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 father was a rather good looking demon while the mother was quite the Gonk lady. 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Mercedes and Sam are another example. While Mercedes is not as large as Lauren, she's rather plain compared to Sam, who briefly worked as a stripper and loves to show off his abs every chance he gets.
- 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 and rather frumpy microbiologist. The fiancee is rather insecure about the wedding because she feels that she's way out of his league and his 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 purpose in his life.
- 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.
- 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.