It makes the news almost every single day: a new celebrity divorce! And if it’s not an actual divorce, it’s rumors of a divorce: Beyonce and Jay-Z, George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin. There’s even a Wikipedia page devoted to “Hollywood Marriage.” But is it true that celebrities get divorced more often? Or is it just that we hear about it because they’re in the limelight?
Back in the golden era of Hollywood, the term “Hollywood marriage” meant a high society marriage between celebrities of the film industry. These marriages were full of glitz and glamour. But in it’s current incarnation, the term carries strong negative connotations of a marriage that is of short duration and ends in either divorce or separation. The negative view actually transpired fairly early in the film industry, by the 1930’s it seems the term had already soured.
Influence of the Media
People are often quick to point a finger at the media, which is often quick to document failed marriages between celebrities, thus, creating a skewed perspective that “Hollywood marriages” have worse success rates than marriages out of the spotlight do. Bob Thomas of the Associated Press remarked in 1972 that media also tends to ignore the celebrity marriages that actually last. Examples he gave included Bob Hope’s marriage to Dolores Hope, and Rosalin Russell’s marriage to producer Frederick Brisson.
Faults with Celebrities
Those who don’t blame the media often point to the idea that high divorce rates among celebrities are caused by faults within Hollywood as a culture, or by personal faults found in the celebrities themselves. This view tends to think that weddings are used a publicity stunts and that celebrity culture is driven by the egotism and immaturity of celebrities. Additionally, divorce rates are fueled by the high levels of infidelity and promiscuity. Bee Wilson, from The Daily Telegraph, wrote “Hollywood marriages” for were often based on the unrealistic dreams of what she termed “permanent children.” Additionally, she pointed out, as a counter to her point, that classic Hollywood couples, like Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart, and Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, were exceptions.
Celebrities’ Opinions on Divorce
Meanwhile, it seems the actors and entertainers themselves have varying opinions on the divorce rate in Hollywood. Anne Baxter once stated that Hollywood was “the most difficult place in America for marriage” because of the “terrible extremes of success and failure” both spouses may face. Some others feel it is due to the magnifying glass often held to marriages, as was stated in a 1964 interview of Mitzi Gaynor. “Everything we do is magnified,” she said. In the same interview, she also concluded that, “you have to be a little off-center to get into this business in the first place.”
Statistics on Divorce Rates
There are often differing schools of thought on who qualifies as a “celebrity.” A study from Radford University found that the occupations of “dancers and choreographers” have the highest percent currently divorced, with “Entertainers and performers, sports and related workers, all other” still being above average at tenth. “Nursing, psychiatric, and home health aides” were ninth and “Baggage porters and concierges” were eleventh. A Forbes article supported this, placing “professional athletes and entertainers” together and with a high divorce rate.
Some Notoriously Short Marriages
Though Hollywood has short marriages, the following seem to be known for being notoriously short:
- Britney Spears and Jason Allen Alexander were married in Las Vegas and annulled 56 hours later.
- Pamela Anderson and Kid Rock were married for six months.
- Drew Barrymore and Jeremy Thomas were married for 19 days.
- Sophia Bush and Chad Michael Murray’s marriage lasted for five months. They announced their separation in September 2005. Bush petitioned for an annulment in February 2006, but was not successful. She was instead granted a divorce in December 2006.
- Milla Jovovich and Shawn Andrews were married in 1992. Their marriage was annulled two months later.
- Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries were married 72 days before they filed for divorce.
There are other things that factor into a Hollywood divorce, and why it might seem to be so commonplace; including busy schedules that often mean spending months away from home, but also a lot, just as in all marriages, things can get real real quick in a marriage. All of a sudden, the literal starring leading man, can become the spouse next to you with the bad morning breath and the inability to pick up after himself.
Temptation can also be higher when you’re a celebrity. One of the job requirements is actually to kiss other actors and actresses. In addition to this, there are also fans who will willingly throw themselves at their biggest on-screen crush. When millions of people are telling you they love you and you’re awesome, it can be hard to think anything less of yourself, so you might be less inclined to stay with anyone who might have moments of thinking your stinky shoes are less than awesome.
Divorce Rates in General
The divorce rate is dependent on whether the marriage is a first, second, or third. The statistical differences are as follows:
- For a first marriage the divorce rate is 41% to 50%;
- For a second marriage the divorce rate is from 60% to 67%;
- For a third marriage the divorce rate is 73% to 74%.
Research also shows that couples that share children also have a slightly lower rate of breakup as compared to couples without children. Interestingly, the children of divorced parents’ marriages are 4 times more likely to end in divorce than children of couples that remain married.
Drop in Divorce rate
Divorce rates have actually been dropping the last few decades, rather than what was previously thought. Data indicates that marriages have lasted longer in the 21st century when compared to the success rate of marriages that took place in the 1990s. The drop in the divorce rate is also expected to continue declining as more people take on the newest relationship trend of just living together like partners without marrying.
When people get to saying, “I do,” the last thing they expect to day is “divorce.” And it’s even harder to consider hiring a divorce attorney. But marriage, for anyone, whether the average Joe, or Hollywood’s brightest A-list celebrity, can be really difficult. Some times there are concrete reasons that couples divorce: like infidelity, but other times, two people just grow apart.
Marriage is Difficult
There are no set guides or rules to a successful marriage. If there was one set of lessons or rules, it’d be handed out at the alter. Some couples are able to navigate tough and rough spots, while others find that the only answer for them is divorce. You can never be completely sure if you are making the right call when you consider divorce, but there are some questions that can help you decide if that’s the step you should take.
Some Divorce Questions that Might Help
Here are some questions to ask yourself when you are considering divorce:
- Do I want a divorce or just a better relationship with my spouse?
- Have we sought help?
- Have we given it our all when we sought help?
- Is the strain in our relationship the result of a severe relationship stressor? (examples of stressors include: unemployment, infertility, infidelity, or a miscarriage)
- Have I looked at how I might be able to contribute or make this a better situation?
- Was this a mistake from the start?
- Have we just met a big challenge we are having issues getting through?
- Are my standards set impossibly high? This could be for your marriage, or for your spouse.
- Is there someone else?
- Do I still love my spouse?
Only you can answer these questions. Make sure you answer them honestly. This is crucial to being able to fully evaluate the circumstances from all sides. Ask them with an open and clear heart during a time when you have the time to really sit and think about how you’re feeling ad what your honest answers are. In asking these questions, you might find you are willing to make some tweaks and adjustments to your feelings, or even seek outside guidance for your marriage with a relationship therapist. If you come to the conclusion that divorce is the answer for you an attorney will be able to guide you in the next steps.
Working with a Divorce Attorney
Divorce is a personal decision and only you can know what will work for you. And it can be a difficult process, especially when it involves children, determining spousal support, and dividing marital property. Because of this, it is advised that you work with a divorce attorney that will help you come to agreements on all aspects of a marriage. They will be able to advise you on your state’s specific laws, in addition to your rights when it comes to retaining custody, or retaining certain property.