Why is Hollywood so Quick to Divorce?
I woke up this morning, looked at my phone and the first thing I said to my husband was ‘I can’t believe it, Brangelina getting divorced!’ He looked at me, his eyes not yet open enough to focus on the lines of concern etched across my far-too-close-to-his face, and mumbled, ‘who is Brangelina? Do we know them?’
I explained it was Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, that uber-cool Hollywood couple that looked like they got on so well and that they were so normal and that they only got married two years ago and always seemed to be so happy! My husband looked at me, rolled over and mumbled something about not giving a toss.
He’s right, I don’t know them, so why am I so upset by the news that they are splitting up and giving up?
I’ll tell you why…
Because Hollywood gives us heroes, and we see in them what we want to see in ourselves. And when they fail, when the ‘good guys’ and the ‘gorgeous, talented, nice ones’ fail and don’t make the cut – then we shit ourselves. I too have children and I too have been with my husband for many years and my subconscious is having a panic attack right now, screaming ‘Oh God, if they can’t make it, then what chance do the rest of us have of making it through our own marriage’?
Then, once I got over my surprise, I got angry and disappointed. Why can’t Brad and Angelina, and all the other Hollywood quick quitters, try a bit harder? I know their private life is none of my business, no one knows or has a right to discuss what goes on behind closed doors, but they seemed to have a good thing going. Marriage is fucking hard work. Hard, hard, HARD work. And what’s more, for every kid you throw in the mix, it’s even tougher. Here’s what’s hard about being married:
– Your husband works long hours and you resent him for not being able to help more with the kids.
– Your wife doesn’t have to go to work anymore and you resent her for getting to be with the kids all day, yet she still complains about them all the time and the house is a tip.
– Every time either of you have to spend money on something unexpected there’s an argument.
– You’ve got fat, you hate yourself for it.
– He’s got fat, and he doesn’t care (and you hate that he doesn’t care)
– You get no time alone and sex is but a memory. Then when you do get round to it you are still thinking about your tummy flab and whether the kids are really asleep or might walk in.
– You look forward to the weekend but it’s the same amount of stress and hard work as the week, except instead of him going to work you have to all go to Ikea or the supermarket or go through the joy of visiting in-laws when all you want is a lie in, slow morning sex and a bacon sandwich in bed. Like the old days. Like when you first met and all the marriage and family and money shit didn’t get in the way.
But Hollywood couples don’t have to worry about that. They have MONEY and, although they have less anonymity than the rest of us, they can still afford to try that bit harder. Surely they can get a cleaner, cook, child-minder, accountant, personal trainer, marriage therapist and a big enough house where he gets to sit in his man den and get his head straight every evening (instead of locking himself in the loo, like normal men) and she can have a girl’s night out once in a while and have someone look after the kids the next day when she’s hungover? If us plebs can make it past ten years, why can’t the golden couples of Hollywood?
Except everything is transient and formulaic out there in La La Land. The guys have a wild crazy time in their 20’s (there was a reason why you left Gwyneth and Jen remember, Brad. And they aren’t having the best time in the relationship stakes either), the guys get married and have their kids at 30-40 years old, then split up and after a polite year or so pull the ubiquitous, cliched, wide-eyed dolly bird in her 20’s who makes them feel like the big star they once were. Brad isn’t alone among my ‘Actor and Cool Dad Hollywood Heroes’ who have let me down and reverted to type – Johnny Depp did it too. He, like Brad, chose a cool wife who didn’t go for all that celeb red-carpet crap. They had a few un-starry kids, they lived away from the limelight (in a French village, God damn it!), and just when I thought ‘Yes! Take that Hollywood! Look at these wonderful, loving, sexy guys who are doing what a real man should do’ they up and leave. Johnny then married a blonde half his age on his own Caribbean island and was immediately struck off my ‘I’d so shag you’ list. Big fail.
That’s not what cool men do.
But then who am I to comment on someone’s relationship?
Maybe Brad and Angelina did the right thing? Maybe if you are both truly unhappy, your children can see you arguing all the time, you want different things and you have tried everything and all it does is make you drift apart further… maybe the kindest thing to do is to call it a day and Consciously Uncouple a la Gwyneth and Chris? My parents did, and to be honest they did us all a favour and it worked out great. They are still friends, my sister and I came out pretty unscathed and I didn’t have to spend my teens watching my parents hate each other.
Our Hollywood Heroes are still people after all. People with the world watching them waiting to fail, and people who can’t just have a shit day and sit in the park eating chocolate crying with a friend and slagging off their spouse without the world knowing about it. Instead they distribute a statement to the press and the movie stars move on.
They are actors after all. They played their part, they did a good enough job for us to think it was all perfectly perfect, and now they get to re-invent themselves. It’s a shame though, I for one was really rooting for Brangelina!