Celebrity Weddings: Divorces versus Happy-Ever-Afters

When love is in the spotlight

It’s official – marriage is back in fashion. Natalie Portman reportedly just said “I do” in an under-the-radar ceremony and a whole string of stars are set to tie the knot this year. On the flip side, celebrity splits are the talk of the town, with regular reports of A-list marriages falling apart or teetering on the brink.

Hot on the heels of Jennifer Lopez & Marc Anthony, Demi Moore & Ashton Kutcher and Russell Brand & Katy Perry, long-term celeb-couple Seal & Heidi Klum recently called it quits, joining a long list of celebrity marriages falling prey to ‘irreconcilable differences’, affairs or Twitter wars, frequently leading to messy multi-million-dollar, drop-of-the-hat divorces. Lasting relationships in La-la land seem a rarity.

Seemingly, celebrity marriages often can’t stand the heat, so what are the chances for soon-to-be-hitched star duos? Are they destined to live happily ever after in marital bliss, end up like Elizabeth Taylor & Richard Burton, famously divorcing then remarrying in classic ‘can’t-live-with-them, can’t-live-without-them’ fashion, or are the odds stacked against them from the start, more likely to be heading for the divorce courts, pre-nups at-the-ready?

Some seem to fall in love with the idea of marriage but have no conviction of commitment or view it as a respite of normalcy in Hollywood’s crazy world, a culture that sometimes doesn’t appear to encourage enduring marriage but seems to support self-centred attitudes requiring constant ego boosts. It’s not about hosting the party-of-the-century or making the front page of US Weekly, money can’t buy you love or a happily-ever-after…Hollywood nuptials have developed negative connotations of short-duration, crash’n’burn matrimonies. But is it down to the usual problems at the root of many marriages? Angela Sara West investigates.

Another day, another star split…Hollywood hasn’t been kind to high-profile marriages lately, seemingly destined to give love a bad name, with stars enjoying offscreen lives as dramatic and exciting as onscreen. You’d think they’d know how divorced their movies are from reality, but like their films where couples meet-bed’n’wed in 120 minutes, when it comes to marriage, some don’t make it beyond a few days, let alone to the clichéd ‘seven-year-itch’ stage.

Stars contend with a third entity…public perception. Disintegrating marriages hit the headlines, satisfying our celebrity-crazed culture. Truth is, no matter how much fame’n’fortune a couple has, marriage can be hard work for anyone…no-one’s immune. Marriages fail all the time. We just don’t hear about them…until it comes to celebrities.

Confetti At The Ready For These Upcoming Celeb Weddings
– Britney Spears & Jason Trawick: Having kissed her marriages to baby-daddy Kevin Federline and childhood friend Jason Alexander goodbye, let’s hope her nuptials to her ex-agent don’t leave Brit singing ‘Oops! I did it again!’

– Drew Barrymore & Will Kopelman: ‘Will’ it be third time lucky for Drew, too?

– Jessica Simpson & Eric Johnson: Her second attempt at wedlock, postponed until after baby’s born

– Sienna Miller & Tom Sturridge: A baby’s also on the way

– Anne Hathaway & Adam Shulman: Fingers crossed she’s unlike her ‘Bride Wars’ character!

Will They, Won’t They?
Rumours are rife Halle Berry & Olivier Martinez will soon get hitched after he put a ring on it. Speculation continues on the Jennifer Aniston/Justin Theroux ‘Rumour has it’-front. According to his grandma, Justin Timberlake & Jessica Biel are engaged, plus all eyes are on Stacy Keibler…will ‘commitment-phobe’ George Clooney pledge ‘til death do us part?

Grounds For Divorce?
The stardom ‘fishbowl’ means famous faces face increased pressure, every move scrutinised by the press. Experts/columnists cite various reasons for celeb marriage breakdowns:

Ego: ‘Celebrity’ isn’t synonymous with narcissism but Hollywood’s full of big egos with armies of helpers catering to every wish’n’whim, which real life comes without. ‘My-way-or-the-highway’ attitudes, inflated senses of entitlement, valuing image over substance can spark insecurities requiring constant re-affirmation…from directors…agents…fellow actors…family. ‘High-maintenance’ marriages are potentially double trouble if you’re both fighting for the limelight.

Priorities: Relationships, not careers, should be no.1. “I” becoming “we” when used to being in control/centre of your world can make compromise tricky.

Schedules: Long shooting days…months on the road…full-on schedules force famous faces apart, long-distance relationships proving contributing factors to marriage dissolution.

Temptation: The ‘allure of the attractive alternative’…endless arrays of suitors, steamy love scenes with hot leading ladies/fellas du jour…no matter how strong the relationship, it leads some astray.

Rumours: The media revel in revealing on-the-rocks-relationship gossip and tabloid rumours of affairs add fuel to the fire of already shaky marriages. Albeit innocent, one papped picture with the opposite sex and suddenly you’re cheating!

Pressure: From fans…agents advocating marriage to raise profiles…Mum bugging you about babies… Your every move documented, faults and indiscretions are magnified…publically.

Publicity: Some stars seem blinded by the glitz’n’glamour of staging extravagant weddings and/or consumed by the money it can bring, not thinking beyond the “I do’s.” Although she denies it, Kim Kardashian reportedly made millions selling TV/magazine rights to her lavish fairytale ceremony, her controversial union with Kris Humphries lasting just 72 caught-on-camera days. Some say showbiz unions fail because they’re based on performance or even business propositions. Publically airing relationship woes/reality TV shows/selling the wedding snaps aren’t necessarily wise moves.

Quickie nuptials: Only fools, and celebrities it seems, rush in. Lessons in ‘slowing down’ should be learned from this get-in-get-out-quickly habit, meaning marriages implode almost before the ink on the license is dry. Falsely believing a few weeks suffice to ‘know he/she’s the one’, they’re barely acquainted…and if the going gets tough, it’s straight to the divorce courts.  Infamous ‘quickie’ wedding venue, Las Vegas, proved a disastrous choice for Britney’s notoriously drunken nuptials with Jason. Sin City ceremonies often lead to short-lived unions…theirs lasting just 55 hours.

Going The Distance…The Secrets Of Their Success In The Spotlight
Many high-profile marriages weather the storm. For every well-known couple splitting following flash-in-the-pan matrimonies, there are others defying the odds with super-strong, long-term marriages.

Key attributes include ensuring quality time together, keeping private lives private, often avoiding the Hollywood scene and not providing the rumour mill with too much fodder, equal balance of power, respectfully maintaining their independence, solid value systems more important than egos, fine-balancing work and family and being each other’s biggest fan. Couples appearing to have the ‘real deal’ include the Beckhams, Catherine Zeta Jones & Michael Douglas, Will & Jada Pinkett Smith. While Tinseltown can be toxic, for some it’s THE place to meet their soulmate!