When I read recently that Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon were separating, my first thought was, "I'm surprised they made it this long." If more than half of marriages end in divorce, my guess is that celebrity marriages are skewing that towards the upper end. It's frankly a miracle any married couple working in showbiz makes it longer than a few months together.
But, I don't put the blame on Hollywood's loose morality or the disposable nature of celebrity. In truth, marriage is difficult enough without the complications that accompany being famous. Billy Joel once said of people wanting to be rich and famous, "Try the rich part. See if that doesn't do it for you."
All of the complexities of marriage are compounded with fame, multiplied with fortune. Put them together and it's a recipe for marital disaster. We all want to believe in love and partnership. It's a testament to our optimism as a culture that anyone gets married in the first place, particularly when they are under the scrutiny of the public's watchful eye, which puts the screws to what might normally be a healthy, happy relationship.
This is not an apology for those who can't survive, but rather an acknowledgement that it's not easy even when everything around you is stable, healthy and normal, never mind when it isn't.
Think of the time you spend together with your wife and family. Now, imagine cutting that time in half or more. Not only do musicians and actors spend grueling hours plying their trade, but they often do so at strange hours. It's not like getting to a make up trailer at 3 a.m. or finishing a gig at the same time is a typical nine to five job. The world and our expectations are built around the stability of daily scheduling. When that schedule is thrown into chaos, so are our interactions with the people we love. The strain must be unreal.
Speaking of time, imagine the added pressure of weeks or months spent away from home. Technology has certainly helped to bring us closer, but there is nothing you can substitute for being physically near the one you love. Face Time just isn't enough. And when those times away drag on and on, it can takes it's toll.
Complex Work Relationships
You think your relationship with your co-worker is odd, what if part of your job was to hang out with him naked and pretend to have sex? Now, picture that in a room full of people and cameras watching, while your husband sits in a director's chair. Aw-kward! Artists of all kinds have intimate and emotional ties to the people they work with by necessity, but understanding that and trusting in your partner isn't always easy under those circumstances. Popularity
What comes with popularity isn't just interest from the world at large, but a whole lot of uncomfortable and unwanted interactions. Normal things most of us take for granted like buying groceries or pumping gas or picking a kid up from school are compromised. With it comes the kind of attention that can be addicting and lead to real problems. Jealousy is quick to grow without tremendous self control and trust, something the vast majority of people simply don't possess.
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As one famous artist once said, "Mo' money, mo' problems." When you combine money with the limelight of celebrity, success is suddenly measured in bank accounts, cars, houses and every superficial thing, the very opposite of what great relationships are built on. Wealth can provide great comfort and support, but it can also raise expectations to unreasonable levels.
Imagine every day, everywhere you went and everything you did was monitored by the media. Every world that came out of your mouth was written down and read back. Every gesture, every frown, every bite of food cataloged and recorded. It would be enough to make anyone want to smash a photographer or punch a paparazzi. When your relationship is headline news, the pressure to do and say the right things must be intense.