Some Celebs Kissing Marriages Goodbye

MarriageCelebritiesTori SpellingNicky HiltonBritney SpearsSophia Bush Kenny Chesney

Admit it: When Renee Zellweger and Kenny Chesney tied the knot in May, you told your friends it would be over before Christmas.

You were right.

The pair called it quits this month, along with a slew of other short-lived celebrity couples, including Chad Michael Murray and Sophia Bush (five months), Tori Spelling and Charlie Shanian (one year), and Jamie-Lynn DiScala and A.J. DiScala (two years).

These hitch-and-ditch duos are the latest in a long line of celebrity quickies that range from Britney Spears' famous 55-hour marriage to high school pal Jason Alexander to Nicky Hilton's three-month marriage to Todd Meister.

Celebrities aren't the only ones who break things off before the honeymoon is over--they just make the headlines.

Chicago divorce lawyer Jennifer Ward of Revis & Ward says that most of her young clients have been married for two to three years before they get divorced, and about 10 percent of them have been married for less than a year.

"When people get married quickly after meeting each other, they get into the real world and start functioning as a married couple. The reality sets in," Ward said. "Bills need to get paid. People have to go back to work. It's not what they bargained for."

Sometimes knowing each other for a long time doesn't help, either. Jennifer Turner, 34, of Andersonville dated her ex-husband for three years before they got married in 2003, but the marriage ended about a year later.

"When anyone gets married, you go into it thinking it's going to last forever. I was no different," said Turner, who became pregnant with twin boys one month into her marriage. Her ex, who was more than 20 years older than she, moved to Seattle shortly after they wed, and the relationship deteriorated.

"Marriage is really hard work," she said. "Once he decided to move, I realized that wasn't what I wanted to do. The sadness was overwhelming. It was the loss of this person who I knew as a friend, not just my husband."

Marriages often end quickly when couples fail to communicate, says Steve Wallman, a counselor at the Center for Compassionate Divorce in Evanston.

"They never really learn how to say who they are or what they want," he said. When problems come up, "they get angry or scared. Instead of trying to work it out, they split up."

No matter how short the relationship, severing a marriage bond is traumatizing, Ward said.

"People still have a gut-wrenching emotional response to it," she said.

Turner sympathizes with celebrities recovering from quickie marriages.

"I cannot imagine being followed around and questioned about the failure of my marriage. Those are real human beings with real feelings," she said. "I would not trade places with them."

mcarberry@tribune.com

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