Romance? That’s so 1980s!

Sarah Lewis is our guest blogger this week. Sarah is a die-hard fan of 1980s culture and knows almost all there is to know about the decade when both hair and mobile phones were inordinately bigger, no-one had heard of the internet, let alone blogging, and a fairytale royal romance still looked like it might end in a happily ever after… Sarah runs a 1980s website and blog, which specialises in memorabilia and event planning, and she is just about to finish her first non-fiction book about the era, which will be ready for submission to publishers soon. So, without further ado, we’ll hand you over to Sarah for her take on romance, 1980s style:

Single for 15 years, and often the anti-heroine of my own romantic love story, I was somewhat amused to be asked to write a guest post for The Write Romantics blog. Never one to shirk a challenge, I decided to re-visit a time when, as a naïve teenager, I could still agree with Foreigner when they sang “I Want to Know What Love is”. Let me take you back to the Eighties, and some of the great romances of the decade.

The first image that comes to mind at the mention of Eighties’ romances, is a young Lady Diana Spencer floating up the steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral, wearing the silk creation of David and Elizabeth Emmanuel. I was ten years old when Diana became the Princess of Wales, and had little trouble falling for the royal pair’s faux fairytale romance. Theirs was by no means the only farcical marriage of the decade. Who remembers Pete Burns’ marriage to his manager, Lynn, or Elton John’s four year marriage to Renate Blauel? Both bride and groom wore white, Elton’s ensemble being topped off with a lilac-trimmed straw boater. In an age of extravagance and excess, where money equated to happiness, and hedonism was positively condoned, we still struggled to believe that our idols were anything other than heterosexual, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. No wonder the likes of George Michael struggled to find love and happiness.

A less traditional wedding, and indeed relationship, which did endure was that of Bob Geldof and Paula Yates. The pair married in their Kentish Priory home in 1986, ten years after they first became a couple. The Boomtown Rats front man ditched his scruffy image for the day, wearing a morning suit and top hat. His peroxide blonde, nymphet bride wore a scarlet, silk, Victorian-inspired masterpiece by Jasper Conran. Paula’s dress left such an impression on me, that I wore a red velvet version of the design on my own wedding day, nine years later.


Despite the Geldofs’ divorce in 1996, following Paula’s relationship with INXS singer Michael Hutchence, I believe their love for each other continued. What better proof of enduring love than when Bob adopted Hiraani Tiger Lily, Paula’s daughter by Hutchence, following her untimely death in September 2000?

If we look beyond the froth of silk and lace of the extravagant weddings of the decade, we can find the true romances and successful relationships of the time. A shared sense of humour is often credited as being the key to a successful long-term relationship. This would certainly appear to be so in the case of Lenny Henry and Dawn French, who, despite divorcing in 2010 after 25 years of marriage, remain on good terms. Dawn’s partner in comedy, Jennifer Saunders married fellow comedian Adrian Edmondson in 1985. They are still happily married, as are Billy Connolly and Pamela Stephenson, who married in 1989, having met 10 years previously. These couples show that laughter really may be the best medicine, when it comes to the health of a relationship.

Another element for a relationship’s survival past the Eighties appears to be dodging a brush with the ugly stick. Wham!’s Andrew Ridgeley and Banarama’s Keren Woodward, Simon and Yasmin Le Bon, and Martin and Shirley Kemp were all blessed with good looks, and all remain in the relationships they began in the Eighties. Unfortunately for me, this is also the case for my 80’s crush, Paul Young, who was recently quoted as saying he was more in love with his wife than ever. Paul met the beautiful Stacey during the filming of his video for “Come Back and Stay” in 1983. They married in 1987, a time when my life consisted of ‘O’ levels, TOTP and shopping in SNOB. Obviously, if I had been older, I may well have been in with a chance with Mr. Young!

So, until he decides that my home is where he wants to lay his hat, I shall continue to embrace singledom, and look on in wonder at the longevity of romances, once so common with our parents’ generation, now a modern phenomenon. Whatever your personal situation, it is worth remembering the wise words sung by Whitney Houston in 1986, when she covered George Benson’s classic love song: “Learning to love yourself, it is the greatest love of all”.

Find out more about Sarah and to take a journey back to the 1980s with her, check out the links below:

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16 thoughts on “Romance? That’s so 1980s!

  1. Oh, I’d forgotten all about Snob! Now you’ve made me remember Miss Selfridge too and loads of memories of the 80s have flooded back 🙂 Even though, as my blog might reveal, I’m a romance junkie, I really enjoyed reading about the ups and downs of eighties romances. Even those that didn’t work out so well 😦 Good luck with your book and I’m off to check out your website now. Megan xoxo

  2. Hi Sarah, welcome to our blog. Great post! As a child of the 80s (born in ’72), this brought back some fabulous memories and did make me laugh. I adore your wedding dress! It’s good to know a few of those 80s romances are still alive and well after all these years, the le Bons being a pair of my favourites. Going to have to check out your blog now!

    • Hi Julie, yes it’s good to know some of those romances are still going strong. I was lucky enough to meet the Le Bons back in ’85, and detail it in my book. My dress was lovely – the best part of my wedding day!!

  3. Pingback: | My Eighties

  4. Hello Sarah, really enjoyed reading your post. The decade was certainly a busy one in terms of ‘famous’ romances and weddings – sounds as if you’re having great fun with it all. Good luck with the book. Come back and ‘see’ us again please!

  5. Hi Sarah, I think I smiled through this entire post 🙂 Thank you for joining our blog today and I look forward to reading your book so I can transport myself back to the classic ’80’s.

    Helen R x

  6. What a brilliant post and an original idea! I remember the 80’s and hoping that buying shoulder pads would make me more confident at work! I loved your love stories slant, its a lovely antidote to the misconception that celebrity romances don’t last cos of too much temptation. On my mental pile of books to be written is a novel set in a 1970’s social work office. It was such an exciting time in a young profession. I’m just off to subscribe to your blog now. Come back again, I’d love to hear more and love your dress!
    Lynne x

    • Just read your blog of memories they aren’t mine, the era was a blur to me. Divorced, re-married and had teenagers to contend with. Happy days? No an uphill struggle but we made it.

      • It’s always interesting to hear another perspective on how my favourite decade was for other people. For me, the Nineties were similar to how the Eighties were for you – glad we both made it out the other side!!

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