The Trophy Wife is a figure who persists in our imagination as the reward powerful men are granted as a companion and helpmeet. Yet, many people now want their partner to be someone that they can work with to dominate the landscape together.


Rebecca Ford of The Hollywood Reporter spoke with Julie Chen, and a number of other women in Hollywood rising above the tired stereotype, but before we get into what those ladies had to say, an interesting tidbit: “All the male spouses of either the female or gay male players on the list declined to speak.”

According to THR, 65 percent of Hollywood’s couples are composed of two people with dedicated careers, so that’s a fair number of men who were unwilling to go on record as being the expectedly or unexpectedly successful mate. Chen, who is a moderator on The Talk, host of Big Brother, and producer at CBS, is married to Leslie Moonves, CEO of CBS. While we don’t hear from Moonves, we do hear from Chen about Moonves:


“When Leslie comes as my plus-one, we both get a kick out of it. He says: ‘I’m happy to be Mr. Julie Chen tonight. I’m happy to be your coat holder.’”

President of MGM Television and Digital Group Mark Burnett and producer Roma Downey were another couple where Downey had to speak for her partner’s support:

Meanwhile, “You can be sure that at [Mark Burnett’s] The Voice, you’ll see me somewhere at the back cheering loudly,” says his wife and fellow producer Roma Downey, who executive produced hit TV miniseries The Bible and A.D. The Bible Continues and produced and starred in feature filmSon of God. She adds that when she gets her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the summer, “you can be sure my husband will be there cheering for me.”

Former U.S. ambassador Nicole Avant is the partner to Netflix’s Ted Sarandos, and also the daughter of Clarence Avant. It sounds like Avant and Sarandos balanced their conflicting schedules between L.A. and the Bahamas, before Avant withdrew from her position to work on projects closer to Netflix’s home base. She says nothing in the piece about her husband, but mentions how watching her parents informed how she wants her own partnership to feel:



“I think the only reason I’m pretty good with it is my mom was the same,” says Avant, daughter of music industry veteran Clarence Avant. “I noticed how people would treat my mom, how the spouse is pushed to the side, that they’re not really important. But I’d think, ‘If you only knew, my dad’s whole world would fall apart without her.’”

It has become increasingly uncommon to want to remain in the shadows of a more powerful spouse, though that may be some women and men’s preference. Perhaps soon, being on equal footing with your partner will be something even men will brag about.

Image via Getty.