12 Famous Sibling Rivalries Throughout History
Just because you’re related to your brother or sister doesn’t mean you have to like them. Here are the best sibling spats of all time.
Virtually all siblings squabble as children, but then sometimes, the rivalry carries into adulthood—and sometimes fractures the relationship for good. While this is often sad and heartbreaking in “real life,” when it’s public figures, it can be fascinating. From the Biblical to the historical to the current, here are some notable sibling rivalries throughout the years. Learn more about the psychology behind why adult siblings stop speaking.
Prince William and Prince Harry
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William and Harry both grew up royal, in the public eye, and both endured the tragic loss of their mother at a young age. Despite that, maybe there was always destined to be a bit of rivalry here, with William, the older brother, destined to be king one day—even though their mother actually thought Harry would be better suited to it. In March 2019, Harry and his new wife Meghan Markle split households from William and his wife Kate. This wasn’t entirely unexpected now that Harry was married, but media outlets still started speculating that a rift was growing between the brothers. The speculation only got stronger after Harry decided to “step back” from royal duties in January 2020. Though a royal source has told ET that the brothers are “talking more and they’re on better footing” about a month after Harry’s news, and that they “don’t hate each other,” it does seem like things are a little rocky between the royals.
The Boleyn sisters
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This royal rivalry is one for the history books and had all the makings of modern drama. Sisters Mary and Anne Boleyn duked it out over Henry VIII when the British king first took Mary as his mistress but later dumped her to marry Anne. Despite triumphing over Mary to become queen, Anne lost in the end when she was beheaded by her husband. Karma perhaps? Check out most of history’s most shocking royal family feuds.
The Williams sisters
Tennis legends Venus and Serena Williams are forces to be reckoned when they’re playing doubles. But, when they have to compete against each other, it can get a little ugly. The pair has faced off a total of eight times, and they’ve said it’s something they don’t enjoy doing. Serena was especially upset when Venus beat her twice in a row. After all, she’s the older sister and wants to fight for her title. If this sounds like you, here are 11 tips on becoming BFFs with your sibling as adults.
Cain and Abel
Where sibling feuds got their start: Cain and Abel were the sons of Adam and Eve but didn’t exactly see the newly created world in the same way. In the Bible, Cain (the firstborn) murders his brother Abel when the Lord favors Abel’s sacrifice over Cain’s. Top that, Kardashians (please don’t).
Jim and John Harbaugh
Sports are already competitive. Then, you take two brothers who happen to be NFL coaches and have their teams duke it out on the field, and some battles are bound to happen. The biggest one of all was when the brothers (who are only 15 months apart) went head to head at Super Bowl XLVII in 2013. John came out on top, and the post-game handshake was interesting. The two fight, says John, especially with their fiery personalities, on and off the field. Find out what birth order reveals about your personality.
The Andrew sisters
While LaVerne, Maxene, and Patty worked together to top the charts as a trio singing group, the sisters reportedly refused to speak to one another offstage. Later, Patty even joined another group without telling the other sisters. But LaVerne and Maxene got their sweet revenge when Patty’s solo act was panned. Here are some more famous rivalries between sisters.
Liam and Noah Gallagher are known for their twitter fights, physical fights, and legal battles. Their first famous fight was in 1994 when Liam hit Noel with a tambourine. They haven’t worked things out since then. They even had a very public battle in January 2018 when Noel said he had no intention of reuniting Oasis. And then Liam got nominated for a 2018 BRIT Award, and the rivalry continues.
Puma and Adidas
Bear with us: This is an actual sibling rivalry. The fight goes all the way back to the sibling founders of both companies. In the 1920s, German brothers Adolf and Rudolf Dassler created a shoe company together in their mother’s laundry room. As business boomed, so did the tension between them. WWII officially split them up, and Adolf started Adidas, while Rudolf created Puma. The brothers’ feud, and what started it, is one of our favorite silly conflicts that changed history.
Olivia and Joan Fontaine
Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine are both Academy Award winners and known for their film roles in the 1930s and ’40s. Apparently, their feud began in childhood, when they would compete for attention from their mother. They continued to fight over men, film roles, and even an Oscar. The two have not spoken for 30 years, and Joan claims Olivia never told her of their mother’s passing. Meanwhile, Olivia says Joan was too busy to attend services. These funny sibling stories will make you grateful for yours.