By Deena Shanker
January 17, 2015

Managing a company with your mate is not easy. If the business is struggling, that can damage your relationship. If the relationship is struggling, that can damage the business. And even if the company is thriving, the marriage can fall apart – in an ugly way.

That was underscored with the latest chapter in the sad saga of Tory and Chris Burch. In 2004, the then-married couple founded Tory Burch. And while it grew into a global fashion brand, its two founders divorced – and at one point, became competitors.

After the fact, it may be easy to spot the signs of trouble in the relationship or business (or both). But usually, couples who run companies together are figuring it out as they go along. The key to success: Setting clear boundaries between work and home, and communicating openly when there’s a problem. “Be really explicit [about] what’s allowed to spill over and what’s not,” says Nancy Rothbard, Professor of Management at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Here are seven famous examples of brands created by couples – and what happened after.


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