Experts share their no-nonsense advice for 10 celebrity relationships gone wrong.
Sometimes the phrase “celebrity relationship” alone is somewhat of an oxymoron. Marriage is tough as it is, but throw in the pressures of Hollywood and, in most cases; it’s a recipe for disaster that rivals any movie script. Despite the glitz and glam of an A-lister’s image, “The most important thing is to not expect perfection,” says Beverly Hills psychotherapist Dr. Fran Walfish. “We are all flawed human beings and it’s important to acknowledge that and be accountable for our own flaws and errors.”
Here, we dissect ten celebrity relationships that went sour and what could have possibly been done to save them.
"So-called "cougars" or the older woman-younger man relationship have been on the rise, but let's get real, it's not likely they'll last long term," Kriger says. She believes that, in Kutcher's case, it was fun for a while but when the thrill was gone, they didn't have much in common to keep them blissfully in Holy Matrimony.
Not to mention, their every misstep was tracked and reported to anyone who would listen. "If every couple who ever had a bump in the road were put on the cover of every magazine in the world, we"d all be screwed," Miller says. While over-exposure could be to blame, Tessina says, there had to be signs they were growing apart that were likely ignored. Donaghue agrees: "I would tell these two to reminisce about what made them fall in love in the first place."
Or could the cameras be to blame? "Reality TV makes for great TV, not relationships," says Allison Pescosolido, co-founder of Divorce Detox. Relationship expert Lindsay Kriger agrees that Kardashian playing out her life for all to see may have been the downfall to her marriage. "Kim and Kris were so busy broadcasting their relationship on reality TV, they didn't take the time to make sure it worked in actual reality," Kriger says. "Although Kim has made her money as a show pony on TV, it seems no one told her that when it comes to love, a fairytale union can"t be ordered on Gilt."
Chris Donaghue, host of LOGO's new series Bad Sex, has some advice for the Keeping up with the Kardashian's star. "Stop chasing shiny objects and put in the time and hard work it takes to make a marriage work long-term," he says. "Marriage is not like fashion—in one season and out the next!" Kardashian should apply the same skills that make her so successful in business to her future relationships, Kriger says. "Without willingness from both parties to negotiate and give and take, a marriage is basically hopeless."
While none of our experts are abdicating James of his responsibility for causing turmoil in the marriage, Donaghue also thinks it may have been Bullock's career that pushed James away—and into the arms of other women. "I would love to know how Sandra kept connected with her husband while she was always away shooting movies." He adds, "Someone should inform them that relationships don't run on autopilot, no matter how busy you are." While all our experts agree, therapy is definitely in order for James, Brooke Miller, of Soapboxtherapy.com hopes Sandra learns to love and trust again. "Eventually, she'll be able to open her heart to a man who wants the same things she wants."
While this divorce was mostly amicable, it didn't come without public blame. Johansson claimed Ryan was "away too much" while Reynolds countered Johansson was "too independent and emotional." "Welcome to what we call life," Donaghue says. "Unless you are planning on sacrificing your careers, you both better learn how to tolerate distance, regulate your emotions and understand sacrifice."
But, according to Miller, Anthony seems to shoulder more of the blame. "[Anthony] had a crush on [Lopez] for many years and watched as she found love in all the wrong places. When she finally realized she deserved his love and affections, he realized she's a real person and not some fantasy, and it all fell apart."
Tessina thinks this was a case of clashing careers—and ego"s. "It's not easy to dominate a powerhouse like J-Lo. I suspect a strong man like Anthony felt safe to her for a while but ultimately turned into a power struggle."
While Sheen was plagued by rumors of drug abuse, partying and addiction for years before marrying Brooke, mental illness seemed to be at the root of this marriage's troubles. "My advice to Brooke would be to pay better attention to the emotional health of your next partner," Tessina says, "You can't marry someone to save him from himself."
Miller speculates that keeping up that image of perfection for so long became just too hard to handle. "Making a mistake because you're human as Arnold did, but then covering it up and going on with your life like it never happened eventually causes the foundation of everything you stand for to erode. Slowly you erode and the relationship erodes and that perfect façade comes crashing down."
Adds Kriger, "Hopefully her 15-million dollar book deal will help ease some of the pain. Celebrity love lesson number one—if he smells like a cheater, he probably is a cheater."
"Just because you"re a celebrity doesn't mean you won't fall into the common space of falling apart after having a child," Miller says. She adds, "Seems like they were in the honeymoon phase of their relationship when they had their son and the responsibilities, fears and challenges of being parents just took too much of a toll."
Donaghue feels this was just a case of running away when the going got tough. "Flirting, strippers and public emotional outbursts do not make for a happy marriage. They really needed to set some boundaries and stop accepting childish behavior."
And while motherhood seemed to cure Ashlee of her hard-partying ways, it didn't seem to be that way for Pete. "This was a real party couple, who made no secret about it. But when baby came, party girl Ashlee grew up fast and started taking life more seriously while Pete didn't get on the grownup train." When that proverbial train pulled out of the station, Ashlee left Pete behind.
If her presence in the audience of one of David's competitions for Dancing With the Stars is any indication, this couple is likely one of Hollywood's most amicable—and admirable—splits. "It may have been the end of a family system that appeared a certain way," Miller says, "but this has never been a couple who's about looking the part."
"I interpret the statement that they "wanted different things" to mean that she wanted a monogamous, married life and he still wanted to be a player, both on and off the courts," Tessina asserts. Miller agrees. "She wanted the whole kit-n-caboodle and he clearly didn't." While Longoria embraced the role of Mrs. Tony Parker, her husband seemed to keep his solo identity. "When someone loses their identity in a relationship, it's actually no longer a relationship," Miller says. "It becomes a one-man show."
But, the ever-confident Eva demanded more for herself and moved on with a younger—and hotter—guy. "A hot, new boyfriend is the perfect band-aid for a broken heart," Pescosolido says.