Drew Barrymore & Tom Green, nine months. Bradley Cooper & Jennifer Esposito, four months. Carmen Electra & Dennis Rodman, nine days. Renee Zellweger & Kenny Chesney, four months. Nicholas Cage & Lisa Marie Presley, three months. Jennifer Lopez & Cris Judd, seven months. Cher & Greg Allman, nine days. Britney Spears & Jason Alexander, fifty-five hours. Kim Kardashian & Kris Humphries, seventy-two days.
That’s the length of time these couples were married. Wow.
It’s apparent to anyone who’s ever read Star, People, or even Time Magazine that Hollywood marriages rarely last. I often wonder if both parties knew that going into the marriage, but just didn’t care because divorce is so ho-hum in Hollywood? (You can get one on your lunch hour. While you’re getting your nails done.) Or is there just something inherently wrong with these people?? Would they behave the same way if they weren’t rich and famous?
We’ve all heard the statistics that tell us that approximately 50% of all marriages in the U.S. end in divorce. Those studies would lead us to believe that we’re all just a bunch of self-centered idiots who take marriage vows like we take our morning coffee. Casually and subject to change without notice. I’d love to see the divorce percentages if we removed Hollywood from the equation. Quite frankly, these people are screwing with our national stats and making us all look bad.
Hollywood is a different planet, and we don’t live on it. The intensity, the public adulation (and the fear of losing it), the money (oh, the money), the material lifestyle, the fame. It all wars with commitment to home and hearth, and in the end (which in some cases, is a mere fifty-five hours later), one or both of the newlyweds decides they made a mistake and wants out.
So what makes a Hollywood marriage so different from yours and mine? Aren’t these just regular people looking for love like the rest of us? No other subculture in this country has a divorce rate that matches Hollywood. Why is that??
- Oftentimes, Hollywood starlets want to get married more than they want to be married. The goal is a dream wedding, with unlimited funds. No David’s Bridal Winter Sale for these girls. No siree. It’s not uncommon for celebrities to spend millions on the Big Day (with a cool million spent on the dress). The wedding itself is being held in a castle in Provence, with 400 friends flying in (at the happy couple’s expense, of course). Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries’ wedding was breathtaking, incredibly romantic, and cost $10,000,000. As in ten million dollars. The marriage lasted seventy-two days. (Dear Miss Manners: Do you have to give the wedding presents back if you throw a $10M dollar party, flew the guests to a private island, and also paid for everybody’s drinks? I say what the hell. Let the now newly divorced couple keep the toaster.)
- Celebrities can be self-absorbed to the point of narcissism. “It’s all about me. All day. All the time.” They may want love, but they’re not willing to do anything to get it or to maintain it. Celebrities tend to feel that their contribution to the marriage is their presence. Their partner should be grateful enough to row the boat for both of them. “I’m Tom Cruise, I’m ridiculously rich, I own a plane, and I married you. What more do you want?” (Try that attitude in a non-celebrity marriage.)
- Many celebrities are stalked by the press 24/7, and their every movement is emblazoned on the tabloids for all the world (including their spouse) to see, in real time. Most of us couldn’t take that kind of unrelenting media attention. We all become temporarily stupid from to time and do dumb crap, but for celebrities, it’s a breaking news, around the world event. Celebrity spouses have their partner’s unfortunate behavior shoved in their face fifteen minutes after it happens. If you’re married to Ben Affleck, this can be an ongoing problem that eventually ends the marriage.
- Celebrities get married too soon. Relationships happen quickly, with the focus on physical attraction, rather than values, goals, and shared spiritual beliefs. Maybe they met on the music studio. Maybe they met at a Hollywood party and couldn’t keep their hands off each other. Maybe it’s electric chemistry while on the movie set. For all the victim persona that Blake Shelton wailed about, he was doing the yippee skippy with Gwen Stefani while he was married to Miranda Lambert, who he claims was sweating it up with half of Nashville. (Apparently, the transgression increases with the body count. They both cheated, but she had more guys in her jungle gym. Therefore, she’s a tramp. He “fell in love” with someone else. Aahhh, that’s so sweet. Go Hollywood.)
- Celebs are used to massive amounts of adulation and applause. John Mayer once called it “ego addiction.” Let’s be honest. It feels good to have all those people loving you. The love of a spouse pales in comparison. The celebrity spouse constantly seeks out situations where crowds of people are present to adore him with boisterous screaming and the tossing of panties and hotel room keys. The spouse left behind finally gets tired of the other one coming home with the wrong size undies and keys to hotels they’ve never been to as a couple, and pulls the plug.
- There can be a certain level of mistrust in a Hollywood marriage, especially if one of the two people is more famous than the other. “Is she with me because I can boost her stalled career?” (Let’s see. You’re 76 and she’s 24. Duh.) “Did he marry me because he wants to ‘live the life,’ or because he wants to live with me?” (Well, stop spending money on him and see what happens. Want to place bets?) Mistrust about motives plants a seed of doubt into the entire relationship, and causes more break-ups than nasty mothers-in-law.
- Hollywood stars who make a movie together become intensely close. If the script calls for intimate love or sex scenes, it can be difficult to leave those feelings on the movie set when you go home to your partner. Chemistry on the set can get confused with real life. Many a movie star has left their spouse for their co-star, only to have reality rear its ugly head when the movie was wrapped up. (Ask Dennis Quaid about his then-wife Meg Ryan. She was rubbing tummies with Russell Crowe when they both starred in Proof of Live. But at the end of the movie, Russell dumped her and Dennis didn’t want her back. Ouch.)
- Star couples are competing in the same field. The balance of power is constantly shifting with the natural ebb and flow of the industry. When one person gets more or better career offers than the other, eventually becoming a household name, def-con level jealousy can set in. (The basis of the true-life movie A Star is Born. She rose to meteoric fame, while his star crashed and burned through alcoholism and depression, killing the marriage.)
- Celebrities spend inordinate amounts of time travelling, without their spouses. Hollywood insiders tell us that cheating is so common while on the road, nobody is surprised enough to care. It’s a “What happens on the road, stays on the road.” Since there’s no repercussions, it’s become sadly the norm. As my mother used to say, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder…for somebody else.” Welcome to Hollywood.
I think I’ll stay home and watch TV.