What Makes a Relationship Work, According to (Famous) Men Who Know

Jeff Goldblum, Samuel L Jackson, Dr Dre and more impart their wisdom

Being married can be a tough gig at times so we've collected some of the most helpful pieces of wisdom ever shared with Esquire when we've asked the simple question: what makes a relationship work?

From Oscar winning actors to businessmen to designers, this is what they've had to say. 

Paul Smith: "It's about learning to give and take, learning to be interested, and interesting, learning to not just talk about yourself, listening to how their day has been, as well as your day. It's just keeping your feet on the ground. Do the washing up. Wipe the tops. I love that. It's so therapeutic." 

Liam Neeson: "My best relationship advice is if you've got anything on your chest, get it off it. Don't bottle stuff up. That would be my advice for any relationship: family or marriage. Don't bottle stuff like that because it becomes a cancer. It becomes like acid and it's best to get it out. It's healthier that way."

Dr Dre: "Clear communication. Respect. A lot of laughter. And a lot of orgasms. That's what makes a marriage work."

Tom Ford: "To maintain a long-term relationship you have to be best friends, you have to understand one another. And you also have to have had short-term relationships before that, and as soon as you know they're wrong, you stop them and move on."

Leonard Nimoy: "Love is not struggle. Love is love. You can have arguments and love each other. You can go through hard times and love each other. If you can find a relationship where it’s easy to give it and get it, then a lot of that stuff takes care of itself."


David Bailey: "The key to a long marriage is respect, and sex."

Don DeLillo: "The secret of being married for 40 years is you eat, drink and sleep. We're not looking for romance here, we're looking for survival. But I absolutely have enjoyed being married."

Samuel L Jackson: "All marriages have ups and downs. If you fight through whatever the problem is and solve it then you'll end up staying together. If you'd rather be bitter and not communicate then you create chasms that can't be crossed."

Ricky Gervais: "What's the secret to a long and happy relationship? My favorite answer came from Larry Hagman. He said, 'Separate bathrooms.'"

Richard E Grant: "I met my wife in 1983 and we began a conversation. It's been going on for 31 years, and we still sleep together in the same bed. That's how you maintain a happy relationship. She makes me happier than anything else."

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Matthew McConaughey: "I know a lot of people in relationshipshell, I've been in them myselfwhere if you're apart and you're having a good time, or you're pulling something off, the other side is not that happy for you because it was independent of them. Man, I'm fortunate enough to have a wife that, when I succeed independently of her because I am somewhere else, she is as happy for me in that moment as I am. Which allows me to be that happy for her when she pulls something off herself that don't have to do with me."

Jeff Bridges: "A good marriage is all about intimacy, and getting to know each other as well as you can."

Jeff Goldblum: "Being 30 years older than your wife is less of an issue than you might think. I've taken care of myself, we work out together, so that's fine. But there are some cultural references that go amiss, especially since she's a gymnastso she spent a lot of time training in Russia. I asked her once, 'Hey, if I was one of The Beatles, which one would I be?' And she said, 'Rex Harrison.'"


Russell Brand: "The reason I think I'm in a happy relationship now is because I manage my expectations. I don't see my partner as a carer or someone who's meant to generate joy for me, but as an independent person that I share my life with. The problem is that we don't recognise the parameters of consumerism. I don't think we see how entrenched it has become in our mentality, that we look at all experience as something we can somehow devour or use."

Ray Winstone: "What's the secret to a happy marriage? Very rarely go home. No, we've had our momentswe have words—but there's no sulking. You have a row, you say your piece and that's it. Done and dusted."

Ozzy Osbourne: "With marriage, you've just got to stick it out. You can't jump off the boat at the first bump in the waves."

Karl Pilkington: "Honesty is important in a relationship. One time in the early days of us dating, Susanne made us a fish pie, and it was rank. So I told her. It still crops up now and again, 20 years later. But I had to tell her or she'd make it again, I'd still be eating it. That's the problem with peoplethey tip-toe around each other. She's had haircuts and I've gone: 'Why have you done that? What a horrible style'. And I want her to be honest with me."

This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk.

* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

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