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10 Notorious Office Romances

Chad Brooks
Chad Brooks

As many as 30 percent of office romances end in marriage. Many more, end in disaster. Here are some of the most famous – and infamous – office romances of all time.

Office Romance

Despite the common wisdom that it's a bad idea and can have a disastrous impact on one's career, office romances are alive and well. And, according to a new survey, most people are willing to deal with them at work. In fact the survey showed that three-quarters of respondents worldwide believe that romantic relationships at work are not necessarily a problem.

And, research shows that office romances can pay off – with a walk down the aisle. In fact, more than 30 percent of office romances end in marriage. Not all, however have happy endings. Here are 10 of the most famous – and infamous – office romances of all time both real and fictional.

Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky

One of the most scandalous office romances in history took place in the country's highest office. In 1998, President Bill Clinton nearly lost his job after it was revealed that he had carried on a sexual relationship with intern Monica Lewinsky for a year and a half. While Clinton infamously denied the affair by saying “I did not have sex with that woman, Miss Lewinsky," the relationship came to light when tapes of Lewinsky confiding in co-worker Linda Tripp surfaced. Clinton was tried for impeachment after he lied about the affair during a deposition. He was eventually acquitted. Clinton is far from the only politician to find himself in the midst of an office affair. In 1976, Ohio Congressman Wayne Hays resigned from office after revelations regarding an affair with his office clerk surfaced. More recently, presidential hopeful John Edwards admitted to having an affair and fathering a baby with campaign videographer Rielle Hunter. 

Jim Halpert and Pam Beasley

From the moment the TV show "The Office" premiered in 2005, it was clear a romance was brewing between paper salesman Jim Halpert and receptionist Pam Beasley. While many viewers of the popular TV sitcom were rooting for the relationship, Beasley's longtime engagement prevented anything more than a flirtatious back-and-forth between the two. Halpert, played by John Krasinski, made his move at the end of the second season in one of the show's highest-rated episodes ever, when he kissed Beasley, played by Jenna Fischer, at an office party. Beasley's engagement was called off shortly afterward and, by the next season, the two were dating. They eventually married in a Niagara Falls episode attended by, appropriately, the entire office. The on-screen couple now has two kids, and they both still work together at the paper company. 

Barack and Michelle Obama

The first couple first laid eyes on each other in the summer of 1989 at a Chicago law firm. During her first year as an associate, the woman then known as Michelle Robinson was given the the firm's newest summer intern, Barack Obama. While it was love at first sight for Obama, the same wasn't true for Robinson. She initially rebuffed Obama's advances, saying it would look tacky for the only two African-Americans in their department to start dating. Eventually, she relented. The couple saw a movie on their first date, and the love blossomed from there. The pair was engaged three years later and married the next. 

Don Draper and Megan Calvet

Ad man Don Draper has had no short of office love interests on the drama "Mad Men." Megan Calvet, played by Jessica Paré, came into Draper's life in season four, when the former actress started working as a By the end of the season, the secretary and her boss were engaged.  That set up the season five premiere, when Calvet serenaded her husband with a seductive rendition of Gillian Hills' song "Zou Bisou Bisou" in front of their co-workers during Draper's birthday party. While Calvet would ultimately leave the ad agency to return to acting, the couple remained married throughout the fifth season. 

Bill and Melinda Gates

In 1987, Bill Gates met fellow Microsoft employee Melinda French at a press event in New York City. When the two ran into each other again in the Microsoft parking lot, Gates asked the 22-year-old out to dinner. While French originally played hard-to-get because she thought dating the company's CEO was a bad idea, the two had an emotional connection that eventually moved the relationship forward. They were engaged six years later, when Gates proposed by flying a private jet to Omaha, where friend and fellow billionaire Warren Buffett was waiting to take them to a local jewelry store. Today, the couple runs their charitable organization, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, designed to help all people lead healthy and productive lives.

Sam Malone and Diane Chambers

In the 1980s, few workplace relationships captured more attention than that of Sam Malone and Diane Chambers on the hit show "Cheers." The pair, played by Ted Danson and Shelley Long, had an on-and-off romance during the show's first five seasons. One highly educated and the other a recovering alcoholic baseball player, the two bolstered the theory that opposites attract. Their rocky relations included kissing at the end of season one, dating throughout season two, breaking up in season three and marriage proposals for three straight years. Just before the couple was to marry, Chambers left Malone to write a book.  She wouldn't return until the series finale six years later, during which they would again get engaged and break up. 

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie

Hollywood A-listers Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie became friends while filming the movie "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" in the summer of 2004. While reports began to spread that a romance was brewing between the two costars on-set, Pitt – who was married to Jennifer Aniston – quickly shot them down. But Pitt and Aniston announced their split just six months later, citing irreconcilable differences. In April 2005, the relationship between Pitt and Jolie was confirmed when they were photographed together in Kenya. A year later, the couple had their first child together.  The couple now has six kids, and this spring, after seven years of dating, Pitt proposed.

William Oefelein and Lisa Nowak

An office romance-turned-ugly rocked the space program in 2007 when astronaut Lisa Nowak drove across the country to attack the current girlfriend of her former love interest, fellow astronaut William Oefelein. Nowak and Oefelein, who had trained together at NASA, had a three-year affair while the two were both married. The affair ended when Oefelein left both his wife and Nowak for Air Force Captain Colleen Shipman. In February 2007, Nowak infamously drove from Texas to Florida, reportedly wearing a diaper to avoid having to stop on the trip, to confront Shipman. Nowak was arrested at the Orlando airport after trying to attack Simpson with pepper spray. In 2009, Nowak was sentenced to a year's probation for her role in the incident, and a year later, Oefelein and Shipman married. Not all NASA relationships, of course, have ended in scandal. The space program has produced several successful marriages, including those between astronauts Robert Behnken and Megan McArthur as well as Andrew Thomas and Shannon Walker.

Maddie Hayes and David Addison

Model Maddie Hayes and private eye David Addison captivated viewers' attention and hearts with their love-hate relationship on "Moonlighting." There was lots of sexual tension between the pair that eventually led to Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis' characters kissing for the first time at the end of season two. More than 30 million viewers tuned in the following season for the episode where the characters slept together for the first time. However, that was the beginning of the end for the show. Once the relationship was consummated, viewers stopped tuning in, which eventually led the cancellation of "Moonlighting" after five seasons in 1989. In 2008, AOL rated the duo the third-best television couple of all time. The appeal of Maddie and David live on, though, and there's even a web site dedicated to their romance called

Kwame Kilpatrick and Christine Beatty

Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick landed in prison for his office romance. In 2008, Kilpatrick lied under oath during a city lawsuit about the extramarital affair he had with his chief-of-staff Christine Beatty five years earlier. While Kilpatrick refuted claims of the affair during the trial, a subsequent investigation by the Detroit Free Press revealed text messages between the two that suggested they'd had an intimate relationship. The scandal cost Kilpatrick his job as mayor, and he was also sentenced to 99 days in jail for perjury. Beatty also served 120 days in jail on perjury charges.



Image Credit: Bojan89 / Getty Images
Chad Brooks
Chad Brooks
Business News Daily Staff
Chad Brooks is a writer and editor with more than 20 years of media of experience. He has been with Business News Daily and for the past decade, having written and edited content focused specifically on small businesses and entrepreneurship. Chad spearheads coverage of small business communication services, including business phone systems, video conferencing services and conference call solutions. His work has appeared on The Huffington Post,,, Live Science, IT Tech News Daily, Tech News Daily, Security News Daily and Laptop Mag. Chad's first book, How to Start a Home-Based App Development Business, was published in 2014.