03/28/2014 04:24 pm ET Updated May 28, 2014

9 Famous Women Who Waited to Wed

The world collectively gasped thirteen-and-a-half years ago when feminist activist Gloria Steinem tied the knot at age 66 (to actor Christian Bale's father David Bale). Many presumed the co-founder of Ms. Magazine could never be marriage-minded. But Steinem is just an extreme example of the trend she helped orchestrate: Women establishing their independence and careers before attempting conjugal bliss. "Having it all" does not necessarily mean having it all simultaneously.

In America today, the average age of women embarking on their first marriage is 26 to 27, "old maid" territory just decades ago. That makes it all the more fascinating to reflect on women throughout history who defied the expectations of their times and cultures by not making it legal until their thirties or older. Check out nine of these remarkable wives:

9 Famous Women Who Waited to Wed

Daria Snadowsky is the author of the novel Anatomy of a Single Girl, now out in paperback by Random House.