It doesn't matter who you are, how many people you know (or know you), or how much money you make. Everyone, regardless of fame or fortune, will face the same life lessons in patience and strength when going through a divorce. Celebrity does not make the emotional and psychological challenges any easier, and it is likely that the media scrutiny exacerbates them. However, because celebrity divorces are so public, there are many ways we can learn from them.
Let us take a quick look at popular culture for some lessons we can learn from celebrity breakups:
- Your posts or tweets can strike back. Rumors of Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore's split went viral after a few suspicious activities on Facebook and Twitter that caught discerning eyes. We also learned from Anthony Weiner's Twitter indiscretions that social media is not the slightest bit private, and quite possibly the poorest forum for proving fidelity. While many of us have a perception of privacy when we're on Facebook or Twitter, that perception isn't reality. Not only are they not private, they are not fleeting, like we often believe. Nothing on the internet really ever disappears, and what you post or tweet may come back to hurt you later on.
- Always keep an open mind towards ending your relationship peaceably. Kelsey and Camille Grammar had a very public and bitter divorce, with mud slung around from both sides…right up until the last moment. Their conflict came to a close with an amicable settlement that ended the relationship sooner than anticipated, leaving Mr. Grammar free to re-marry within a matter of weeks. Even though it feels like the person you once loved is now your worst enemy, try to overcome your anger and bitterness, especially when children are involved. Remember that although you may no longer be married to a person, it is highly unlikely that your contact will cease the day the Judge signs the Decree. You may be sharing custody of children or continue running a business with your soon-to-be-ex in the future. Remember it is possible to resolve your differences and end the relationship amicably, which is a positive for everyone involved.
- Finances are one of the hardest hurdles you will face. Whether you make millions from blockbuster films or have a middle-class income, the subject of maintenance, which was once called alimony, is often one of the biggest sources of contention in a marriage. Maintenance, which does not include child support, requires agreeing on a "fair" amount for one spouse to pay another, and for what time period. This is often a very difficult mountain to climb. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver, after 25 years of marriage, are struggling with this very topic. Though Arnold has not contested child support, he has objected to paying spousal support and Maria's attorney fees. Money can quickly make bitter enemies. While child support is calculated by statute, it is very common for parties to quibble about the factors that go into a calculation. Parenting time and gross monthly income are not as cut and dry as one might think. It is important to find the right attorney, financial advisor, and support system that can help you protect your interests. It is also important to make sure your team will go about handling maintenance in a respectful and civil way that protects all parties to the process.
- Life will go on, and things will get better. When you are going through a divorce, it can seem like your whole life revolves around it. It can be hard to look beyond the stress and see improvement in the future. But it does come. Look at Jennifer Lopez and Marc Antony, for example. Both seemed visibly shaken by the divorce, after all, celebrities are people, too! However, both have moved on, with Jennifer moving into new high profile ventures and Mark choosing to ramp up his singing career.
- And then there is Kris Humphries and Kim Kardashian. There is little wisdom that we can glean from Kim's and Kris' short stint in matrimony, except of course, that having the first months of marriage filmed for a reality show may not be the best idea. However, it's certainly been good for the tabloid business.
Every day, we see stories about famous couples getting married and getting divorced. Fame and fortune do not make things easier. However, because their lives are so public, perhaps there are a few things we can learn from them to apply to our own experiences and circumstances. We can see the mistakes and pitfalls to which celebrities so often succumb, and hopefully by doing so, we can avoid them ourselves. Most importantly, we can also learn from famous couples who handle a very difficult divorce with dignity and maturity, even when it is the hardest thing to do.