Why Do Celebrity Marriages Fail More Often?

Expert opinions on the high celebrity divorce rate

By Marni Feuerman

Have a baby, move in together, then (maybe) get married? Oh…the life of the celebrity. Doing many things backward and seemingly haphazard. Spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a wedding only to divorce sometime between 72 hours – 2 years. At least, that is what it seems, but is it really true?

According to a study out of the U.K. based Marriage Foundation, celebrities have a divorce rate of around 40% within a ten year period.

The divorce rate for the same ten year period is approximately 20% in the U.K. and 30% in the U.S. The Marriage Foundation tracked 572 celebrity couples married since 2000. They conclude, “Despite all the comforts and advantages of fame and wealth, these celebrities divorce at twice the rate of the UK population.”

The Marriage Foundation also criticizes several media trends that we often see: glamorizing having children out of wedlock, short marriages making headlines while the long-term celebrity marriages go ignored. For example, did you know Kirk Douglas and his wife, Anne Buydens have been married 58 years?

No – I thought so!

The experts weigh in on why celebrity marriages fail so often:

“special treatment”

“Celebrities are exposed to, flirted with and outright seduced by many more people than your average “Joe.” Add to this temptation that celebrities are often given special treatment, told “yes” to everything they want to do by those around them and this all conspires to make it much more challenging to desire to stay in and be able to maintain a monogamous relationship.

Additionally, celebrities are under a microscope, with media following every move, often commenting unfavorably on the state of their relationship and any mistakes either makes.” Dr. Gail Saltz, associate professor of psychiatry at The New York Presbyterian Hospital Weill-Cornel School of Medicine

“no one else understands me”

“Relationships in Hollywood are a product of celebrity based culture – the idea that we can always do better – and the hardships of working film production such as extended time in locations other than home, working in close proximity/living with crew members 24/7 for weeks and months at a time, extreme teamwork that causes an insight that ‘no one understands me like the people I am with right now’.

This creates a unique bond that can turn sexual causing marriages to break apart from infidelity.” Monique Anair, Assistant Professor, Film Production and Media Studies, Santa Fe Community College, New Mexico

“the groupie factor”

“Being encircled by some of the world’s most beautiful and interesting people can drive another big factor in divorce which is a person’s opportunity to meet, cheat and fall in with other people…otherwise known as ‘the groupie factor’.” Tiffany Beverlin, Founder and CEO of the online divorce community, DreamsRecycled.com


“It’s likely that neither celebrity wants to step back from their career to support the other therefore creating conflict. Their lives are often much more complicated and time-consuming than is apparent to the public. Also, given the pressure to succeed, especially in today’s world of “what have you done lately,” celebrities struggle to remain relevant and that often means going to event after event and being available for the media often preventing them from spending time alone with their spouse. If everyone they meet tells them how great they are, what happens when their spouse complains about something they do?  It also seems that celebrities do not fear being alone. They know they will meet people, people want to meet them.”  Randall M. Kessler, Esq., family law attorney, author, and law school teacher, Atlanta


“These marriages are unique because of the fame, the lifestyle, the temptations, and their egos. These traits make it too easy for them to tie the knot and to break it—moving on when it is no longer good for their career, meeting their needs, or fun and exciting. Temptation is everywhere. They have people lining up who want to be with them, have a relationship with them, who adore them and stroke their ego—something the spouse can’t or isn’t providing.” Toni Coleman, licensed clinical social worker and relationship coach, Virginia

“never home”

“Quite frankly, failed celebrity marriages are not a shock and expected. A parent who has traveled extensively for his/her movie career will not be criticized for divorcing a family because it is not as if they have been home, as an intact family, eating dinner together every night at 6 o’clock. I think that in a community where families live, perhaps in suburban areas, they feel marriage is notable. In the celebrity world, it is less so.” Patricia M. Barbarito, Esq., family law attorney, New Jersey


“Celebrities see more money than they ever saw growing up. They get used to doing whatever they want, no matter who it might hurt. They also get hit on more than most of us. They most likely find it easier to let go after a shorter length of time, because there will always be someone else available to admire them.” Joan Fradella, Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator

A number of themes run through the experts’ responses– temptation, adoration, ego and opportunity.  Perhaps this is what outweighs someone’s desire to be loved by that one and only person. As a result, being a celebrity sharply increases your chance of a failed marriage.