Celebrity Divorce Rates: Why Is Divorce So Common Among the Stars?

Learn about common marital issues in celebrity divorces.

Short Marriages, Expensive Alimonies, and Extensive Publicity: Celebrity Divorce 101

If you have been keeping tabs on the latest celebrity gossip, then you have probably heard about Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s divorce. After seven years of marriage, Kardashian has filed for divorce from West. Believe it or not, though their marriage might seem short-lived to the average onlooker, it was actually one year longer than the average celebrity marriage, which lasts about six years.

According to a study out of the U.K. based organization Marriage Foundation, celebrities have a divorce rate of around 40% within a ten-year period. For an average person, the divorce rate for the same ten-year period for a first marriage is 33%, according to a report from the CDC on Cohabitation, Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage in the United States.

Although we don’t know celebrities on a personal level, we admire their work, and many of their lives feel aspirational to us. Perhaps that is why it can be so shell shocking when we see one of our favorite celebrities going through a divorce. Here is a list of some of the most notable celebrity divorces of the last decade, as well as the approximate length of their marriage:

  • Ryan Reynolds and Scarlett Johansson (3 years)
  • Kris Humphries and Kim Kardashian (72 days)
  • Lamar Odom and Khloe Kardashian (6 years)
  • Jesse James and Sandra Bullock (5 years)
  • Johnny Depp and Amber Heard (2 years)
  • Russell Brand and Katy Perry (14 months)
  • Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore (6 years)
  • Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert (4 years)
  • Nick Cannon and Mariah Carey (8 years)
  • Michelle Rounds and Rosie O’Donnell (3 years)
  • Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston (5 years)
  • Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie (5 years)
  • Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux (2 years)
  • Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise (6 years)
  • Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth (1 year)

No matter who you are, marriage can be tough. Living with someone and managing a relationship with them for decades is no easy feat. Some of the most important qualities of a good marriage are love and commitment, faithfulness, communication, and quality time. When it comes to the reasons for a marriage ending, some of the most commonly reported contributing factors are lack of commitment, infidelity, and conflicts or arguing. In terms of “final straws,” the most common reported reason was infidelity, domestic violence, and substance abuse.

These findings are from a study conducted by the Department of Psychology at the University of Denver that interviewed 52 divorced individuals who received the Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program (PREP) when they were engaged. The study worked to find the most common reasons for the average couple’s divorce.

While celebrity couples are not necessarily “average” people, it is reasonable to conclude that their relationships encounter many of the same issues. Due to the hectic nature of their lives and the public nature of their relationships, certain aspects of common relationship troubles can be amplified. The team at Shaw Family Law, L.L.C. has helped many couples through their divorces, and some of the most common marital issues that could be heightened in celebrity marriages are:

  • Hectic schedules

Americans today are spending about 25% less time with their spouses than they did in 1975, according to research by sociologist Jeffrey Dew at Utah State University. This could be due to long work hours and conflicting commitments, and it is safe to say that a celebrity couple would have plenty of conflicting commitments of their own. A major celebrity couple with two powerhouses involved would essentially each be the CEO of their own business. John Moulton, a venture capitalist who was interviewed in the Financial Times, explained that chief executives have a higher-than-average divorce rate.

  • Reality setting in

A celebrity couple’s life can seem glamorous at first, and they might have idealistic conceptions about the kind of life they will build together. As reality sets in, so do the average marital issues, and we are not talking about reality TV. The difference between the honeymoon stage and the work necessary for a healthy marriage is jarring for any couple, and this difference might be even more dramatic with celebrity marriages.

  • Age gaps

Celebrities are notorious for setting their age gaps aside and pursuing love and marriages anyway. While many people view age as just a number, the truth of the matter is that marriages with larger age gaps are more vulnerable to divorce. This is shown in a study conducted by Emory University and National University of Singapore. The study evaluated over 3000 people in the U.S who have been married. It found that a one-year age gap makes a couple 3% more likely to divorce when compared to their same-aged counterparts, a five-year difference makes them 18% more likely to divorce, and a ten-year age difference makes them 39% more likely.

  • Lack of financial dependence on partner

Being financially dependent on one’s partner is a common reason that couples who would otherwise divorce actually stay together. Because both parties in a celebrity couple tend to have a substantial amount of money on their own, there is less pressure to stay together for the sake of maintaining their finances. While celebrity divorces can be expensive due to high settlement costs, division of costly assets, and other fees, they typically do not have to worry that they will be unable to support themselves independently, as the average couple might.

To learn more about divorce, or to access legal services from a family lawyer, call Shaw Family Law, L.L.C. at (205) 259-7650 or contact us online.