Here’s How The Madden Brothers Went From Rock Star Fame To Being Two of Hollywood’s Hottest Husbands

Joel and Benji Madden shot to fame in the early ’00s as the faces of punk pop hitmakers Good Charlotte. But since the early ’10s, they have become just as renowned for their love lives as their music. Here’s a look at how the siblings turned into two of Hollywood’s unlikeliest hot husbands.

Born in the Maryland community of Waldorf in 1979, twins Joel and Benji founded their first band in the 1990s. This debut musical endeavor never really took off, though, and the siblings later instead joined forces with guitarist Billy Martin, drummer Aaron Escolopio and bassist Paul Thomas to form Good Charlotte. Their moniker was inspired by an unlikely source, Carol Beach Yor’s kids book, Good Charlotte: Girls of the Good Day Orphanage.

With Benji on guitar and Joel taking frontman duties, the band soon began performing across Washington’s metropolitan area. After creating an industry buzz at 1998’s HFStival, Good Charlotte were invited to open for several established punk-pop outfits including Lit, Sum 41 and Blink-182. Their fairytale journey continued when they landed a deal with Epic Records in 2000.

The band didn’t waste any time hitting the studio, releasing their eponymous debut record later that same year. However, their label was disappointed by its lack of commercial success and the ensemble faced the very real prospect of being dropped. But Epic gave the men one more chance, an act of faith that soon paid off significantly.

Indeed, in 2002 the single “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” became a breakout hit. It even reached the Top 20 on both sides of the Atlantic. Inspired by the likes of Social Distortion, The Clash and Rancid, the act’s parent album The Young and the Hopeless subsequently became one of the biggest pop-rock records of the year. What’s more, further singles such “Girls and Boys” and “The Anthem” pushed sales to just under five million copies.

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The group quickly capitalized on their stunning success by releasing a third album, The Chronicles of Life and Death, in 2004. The record made the Billboard 200 top three and spawned another U.S. Hot 100 hit in the shape of “I Just Wanna Live.” But the siblings soon proved that their talents extended far beyond anthemic punk pop.

Indeed, Joel and Benji both made big screen appearances in comedies Not Another Teen Movie and Material Girls. They then teamed up with older brother Josh to create the MADE Clothing line which later became incorporated into DCMA Collective. And they also founded their own production company named Dead Executives.

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Good Charlotte eventually returned to the studio in 2007 with Good Morning Revival, their third consecutive U.S. Top Ten album. But the Maddens continued to pursue other avenues. Benji began playing in another band, Taintstick, and Joel guested on tracks by the likes of Junior Sanchez, Bizzy Bone and Three Six Mafia. Following 2010’s Cardiology, though, the Maddens put the group on hold.

However, the brothers continued to work together. In 2011 Joel signed up as a coach for Australia’s first series of talent show The Voice, with Benji joining him as a mentor. Four years later, the latter also accepted an invite to sit in the famous chair as a coach alongside his sibling.

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The siblings also released a mixtape under the guise of The Madden Brothers. Before Volume One showcased their knack for talent-spotting, thanks to appearances from several then-unknown rappers who would later enjoy major successes, including Wiz Khalifa and Machine Gun Kelly. Three years later The Madden Brothers released their debut album, Greetings from California.

In 2015 the Maddens displayed their entrepreneurial spirit once more when they formed their own management company. Alongside fellow rockers Sleeping with Sirens, Hollywood Undead and Architects, MDDN also helped to guide the career of chart-topping pop star Jessie J. And then out of nowhere, they revived the band that made them famous.

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Indeed, in 2016 Good Charlotte returned from their self-imposed hiatus with a sixth studio effort, Youth Authority. A year later, they paid tribute to the late Lil Peep with a cover of the rapper’s hit, “Awful Things.” Co-produced by Benji, their seventh release, Generation Rx, arrived in 2018.

Ever since they were launched to fame, of course, the Madden brothers have spent just as much time in the pages of gossip magazines as they have in the music press. In fact, Joel became a tabloid regular in 2005 when it was confirmed he was in a relationship with Hilary Duff. Nine years his junior, the actor appeared to be an unlikely fit for the heavily tattooed, hard-partying rock star. At the time, moreover, Duff was best known as the squeaky clean star of Disney Channel show Lizzie McGuire.

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Duff was keen to point out that she and Joel weren’t so different in a 2006 interview with Teen People. She told the magazine, “You’re automatically prejudging us because Joel has tattoos or I have blond hair. He has tattoos so he’s bad, I smile all the time so I’m perfect.”

Joel also defended their relationship while chatting to People magazine. He said, “I’ve found the perfect person. She’s confident, she accepts me for my imperfections, and she is good to me. I never have to question if she’s going to be there, because I know she will be.” However, at the end of 2006, the pair sadly split up.

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Not to be outdone, though, Benji had also become something of a tabloid favorite thanks to his playboy lifestyle. Indeed, the star enjoyed brief relationships with several high profile stars including Katy Perry and Holly Madison. He also once stepped out with Paris Hilton, whose reality show co-star would later become a major part of the musician’s family life.

Benji appeared to be showing signs of settling down when he began dating Aussie actor and singer Sophie Monk. The pair were even engaged before deciding to go their separate ways in 2008. But both the Madden brothers would eventually end up marrying women who were even more familiar with the spotlight.

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Firstly, Joel began dating Nicole Richie, the daughter of Motown legend Lionel and Paris Hilton’s BFF in The Simple Life. The pair first met in 2006, although both parties have different recollections about exactly how. In 2016, the musician told fans that they first locked eyes on each other at a Good Charlotte gig. Nicole, however, claims that the encounter was in fact at a party of a mutual friend.

The couple then became a family in 2008 when Nicole gave birth to their daughter, Harlow. A year later they welcomed a son, Sparrow, into the world. But around this time, mind you, Joel revealed to Ryan Seacrest that anyone expecting wedding bells would be left disappointed. He said, “I don’t think it’s completely necessary to rush plans and just try to get it done… Everyone else talks about [marriage] more than we do.”

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However, Joel soon appeared to change his mind and, after popping the question, he and Nicole got hitched in 2010. Over 100 people attended the ceremony staged at the estate of Lionel Richie, whose song, “Ballerina Girl,” played as the bride walked down the aisle. The celebrations also included a DJ set from Samantha Ronson and a circus-inspired theme featuring two real-life elephants.

Rather adorably, the couple’s two children also played certain roles in the ceremony. Daughter Harlow served as the flower girl, while son Sparrow took ring-bearing duties. Nicole later described the proceedings as “magical” in a chat with People magazine, while Joel gushed, “It was the best night of my life.”

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And domestic life seemed to suit the couple down to the ground. In an interview with E! about the pair’s first anniversary, Nicole said, “[Joel’s] dream day is probably watching football and playing video games, and my dream day is watching Real Housewives, so maybe that will be our one-year [celebration]. We’ll do a game in the day and then Housewives at night.”

Joel told The National newspaper in 2018 how much his family unit had helped to ground him. And he said, “They give me a reason to be okay with myself. I don’t feel the need to try and prove to the world that I’m anything at all, other than who I am to them. When I was younger, I think I felt like I needed to constantly sell something. I needed that validation, and that’s what my family gave me.”

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In 2013, though, several tabloids reported that the pair’s marriage was in trouble. But Joel told Gossip Cop, “I don’t usually comment on gossip, but seeing as this is something that is defaming my character and the sanctity of my marriage and family, I feel like I have to make something clear. I take my responsibilities as a father and as a husband very seriously. My wife and my children are the most important thing in the world to me.”

Despite Joel’s protestations, the rumor mill went into overdrive in 2015 when a moving truck was seen outside the pair’s mansion in Los Angeles. However, the vehicle was simply being used to transport both parties’ belongings to a brand new home. And it just happened to be a property that was in much closer proximity to the other famous Madden brother.

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By this point, Benji Madden had also walked down the aisle with a super-famous celebrity: Cameron Diaz. The unlikely couple first met in the spring of 2014 and went public shortly after, when they were spotted holding hands walking around the Big Apple. Just a few weeks later, the actor introduced the former rocker to her family.

And the pair’s romance certainly had Nicole’s blessing. In fact, the former reality star told Bravo that she was responsible for matching the pair up. She then said, “I approve of anything that’s going to make Benji happy. I am a devoted sister-in-law. I’m happy for anyone who is happy, and I want everyone to be surrounded with love.”

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Speculation about just how serious things between Benji and Cameron were then intensified in October 2014 when the latter attended a Hollywood ball wearing a swanky ring. Could the pair have got engaged after just six months together? Well, they had already started sharing a home after the musician had moved into Cameron’s pad in Beverly Hills.

However, just a month later, Cameron told Marie Claire magazine that wedding bells weren’t at the forefront of her mind. She said, “I’m not looking for a husband or marriage or not not looking for that stuff. I’m living and not thinking what I should or shouldn’t be doing with my life.”

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But in January 2015, less than a year after they met, Cameron and Benji nevertheless became husband and wife. The wedding took place at the actor’s mansion in Beverly Hills in front of 100 of the couple’s nearest and dearest. Alongside Drew Barrymore, Cameron’s new sister-in-law Nicole took on bridesmaid duties.

A year later, Cameron proved that she was still very much in a loved-up mood during an appearance on Andy Cohen’s radio show. She told the host, “You know, nothing matters now that I have my husband. You realize like, ‘Oh, this is like the real thing is. This is what real love is. This is what real commitment and devotion is.’”

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In fact, so contented was Cameron with her family life that she decided to take a break from her job. And in 2018 Selma Blair claimed that her one-time co-star had told her that she’s “done” with movies. The actor later also appeared to confirm her premature retirement during a reunion for The Sweetest Thing.

While appearing at a Goop conference in 2017, Cameron also talked about how much respect she had for her husband and his brother. She said, “Where [Benji] and Joel came from and what they’ve accomplished in their lives… Just the drive, for the purest reasons. They push themselves. I look at him every day, and he inspires me. He works so hard. I feel so lucky.”

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Of course, Benji is no stranger to telling the world how he feels about his other half, either. In 2017 he posted an adorable snap of him and Joel sitting at a dinner table full of empty plates. The caption read, “When we miss our wives, we eat our feelings.” And that’s what we call devotion!

That same year, Benji also posted a 45th-birthday message to his wife on Instagram. You see, the heartfelt note expressed, “I feel like I am the luckiest guy alive. I don’t think anyone could ever know the depth, kindness and compassion that I get to experience every day thanks to my one and only. You got me til the end, baby.”

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In 2015, Benji told Australian publication WHO that he was open to the idea of having children. He said, “I have a great family, so I’m lucky I’ve gotten to experience all the joys of having a family. I love kids.” However, the pitter-patter of tiny feet has yet to sound in the Benji and Cameron household.

A year earlier, Joel had also gushed about his own relationship in an interview with People. He told the magazine, “There are moments where you feel like life is perfect, and you want to stay in that moment forever. That’s how we feel, really blessed and lucky. I give my wife a lot of credit. She’s an incredible partner and really supportive.”

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Furthermore, Joel also revealed how blessed he felt to be part of such a close family. He said, “We landed on our feet. There was a whole bunch of different ways it could have gone wrong, and the thing I’m most proud of is we ended up okay as a band [and] as people. We all feel like, in our own way, we got to have the American Dream.”

Indeed, the Madden brothers and their A-list wives are often spotted hanging out together as one big happy family. While appearing on a Goop panel in 2017, Nicole shared how honored she was to be part of such a close-knit set-up. That’s right: she revealed, “[The Maddens] rely on each other. When we got together it was like, you’re just in the family. It’s a large support system.”

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And after spending the majority of both their personal and professional lives together, Joel and Benji’s bond as brothers doubtless couldn’t be stronger. The former told People magazine, “He’s my best friend, so I love spending time with him. It’s [also nice] having someone on your team, because the world has a very different perception of you than the person you really are.”

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