Over the past year, A-list relationships have fizzled, leaving the celebrities to go their separate ways: Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan, Logic and Jessica Andrea, and Chris Pratt and Anna Faris are just a few examples that have made the headlines. In response, their fans have voiced their collective devastation.
This, of course, is not a novel reaction to celebrity breakups. From Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder to Prince Charles and Princess Diana, fans have consistently proclaimed that "love is dead" or "if they're done, there's no hope for any of us!"
Because of their constant media presence and larger-than-life talent, public figures are easy to place on pedestals. We view their successes through rose-colored glasses and dream of being equally successful. As we romanticize their careers, such a perspective carries over to their personal lives. So, fans muse about having relationships akin to theirs, painted and posed perfectly in the media.
With such high expectations, a celebrity breakup seems impossible. How could two nearly perfect people go through heartbreak? Isn't that pain and suffering reserved for commoners like us, those with unglamourous lives? Isn't the life of a celebrity as perfect as how it is portrayed in the media?
Unfortunately, no — and the statistics go to prove it. According to the American Psychology Association, "about 40 to 50 percent of married couples in the United States divorce." In a more specific, relevant study, the United Kingdom's Marriage Foundation found that "the celebrity divorce rate over the first fourteen years of marriage is 50%, double the current UK divorce rate over the same period of 25%."
Perhaps looking at the reasons behind their breakups could explain why. For one, couples in Hollywood are often competing with each other, either in the same business or simply for media attention. Such a power dynamic can lead to tension in a romantic relationship. Plus, the business is volatile; when filming, recording, or touring, celebrity couples are often apart for extended periods of time. Distance might make the heart grow fonder, but more often than not, the artists are far too distracted by their work — or by their coworkers, which could create many temptations. And, of course, sometimes, things just don't work out. Maybe the couple wasn't as compatible as they thought they were to begin with.
While we speculate on such variables, we subconsciously compare celebrities — those who we aspire to be — to ourselves. Of course, we do share some similarities with celebrity couples. Dating apps like Tinder and in-person social activities give us countless opportunities to meet new people, just as celebrities do, floating from event to event and constantly schmoozing with people in the business. With constant exposure to couples, whether celebrities or fictional duos on screen, our expectations for finding our "soulmates" make us terribly picky. Celebrities also experience those lofty love stories first hand, especially if they are actors. If their significant other does not match their standards, they'll likely lose interest and further search for "the one." The way we view celebrity relationships impacts how we view our own.
But, while similarities between celebrities and "normal people" do exist, we must remind ourselves of one crucial detail:
We are not celebrities ourselves.
Sure, we know. But, this fact should affect how we compare celebrity breakups to our own romantic experiences. The lives we live are worlds away from those lived by the stars. Most of us have relatively stable routines: wake up, go to school or go to work, do extracurricular activities, socialize, and do it all again. Celebrities might do something similar, but taken to a completely different level. We do not attend awards shows, travel from project to project, or land in a different country every weekend. Rather, our love and relationships exist in a far more stable environment. Celebrities exist in a Hollywood bubble, which we view from the outside. While the boundary of the bubble may seem thin as we observe so closely, the division should serve as a reminder. Though we might idolize celebrities from afar, we cannot directly compare our love lives to theirs.
In fact, we should generally avoid comparing our relationships to others. Every relationship is nuanced by the two individuals within it. Seeking relationship advice from other couples ignores the fact that relationships are inherently unique.
So, do not fret. Love is not dead just because your favorite actors split up. There is still hope for us little people.