by Yolanda Gray
Divorce is a word often found in the same sentence with celebrity. In popular culture in fact, it’s almost come to be defined solely by celebrity. So our brains have been programmed thus: “Celebrities divorce. Politicians don’t.” “Celebrities divorce. Pastor don’t.” “Celebrities divorce. Regular people don’t.”
So, nobody puts Barack and Michelle on a let’s-watch-and-see-how-long-it’s-gonna-last list. It’s a given that their marriage has to work. But, it’s normal, even joyful to place Brad and Angelina on such a list.
So, Arnold Schwarzenrggar and Maria Shriver went off the callous watch list when he turned a politician. But, see how things that turned out.
In fact, it’s not all celebrity marriages that are expected to fail. After all, politicians and pastors are famous people too. It just so happens that the brighter the spotlight on you, the more the scrutiny. No one paid attention previously to Antonio “L.A.” Reid and his wife, Erica. But, now that he is on TV as an X Factor judge, you can bet his marriage will be placed on watch.
Is the frenzy-like ill-wishes towards celebrity marriages fair? Is there any statistics to support the belief that celebrity marriages have a higher tendency to break down in the soonest possible time? Is the notion of the short lived celebrity marriage a media creation – one that the audience feeds into because it’s just human to hate on people who have the life we wish we had?
Most likely, “Look at her, she’s beautiful, she’s rich, she’s got the world at her fingertips, but she’s a failure at marriage.” is an ugly version of “the rich also cry” syndrome.
This I know for sure: the health of celebrity marriages is a reflection of the general health of marriages in the society. Have you ever seen a community where every marriage worked and it was just the celebrities who had been divorced? Hell, no!
For every celebrity marriage that didn’t last 73 days, there are a bunch of regular folks who didn’t make the 73 days mark as well. It’s just that, their names don’t sell papers or bring ratings. I know a couple who split up the weekend they got married, I can’t even remember their names and I worked with the husband in the same office for four years. Go figure!
So, this is wisdom: every time, we have the urge to jump into a gleeful conversation about the latest celebrity marriage gone south, it’s more honourable to pause, and think about the regular people in our lives, in our family, whose marriages didn’t work out and ask ourselves – is celebrity divorce – indeed any divorce at all – something to get all jumpy about?
I have met, worked with, lived with, and been in the same family with people who lived through divorce. This is what I can tell you for sure – divorce hurts and it hurts badly. Anything that hurts – death, rape, cancer, betrayal – can not be something to celebrate, even if it happens to someone you don’t really dig.
You are celebrating someone’s unhappiness – think about it!