Theirs was a fairytale love story followed by a low-key wedding in 2000. We are talking about Hrithik Roshan and Sussannne Khan. They knew each other long before Hrithik became a star and Sussanne felt Hrithik was so simple that she even called him “Bholuram”. They looked all loved up wherever they went – film premieres, events and holidays. Two handsome boys were born to them and they painted a perfect family picture all the time. Cut to 2019. You will find their family photos on social media even now but the poses and the togetherness are only for the kids. Hrithik and Sussanne divorced in 2014 although they continue to be responsible and doting parents. This was one marriage that nobody ever thought would go kaput. But it did. That brings us to the question why are divorce rates so high in celebrity marriages?
What percentage of celebrity marriages end in divorce?
Some of the most so-called stable marriages in Bollywood witnessed divorces recently. Farhan and Adhuna Akhtar went for a divorce after 15 years of marriage while Arbaaz Khan and Malaika Arora separated after 18 years of marriage.
India is a country with still one of the lowest divorce rates in the world, although more and more people are opting for divorce now. In a report published in India Today in 2018, the divorce rate in India is 1%. Although exact statistics of divorce rates among celebs in India is not available but a comparative analysis with the US will show that divorce rates among celebs are usually double that of the general population of the country.
According to 2017 US Census data, an article in Medium.com states 23% of married couples in the United States divorce. However, the average divorce rate of Hollywood celebrities is 52%, which is 2 times higher than the general population. Female has 62% divorce rate, while the divorce rate of male is 50%.
Celebrity marriages in the US last between a few hours to an average of 6 years. Divorce rates among British celebrities are lower though and there are examples of long marriages like that of David and Victoria Beckham.
According to a study done by the UK-based Marriage Foundation, celebrities have a divorce rate of around 40% within a 10-year period.
The divorce rate for the same 10- year period is approximately 20% in the UK and 30% in the U.S. The Marriage Foundation tracked 572 celebrity couples married since 2000. They conclude, “Despite all the comforts and advantages of fame and wealth, these celebrities divorce at twice the rate of the UK population.”
Guess the same applies to India. Divorce has become a way of life in Bollywood and it is a given that stars would move on and form new relationships and flaunt that on social media.
Why Do Celebrities Break Up So Much?
When it comes to short celebrity marriages this is probably the most pertinent question to ask. Why is celebrity divorce so common? Why are celebrity marriages so short-lived? There are a number of reasons behind that. For starters, a celeb marriage is nothing close to a common man’s marriage. Love and settled life are not the only guiding factors in a celeb marriage there are a number of other factors. We will explore the reasons why celebrities break up so much.
1. Economics of a divorce
For a common person, the thought of a divorce is daunting because the costs of fighting a case in the court are high and so are the possibilities of an alimony arrangement. But for celebs money is never an issue they don’t have to think that divorce would leave them poorer. They are just happy to move on whatever the cost maybe.
In Hollywood, prenuptials are common where at the time of the marriage it is decided how the common assets would be divided in case of a divorce. We are sure many Indian celebs subscribe to such contracts, it’s only that it is not that much publicized.
2. Social conditioning
Celebs grow up with other celeb kids many of whom come from broken homes. So it is accepted that a divorce could be an obvious outcome of a marriage. So celebs rarely get into a marriage with the do or die attitude they always prefer to keep their options open.
3. Stardom changes people
Examples are rife all over Bollywood that many struggling actors had been supported by their simple, hard-working, office-going wives, whom they dropped like a hot potato the moment they found stardom.
Stardom changes people. Period. Fame, Money and Exposure rarely keep people grounded.
The glitz of celeb life is so appealing that they are unable to accept and adjust with the life partners who came before stardom.
4. Extramarital affairs
If two people are working together for months in such proximity, emoting on screen and doing scenes that need physical closeness, sometimes it’s inevitable the sparks would fly.
Film roles do lead to affairs that often turn serious and people go for divorces so that they could be with the person they are having an affair with. In fact, there are examples in Bollywood where people have married twice without going for a divorce. Case in point is Dharmendra and Hema Malini and Salim Khan and Helen. Both men are still married to their first wives.
5. Fortunes keep changing
For celebrities, their fortunes keep changing. Sometimes they are at the zenith with one major hit or in case of sporting celebs, a win in a tournament. And sometimes they are down in the dumps without any film roles or they are out of the team.
This leads to severe mood swings and the brunt of the failure has to be taken by the spouse. The spouse becomes the target off all anger, irritation and psychological issues. Many celebrity marriages fall apart because of this reason.
6. Celebs are never home
If you think that celebs finish work at 5 pm every day and sit around the table for a family dinner every night then you are mistaken. Celebs are usually never at home. They are always travelling for work and this could extend to several months. That’s when the partners are left fending for themselves and this often creates an emotional distance leading to the breakdown of a marriage.
7. Insecurity and fame
One of the main reasons why celebrity marriages don’t last is because celebs don’t know how to handle their own insecurities and fame.
All the adulation and ego pampering they get outside they start expecting that at home and that’s when the trouble starts. This is precisely what happened in the marriage of Dimple Kapadia and late Rajesh Khanna. Apparently Rajesh Khanna wanted to be treated as a superstar at home and Dimple wanted a loving, doting husband. She was also initially star-struck but when the veneer of the star started peeling off in the marriage, she could not accept it either.
Celebs are also very insecure because they are as good as their last performance. Holding on to public memory is a constant battle which often has an adverse effect on their relationships.
8. The relationship is always exposed
Thanks to social media and paparazzi a celebrity marriage is always exposed to the public and the constant criticism and trolling from clothes to nanny decisions, does have an impact on everyday life. Some celebs cannot survive this pressure and end up in a divorce.
Hollywood celeb marriages that ended in divorce
Some recent celebs in Hollywood got a lot more media attention for their divorce than for their on-screen work. We talk about 9 such couples.
1. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt
The recent divorce of Angelina and Brad came as a shock and the mud-slinging that followed regarding the custody of their kids was even worse.
2. Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes
Tom and Katie were all loved up but then Katie blamed his obsession with Scientology for the split.
3. Jennifer Anniston and Justin Theroux
Jennifer Anniston had thought she had finally found the man of her dreams. But it was not so they split as fast as they married.
4. Johnny Depp and Amber Herd
They were married for a year then Herd filed for divorce because Depp was supposedly abusive.
5. Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck
They were married for 10 years and had three children and Jennifer Garner’s career did take a backseat in the marriage. But eventually, they split.
6. Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez
They have twins but there were serious adjustment issues from the very beginning.
7. Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren
Tiger Woods cheating on his wife became international news. Woods paid up $100 million in settlement to Elin.
8. Guy Ritchie and Madonna
Their marriage lasted for 8 years and they have a son together.
9. Katy Perry and Russel Brand
They were married for just 14 months. It was a short-lived celeb marriage that ended in a divorce.
Since the divorce rates among celebs are so high it is wonderful when marriages last and not the other way round. But short-lived marriages in celeb world is inevitable and there is no escaping that.