Rusty ultimately was creeped out by Myra's Stalker with a Crush tendencies and had her sent away, driving her insane.
    • Rusty also manage to seduce Dr. Quymn, possibly the hottest superscientist ever.
      • That may be due to UST from their childhood.
  • WALL-E and EVE, being a rusted trash compactor and a sleek, top-of-the-line scout droid, respectively.
  • Angela and Broadway from Gargoyles fall under this trope. Since gargoyles aren't into the whole money and power business, it had to be his sweet and charming personality that won her over. There are possibly different standards of attractiveness at work, though they show makes it pretty clear that she fell for him because of his deep love of classical literature, and simply for the fact that he can read, a rare trait among gargoyles from their time.
  • In Superman: The Animated Series, Mr. Mxyzptlk (who is a tiny, bald, beady eyed imp) has Gsptlsnz, a hot wife; a really hot wife; a really hot wife who would (and probably could) do anything to get a little attention from him. Oh, yes.
  • Betty Boop, an iconic cartoon sex symbol, was, in many of her original appearances, the girlfriend of Bimbo, a short, round, goofy-looking dog. Of course this changed when her character design was changed to make her not only more beautiful, but human, and her relationship with Bimbo was downgraded.
  • Cars 2 has Mater and Holley. Pixar has a bit of a thing for pairing rusted male characters with sleek female ones.
  • Nicole Watterson of The Amazing World of Gumball is considered quite the looker by most fans of the show. Richard, on the other hand...
  • Greatly averted in an episode of Timon and Pumbaa, "Beauty and the Wildebeest", where Rafiki helps an ugly wildebeest improve his looks and manners so that he can romance a beautiful gazelle that he has a crush for. In the end the gazelle, touched when the wildebeest is willing to reveal his hideous visage to scare of a rival at her birthday party, removes her makeup and reveals herself to be just as ugly as he is and they both share a kiss before the end credits. In this case it's Ugly Guy, Ugly Wife.
  • Hermes and LaBarbara Conrad of Futurama fame.
  • Quasimodo and Madellaine from The Hunchback of Notre Dame II.
  • Subverted with Donna in The Cleveland Show. Cleveland is very overweight and has a child-like demeanor while Donna appears to be pretty with a very pronounced butt. However, on several occasions, it was shown that Donna does a lot to make herself look pretty. Donna wears a wig to cover her short and gray hair, wears make up, wears a push up bra that keeps her breasts from sagging, and wears certain clothing to smooth her figure, to which she would look very overweight without it.
  1. As attractiveness is subjective, the general rule of thumb should go that the guy is either overweight, dorky looking, dorky acting or has personality issues (like rude table manners) that wouldn't compensate for a mediocre appearance
  2. In all probability, and that only after affidavits from his doctor and midwife.