One of America’s most epic romances is back on: Mattel is announcing today that, after shocking the world with their break-up in 2004 and rekindling their love on the set of last year’s blockbuster Toy Story 3, Barbie and Ken have decided to give love another chance after seven years apart. The pair’s plastic love is red-hot once again, just in time for the most romantic of holidays, Valentine’s Day. Yesterday, Barbie hinted that something might be in the works on her Facebook page with the status update: “Who knows…maybe I’ll have a Valentine this year.” Early this morning, Barbie changed her status on Facebook to “In a Relationship.”
EW called up Mattel to get a little context on the news. “They were reunited as costars, as you know, on the set of Toy Story 3,” explains Lisa McKnight, vice president of marketing at Mattel. “As we like to put it, they found they were kind of missing each other. They had a lot of fun together. Now a little time has passed since the shoot and all the premiere noise around the movie and all that good stuff, and I think they both realized that they’re made for each other.”
In case you’re unfamiliar, here’s a quick refresher on the couple’s storied romance: Barbie and Ken met on the set of their first commercial in the spring of 1961. They were together and happy — winding their way through the sometimes-hilarious trends of the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s — before tragedy struck on Valentine’s Day in 2004: The couple surprisingly announced that they were going to spend time apart, and Barbie began dating the charming Australian surfer Blaine. In 2006, Ken made a play for Barbie’s heart again with a Hollywood makeover and while it scored him big points with Barbie, the two just remained friends. Their casting in last year’s sequel Toy Story 3, however, brought them back together, and things began to rekindle for the pair, leading to today’s announcement. The full story of the couple getting back together has been well documented.
So was their seven-year split just a blip on the radar for these star-crossed lovers? “To be fair to them, they have been together for about 43 years, so you know, I think everyone needs a break,” says McKinght. “So they took a little break and had fun out on their own and were certainly out and about, but I think ultimately, again, they were destined for each other.”
Die-hard Barbie and Ken fans were apparently clamoring for the pair to get back together, according to Mattel. “In 2004, we certainly got a lot of feedback when they did break up,” McKnight says. “People were devastated and we made the evening news and it was crazy. More recently, when people saw them together again on the set of Toy Story 3, people were really pushing for them to get back together again. We got a lot of formal petitions from brand fans, Barbie fan groups, asking for them to get back together. I think there was one group that sent in a three-page letter, expressing how they felt and how they never should have broken up in the first place and they’ve just got to be reunited. So there’s a lot of passion there. They really are the sort of ultimate ‘it’ couple. So everyone’s rooting for them to get back together.” A poll that Mattel has been running on www.barbieandken.com found that fans were more than in favor of them reuniting, with the Love-O-Meter results reading “Give Him a Chance!” yesterday afternoon.
As you might guess, this reunion is a total marketing move for Barbie/Mattel, and they’ve taken the opportunity to put out a new product, the Barbie and Ken Gift Set, which you can see above (with a few word-bubbled embellishments from EW). The set hits stores today, Valentine’s Day, and is just $5.
Are you all glad to see Barbie and Ken back together? Did you even know they were officially broken up? Are they really back together for good this time? Sound off below.
Tanner on Twitter: @EWTanStransky