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Heterosexual Life-Partners

You love me. You love me the way men can love each other and still have wives and children and connecting pools.
Burton Guster to his best friend, Shawn Spencer, Psych

A trope as old as time itself. Two extremely close friends or partners, of the same gender, who are as close or closer than a romantic couple. They aren't romantically linked, but they might suffer withdrawals from not being around each other. There might be much drama over a potential "break-up". When one gets a romantic partner, you can almost certainly expect the Friend Versus Lover quarrel to be epic. Though despite the trope name, the characters in question are not necessarily both heterosexual.

Sometimes this is an extreme form of an Odd Couple, in that the two are different as night and day. Those Two Guys may acquire this label, as may the title characters of any show with a title of the form X and Y. Don't expect them to be friendly to each other though, quite a few are Vitriolic Best Buds. In adventure stories, they are often Blood Brothers. The pair may be Mistaken for Gay by those around them.

Works often lampshade, mock or play with the relationship by throwing in some Homoerotic Subtext, but that's by no means necessary. For fans' delight at such scenes or ship teases, see Ho Yay. Be careful though - Heterosexual Life-Partners who are often Mistaken for Gay can carry Unfortunate Implications, commonly referred to as "queerbaiting".

If the two friends are different genders, they're Platonic Life Partners, perhaps Like Brother and Sister. When an entire group are life partners, they're True Companions. Compare Chastity Couple, whose relationship is romantic but not sexual.


Examples with sub-pages


Examples without sub-pages

    open/close all folders 

    Fanfic 
  • The fic Mortality definitely has this with Holmes and Watson. Plus, there's some massive ass-kicking. Here's one example that lampshades the friendship dynamic, which doubles as a boast which is passionate and scary.
    "If your masters actions destroy him whom I regard as the best and wisest man I have ever known, make no mistake that I shall hunt down, to a man, everyone who played a part in his destruction."
  • Lightning Bolt and Cloud Kicker from Ace Combat: Equestria Chronicles.
  • Alone On The Water uses this trope by name when talking about how difficult it is to define Sherlock and John's relationship. John remembers that Sherlock was amused when Harry referred to them as this.
  • In the pro wrestling story A Ring of Their Own, Ivory and Molly Holly are portrayed like this. Ivory is the one who convinced Molly to finally come out of retirement and wrestle again. When Molly won the FWF Championship, the first thing she did was hug Ivory.
  • In Empath: The Luckiest Smurf, Empath Smurf and Polaris Psyche are considered this, although Polaris is more asexual than heterosexual.
  • Akane ends up with two in Fist Of The Moon: her best friend Ranma and her pseudo-cousin Ami.
  • In the Star Trek fanfic Heroes, Surak compares Kirk and Spock's relationship to the "warrior bond-brothers" he observed in his own day.
  • The Heterosexual Life-Partnership of Soarin and Braeburn by Draconian Soul has this trope as the title and basic premise of the story.
  • Holiday Vacation and Lucky Star After Story portrays original characters Mariko Aratani and Chiyoko Sakamoto as this. Both of them have boyfriends, however the two girls are almost never seen apart, and have been best friends since their first day of kindergarten back in 1996.
  • Ring Man and Magnet Man in Mega Man Recut.
  • Jamie and the Doctor are this via Rose Of Pollux's work. As in canon, of course.
  • The first ten chapters of Sugar Rush Stories seem to exist specifically to make sure everyone is involved in this trope.
  • Touhou Ibunshu plays up Reimu and Marisa's canon HLP status for all it's worth (turns out Marisa isn't heterosexual though, but she ends up with someone else instead) and also adds Remilia and Sakuya, Yuyuko and Youmu, and Yukari and Ran, revolving much of the drama and heartwarming moments around their respective intensely close relationships. Kaguya and Eirin are not an example however, as they're Happily Married.
  • Valkron and Emeth, and Khan and Amaru, in Warriors of the World: Soldiers of Fortune.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • AJ Lee and Kaitlyn: As Kaitlyn herself says.
  • Christopher Daniels and AJ Styles. They're so close that they named their children after each other.
  • CM Punk and Colt Cabana. To a lesser extent, Punk and Kofi Kingston, as Punk has said that Kofi is his "road wife".
  • Daffney Unger has called MsChif her better half (half of The Scream Queens, their tag team). MsChif has in turn said she can make Daffney's ASS whole. (Unger was scouting for another member of her All Star Squad).
  • Perhaps the most tragic example is Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit, who were together for decades, through New Japan Pro Wrestling, ECW, WCW and finally WWE. Eddie's death was something Chris never got over, and it eventually lead to that fateful weekend in Atlanta. Of the talented trio known as "The Holy Trinity" or "The New Japan 3", only Dean Malenko remains.
  • Edge and Christian aren't brothers in real life, as they used to be billed, but they have been best friends since the sixth grade. They went to junior high together, went to high school together, went to college together, trained for wrestling together, broke into the indies together, went into the WWF together... Christian's TNA stint is the first time in their lives they weren't around each other constantly. The second being Edge's retirement.
  • Hulk Hogan and Ed "Brutus Beefcake" Leslie.
  • Kane and The Big Show have this type of relationship with a dash of Foe Yay.
  • Matt Hardy and Jeff Hardy. Yes, they're brothers, but they're also a lot closer than most brothers their age would be; living within line of sight of each other, doing a webshow together, going out together, etc. They've built up a pretty substantial group of True Companions around themselves as well, with the rest of the OMEGA crew in close proximity.
  • The Miz and John Morrison during their time as a tag team. When they were separated in the WWE Draft, one announcer stated "The bromance is over!".
  • Ric Flair and Arn Anderson, spending twenty-five years on and off together. First, there was the Four Horsemen.
  • WWE's Shawn Michaels and Triple H are probably wrestling's longest-running Heterosexual Life Partners (16 years and counting). Not that they haven't made us wonder about that first word. They've been enemies, friends, tag-team partners, and gone years without speaking, but they'll be the first to tell you that neither of them has a better friend than the other. According to Hunter's wife, Stephanie McMahon, Shawn is Hunter's "road wife".
  • From TNA, the Motor City Machine Guns, who have used this exact phrase (specifically, Alex Shelley in regards to Chris Sabin) to describe each other.
  • Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin, aka The World's Greatest Tag Team, have a very strong bond with each other; Charlie has said in interviews that, sometimes, he thinks that his deceased brother Russ sent Shelton to him as a replacement.

    Radio 
  • Scumspawn and Satan to some degree in Old Harry's Game. Scumspawn has strong emotional love for Satan (not necessarily a romantic love) and Satan warms up to Scumspawn over time, mostly due to Scumspawn unwavering loyalty. In later seasons Scumspawn does talk about each other as though they're in a romantic relationship.
    Satan: Scumspawn, we are not a gay couple.
  • Phil Harris and his guitar player Frankie on The Phil Harris Alice Faye Show.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer has Gotrek Gurnisson and Felix Jaeger - originally kept together by a rashly-sworn oath on Felix's part when horribly drunk, but over the many decades of their adventures they have become pretty inseparable. Despite Felix's constant feeling that he'll never understand Gotrek's dwarfish psychology as long as he lives.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Ursarker E. Creed, Lord Castellan of Cadia, and Colour Sergeant Jarran Kell.
    • In a very strange and horribly twisted way, Warboss Ghazhgkull Mag Uruk Thraka and Commissar Yarrick, though it is only one way; Ghazhkgull regards Yarrick with as much affection and respect as any Ork can muster, especially for a 'puny 'umie', as a good Ork needs a Worthy Opponent. Yarrick, for his part, hates the Warboss with all his being.

    Theater 
  • Mame and Vera in Auntie Mame. The musical version gives them a duet about their relationship, "Bosom Buddies."
  • Avenue Q: Rod and Nicky, who are Captain Ersatzes of Bert and Ernie respectively. "We live together, as close as people can get / We've been the best of buddies ever since the day we met!" Which segues, just a song later, into "If you were gay / That'd be okay / I mean, 'cause hey / I like you anyway / Because you see / If it were me / I would feel free to say / That I was gay / But I'm not gay." Rod however had non-platonic, repressed feelings for Nicky.
  • Elder Price and Elder Cunningham at the end of The Book of Mormon.
  • Brick and Skipper in the backstory of Tennessee Williams' play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof - that is, if you believe Brick when he vehemently denies they did "sodomy" together:
    Brick: Why can't exceptional friendship, real, real, deep, deep friendship! between two men be respected as something clean and decent without being thought of as—
    Big Daddy: It can, it is, for God's sake.
    Brick: -Fairies...
  • Janet van der Graaf and The Drowsy Chaperone.
  • Buddy and Ben in Follies.
  • "Kristina from Duvemåla" has Robert and Arvid.
  • Enjolras and Grantaire from Les Misérables. This is somewhat more evident in the musical than in the book, probably because of how it's usually staged. When all the other students walk off with their girlfriends at the end of "Do You Hear The People Sing", these two leave with their arms around each other. The two were played by real life best friends, Ramin Karimloo and Hadley Fraser, in the 25th Anniversary Concert. Jason Forbach and Joseph Spieldenner, who play Enjolras and Grantaire respectively, in the US 25th Anniversary production are engaged.
  • Oscar and Felix in The Odd Couple.
  • Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom in The Producers. "'Til Him" is one of the most touching (and funny) love songs ever sung by one straight man to another.
  • Prof. Henry Higgins and Colonel Pickering in Pygmalion/My Fair Lady.
  • Mark Cohen and Roger Davis in Rent. Their duet, "What You Own" comes complete with Manly Tears and a big climatic Man Hug. The blink-and-you'll-miss-it instrumental reprise of "I Should Tell You" during their fight in "Goodbye Love" is also heartwarming.
  • Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, expanding on the original play.
  • A Very Potter Musical:
    • Voldemort and Quirrell, at least, by the end. Senior Year takes it to the next level.
    • Harry and Ron in both musicals:
    Ron: Favorite way to say "red wines" in a German accent?
    Both: Red Vines!
    Ron: (hugging Harry) Oh my god, where have you been all my life?
    Harry: In a cupboard under some stairs!
  • Estragon and Vladimir from Waiting for Godot. They have pet names for each other and put off killing themselves because of the slight possibility that one of them would live and be left alone. They were going to hang themselves so they could get erections. There is so much Ho Yay in this play, Wikipedia even has it's own entry on it.
  • Elphaba and G(a)linda from Wicked. Though how heterosexual they are varies, as some performances deliberately play up their relationship as a love story.
  • Kate and Queenie from The Wild Party, although they don't look it.
  • In the works of William Shakespeare:
    • Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in Hamlet. Possibly Hamlet and Horatio.
    • Antonio and Sebastian in Twelfth Night.
    • Antonio and Bassonio in The Merchant of Venice.
    • Rosalind and Celia in As You Like It. Even marriage doesn't likely break it up, since they marry brothers.
    • Proteus and Valentine from Two Gentlemen of Verona, and (more humorously) their respective servants, Launce and Speed.
    • Mercutio and Benvolio, and/or Mercutio and Romeo, in Romeo and Juliet.
    • Lucentio and Tranio from The Taming of the Shrew. Tranio is "as secret and as dear" to Lucentio "as Anna to the Queen of Carthage was"note , and he'll do anything to help Lucentio.
  • A Year with Frog and Toad: Frog and Toad were always good friends in the original kids' books, but The Musical elevates them comfortably to life partners at the very least. They invade each others dreams to sing about how much they like each other. Twice. ("That's funny, you've been in all my dreams too...")

    Visual Novels 
  • Katawa Shoujo has Hanako and Lilly. Hanako is an extreme social recluse, to the extent that she depends on Lilly just to help her cope at school, while Lilly has taken a role very similar to that of a mother in taking care of her. Their routes in Act 1 don't split until the very end, and each of their routes beyond that still feature the other heavily. In Lilly's route, Hisao comments that they're sort of like an odd family altogether, with him and Lilly as the parents and Hanako as the child.

    Webcomics 
  • Axel and Zexion in Ansem Retort. They're so close that Zexion was able to hit on Axel's wife-during their wedding-and not suffer a horrific death.
  • Arthur and Lancelot in Arthur, King of Time and Space. Which is... kind of awkward, in the circumstances, though it depends on the timeline. The "fairy tale" timeline strains their relationship the greatest, and they were never friends in the Mash parody line. The present-day and sci-fi timelines (especially down the road a few years) treat it as just a fact of their relationship - they both love Guinevere and each other too much to let it get in the way, and it's usually only a problem if someone else makes it a problem for them (like, say, political realities of their relationship or someone trying to reveal the queen is "unfaithful").
  • Rittz and Skip in Boxer Hockey have been friends since childhood and still live together.
  • Donna and Mona in C'est la Vie. One is French and deep, the other is Californian and something of a Valley Girl.
  • Bumper and Stunt of Dominic Deegan - this has been noted by other characters in the series, often to tease Stunt, a staunch homophobe.
  • Black Mage and Fighter from 8-Bit Theater. So...Fighter McWarrior and Blackmage Evilwizardington have been travelling together for probably years. If Fighter's memory is to be trusted, they have been "best buds 4-eva" since when they were both kicked out of their respective schools, and in the epilogue continue to adventure together 3 years later.
  • Elliot and Tedd in El Goonish Shive, driven home by the fact that, in an alternate universe where Elliot was born a girl, they're dating. Later revealed by Word of God to be true in nearly every alternate continuity where they are both alive and sexually compatible. Which is probably why Lord Tedd is such a grumpy gus - no Elliot and no relief (his "Grace" is an extremely large (and male) squirrel hybrid by the name of General Shade Tail).
  • Emergency Exit has quite a few relationships like this, the most obvious being the main characters and roommates Bob and Eddie, as well as Karl and Jason even though Jason technically expressed romantic interest in Karl, but since Karl's straight they are only very close friends.
  • Lucco and Guz in Fite! are close enough to go Skinny Dipping together.
  • Black and White from Grey is... live together and spend all their time together, and care about each other more then anyone else.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court:
    • Gamma and Zimmy's relationship is simultaneously sweet and toxic: On the one hand, Zimmy would gladly die if Gamma asked her to; on the other hand, she poisons other people's friendships with Gamma to insure she never leaves. It really doesn't help that Gamma is about the only thing that keeps Zimmy from freaking out and bad *** happening. Word of God is that they are together, romantically but not sexually, but in the comic itself they're "only" this.
    • Annie and Kat, to the point that their relationship is frequently used as a symbolic representation of the harmony between the Court and the Forest. Not heterosexual however, as Kat and Paz start dating in Chapter 42 and Annie comes off more asexual than anything else.
    • Donald Donlan and James Eglamore. Surma noted in one flashback that when Jim was away for training, Donnie seemed to miss Jim more than she did. Surma was Jim's girlfriend at the time.
  • Casimiro and Finas of Hanna Is Not a Boy's Name have been together for centuries even though they are polar opposites in personality. Cas describes their relationship as "too unique to put a label on", but says yes, Finas is his best friend.
  • Homestuck:
  • Zeke Fahrenheit and Doofus J. Thump in How To Raise Your Teenage Dragon, as well as "Macho" Hannigan and George the Scourge.
  • Gertrude & Brunhilda in The KAMics.
  • Viktor and Mordecai from Lackadaisy. At least, until Mordecai found a better job and shot Viktor in his good knee on the way out. Having a murderer for a partner carries a certain degree of risk.
  • Rayne and Noel of Least I Could Do confirm this status themselves.
  • Mandatory Roller Coaster infrequently features two unnamed men who are always drinking at a bar together.
  • MegaTokyo: Piro and Largo, and Kimiko and Erika. All are canonically straight, but each pair lives together, and have done so at least since college.
  • Brent and Cole of PvP. Also Robby and Jase, the strip's Two Gamers on a Couch.
  • Sakana: Jiro and Taisei have been best friends since middle school, and they are practically inseparable, go shopping together and share an apartment, and after Jiro finally goes on a date with cashier girl, Taisei can't stop worrying about him getting hurt, and so he stalks their date. The artist also stated that Shigeru and Taro are "bros for life", and it shows.
  • The main character 9 and his best friend Chuckles, in Serious Emotional Disturbances. Lampshaded at one point during a reunion scene with a Celine Dion song being played as the two run towards each other. So much that the town of Bum*** (where they live), including 9's evil Gramma, assume the two are gay for each other.
  • Torg and Riff from Sluggy Freelance. Though even after being best friends for decades, they're still not that comfortable with hugs. Zoe and Gwynn too, for that matter.
  • Terinu and Matt. They spent half their young lives together as the abused slaves as a pirate warlord, with Matt stealing food to keep Teri healthy and at one point he cuddled in bed with him after Terinu's powers were traumatically activated. Wordof God has stated "Both of them would rather be dead than see the other hurt."
  • Lero-Ro and Quant from Tower of God.
    Yu Han Sung: Since Ro has left, I guess I should fire you, too. Since you two are a set menu, like a hamburger and a cola. It would be inhumane to separate the two of you. I hope you continue your beautiful love forever and ever.

    Web Original 

    Real Life 
  • Ben Affleck and Matt Damon: Old friends who grew up together in Boston. They wrote Good Will Hunting together, it was an old project of theirs, which ended up winning the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.
  • Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson: The duo have collaborated with each other numerous times on-screen, and Wilson once said that Stiller was more defensive about Wilson's signature crooked nose than he was.
  • Conan O Brien and Andy Richter: Andy was a writer who was hired as Conan's sidekick to help him from being too nervous during the show. The producers had noticed that they had great chemistry, and they hung out so frequently that people started assuming that they were gay. When NBC executives demanded that Conan get rid of Andy, he refused. Andy's last episode of Late Night (before leaving to pursue an acting career) was one of only two moments wherein Conan cried on camera. There were also no guests in that episode, because it was all one big going away party for Andy. Andy eventually came back for the Tonight Show and stuck with Conan — angrily defending him from Leno and NBC — throughout the whole debacle. He hasn't left Conan's side since, and even off-camera, the two are still frequently seen together. It's widely known that every time Conan does something dangerous (like taunt an animal on the show to get laughs), Andy gets so concerned and angry that he refuses to talk to Conan for at least a day.
  • Daft Punk. They've been best friends since childhood and when they won a Grammy for Random Access Memories, they hug each other for a good few seconds before going upstage.
  • Jack Benny and George Burns.
  • Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau.
  • James Franco and Seth Rogen: Frequent collaborators and frequent partiers.
  • Jennifer Aniston and Courteney Cox.
  • Jennifer Garner and Jessica Biel.
  • John Cleese and Graham Chapman, of Monty Python fame, though Graham was gay.
  • Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes (a.k.a. Jay and Silent Bob). Their friendship dates back to the mid-90s when Smith was working on Clerks, writing the part of Jay specifically for Mewes. Kevin has also helped Jason get over his drug addiction and they co-host Jay and Silent Bob Get Old to help maintain Jason's sobriety.
  • Laurel and Hardy were introduced on set of one of their earlier films and soon became best friends and became one of the most famous and most well-loved comedy duos EVER. After Hardy's death in 1957 Stan refused to ever work again.
  • Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen: They met in old age, well after both became famous. They became tremendous friends, much to the delight of the general public. Co-starred as good friends turned mortal enemies Professor Charles Xavier/Professor X and Erik Lensherr/Magneto in the X-Men film series. McKellen is gay, Stewart isn't.
  • Hammer Horror legends Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee: This is what Lee had to say following Cushing's death in 1994:
    "I don't want to sound gloomy, but, at some point of your lives, every one of you will notice that you have in your life one person, one friend whom you love and care for very much. That person is so close to you that you are able to share some things only with him. For example, you can call that friend, and from the very first maniacal laugh or some other joke you will know who is at the other end of that line. We used to do that with him so often. And then when that person is gone, there will be nothing like that in your life ever again."
  • Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez: Both directors who made their mark on audiences in the 90s, have similar Signature Style on their projects, frequently collaborate (Four Rooms, Grindhouse, and Sin City), and Tarantino has referred to Rodriguez as his brother.
  • Salma Hayek and Penelope Cruz.
  • Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.
  • Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie were definitely this during their A Bit of Fry and Laurie days, and arguably are to this day, despite not having worked together in any major capacity since then - although a "reunion interview" programme showed them picking up right where they left off, like tried-and-true pals. Although Stephen is openly gay he states that he has never felt at all attracted to Hugh, although he does admit Hugh to be genuinely handsome.
  • Steven Spielberg and George Lucas.
  • Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman.

Friends with BenefitsThis Index Is Not My GirlfriendIt Meant Something to Me
HermaphroditeOlder Than DirtHome Sweet Home
Alpha BitchOverdosed TropesIdiot Ball
Headbutting HeroesDuo TropesHot Guy, Ugly Wife
Hell Is That NoiseIndustrialHo Yay
He's a FriendFriendship TropesHonorary True Companion
Grand FinaleImageSource/Live-Action TVHospital Hottie
Hell Is That NoiseAdministrivia/No Real Life Examples, Please!Hypocrite
Jay and Silent Bob Strike BackTropeNamers/FilmJames and the Giant Peach
The Grim ReaperImageSource/OtherHollywood Hype Machine

alternative title(s): Hetero Life Mate
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