Samara O'Shea

The Science of Celebrity Divorce

I haven’t mentioned it here much, but one of my guilty pleasures is playing celebrity divorce watch. In January I posted on Facebook my predictions for the 2012 divorces. They include:

– Josh Duhamel & Fergie
– Gwyneth Paltrow & Chris Martin
– Josh Brolin & Diane Lane
– Heidi Klum & Seal
– Kendra & Hank

A friend of mine said, “Why Heidi & Seal?” I knew they were a wild card but something about the way they go on and on about how great their marriage is made me think they were trying to convince themselves. Sure enough they were the first big divorce of 2012.

In any case, there’s an article in the Times today that makes a science out of celebrity divorce watch. Refining the Formula That Predicts Celebrity Marriages’ Doom is amusing. If you don’t care to read the whole thing I’ve listed my favorite passages. Or! You could skim this: an equation for the likelihood of celebrity couples lasting to the 15 year mark.

From the article:

“In the fine tradition of Occam’s razor, the new equation has fewer variables than the old one. Besides the wife’s tabloid fame, the crucial ones are the spouses’ combined age (younger couples divorce sooner), the length of the courtship (quicker to wed, quicker to split), and the sex-symbol factor (defined formally as the number of Google hits showing the wife “in clothing designed to elicit libidinous intent”).”

“Women initiate 70 percent of breakups, so perhaps that’s why their personality and image are more predictive.”

“Sexual infidelity is also an excellent strategy for a narcissistic celebrity to get attention from the tabloids. And while the tabloids are happy to go after cheaters of either sex, Dr. Buss says that that research into marriage longevity shows there’s still a double standard: ‘Sexual infidelity by women is statistically more likely to lead to marital breakup than sexual infidelity by men.'”

“The good news is that, aided by long courtships, a few couples have a better-than-even chance of lasting at least 15 years: Kate and Prince William, Calista Flockhart and Harrison Ford, Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky, and Beyoncé Knowles and Jay-Z.”