By now, we've all had a few days to digest the awful, shocking news that North America's sweethearts, Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez, have decided to buck destiny and call it quits. We're not entirely sure how this could have happened, but Obama was just reelected. Clearly, our worst fears are already being realized.
Still, now that our bitter tears have been wiped away, we can begin to think clearly again. Justin and Selena are hardly the first recording-industry power couple to hit the skids. In many cases, artists have come out as bigger stars and better people after surviving high-profile breakups. Hell, if nothing else, we could be in store for some bitchin' breakup songs!
That, or one or both of these young superstars could fade away in depression and insanity. What do the odds say will happen? If Nate Silver has proven anything, it's that historical trend lines can sometimes help provide a peek into the future. Let's scour history's top 10 musical breakups for clues as to what may come for J-Dog and 'Lena, whaddya say?
10. Nas and Kelis
For awhile there, Nas and Kelis served as the world's great and shining hope that hip-hop relationships could really work. When they got married flashing matching grillz, it sure seemed meant to be. Sadly, it wasn't. After four years of marriage, Kelis filed for divorce amidst rumors of her hubby's infidelity.
At least the divorce helped spark some good tunes. The cover to Life Is Good, Nas' latest album, features the rap legend lost in thought, with Kelis' green wedding dress draped over his knee. The lyrics on the record are some of the heaviest and most personal of the Illmatic star's career.
9. Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon
At time when so many '90s alternative darlings are reuniting, it came as a total shock last year when Sonic Youth supercouple Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon announced that they were splitting up after 27 years of marriage. For decades, the pair had been placed on a pedestal by rock fans who dreamed of having it all: The perfect marriage, the best songs and a complete inability to sell out.
Now, that fantasy has come to an end. If Kim and Thurston couldn't make it, what hope have the rest of us aging, grungy white folk? Worst of all, the future of Sonic Youth appears to be on indefinite hold. The '90s really are over at last, it seems.
8. Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz Frankly, it was almost a relief when Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz got divorced. They were just so young, so pretty and so happy that it threw our own shitty lives into an unsettlingly stark relief. Naturally, that just goes to show how rotten we really are inside --these two have a kid, for Christ's sake, and divorce is always devastating, no matter how rich and good-looking you may be.
For fans, the biggest bummer is that we probably don't have any classic breakup songs to look forward to from this pair. I mean, c'mon... it's Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz. Still, hope springs eternal. Never underestimate the power of lip-syncing.
7. Gwen Stefani and Tony Kanal
Now here's a busted relationship that fueled a streak of creativity. When Gwen Stefani and her No Doubt bandmate Tony Kanal ended their seven-year relationship in 1994, just before the group broke through, the ska-pop superstars could have been done before we even got to know them. As it turned out, it was just the beginning of a fruitful professional career together.
Gwen has since gone on record stating that being forced to confront the breakup and her ex for 28 consecutive months on tour opened her up creatively, paving the way for future expressions such as, uh, "Hollaback Girl." The failed relationship certainly didn't put her off musical partnerships, either -- she's been married to Bush's Gavin Rosdale since 2000.
6. Lauryn Hill and Wyclef Jean
The relationship between Wyclef Jean and Lauryn Hill was so combustible that it blew up one of the most celebrated hip-hop groups of the '90s. The insanely talented pair began hooking up around the time the trio's classic multiplatinum smash, The Score, was released in 1996. Problem was, Wyclef was married at the time. The illicit relationship led to intense fights that killed the Fugees at the very height of their success.
The hurt feelings did prove, however, to inspire another classic record. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill went on to be a Grammy-winning superhit, and it's no secret today that the groundbreaking tunes were written as a major-league kiss-off to 'Clef. Lauryn Hill went on to conceive five children with Rohan Marley, one of Bob's many sons. "Stability" may not be a word closely associated with her these days, but it's tough to claim that she hasn't moved on.
5. Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez
OK, so maybe this one wasn't a total shocker. Jennifer Lopez has been married three times already, and let's not forget her broken engagement to Ben Affleck. Still, fellow Latin superstar Marc Anthony seemed like a good match for the bootylicious diva, but the demands and distractions of their separate careers took their toll. After siring twins, the couple divorced.
Still, it's tough to imagine these two being alone forever. Does anyone really see J.Lo opting not to roll the dice a fourth time at some point? As for Marc Anthony... something tells us he gon' be aight.
4. Rihanna and Chris Brown Back in 2009, Chris Brown and Rihanna seemed destined to become hip-pop's latest power couple. Then, uh, some stuff happened. Unless you just now got an Internet connection, you've seen the photos. Brown pled guilty to felony assault after basically beating the shit out of the Barbadian beauty the same week she was to perform at the 51st Grammy Awards.
In what can be seen as either uplifting proof that people can heal or forgive or as a disheartening example of Battered Woman Syndrome, Rihanna appears to have moved on from the ugly breakup and rekindled her friendship with Brown, if not her romance. If she can forgive him, can't we?
Sure, we could. But we ain't planning on it.
ABBA was damn near too good to be true. Two married couples that could sing and dance, winning over the hearts (and booties) of disco-pop devotees worldwide? It was like a fairy tale.
Well, except for the "happy ending" bit, anyway. The pressures of superstardom and constant touring eventually doomed the marriages of Agnetha Fältskog and Björn Ulvaeus as well as Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Benny Andersson. The group's professional relationship soon followed suit. Still, the music lives on, buoyed by a new generation of fans who discovered the band's music in films like Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and Mamma Mia!
2. Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake If Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake provided the template for Gomez and Bieber's relationship, we suppose they could have done worse. The smoldering coupledom of the former fellow Mouseketeers helped make them two of the most famous people in the world in the late '90s. And damn, did they ever look good together.
They were very young, of course, and it didn't last. Justin went solo, and Britney went insane, and we all followed along on our favorite gossip blogs. Today, Brit-Brit is on her third marriage, and Justin just started his first. We wish them both well and thank our lucky stars that Kevin Federline is no longer a thing.
1. Fleetwood Mac
Has there ever been a band that was wracked by as much insane relationship drama as Fleetwood Mac? In a word, no. Built on the songwriting chops of two couples in John and Christine McVie and Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, the group's super-smash Rumours was inspired by the pain of those relationships' spectacular, drug-fueled flameouts, as well as drummer Mick Fleetwood's divorce during the same period.
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Happily for the rest of us, the band's famous disunion produced some indelible music. After achieving varying degrees of solo success in the '80s, the band members found a way to put aside all of the dischord and pulled together for a couple of mega-successful reunions. Although
John McVie's passing and Christine's retirement may have put a damper on future touring prospects, Fleetwood Mac has certainly soldiered on through difficult circumstances before.