A very common trope is the Ugly Guy, Hot Wife
pairing. This is mostly because society's standards for female beauty are far higher than that for men, and women are often thought of as loving people on the inside, while men love women for their bodies and sexual wiles
. Or it can be for another very good reason
However, as rare as it may be
, the inversion
does in fact exist; for example, there are many bird species where the male is brightly colored but the female is duller in its feathers. While it's nowhere near as common, sometimes a totally hot hunk will end up with a Gonk
of a girl. This usually plays on previous misconceptions of men and women's stances on love. Maybe the man has some ulterior motive. Maybe the girl managed to force him into such a relationship. Or maybe, just maybe, they really are in love.
This is not a YMMV trope; this is when the woman is clearly ugly, fat, scrawny, mannish, or very visually displeasing in some way, while the man is incredibly attractive. Don't put down an example where "the guy is kind of good looking and the girl is kinda ugly, I guess".
of Ugly Guy, Hot Wife
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Anime and Manga
- Haré+Guu Deluxe has an example going in line with May-December Romance. The Muscular bank robber ends up with the elderly Dama in a case of Love at First Punch.
- Shiro's parents in Jubei-chan.
- Invoked in Spice and Wolf: Lawrence◊ explains that Horo◊ (who he introduces as "my wife") is hiding her face in a cloak because she's embarrassed by her horrific burn scars. In fact, Horo is hiding her Unusual Ears.
- Sumiyoshi's parents from the Excel Saga manga. His father is a "normal" attractive anime guy, while his mother looks like a girl Sumiyoshi (Gonk). Also hilarious is that the mother is the only one in that family that actually speaks, while Sumiyoshi, his father, and his adorable little sister Canal all "speak" the same way.
- In InuYasha, Hiten and Manten's parents were both demons, but their father was a very human-like and extremely rather good looking demon while the mother was quite the Gonk, having a reptilian/toadish appearance with, in Manten's own words, "thinning hair". Manten inherited the mom's looks and Hiten looked like the Hot Dad, which gave Manten quite the inferiority complex.
- Change 123 gives us Kousukegawa's mom and dad. Dad is basically Kousukegawa aged up a few years, and given a good dose of Bishounen and glasses. His mom on the other hand is short, squat, and plain looking.
- In YuYu Hakusho, this MIGHT eventually be the case for Hiei and Mukuro.
- Jack Kirby's Galactic Bounty Hunters, where Tyr looks like a Mr. Olympia contestant but his fiancée is fat, smelly, and very ugly. To be fair, they're aliens and from the way he acts she seems to be attractive by the standards of his race.
- Gleefully used in the film Hairspray and its subsequent adaptations, where plump Tracy Turnblad wins over her teen idol classmate Link Larkin, who loves her no matter what she weighs.
- Which of course mirrors the loving relationship between Wilbur and Edna Turnblad. Especially in the movie musical, with Christopher Walken and John Travolta singing and dancing together in "You're Timeless to Me".
- High School High: Mr. Clark took after his mother (who looks exactly like John Lovitz).
- Robin Hood: Men in Tights: This becomes the Sheriff of Rottingham's fate, after cutting a deal with the Witch to save his life; where he reluctantly agrees to marry her in exchange for a magic pill.
- She Devil: The failure of such a relationship drives the plot. In it, a man played by Ed Begley, Jr. is married to - and later cheats on and abandons - his wife, played by Roseanne Barr, who then seeks revenge. It's stated that he was trapped into marrying her after getting her pregnant in high school.
- Rafael and Lourdes from the Spanish film Crimen Ferpecto.
- Four Weddings and a Funeral ends up with Scarlett, a plain looking woman with regrettable fashion sense marrying tall, good-looking Chester.
- In The Hudsucker Proxy, Sidney Mussburger introduces his overweight, ugly wife to Barnes. Granted, the Mussburgers are an aging couple, but Sidney is played by Paul Newman.
- At the end of Brave, the nursemaid Maudie ends up with the Dingwall hunk.
- While not ugly, this is mentioned by Bill Clinton to Hillary in the biopic The Special Relationship regarding Tony Blair and his wife.
- Madagascar seems to prefer this trope to its inversion.
- In A Brother's Price, breathtakingly handsome Jerin acquires one wife who has scars all over her face and upper body, a sight which disgusted her ex-lover so much that she left her. As sororal polygyny is the norm, not all of his wives are ugly, but this one is. Would have been played even straighter if he had had to marry the Brindle sisters, all of whom he thinks "look like horses".
- In Dragon Bones, Garranon, the favourite (i.e. mistress) of the king, is a very handsome man who looks a lot younger than his thirty years. He is married to a woman who is "no beauty". To everyone's surprise, they really love each other - Garranon may or may not be bi, but he hates the king, and only prostitutes himself in that way to protect his loved ones.
- In Harry Potter, it is established that the late Merope Gaunt was "no beauty" and got her handsome Muggle husband Tom Riddle by feeding him love potions. When the potions ran out he fled the relationship, she fell victim to Death by Childbirth, and their child went to an orphanage where he grew up to become Voldemort.
- Used in The Obsidian Trilogy by Mercedes Lackey. Idalia, while certainly a beautiful human, has an elf pining for her. Then, at the end of the series, it's subverted, when she's reincarnated as an elf, though it's acceptable because this is the only way both would find long-term - by elven standards - happiness.
- Semi-used with Kellen and Vestakia—the fact that she looks like a Demon may repel others in-universe, but the reader is more likely to see her as a Cute Monster Girl.
- In Fairest, Aza, who receives rude stares and comments about her appearance and is implied to be descended from gnomes, has a handsome prince fall in love with her.
- Ron and Sarah in Russell Banks's short story "Sarah Cole: A Type of Love Story".
- In A Long Way from Chicago, this seems to be the opinion of some of the townswomen in regards to FDR marrying Eleanor Roosevelt. One can't believe someone so handsome settled for a woman so plain, while another speculated that it was because she was a good cook, as "kissing don't last".
- In Deep Secret, Maree, despite being fat, smudgy, and whiny of voice, had a rather attractive boyfriend before the story proper began, and later ends up with Rupert, who's rather handsome (if not the most handsome fellow in the story; that'd be Andrew) and has a fondness for leather jackets.
- In "Gone with the Wind", Melanie Hamilton is described as plain and homely by everyone who encounters her, and she marries Ashley Wilkes, whose good looks are expounded upon more than once by the narrative and the main character, Scarlett O'Hara.
- The Tamír Triad, sort-of sort-of-not prequel to the [[Literature/Nightrunner]] series by Lynn Flewelling features Prince Korin and his second wife Nalia - he is dashing, dark haired and tall (and a weak willed drunkard and beginning to show the family madness at that point) while she is described as plain looking at best (and by people who actually know her and see how kind, intelligent, gentle and utterly miserable the poor girl is) and outright ugly at worst, mostly due to her fleeting chin and the wine flaw on her face. Her life gets better. Tamír and her squire/childhood/friend/later husband Ki may or may not be an example. Ki is dashing. Tamír herself is not very much on the side of typical feminine beauty, shows very sharp features and she herself describes herself as rather plain. However, she has a lot of charisma, a keen mind, a strong will and is very compassionate, which is what draws people to her. And she's definitely far from ugly.
- Rizzoli & Isles: Literal plain Jane snags the gorgeous FBI agent Gabriel Dean.
- Married... with Children with Jefferson and Marcy D'Arcy, the Bundys' neighbors. Amanda (Marcy) Bearse was hardly ugly, but the joke was that she was a "chicken", a scrawny woman with no feminine features, and Jefferson was her trophy husband. She especially counts if you go by the same standards in Ugly Guy, Hot Wife, since like everyone else on the show, she had some glaring personality problems that did nothing to help her Hollywood Homely appearance.
- In Gossip Girl, Dorota's husband Vanya is much more attractive than she is.
- Rae's (rather frumpy) mum in My Mad Fat Diary lives with Karim, who is younger and fitter than her.
- Glee: Lauren, a fat girl (not Hollywood Pudgy, she's actually pretty fat) goes out with the super-hot, super-popular jock, Puck.
- The British sitcom The Vicar of Dibley sees plump Dawn French paired with tall, dark and brooding Richard Armitage. Granted, she's the protagonist, and it was only in the season finale, but still. In Real Life, Dawn French was married to Lenny Henry. The show played a little with the issue. Her significant weight gain and eventual loss was even made part of the storyline, so this can depend on which episode you watch.
- Miranda constantly makes jokes about Miranda Hart being masculine, overweight and very, very tall. Yet she gets attention from quite a few very handsome men, especially Gary, her main Love Interest. However, it should be noted that Miranda Hart writes it herself, and there are a few real-life men who consider her attractive.
- The Drew Carey Show: Mimi is large, unattractive, and doesn't do herself any favors with her make-up and clothes, yet she doesn't seem to have many problems in the romance department.
- Amen. Plain Jane Christmas Cake Thelma sees her wildest dreams realized when she snags the handsome Reverend Reuben Gregory - and before getting together with him, dates a decent amount of equally good-looking men, despite constantly wailing about her lack of a social life.
- On the Hong Kong television drama Only You, one of the clients that employs the services of the Only You wedding agency is an extremely handsome and wealthy playboy and his fiancee, a short, frumpy, and rather ugly microbiologist. The fiancee is rather insecure about the wedding because she feels that she's way out of his league and his model ex-girlfriend attempts to break them up. The story ends on a heartwarming note when he makes it clear that he genuinely loves his fiancee, because when he was ill and quarantined during Hong Kong's SARS epidemic, she was the only one who treated him like a normal person. He had fallen in love with her kind personality, which gave him a new perspective and life purpose in devoting his fortune to philanthropy.
- Several The Benny Hill Show sketches feature the "ordinary guy, exceptionally ugly wife" variety. The guys usually are Hill or McGee, the wives are often played by Hill too. In at least one sketch he married her for her parents' money. Another sketch had him say his wife isn't much to look at "but you can't help who you fall in love with."
- Days of Our Lives featured hunky doctor Craig and his considerably overweight wife Nancy, whom he absolutely adored.
- Crazy Courtney, a homely young woman with glasses, a crooked overbite with braces, and grandmotherly clothing is seen scaring away Josh Peck's character from his seat at the movie theater, it's then revealed she did it for the handsome, blond boyfriend of hers where they then say her catchphrase "Ma ha!"
- According to Warcraft, particularly Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, the origin of the centaurs can be traced to the union of Zaetar (son of Cenarius, an attractive Night Elf/Stag centaur) and Princess Theradras, who would be pretty gonky even if she wasn't several times larger than him and built like the Venus of Willendorf with four arms and three faces.
- Within the Family Guy universe, Meg has been described as either plain or (post-Flanderization) outright ugly. And yet over the years she's had several decent looking boyfriends. Hell, Lois tried to seduce one.
- In the post-movie Spongebob Squarepants episode Banned in Bikini Bottom, we're given a stuffy, uptight elderly lady whose husband turns out to be the young, muscular, ridiculously humanlike Chief of Police. It's implied he married her for her cooking, which is odd considering she literally hates anything "fun and delicious," leading a whole community against it.
- In one Treehouse of Horror episode of The Simpsons, the ugly evil witch who holds Bart and Lisa captive claims that she has a boyfriend named George Cauldron, but the kids don't believe her. After Homer defeats the witch by stuffing her in the oven, her handsome boyfriend George Cauldron comes to her house, wondering where she is for their date.
- Wallflower Tango, a German animated short, is about a woman with baggy eyes, a pointy nose, sagging breasts and deep laugh lines finally finds her chance at love when she catches a tall dark male burglar with a barrel chest and square jaw trying to steal her diamond.
- Gravity Falls has a story where an ugly old witch tries to blackmail Stan into kissing her- instead, Mabel offers to give her a "Love Makeover" so she can get a guy of her own. She ends up... still ugly, but less terrifying, and in the end she is last seen with a handsome young rock climber who had been climbing by her cave.