Celebrity Break-Ups Can Create Breakdowns for Some Fans
The announcement that Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck were ending their ten-year marriage sent a tidal wave of emotion through social media. The couple announced that they had grown apart and despite two years of counseling their marriage could not survive. Theirs is the most recent celebrity break-up that has captured headlines across the world. In 2005, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston broke-up, also sending shock waves through the media. Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher, and Robin Thicke and Paula Patton are among the more widely known celebrity couples to end their relationship.
Why do celebrity break-ups generate so much emotion in fans? “The more we emotionally invest in any celebrity--by watching their movies, buying their songs, or following them on entertainment news and social media, the more we identify with them and they become part of the fabric of our lives,” says Dr. Paul Coleman, author of Finding Peace When Your Heart Is in Pieces. “So when celebrities go through hard times, we not only feel bad for them but we think we may be vulnerable, too.”
Not all celebrity break-ups cause angst for fans. When Paul McCartney ended his marriage to Heather Mills in 2008, most of his fans were happy for him. He was a beloved star, she was an unknown before she met Paul. Still, how should fans think and feel when their favorite celebrity couples split up?
“It is important to identify ways in which you are not like that celebrity couple,” Coleman says. “Remind yourself that you have a different lifestyle, different pressures, a different personality, and different coping skills. But learn from their mistakes, as well. If it is reported that a famous couple simply grew apart, for example, it is wise to address ways that you and your partner may need to increase closeness and not drift into an emotional rut.”
The fortunes and misfortunes of celebrities will always be a big part of our information-hungry culture. The British love their royalty and Americans love their American royalty. “But as much as you may admire or idolize a celebrity, remember that you are a unique individual,” says Dr. Coleman, founder of FindingPeaceInYourHeart.com. “Your journey is different from their journey.”
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