I have a strange little habit. A minor obsession, if you will. I enjoy staring at couples. If you and your main squeeze find an
short average height Black woman on a bus or train, eyeing you up not too subtly, it’s probably me checking you out. And I’m probably thinking: ‘Wow, those two look alike. I wonder if they’ve noticed it?’
You’ve heard about how married couples start to resemble each other over the years. But have you ever met a couple who looked so alike, it made you do a double take?
Exhibit A: US actor Eddie Cibrian and his wife, singer LeAnn Rimes. SAME EXACT FACE!
Lookalike Couples and Love at First Sight
Years ago, I read an article based on the book ‘Love at First Sight’ by writer and portrait painter, Suzi Malin. It examined how people are often attracted to mates who either look like them, or like their first caregiver (usually a parent).
The author had been startled by the resemblance between Prince Charles’ first nanny, and his future wife Camilla.
She went on to examine celebrity couples and discovered an uncanny similarity between the likes of Posh and Becks, for instance.
Apparently, people who fall in ‘love at first sight’ — or who make a love match for life — are drawn to matching features in each other. Since reading the article, I’m always struck by lookalike couples. It’s my favourite form of people watching. What’s funny is when the couple has no idea that they’re each other’s doppelgänger. Or, as I like to call them, #couplegangers.
Royal Lookalike Couples
I knew Prince Harry was a goner as soon as I saw him with Meghan — she’s practically his double. Seriously, just swap their hair and gender. I’m amazed by how closely their features align: from forehead to eyes, to nose, to chin, right down to the way they smile. Meghan also looks quite a bit like his mother Princess Diana — another element that must have helped seal the deal.
Some of the most ‘ride or die’ celebs are totally twinning. Like Afro beats superstar Davido and his girlfriend Chioma. Same sweetheart faces.
Lifelong on again/off again lovers, Liz Taylor and Richard Burton. One of the ultimate lookalike couples.
Ok, so they’re not together any more, but I always thought Noel and Meg Gallagher could have passed for brother and sister!
Vinnie Jones and his wife Tanya are a ridiculous case of #couplegangers.
Still don’t believe me? Here’s a sampling of friends and family who were happy to share pics of themselves with their partners.
My cousin Kelly and his wife Timil. Double trouble.
My friend Jo and her husband Gavin. It was pure ‘love at first sight’ for her (or ‘fancy at first sight’ she might say).
Lifestyle entrepreneur Sophie LeBrozec and her hubby Ben.
Sophie says: ‘It has fascinated me since my first young love at age 17, as several people told us we looked alike. Interestingly my only real “loves” were the two people I most resembled – my first love and now Ben!’
Writer Bibi and her man, Yegwa.
‘Yegwa and I hear it all the time,’ says Bibi, ‘Even though he’s a giant and I’m… well… regular sized. Anyway, I don’t see it but who knows?’
My cousin, Naija music superstar Naeto C and his wife Nicole (she also looks just like his mum!).
The #coupleganger phenomenon cuts across ethnic lines too.
Margit, founder of TueNight.com and her other half, Mark. Twinning. (pic credit: Ruth Dusseault)
My cousin Ngozi who wrote about her lessons from a 12 year marriage to husband Jon. ‘I still don’t see it!’ says Ngozi.
Often, you don’t spot a couple’s similarities at first. Then you meet one of their parents, or another close relative, and it’s staring you in the face.
My cousin Kem basically married our maternal grandfather. Never mind that my granddad was from Owerri, Nigeria and her husband is from Boise, Idaho. When you see that Kem’s dad also bears a striking resemblance to our Papa, then it all starts to fall into place.
Or does it?
What exactly is this all about — Oedipal complex? Narcissism? Is there any actual proof to back up my claims? And what are the benefits of same face partnerships?
Are Lookalike Couples True Soul Mates?
Turns out, it’s not just in my head. Or what my auntie would refer to as: ‘Uju has come again with her madness’.
There have been actual science papers written about this, peeps. A 1970s study in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships concluded that: ‘the observation of facial resemblance among couples appears to reflect a real phenomenon.’
The scientific term is ‘assortative mating’. This means we select romantic partners based on similar facial characteristics, as well as skills, talents and other traits. The idea is that on a subconscious level, we want to pass on our features to our kids. So we find mates who are basically another version of ourselves!
Here are Jo and Gavin again, in their youth. Uncanny!
An Indonesian saying — “kalau jodoh, mukanya mirip” — implies that your significant other will most likely be your soulmate if your faces show similar features.
Of course, looking like someone is no guarantee of attraction or even longevity in a relationship. There are way too many factors that go into hooking up: from pure chance, to timing, to those pesky pheromones. But I’m fascinated by the pull towards the familiar, especially when you don’t even realise it’s happening.
When I told blogger Hatty that she looks like her partner, her first reaction was: ‘Huh?!’ After she spent some time going through their photos, she said: ‘Now all I can see is us looking alike. This is a revelation!’
Despite my fixation, I’d never noticed much similarity with my husband. Then I showed our 12-year-old that selfie of us (top image), and his first response was ‘you guys look alike’. When I looked again, I saw it instantly. Of course, back when I was falling head over footsies in love with Abiye, I had no idea.
And there’s definitely a family connection. I shared an old photo of my paternal grandmother with my mother-in-law, Helen and she stared in amazement. ‘Look at her face,’ said Helen, ‘now look at mine. I have goosebumps.’
I did too. The resemblance is there, no question.
I find #couplegangers rather comforting… the idea that somehow, in this big wide world of strangers, you can meet your match. Someone whom, physically at least, you already belong to. It’s a bit scientific and a little bit magical too.
What’s even sweeter is that there’s some truth to old married couples looking alike. Even if you don’t resemble each other at first, studies reveal that you do eventually morph into your partner. It’s all thanks to shared life experience, and good old empathy. You develop the same wrinkles and laughter lines over time.
Your story together is written across your faces.
The Babes Verdict
‘No. Nope. Nope. Ok, yeah. No. Maybe. No they don’t look like each other. Kind of. These two do NOT look alike, are you crazy?!’
Do you spot lookalike couples too? Are you in a same face relationship? Or do you think this is all a crock of shut yo’ mouth?