Iconic Disney characters Mickey and Minnie Mouse have had an enduring romance for decades, as did their former voice actors.
Mickey and Minnie Mouse have been staples of pop culture for over 90 years.
The beloved anthropomorphic mice made their debut in 1928 in a film called Steamboat Willie.
They were created by Walt Disney, with the company founder himself voicing Mickey from the beginning. Disney held the role on-off, last providing the voice in 1962.
However, despite the characters’ immense success, Disney never could have predicted that a real-life romance would form from his creations.
Let’s go back in time, just a little.
It’s 1977, eleven years after Walt Disney’s death.
The Company needed new actors to play Mickey and Minnie Mouse. The second full-time Mickey, Jimmy MacDonald, stepped down after a 30-year stint.
Meanwhile, Minnie last appeared in 1974.
Stepping in as the new Mickey was Wayne Allwine, a voice actor and sound effects editor.
In a twist of fate, the Company called Allwine to the open audition after another actor didn’t show up.
Allwine’s first appearance as the new Mickey Mouse was in The New Mickey Mouse Club.
Nine years after Allwine’s Mickey debut, a new Minnie finally arrived.
Enter voice actress Russi Taylor. She would later also go on to voice characters on The Simpsons.
Some of the more notable examples include Martin Prince and the twins, Sherri and Terri.
Both had been married to other people when they first met. However, Allwine and Taylor married in 1991.
While Taylor was childless, Allwine had children from his previous marriage.
Their longtime co-star Bill Farmer (Goofy/Pluto) addressed this in a 2019 interview with The Washington Post.
“They were both in bad marriages when I started doing the voice [of Goofy] back in 1987.
“But over a couple of years, they just kind of became Mickey and Minnie. They got divorced from their respective spouses and then fell in love.
“Everyone saw it coming. Just watching them work together, I could see their relationship develop into something deeper than just a working relationship.”Bill Farmer, Washington Post (2019)
In the same interview, Farmer also shared how his former co-stars showed their love while in character.
He said: “Wayne would bring a little ukulele to riff and do little songs, and quite often, he would sing a little love song to Minnie, as Mickey.
“You knew it was Wayne talking to Russi.”
The pair, who married in Hawaii, initially kept their real-life romance secret, as Allwine explained.
“When we got married, we kind of kept it quiet, because everybody was saying, ‘Oh, Mickey and Minnie got married,’
“It wasn’t Mickey and Minnie; it was Wayne and Russi. We wanted to keep it about us and not about the characters.”Wayne Allwine
Both Allwine and Taylor voiced their characters for decades.
Allwine, who ended up playing Mickey for 32 years, died in 2009. This was due to a hypertensive crisis caused by complications from acute diabetes.
Ten years later, Taylor died of colon cancer aged 75. She had voiced Minnie for 33 years, the most tenured voice actress to do so.
While both are gone now, fans now know that there was real love behind the voices of Mickey and Minnie Mouse.