30 Real Love Stories That Inspired Movies

As the new film Effie Gray reminds us, sometimes the most interesting and affecting love stories aren't works of fiction, but are drawn from real life happenstance. Who needs to make stuff up when some of the most compelling and enduring love stories happen time and time again to actual people?

Sometimes, those love stories fascinate us because they were cut tragically short, like the brief affair between poet John Keats and his muse Fanny Brawne in Bright Star. Other times, a famous love story can be unhealthy and toxic, like the abuse Tina Turner suffered at the hands of Ike Turner in the biopic What's Love Got to Do With It. And, then there are the loves that are forbidden and painfully unrequited, like what film director James Whale endured in Gods and Monsters. There are period dramas like A Royal Affair that depict eras where loving the wrong person can cost someone his or her life. Although names and details sometimes get tweaked for the sake of telling a good story, the fact remains that real-life love stories have been inspiring great movies since the start of cinema. Sometimes the ending is happy. Most of the time, they aren't. However, whether uplifting or tragic, many actual affairs often make for a good tale. Ahead, we rounded up 30 examples that might pique your interest.