It seems like every day the news is full of stories of yet another celebrity divorce. Some of what the public hears about is a sort of serial matrimony. It's like Tarzan swinging from vine to vine the way some of these young celebrity couples seem to swing from wedding to wedding.
However youthful impulsivity is only part of the story. It certainly doesn't explain why 55 year old Kelsey Grammer and his wife Camille are splitting after 13 years. It doesn't explain 49 year old George Lopez and his wife Ann packing it in after 17 years. It doesn't explain Cameron Crowe and Nancy Wilson divorcing after 24 years.
In fact celebrities' marriages break up for the same reasons that other couples' marriages break up. You wouldn't think so. Most ordinary couples fight over not having enough money. You wouldn't think people enjoying highly successful, well-paid careers would have that problem. But when you're a celebrity it takes a lot more money to be enough and nobody ever seems to be that successful.
One of the problems people have when they are in the public eye is that all of their domestic problems are magnified many times over. A disappointment or betrayal or unfairness that could ordinarily be dealt with and left behind becomes insurmountable when the couple is endlessly reminded of it.
People new to fame can be shocked by what can happen to a marriage when exposed to television cameras. Recently thirty-three miners in Chile found the media spotlight focused on them as they were rescued from a a mine cave-in after two months under ground. The effect this new notoriety will have on the men and their families could be problematic.
However one of the thirty-three found his marriage threatened even before he reached the surface. It could not have been a good feeling when his wife discovered that her husband had a mistress. How many times worse must it have felt when she made the discovery in front of the entire world on live television.
Unfortunately there are few things in the world harder to forgive than public humiliation. Infidelity is difficult to forgive but compounded by the knowledge that the whole world is watching and judging you it can become impossible.
Many people attribute the divorce rate among Hollywood stars to recent declines in morality or religion or increases in tolerance. But the Hollywood marriage-go-round is nothing new. One has only to look at the personal lives of Marilyn Monroe, Humphrey Bogart and Liz Taylor to see serial marriages. Even silent stars like Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin put in time in the divorce courts.
All the ingredients that contribute to ordinary divorces are available to celebrity couples in abundance. The stress of always having to look and act perfect while working long hours makes a chemical vacation look very desirable. A career in show biz offers attractive people opportunities to be tempted by other attractive people. Domestic difficulties that could ordinarily be managed explode when an unhappy spouse becomes a drunk driver. It a recipe for public humiliation and celebrity divorce.