The Myth of Wealthy Men and Beautiful Women
Joyce Park stashed this in Economics
Gender relations are, perhaps unsurprisingly, among the most likely scientific subjects to be flawed by observer bias. This article is a little bit elliptically written, but it posits that the storyline of "rich guy buys beautiful trophy wife" is actually not correct. Assortative mating is still the law... it's just that 1) women spend a lot more time on their appearance than men, 2) women do not make as much money as men, and 3) social scientists are just as prone to gender bias as everyone else. So a woman who is in the top 10% of income, education, and attractiveness among all women (e.g. Giselle) might marry a man who is in the top 10% of those factors among all men (e.g. Tom Brady)... and we would PERCEIVE her to be more attractive than him, and him to be wealthier than her.
It seems like a reasonable theory.
I liked his line, "Similarity and companionship are the currency of attraction."
Also they don't dwell on this in the article, but I believe in general wives are slightly younger than husbands... and that in the upper income brackets the wife is more likely to suspend her career for childraising... which would also reinforce the impression that the wife is trading beauty for money.
In my social circle, almost all marriages are between partners who met at university or attended comparably prestigious universities. But if you met the couple later in life, you might not know that because the wife is less likely to work at the career she had when the couple married.