What makes celebrity divorces different from the average, run-of-the-mill marital split?
You might think the answer is money, seemingly unlimited resources, or visibility. After all, celebrity divorces often get enormous amounts of publicity. They’re staffed with the best, high-powered divorce attorneys. And they usually involve a marital estate that is bigger than the treasury of many small countries.
While all of that is true, celebrities still have something more … something most divorcing people would benefit from greatly, but still never have.
What Do Celebrity Divorces Have That You Don’t … besides Boatloads of Money?
I’ll give you a hint: Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale had one. Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert had one. Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner had one. Even Kermit and Miss Piggy had one!
Think the answer is: a pre-nup?
While that would be logical, and some of those stars may have had one, that’s not the answer here.
Plenty of celebrities – especially those in long term marriages – got married without a prenup, and plenty of average people wouldn’t get married unless they had one.
Having (or not having) a prenuptial agreement is not what separates the celebrities from the rest of us.
So, What Makes Celebrity Divorces Different?
The answer is this: a publicity statement.
When a celebrity couple decides to divorce, the most enlightened of them now issue a joint statement saying something like:
We would be very grateful for your support as we take some time apart to re-evaluate what we want from life and from one another.”
Pamela Anderson and Jon Peters
“After much thought and careful consideration, we have made the difficult decision to divorce. …”
Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner
“While the two of us have come to the mutual decision that we will no longer be partners in marriage, we remain partners in parenthood and are committed to jointly raising our three sons in a happy and healthy environment …”
Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale
“This is not the future we envisioned. And it is with heavy hearts that we move forward separately….”
Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert
“This is our only comment on this private matter … Thank you for your understanding.”
Those who don’t issue joint statements often make their own divorce statement that conveys essentially the same message.
“As you probably know, 2020 has brought a lot of change also to my personal life … So I’m usually very open and I usually talk about everything, but in this case, I will talk a little bit here and there about how it affects me personally, but probably won’t go too far into it because I’m a mama bear and my kids come first.”
Kelly Clarkson on her divorce from Brandon Blackstock
Why Have a Divorce (i.e. Publicity) Statement?
Now, at this point you may be thinking, a divorce statement?! Seriously? What do I need a divorce statement for? The press doesn’t care about my divorce … thank God!
Hopefully, of course, you are right.
Going through a divorce is difficult enough when you are only dealing with your own friends and family. Having to watch the demise of your marriage played out across the internet or on the evening news would be infinitely worse.
Yet, truly, the main difference between only having to tell your friends and family about your divorce, and having to tell your entire viewing public about your divorce, is the number of people you have to tell.
Either way, the situation is painful and awkward. At best, you don’t know what to say. At worst, you have total strangers all up in your business.
Why Do Celebrities Do It?
Celebrities issue publicity statements for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is control.
We all know that the first thing that people hear often influences their opinions on a subject far into the future. By issuing a joint publicity statement announcing their divorce, celebrities can put their own spin on their situation before the paparazzi get their chance.
Issuing a joint publicity statement also has a second benefit. It tells people, very politely, that your situation is private and you’re not interested in sharing the details.
While that may not stop some socially-challenged oafs from asking questions anyway, at least it makes them look insensitive if they do. It also let’s them know that you’re not going to answer their questions. That usually makes them back off sooner.
Why Doesn’t Everyone Issue a “Divorce Statement”?
Most ordinary people don’t issue “divorce statements” because they just don’t think about it. They don’t think it’s something they should (or could!) do.
What’s more, since most “ordinary” people don’t issue divorce statements, they probably think it would be weird for them to do it.
In fairness, they’re probably right … in a way. It WOULD would be wierd for most people to issue a press release like celebrities do.
It would be equally strange to send a “divorce announcement” to their family and friends announcing the big event.
But you don’t have to issue a press release OR send a divorce announcement in order to make good use of a divorce statement in your divorce. You can simply write up a short (3 – 4 sentences) statement that says:
- We’re getting a divorce
- It’s a very difficult time for our family
- Please respect our privacy and DON’T ask questions right now.
Then you memorize that statement and have it ready to go.
After that, whenever someone says you, “I heard you are getting a divorce. Is it true?” you can simply repeat your prepared divorce statement and stop.
No further discussion necessary.
The Benefits of Having a Divorce Statement
Answering questions about your divorce is incredibly painful. That’s especially true early on, when your emotions are totally raw.
Having a simple divorce statement that you have carefully crafted in advance has many benefits:
1. It allows you to control your message. Now you can control your message the same way celebrities control theirs.
2. It keeps you from having to think on your feet when your brain is in a fog. With a divorce statement, you already know what you will tell people when they ask about your divorce. You don’t have to worry about saying something stupid, or oversharing.
3. It prevents you from having to go into all of the gory details of your divorce. That’s particularly helpful when people who barely know you feel entitled to ask prying questions.
4. It gives you something to put on social media (if you choose) so that you and your spouse can “tell” people about your divorce in a unified way. It may seem a little strange to issue a unified statement about your divorce on social media, but it can actually be amazingly effective. It communicates your message without you having to actually say anything to anyone face to face. (Although, fair warning, posting notice of your divorce on social media is a sure way to bring in a deluge of comments. So don’t go there unless you are ready to deal with the attention.
5. It allows you maintain your privacy. With a divorce statement, you convey the smallest amount of basic information and tell people you don’t want to discuss anything else. If they continue to ask questions anyway, they are the ones being rude.
The Bottom Line
Preparing a “divorce statement” like the ones issued in celebrity divorces may seem a little unusual.
Yet, it’s simple … and unbelievably practical.
Even if you’re as far from being a celebrity as it gets, this is one time when it makes sense to do what the celebrities do.
Miss Piggy and Kermit?? Can Muppets even get legally married in the first place?
Great question! I suppose it depends on what the law is on Sesame Street! 😉