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A friend of mine has a trophy wife, but apparently, it wasn't first place.—Steven Wright
A young and attractive wife who is regarded as a status symbol for the husband, who is older and affluent.
She is often seen as a contrast to the first wife. If the first wife is the sympathetic character, she sacrificed her own career prospects and youth to support her husband's advancement during the long hard early years only to be summarily dumped for the younger, prettier trophy wife. If the second wife is meant to be sympathetic, then the first wife is a nagging, emasculating harridan who only ever cared about the social status and wealth she'd eventually pushed her husband into, while the second wife truly cares about him as a person and understands his inner creative urges.
Note that trophy husbands do exist; the still-entrenched Double Standard regarding gender equality, however, makes them rarer than the wife version.
- Aliens/Predator: Deadliest of the Species follows Caryn Delacroix, a sheltered young woman who is a trophy wife to one of Earth's most powerful corporate leaders. Caryn believes herself to be a custom-built clone until she starts having nightmares and flashbacks of a life she never knew.
- When a group of Corrupt Corporate Executives kidnap and brainwash The Authority, this is the fate of Swift, who is creepily "given" to one of the men behind the scheme. It turns out that keeping one of their victims nearby and alive in this way isn't such a good idea once the brainwashing is inevitably undone.
- The plot of The Stepford Wives (at least the re-make) sees the women transformed from "Supergirls" to a more stereotypical trophy wife (and husband, in the case of a gay couple from the remake). At least this appears to be a large part of the husband's motivation.
- Brooke, the murder victim's wife from Legally Blonde, plays around with it; she does NOT need to be one of these since she already had her own and pretty successful business by the time she married the guy. (And she liked her husband's other assets much more). Still Elle says Brooke did what she could to stay married to the old man, mostly because he had a history of getting divorced on a whim.
- Bill and Ted: In Excellent Adventure Bill's dad has divorced his mother and gotten married to Missy, who is only three years older than his son. In Bogus Journey they have split up and now Ted's dad is the one married to Missy.
- Mona Lisa Smile is about the art professor Katherine teaching the girls at Wellesley to actually apply themselves and learn. In the 1950s and earlier, the whole point of a woman going to college was to find a husband and little more. Problem is, Katherine devolves into an Control Freak who almost loses it when one of her students, Joan, decides to marry anyway. When Katherine goes to Joan's wedding and throws a tantrum over her decision, Joan stands her ground and calls her out on her shit.
- The First Wives Club is about women who get dumped, often to be replaced by trophy wives. Phoebe, the self-absorbed starlet, and Shelly, the empty-headed gold-digger, are the two most prominent trophy second wives, who help inspire the women they've replaced to create the club.
- In the James Bond films, a few of the women Bond manages to maneuver into a Sex Face Turn are the villain's neglected or duped trophy wife. Paris Carver in Tomorrow Never Dies is one of the later examples.
- In the bad altered 1985 from Back to The Future Part II, Marty's mother Lorraine has been coerced into becoming Biff Tannen's trophy wife, complete with unwanted breast augmentation. Though Marty is eventually able to Set Right What Once Went Wrong, the viewer sees that she would have eventually shot him to death.
- Jennifer Coolidge's character in Best in Show is a spoof example in the Gold Digger vein, and, unusually, is cheating with another woman, not a man.
- Rollerball (original version): Jonathan had a trophy wife bestowed on him for his success, but he really did care for her. Then she was taken away from him and given to an executive. This seems to be completely normal behavior in that verse.
- In The Big Lebowski, Bunny Lebowski, the wife of the "other" Lebowski, is a hot, blonde girl who Really Gets Around, married to a crippled old millionaire.
- In "The Jerk" Steve Martin's boss (Jackie Mason) brings his hot wife to the garage to explain the importance of keeping the place safe. Without such a lucrative business how could he, of all people, get and keep such a woman? He explains that if anything happened to the business she'd leave him in a second. She nods in agreement.
- George Smiley's wife Anne is arguably an example of the unfaithful type.
- Katherine Wellington from Harpers Island. She even admits it.
- Jane Siegel Sterling on Mad Men. Roger Sterling throws over his wife of many years, Mona, for his sexy secretary. He soon tires of her, although she seems sincerely devoted to him. Don Draper marries his sexy secretary at the end of Season 4.
- The Master's wife Lucy Saxon in the revived Doctor Who was chosen for her pliability and her family connections, making her a fairly straightforward example of a trophy wife. However, even finding out his true nature doesn't shake her loyalty to him. After he abuses her, she fatally shoots him and, still later, sacrifices her life to sabotage his resurrection and leave him with a bad case of Came Back Wrong.
- Subverted on Lois and Clark, where the seeming trophy wife of Intergang's boss swiftly takes over and proves to be her husband's equal in brains and ruthlessness after he is imprisoned.
- Modern Family's Gloria Delgado-Pritchett is a surprisingly sympathetic example of a trophy wife.
- In Two and A Half Men, Charlie sleeps with an old man's trophy wife without knowing she was married. He wasn't too happy about it.
Evelyn: Did my son polish your trophy wife?
- From Barney and Clyde we have J. Barnard Pilsbury's second wife Lucretia.
- Ashley-Amber from Daria, Brittany's stepmother. A former beer spokeswoman, she met her husband at a photo shoot; he is significantly wealthy and presumably quite a bit older, given his children's ages. Interestingly, a tie-in book notes that she's been learning about joint property law behind her husband's back.
- The Fleur-de-lis pony from My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic
- Nanette Manoir's mother from Angela Anaconda is implied to be this.
- Played with on Dollhouse. Echo is implanted with the mind of a rich woman who has been murdered to sniff out her killer. All the clues suggest that its her hunky trophy husband in it for the money. In fact, they were Red Herrings as the husband actually loved her dearly, and the son was the killer because of his jealousy over the husband.
- Jefferson D'Arcy on Married... with Children is close to this, as his wife seems to care mainly about his looks and willingness to indulge her. He married her hoping to get at her money.
- Peg Bundy likes to imagine that she's one of these, but marrying a shoe salesman who actively hates her makes her a subversion.
- Tom Lehrer: A ballad dedicated to Alma Mahler-Werfel, a socialite, who he praises for managing to marry three of the greatest minds of the day and having the raciest obituary he had ever had the pleasure of reading.
- Trace Adkins' recent song "Marry for Money." Told by a Trophy Husband who doesn't care about love or looks, as long as she's rich.
- In The Simpsons, when Marge became a successful businesswoman, Homer met up with other Trophy Husbands who try to teach him about their way of life.