Trophy Wife? She Doesn't Really Exist

Successful men typically end up with successful women

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 18, 2014 10:09 AM CDT

(Newser) – Before you assume the attractive woman married to the rich guy is a trophy wife, read this: A new study finds that stereotype is largely a myth. The belief goes that, when it comes to mates, rich men care about physical attractiveness more than any other attribute (like level of education or success), while attractive women care more about money than anything else (like physical appearance). But researchers found, when looking at a nationally representative sample of couples, "handsome men partner with pretty women and successful men partner with successful women," says sociologist and lead author Elizabeth McClintock. She also found that it's fairly rare for an attractive woman from a lower social class to move upward via marriage, according to the press release—and, in fact, men are just as likely to do so, New York reports.

"High-status men" do, on average, have more attractive wives, McClintock notes, but that's because the men themselves are also considered more attractive than their less successful counterparts. Why is that? "Perhaps because they are less likely to be overweight and more likely to afford braces, nice clothes, and trips to the dermatologist," McClintock suggests. Though "trophy wife" partnerships do exist—McClintock points to Donald Trump and Melania Knauss-Trump—they're rare. "I've heard doctors' wives referred to as trophy wives by observers who only notice her looks and his status and fail to realize that he is good-looking too and that she is also a successful professional," McClintock notes. The most important factor when it comes to who will marry? Similarity. (A recent study found you may have more in common with your spouse than you think—like DNA.)

Donald and Melania Trump pose for photos at a news conference, in New York, Thursday, May 1, 2014.
Donald and Melania Trump pose for photos at a news conference, in New York, Thursday, May 1, 2014.   (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
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