Top 10 Legendary Sibling Rivalries
VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
WRITTEN BY: Spencer sher
And you thought your family was bad. For this list, we're taking a look at famous historical siblings whose rivalries are the stuff of legend. However, we will not be including fictional or mythological siblings a la Cain and Abel. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 Epic Sibling Rivalries of All Time.
And you thought your family was bad. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Epic Sibling Rivalries of All Time.
For this list, we’re taking a look at famous historical siblings whose rivalries are the stuff of legend. However, we will not be including fictional or mythological siblings a la Cain and Abel. Alright, let’s get to the list.
#10: LaVerne, Patty & Maxene Andrews
This trio of harmonizing sisters produced a slew of hits across five decades, landing them atop the list of the best-selling female groups of all time - with a staggering 90 million records sold. While you’d be hard-pressed to label a music trio whose primary genre was boogie woogie “vindictive,” you’d be surprised by just how nasty The Andrews Sisters could be to one another. Their most infamous spat revolved around the youngest sister Patty leaving to join another music group while failing to inform LaVerne or Maxene. After LaVerne passed in 1967, Maxene and Patty hardly spoke. In fact, they had zero contact between 1974 and 1982; only breaking their silence after Maxene suffered a heart attack.
#9: Liam & Noel Gallagher
The feud between brothers and former Oasis members Liam and Noel Gallagher has been well documented. From Twitter fights, to courtroom fights, to literal fights, there appears to be no arena in which these two ornery brothers won’t duke it out. In 1994, Liam infamously stuck his older brother with a tambourine and there eventually came a point during their Oasis run where they could no longer do joint interviews, lest they start throwing punches at one another. The band may have split up in 2009 but the feud between these two is still going strong, with Noel stating in 2014, “[An Oasis reunion is] not going to happen, unless they’re doing it without me, but without me it would be rubbish.”
#8: Jim & John Harbaugh
Now this must have made for one awkward Sunday dinner. In the early 2010s, brothers Jim and John Harbaugh found themselves coaching for the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens respectively. This wouldn’t constitute a feud on its own, but things got infinitely more complicated when the siblings squared off in Super Bowl XLVII. John Harbaugh’s Ravens ultimately came away with the victory and while the two brothers exchanged a few words following the game, they reportedly didn’t speak for quite some time afterwards. John later told reporters that beating his brother was “hardest thing I’ve ever experienced.” Not to worry, they’ve since mended their relationship and are reportedly stronger than ever.
#7: Dave & Ray Davies
The Kinks owe their success to brothers Dave and Ray Davies, who formed the legendary English rock band in 1964. However, the Davies were known as much for their in-fighting as they were for their musical prowess. The brothers engaged in numerous physical altercations, including one incident where Ray threw curry at his brother. Dave once remarked, “As the years wore on, the struggles became greater, the battles more brutal, the mind games more intense, weirder, and the lows much lower.” One of those lows involved them arguing over who created the iconic guitar sound for their song “You Really Got Me.” However, in 2018 the band announced that they would be reuniting to work on a new album. All’s well that ends well, right?
#6: Harry Houdini & Theodore Hardeen
In the beginning, Harry Houdini and his younger brother Theodore Hardeen were a team, performing under the name “The Brothers Houdini.” However, it wasn’t long before Harry became a solo act, leading Theodore to change his name to Hardeen (which stood out, but still sounding similar to Houdini). From that point until Harry Houdini’s death, the brothers had a professional rivalry that never veered towards anger or hatred. In fact, Hardeen was the only person that Houdini ever let copy his tricks; and when the latter died, he left his brother all of his props, gadgets, and effects. You see, not all sibling rivalries are nasty.
#5: Venus & Serena Williams
Few siblings throughout sports history have managed to accomplish as much as these two. Venus and Serena Williams have combined for an eye-popping 30 Grand Slam Titles, a feat we doubt any sibling duo will ever be able to match. Over the years, the hard-hitting and ultra-competitive sisters have squared off eight times, though it’s hardly something they look forward to. Perhaps Serena summed up her feelings about playing her sister best when she quipped, “If I win I'm not super excited, and if I lose I'm really not excited.” We’ll say this: you don’t want to be staring these two down in a game of doubles. Yikes.
#4: Rudolf & Adolf Dassler
Once thick as thieves, German brothers Rudolf and Adolf Dassler would eventually grow to despise one another; with the inciting incident reportedly being the result of a simple miscommunication. The Dassler Brothers were shoe manufacturers and good ones at that. At the 1936 Summer Olympics, they outfitted most of the German team with their product and even managed to get Jesse Owens to wear a pair of their shoes. However, when WWII started, so did their feud. The story goes that during an air raid Adolf referred to the Allies as “dirty bastards,” but Rudolf took this to mean him and his family. Soon after their company was in shambles and both men decided to start new ones. Perhaps you’ve heard of Puma and Adidas…
#3: Olivia de Havilland & Joan Fontaine
Some sibling rivalries take years to develop, while others are there from the very beginning. For legendary actors Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine, it was the latter. The two Academy Award winners were said to have started their feud at an early age, when they would compete for their mother’s attention. In 1942, both women were nominated for Best Actress, but following Joan’s win, Olivia failed to offer her sister any sort of congratulations. Worst still, when their mother died, de Havilland reportedly failed to notify Fontaine for weeks, causing her to miss the funeral! Fontaine put it like this: “I married first, won the Oscar before Olivia did, and if I die first, she'll undoubtedly be livid because I beat her to it!"
#2: Cleopatra & Her Siblings
Few historical figures evoke the same level of interest and curiosity as Cleopatra. The legendary Egyptian ruler was best known for her beauty and cunning, but she wasn’t afraid to get her hands dirty if it meant advancing up the political ladder. This reportedly included offing two of her brothers and her sister. The first to bite the dust was her brother Ptolemy XIII, who, fun fact, was also her husband, He exiled Cleopatra (big mistake) only for her to return with Julius Caesar years later to dethrone him. After Ptolemy XIII’s death, Cleopatra married her other brother, Ptolemy XIV, but shortly thereafter had him killed as well. Oh, and then she convinced Mark Antony to kill her sister, Arsinoe IV. Ancient times were… rough.
Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
Mukesh & Anil Ambani
Peyton & Eli Manning
#1: Mary & Anne Boleyn
Not even their parents could’ve predicted how high Mary and Anne Boleyn would soar in their time amongst the English aristocracy. A rift between the two began when Anne was chosen to be the maid of honor to the Archduchess Margaret of Austria. Mary was sent to France where she eventually became the mistress to the King. When she returned to England, she became Henry VIII’s mistress and allegedly bore two of his children. She was eventually dismissed and Anne married the King sometime later, driving an even bigger wedge between the two siblings. However, Anne’s inability to produce a male heir angered Henry and he eventually had her killed. Mary on the other hand lived out her life in obscurity. So… she won?