For Valentines Day, Walt Disney Company historian Jeff Kurtti takes a look at the couple that gave Mickey & Minnie their voice for more than two decades:

Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Kurtti

Collegiate football star and WWII hero Meryll Frost said in 1946, “They say behind every great man there’s a woman.”

That phrase has been used so often since, and probably become a giant cliché, but in observing Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse over nearly the past century, the one without the other seems somehow…off. Minnie may not simply be “the mouse behind her man” (she’s proven pretty stalwart on her own)—but the couple complements each other as characters, as personalities, as performers, as co-stars—and as tender romantics.

“Over the years Minnie has often been the impetus of the story for Mickey; the goal or prize he’s fighting to obtain,” says Disney writer and historian Keith Gluck, although he adds, “Minnie has also demonstrated that she can be quite independent when she wants to be.”

And, importantly, “The characters are scripted to always be in love,” according to Wayne Allwine, who provided Mickey’s voice for 32 years.

In the September 30, 1933 issue of Film Pictorial magazine, Walt Disney was asked if his two stars were married. He explained, “A lot of people have written to him asking this question because sometimes he appears to be married to her in his films and other times still courting her. What it really amounts to is that Minnie is, for screen purposes, his leading lady. If the story calls for a romantic courtship, then Minnie is the girl; but when the story requires a married couple, then they appear as man and wife.”

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Although it was kept a secret for nearly a decade, Mickey’s voice from 1977 to 2009, Wayne Allwine, was actually married to Minnie’s voice from 1986 to 2019, Russi Taylor.

“When we got married, we kind of kept it quiet, because everybody was saying, ‘Oh, Mickey and Minnie got married,’” Allwine recalled. “It wasn’t Mickey and Minnie; it was Wayne and Russi. We wanted to keep it about us and not about the characters.”

But the closeness and bond between voices and characters was surely echoed in their performances, as well as in the way they perceived Mickey and Minnie as a reflection of their own personalities, talents, and emotions.

“There’s an approval factor from the characters to the public,” Russi Taylor said. “They don’t judge you. They never will. And I think that’s a thing that people want, and that keeps people coming back for more. It’s love. And people want love.”