Every day the news media informs the eager public of yet another celebrity divorce. Sometimes it seems like the young stars of our favorite TV shows and movies are playing a giant game of Musical Marriage Beds. Fans wonder, a bit enviously perhaps, where they find the energy for all that marrying and divorcing.
However youthful impulsivity is only part of the story. It certainly doesn’t explain why 55 year old Kelsey Grammer and his wife Camille are splitting after 13 years. It doesn’t explain 49 year old George Lopez and his wife Ann packing it in after 17 years. It doesn’t explain Cameron Crowe and Nancy Wilson divorcing after 24 years.
Celebrities find themselves in the divorce courts for pretty much the same reasons ordinary couples do. It seems like couples with large incomes would have a better chance of working out their difference than people do who never have enough money. But celebrities discover that no matter how much money they make it’s never enough.
In an ordinary family people disappoint and fail and betray each other on a pretty regular basis. Things that could lead to divorce often don’t because the partners decide to work it out. But an incident that can be managed privately becomes uncontrollable when exposed to the magnifying glass of public scrutiny.
People new to fame can be shocked by what can happen to a marriage when exposed to television cameras. Recently thirty-three miners in Chile found the media spotlight focused on them as they were rescued from a a mine cave-in after two months under ground. The effect this new notoriety will have on the men and their families could be problematic.
One of the thirty-three miners saw his life begin to change before he even reached the surface. When his wife discovered that her husband had another woman and that she was also there waiting for him she was not happy. The fact that she made this discovery on life television in front of the entire world probably made the situation many times worse for her.
Unfortunately there are few things in the world harder to forgive than public humiliation. Infidelity is difficult to forgive but compounded by the knowledge that the whole world is watching and judging you it can become impossible.
People tend to believe that the staggering divorce rate among celebrity couples is something new. But look at the many marriages of former Hollywood stars like Marilyn Monroe, Liz Taylor, Humphrey Bogart and even silent screen stars Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin. Infidelity is nothing new. Neither is obnoxious, rude, violent behavior or neglect of home and family anything new. Alcohol has been abused as long as there has been alcohol and illicit drugs have always been available to those who could afford them.
All the things that seem to contribute to the breakdown of marriage are available to celebrity couples in super size portions. The stress of a demanding job and long hours makes a variety of drugs seem appealing. Opportunities to be tempted by attractive other men and other women abound. Long periods of time separated from spouse and family make temptations more tempting and leaves spouse more discontent. Inhibition-lowering drugs impair judgment. Marital problems that are bubbling beneath the surface boil over when a spouse in fit of rage drives his car into a lamp post for all the world to see. It’s a recipe for a celebrity divorce.