Three Things Everyone Can Learn from Celebrity Divorces

April 18, 2023 | J. Benjamin Stevens | Share:

Celebrity divorces are often messy, expensive, and public affairs that make headlines and spark gossip. Behind the drama and the scandal, there are also valuable lessons that everyone can learn from these high-profile breakups. Here are three things that everyone can take away from some of the most recent celebrity divorces:

Don’t rush into marriage.

All too often, celebrities seem to fall in love and tie the knot in a matter of weeks or months, only to realize later that they are not compatible or ready for commitment. For example, Reese Witherspoon and Jim Toth announced their divorce just last month (March 2023) after 12 years of marriage, but they had only dated for a year before getting engaged in 2010. Similarly, Amber Riley and Desean Black got engaged in 2019 after less than a year of dating, but they broke up in 2022 before walking down the aisle. These cases show that it’s important to take your time to get to know your partner well before making what is supposed to be a lifelong decision.


Be honest and respectful.

One of the most common reasons for divorce is infidelity, which can cause irreparable damage to trust and respect in a relationship. Many celebrities have been caught cheating on their spouses, leading to bitter and costly divorces. For instance, Arnold Schwarzenegger admitted to having an affair (and fathering a child) with his housekeeper while married to Maria Shriver, who filed for divorce in 2011 after 25 years of marriage.

Another example from the world of country music is Billy Ray Cyrus, who cheated on his wife, Tish, multiple times during their 28-year marriage, which ended in divorce in 2022. These are just a couple of examples that show that honesty and respect are essential for a healthy and lasting marriage.

While it’s typically true that celebrity marriages may be more at risk for things like opportunities to cheat than the average marriage, it doesn’t mean that the average marriage can’t fall victim to damaging affairs. Today’s world of instant gratification and the ease of private communications through the technology of personal devices means every marriage not based on honesty and trust could face the same temptations.


When the decision to divorce is made, always put your children first.

Divorce can be especially hard on children, who may feel confused, angry, or sad about their parent’s separation. Many celebrity couples have tried to set an example right from the start by putting their children’s best interests first. They attempt to co-parent the children amicably with their soon-to-be ex, even before their divorce is finalized.

For example, Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe were one of Hollywood’s favorite young couples, but when they divorced with two young children, they decided early on to present a united front for their children, and by all accounts in the media, they have done so successfully. They regularly post on social media with their children (who are entering the world of entertainment on their own merit nowadays).

An example of how “not” to do this would be Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s divorce. They have three biological children together, and they adopted three children, rounding out their family of eight. However, when they separated, the headlines were full of allegations of substance abuse, verbal, and even physical abuse. Angelina’s attorneys fought hard to restrict almost all access to the children by their father, and allegations of parental alienation flew back and forth. Their case has yet to be fully finalized even after many years of litigation. We may never know the true extent of any truth to the rumors of abuse and parental alienation, but we can almost be assured that the children have suffered in more ways than one when their famous parents chose such a disruptive path for ending their marriage.


Final Thoughts

Celebrity divorces may seem like a distant and glamorous affair, but they are actually very human and relatable to the average person, too. These divorces, and how they play out in the media, can teach us some important lessons about love, marriage, and life, such as the need for communication, compromise, professional guidance, and the true value of co-parenting. By learning from the experiences of others, we can hopefully improve our own relationships and avoid some of the pitfalls that lead to divorce for the famous people we all love (or love to hate!).

If you and your spouse are considering a separation or divorce, don’t make any decisions about how to proceed before talking with a trusted attorney in your area. Your divorce and any settlement you create will be subject to your state’s divorce laws. Without discussing your situation with an experienced family law attorney, your agreement may not be what you want or what is beneficial to your future.

Ben Stevens is an experienced South Carolina family law attorney, whose decade of experience can help you address even the most complicated issues. He is a Fellow in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and a Board Certified Family Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. You are invited to contact our office at (864) 598-9172 or to schedule an appointment.


Related Articles by Mr. Stevens:

Contact our office at (864) 598-9172 or to schedule an initial consultation.

Subscribe to our newsletters!
What Matters Most | Family Law Attorney Connection 





Aggressive, creative, and compassionate are words Ben Stevens' colleagues freely use to describe him as a divorce and family law attorney. Mr. Stevens is a Fellow in the prestigious American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, the International Academy of Family Lawyers, and is a Board Certified Family Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. He is one of only two attorneys in South Carolina with those simultaneous distinctions. He has held numerous leadership positions in the AAML, and he currently serves as one of its National Vice Presidents. Mr. Stevens has a statewide practice and regularly appears all across South Carolina.  His practice is focused on complex divorce and child custody cases.

Click here to learn more about Ben »»