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Couples Counselling: Inside Celebrity Marriages

Something about celebrity marriages can send even the calmest minds into a tizzy. Perhaps it’s the glamour and mystery. Maybe it’s the desire to aspire to greater success and more beauty. Whatever the case, a quick perusal of the gossip columns and magazine aisles reveals that we can’t get enough.

We crave information about Blue Ivy’s famous parents, Beyonce and Jay-Z. We wonder whether Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are really as happy as they seem. We’re desperate to know how Amal Almamuddin convinced perennial bachelor George Clooney to settle down. And when things implode—as they do with so many celebrity couples—we’ll accept “information” from even the least credible sources just to get a tasty morsel of information.

Celebrity marriages, of course, are not always what they seem, and on one—not even a counsellor—is equipped to dissect them from the outside.

Life in the Spotlight: Life Isn’t Always What it Seems

Celebrities make a living on creating an illusion. Whether they’re actors, directors, talk show hosts, or famous authors, much of a celebrity’s value rests upon his or her ability to cultivate a very specific persona. Once that celebrity enters a relationship, the couple may also have a persona. Witness the very public, over-the-top persona of Jennifer Lopez and Ben Afleck a decade ago. The relationship crumbled, but no one else knew it was in trouble.

And when Brad Pitt began dating Angelina Jolie—possibly while he was still married to Jennifer Aniston—many hearts broke. The globe experienced a collective state of shock. Ben Afleck and Jennifer Garner continue to be fodder for tabloids and celebrity gossip mongers, especially in light of recent rumours that the couple cohabitates in spite of their separation.

One thing this pressure makes clear is that, when it comes to celebrity relationships, things are not always what they seem. People whose livelihoods depend on the right persona can cultivate an air of apparent happiness even when things behind the scene are crumbling. Don’t believe the hype. The celebrities you admire likely face very similar challenges to your own, and money does not solve everything. If anything, it only serves as a complicating factor, giving couples more and bigger things to endlessly bicker over. Beneath the veneer of perfection often lie deeply insecure people—just like the rest of us.

Why Celebrity Status Challenges Relationships

Celebrities have frequently been lambasted for their short-lived marriages and courtships, but the criticisms might not be entirely fair. The divorce rate is sky high across the nation, and throughout much of the globe; the only difference with celebrities is that their divorces are much more public.

They do, however, face some unique pressures. Those include:

  • A throng of adoring fans who can stoke the jealousy of even the most secure partner.
  • An endless range of romantic options. Bored in your marriage? An affair may be the easiest thing in the world as a celebrity.
  • Constant invasions of privacy from paparazzi, journalists, and endless speculation by everyday citizens.
  • Competing career demands. When one partner’s career is sailing high, the other’s might be in the tank. Public speculation and criticism can compound these stresses.
  • Financial issues; though celebrities make more money than the rest of us, they also have more money to waste—and more to fight over.

A Little Celebrity in All of Us?

Think the world of celebrities is greatly distanced from your own? Think again. The truth is that we all have a bit of celebrity in us. Every person must cultivate their public persona, particularly in a world ruled by social media. Often those public personas conflict with who we are at our core. And sometimes they even interfere with our relationships—such as when a popular blog attracts a bevy of admirers, or when Facebook flirtations escalate out of control.

Likewise, most people face some form of outside pressure and speculation—whether from friends who do not approve of your relationship, in-laws dedicated to splitting you up, or the competing demands of your career and your home life. Relationships among normal people, then, are not that much different from celebrity relationships after all. Both can benefit from couples counselling, which teaches how to balance competing demands, control outside influences, and turn your attention toward the person who matters most—your partner—even when outside influences demand something else from you.