When you are rich and famous, nothing makes for a better news story than a Hollywood divorce. Even some of the most "together" couples have made a recent break. What causes strife in a marriage? How can we use celebrity mistakes to better our marriages?
Everyone's Doing It
Very few celebrity couples have made marriage last underneath the bright lights of the paparazzi and watchful eyes of the gossip columnists. Some of the longest marriages have only ended in failure. Those who have made news with their shocking divorces include:
- Renee Zellweger and Kenny Chesney
- Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe
- Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey
- Pamela Anderson and Kid Rock
- Denise Richards and Charlie Sheen
- Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt
Even marriages that had weathered rough times have ended in divorce. Lance Armstrong and his wife divorced after his bout with cancer.
If couples with endless money and connections at their disposal cannot make marriage work, how do the rest of us even have a chance?
Marriages on the Rocks
It seems like almost every Hollywood marriage has problems from the start. Even if the problems are not evident, they will come to light before the marriage ends.
Hollywood couples seem to get married for the wrong reasons. One of the biggest reasons couples get married is because they are infatuated with one another. Although infatuation can lead to love, it is best to wait for the real thing before tying the knot. Rushing into marriage often leads to a quick divorce.
Another reason couples may get married is because they get pregnant. While it is important for children to have parents with a healthy relationship no matter what their couple status is, marrying just because of children is not good.
Couples also choose to get married because of an "on again, off again" relationship. They figure if they keep coming back to the same person, it means they're meant to be. Unfortunately, this does not mean true love. At best, these people are meant to be good friends; at worst, they are caught in a vicious cycle of love-hate relationship.
Money and Power
When couples get together who are of approximately the same earning power and status, they seem to be able to keep their marriage stable. But, once one or the other becomes more successful or begins making a significantly greater amount of money, the couple can often plummet. Consider the fact that after winning Oscars, both Reese Witherspoon and Hilary Swank have gotten divorced from their husbands.
Envy and jealousy of the other partner may be the underlying reason many Hollywood marriages go awry.
Being a couple in Hollywood not only comes with a large net income and home, but with a large amount of time spent apart. When one of the spouses needs to film on location in another country for several months at a time, it can strain the relationship. Add in the other partner working on his/her own projects at the same time, and they will rarely see each other. Along with work obligations, being intimately close with co-stars is required by many movie and television scripts. Sometimes an on-screen romance becomes an off-screen problem. Even if a person does not commit adultery or cheat, the rumors and speculation can be enough to drive a wedge between the couple. Brad Pitt met Angelina Jolie while making a film, and they have since become a couple after he split with Jennifer Aniston.
Avoiding Your Own Hollywood Divorce
Because the very private details of famous people are often made public through magazines, photos, and court documents, the average couple can do more than just gossip about celebrity divorces. They can learn from them.
Of course, if you are all ready married, it is too late to avoid getting married for the wrong reasons. But, if you are committed to your partner and want to make it work, you should try marriage counseling before filing for divorce. Focus on what attracted you to your spouse in the first place. Do what you can to stop your divorce.
Do not let ambition rule the day. If your goal in marriage was to make the most money at your partner's expense, you should re-think your priorities. Those seeking powerful positions in life, whether through fame, politics, or climbing the social/career ladder, should take time to recognize that their partner is helping to make their dreams come true. At the same time, spouses supporting that ambitious partner should recognize that they may need to sacrifice their own plans for the future.
Finally, do not let work or other obligations take time away from your marriage. Obligations to your children are important, but they will not thrive if their parents' marriage is not sound. Your work or volunteerism will also suffer if you spend your days constantly worried about what is going on at home. Try the following ideas to keep from letting other responsibilities get in the way:
- Learn to say "no" when you are overextended
- Come home from work early one night a week
- Plan a "date night" for just the two of you, even if it is only once a month
- Limit the amount of time you watch television or work on the computer instead of spending time with your spouse
Take comfort in the fact that just because you do not have the money, status, power, or fame that celebrities have does not mean they have a better shot at marriage than the average couple. In fact, it often works against them. Learn from their mistakes and avoid your own "Hollywood" divorce.