The greatest love quotes of all time

We dig up history's best amorous advice and anecdotes

Famous love quotes, like famous celebrities, can’t always be trusted to give you the best advice. “Love means never having to say you’re sorry” and “All you need is love” are trotted out ad nauseam, and they sound nice, but they’re all mouth and no meat. They’re about as wise as a duffel coat in July. Love is all you need when you’ve paid the rent first, and if you never say “sorry” you’ll soon be feeling it.
We went looking for the love quotes that really made us think “yeah, that’s what it feels like”. Some will make you cringe rather than sigh with recognition, but at least you’re in good company. Read on to find out what you’ve got in common with Einstein and Marilyn Monroe.

1: Love is…
“Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired.”
– Robert Frost, irresistible poet
“Love is a state in which a man sees things most decidedly as they are not.”
– Friedrich Nietzsche, philosopher
“Love is an act of endless forgiveness, a tender look which becomes a habit.”
– Peter Ustinov, actor and writer
“Love is a gross exaggeration of the difference between one person and everybody else.”
– George Bernard Shaw, writer
“Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward in the same direction.”
– Antoine de Saint-Exupery, writer

2: Mad for you
“There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness.”
– Friedrich Nietzsche again
“Love is a great beautifier.”
– Louisa May Alcott, who probably added: “what was I thinking?”
“Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That’s relativity.”
– Albert Einstein – as good with words as he was with bunsen burners
“I was nauseous and tingly all over. I was either in love or I had smallpox.”
– Woody Allen, movie maker

3: Cheese from the heart
“Fairy-tales are nice.”
– Syd Barrett, rock n’ roll poet
“Passion makes the world go round. Love just makes it a safer place.”
– Ice T, fella with jewellery
“Who, being loved, is poor?”
– Oscar Wilde, the missing link between Queen Victoria and Stephen Fry
“If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day, so I never have to live without you.”
– Winnie the Pooh, bear
“You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is better than your dreams.”
– Dr Seuss, cat man
“If we could decide who we loved, it would be much simpler, but much less magical.”
– Chef from South Park

4: Harsh but fair
“Before I met my husband, I’d never fallen in love. I’d stepped in it a few times.”
– Rita Rudner, comedian
“Always get married early in the morning. That way, if it doesn’t work out, you haven’t wasted a whole day.”
– Mickey Rooney, actor
“Friendship often ends in love, but love in friendship – never.”
– Charles Caleb Colton, 18th century cleric
“Marriage is like a bank account. You put it in, you take it out, you lose interest.”
– Irwin Corey, US writer
“The trouble with some women is that they get all excited about nothing, and then marry him.”
– Cher, happily divorced rock chick
“Scratch a lover and find a foe.”
– Dorothy Parker, 1920s writer and serial New York dater
“Love is a thing that can never go wrong… and I am Marie of Romania.”
– Dorothy Parker, 1920s writer and serial New York dumper/dumpee

5: What men want
“Women need a reason to have sex. Men just need a place.”
– Billy Crystal, comedian
“Marge, I’m going to miss you so much. And it’s not just the sex. It’s also the food preparation.”
– Homer Simpson, yellow husband

6: Hollywood legends FTW
“How beautiful you are, now that you love me.”
– Marlene Dietrich, Hollywood legend
“Love is a fire. Whether it is going to warm your heart or burn down your house, you can never tell.”
– Joan Crawford, Hollywood legend
“Before marriage, a girl has to make love to a man to hold him. After marriage, she has to hold him to make love to him.”
– Marilyn Monroe, Hollywood legend
“I’d marry again if I found a man who had fifteen million dollars, would sign over half to me, and guarantee that he’d be dead within a year.”
– Bette Davis, Hollywood legend
“If you want to sacrifice the admiration of many men for the criticism of one, go ahead, get married.”
– Katharine Hepburn, Hollywood legend
“A man in love is incomplete until he has married. Then he’s finished.”
– Zsa Zsa Gabor, Hollywood legend
“Marriage is a great institution, but I’m not ready for an institution yet.”
– Mae West, Hollywood legend

7: Lyrics of love
“I’m in love with the person in the sandwich centre. If she didn’t exist I’d have to invent her.”
– Ian Dury, Geraldine
“It’s the stupid details that my heart is breaking for.”
– Elvis Costello, I Want You
“The sun shines out of our behinds. No, it’s not like any other love, this one’s different because it’s us.”
– The Smiths, Hand in Glove

8: Lyrics in your face, love
“We were so very much in love. Then one day he went away and I thought I’d die, but I didn’t, and when I didn’t I said to myself, ‘is that all there is to love?’”
– Peggy Lee, Is That All There Is?
“Don’t wear your heart on your sleeve when your remarks are off the cuff.”
– Elvis Costello, Riot Act
“And she’ll look right through you with just one eye.”
– Lyle Lovett, Fiona

9: Pearls of wisdom for your fridge
“The way to love anything is to realise that it may be lost.”
– GK Chesterton, novelist
“If you admire somebody you should go out there tell ’em. Nobody ever gets the flowers while they can still smell ’em.”
– Kanye West, modern philospher
“Love all. Trust a few. Do wrong to none.”
– William Shakespeare, who said it all.