Mergers: And they all lived happily ever after

From Shania Twain and Frédéric Thiébaud to the Huffington Post and AOL–this year’s best love stories

And they all lived happily ever after

Jackson Lee / Splash News

Shania Twain and Frédéric Thiébaud

It’s the stuff of classic country songs: a two-timing man cheats on his wife with her best friend. The wife finds out, confronts them both, and finds comfort in the arms of the equally heartbroken best friend’s husband. That’s how Shania Twain and Frédéric Thiébaud fell in love and came to be married on a beach in Puerto Rico last New Year’s Day. Now that’s a new beginning.

Lincoln Alexander and Marni Beal

Yes, he’s nearly 90, and she’s in her 60s. But Lincoln Alexander, the first black lieutenant-governor of Ontario, and Marni Beal, a sales rep at the Hamilton Spectator, are as in love as two high-school kids. Still, Alexander was nervous to propose: “An old codger like me marrying a girl 30 years his junior?” He asked her anyway, and she accepted. “I became his driver, caregiver, administrator … bodyguard with first aid/CPR training and life partner,” says Beal. “And he became mine.”

CLICK HERE TO READ ABOUT MACLEANS’ OTHER NEWSMAKERS OF 2011

Rachel Weisz and Daniel Craig

Mega movie stars aren’t usually known for avoiding the spotlight. And yet Rachel Weisz, 41, and Daniel Craig, 43, quietly got married at a secret ceremony in New York with only their respective children and two witnesses present. How understated. They are British, after all.

Michael Bublé and Luisana Lopilato

Many newlyweds swear that no matter how amazing their wedding was, they never want to relive the planning, expense or stress. But Canadian crooner Michael Bublé, 35, and Argentine singer Luisana Lopilato, 23, had not one, not two, but three weddings—a civil ceremony in Buenos Aires, a massive reception at a nearby mansion and then a Vancouver party attended by 500 guests. Rather than serenade his bride during the reception, Bublé stepped aside at Lopilato’s request: legendary Latin musician Ricardo Montaner sang for them instead.

The Huffington Post and AOL

AOL forked over $315 million to buy the Huffington Post news and opinion website, which gets 25 million unique visits a month. Tim Armstrong, president of AOL, predicted this would be a “comeback year” for the online company, which split with Time Warner in 2009 and has been revamping ever since. Seems like he was right.

Canadian Tire and Forzani

Canadian Tire has long been the go-to shop for hockey sticks, baseball gloves and the like. Since taking over the Forzani Group, which owns Sport Chek and Sports Expert stores, it’s also become the pre-eminent retailer for athletic wear and other equipment. The acquisition came with a hefty $770-million price tag. That’s a lot of Canadian Tire money.

Theo Epstein and the Chicago Cubs

At 28, Theo Epstein became the youngest general manager in major league baseball when he was hired by the Boston Red Sox in 2002, taking the team to two World Series wins over the next five years and eventually becoming the club’s vice-president too. In October, Epstein left to join the Chicago Cubs as president. Sounds like a sweet trade.

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