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Family Law Blog

Comment on divorce & family law 

Are celebrities addicted to divorce?

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The question whether or not celebrities are addicted to divorce, and what the implications of this are, is one that has been going around in my head for several years now. Some days, it can certainly seem that there is just an endless procession of those in the public eye – some I have heard of and some I have not – talking about maybe getting a divorce, splitting up, getting back together, splitting up again, moving out, being pictured with their next beau, getting married, then going quiet for a while before the cycle starts again.

I’m not going to name names, because that wouldn’t be fair, but do an internet news search any given morning on the topic of divorce, as I do to make sure we are on top of the issues, and the vast majority will be about celebrities and the same names will appear with saddening monotony over a period of time. You could argue that is because by the very nature of the search, the internet is only going to have news on celebrity divorce and a lot less on other issues surrounding divorce. However, you can do a search about football and pick up plenty of news other than that pertaining to those at the top of the Premier League.

The heart of the issue for me is this: what messages is this putting out to “normal” people about the value and sanctity of marriage, and how easy it is to just drop out of a marriage if you wake up one morning and everything is not 100% rosy? It is clearly not for life, clearly disposable and not something you should bother working at. These are the wrong messages.

Is divorce more prevalent amongst the famous?

Is divorce actually more prevalent among high profile people than among the general population? I have found hard and fast figures difficult to come by. My perception certainly is that they are – or at least celebrity couples are more likely to have multiple divorces – but I guess we hear about high profile splits more than we do about normal marriages breaking up. They do not have the glare of the media.

Why is the media so interested? I don’t know but it has to be driven by a perception that the population at large are interested and will buy publications, visit websites or watch programmes with content about the latest celebs going for a “quickie” divorce. That’s another downside in terms of messaging. It is not just wrong moral messaging, but the wrong practical messaging. There is no such thing as a quickie divorce. Celebrities take just the same amount of time to divorce for “normal” people. They simply often are financially secure enough (and perhaps have been through it before so know the pitfalls) to agree not to dispute any of the grounds for divorce and so move the process along as quickly as possible.

I guess you would be right for pointing out that celebrities may be addicted to marriage rather than divorce. You can’t have one without the other. I guess the bottom line is that whatever gets them coverage keeps the value of their stock high. It is just unfortunate that so many people see life in the public lens as aspirational and that includes disposable marriages and quickie divorces.

Andrew Woolley
Family solicitor

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