Statistics show that the divorce rate in the U.S. hovers around 50 percent, with this rate inching higher with each subsequent marriage. According to what we read — and we all know what we read is the truth and nothing but — Hollywood divorces are running rampant at an even higher rate.
Yet, the hard facts aren’t easy to find. The main factor that makes it difficult to nail down numbers is who to categorize as a celebrity. If we are talking about Hollywood, do we just include actors? Does that include any persons associated with the movie and television industry as a whole? Do you throw in dancers and choreographers? What about athletes? Singers, songwriters? Active or retired? You probably get the unending picture — it’s almost impossible to determine who to include and exclude in this statistics scenario.
But, for the sake of argument, let’s say the divorce rate among celebrities is higher than the normal population of average Joes. What are the reasons? Is it the industry itself that is destructive to marriage? Or is it the people and their chosen lifestyles that created the Hollywood Marriage, a term that refers to a glamorous but short-lived marriage? Is it living in a fish bowl, the eyes of the world watching their every move, hanging on every word, criticizing every mistake?
This kind of pressure is hard for most of us to understand and some of us view it all as some sort of trade-off; they get fame and fortune, we get to live vicariously through them. Rita Hayworth once complained that, “Men fell in love with Gilda, but they wake up with me.” That is the harsh reality of living the dream.
Some would criticize that the press tends to sensationalize the bad news, recent splits and who’s filing for divorce litters the news from tabloids to television. We live in a world of electronic media where Facebook, Twitter, and those clever little search engines keep us addicted to instant gratification of rumor and innuendo. Rarely do we read about the successful marriages in the news, except when they fall apart.
It comes down to gossip. Though we’d like to think we are all above it and immune to it, we seem to thrive on it. We can’t get enough of it. We are emotionally linked to celebrities, an array of feelings touching us when we hear about those we idolize.
Hounded by paparazzi, some celebrities are given no quarter. Elvis left the building and became reclusive. Princess Di’s death caused millions around the world to grieve openly. Does our incessant need for celeb tittle-tattle drive the photo hounds? Are we as much to blame for their existence and persistence?
The only thing for certain is that it probably won’t change anytime soon. It’s the nature of the beast. We are a nation that loves our celebrities; for better, for worse, we are a part of the culture. And in this case, divorce does not do us part. We merely surmise who will be the next special someone in their lives, or, in our wildest fantasies, perhaps we are the one taking the walk down the aisle into the next Hollywood Marriage.