Tag Archives: celebrity scandals

Breaking Down The Breakup Between Anna Faris And Chris Pratt

The life of a celebrity compared to the life of a non-celebrity couldn’t be more different without involving aliens, unicorns, and pet monkeys. That’s also a major reason why we’re so fascinated by celebrity culture. Say what you will about the crazy headlines of the glorified toilet paper known as tabloids. They still get our attention and, as I’ve pointed out before, that’s the most valuable currency in our economy.

As such, a high-profile celebrity couple breaking up is a big deal. From a celebrity culture and deranged tabloid perspective, it’s like crack mixed with meth mixed with heroin. It’s as addictive as it is debilitating. It crushes whatever fairy tale narrative we had playing out in our collective psyches and making us question whether love is truly real.

Now, I don’t doubt the allure of celebrity romances. These are people with a lot money and power at their fingertips. These are people who could ask a random stranger to smear pudding on their chest and have a hungry loin lick it up and they’ll do it with a smile.

They have every conceivable resource to make their relationships the sort of thing that Disney movies are built on. How is it that they keep failing? That’s not just a perception thing either. In terms of raw numbers, celebrity marriages fail at nearly twice the rate of non-celebrity marriages. With all that money and power, how is that even possible?

Well, last week we were reminded that no matter how many fairy tales fever dreams a celebrity romance may inspire, it can still fail. The latest involves Chris Pratt and Anna Faris, one of Hollywood’s highest profile celebrity couples. After an eight-year marriage, they’ve announced that they’re legally separating.

Even I admit, this one caught me by surprise. I’ve been a fan of Chris Pratt since his day as the chubby dork, Andy Dwyer, on “Parks and Recreation.” I’ve also had a soft spot for Anna Faris since her colorful performance in the horror spoof, “Scary Movie.” The fact that those two got together and stayed married for nearly a decade was just a nice bonus.

However, much like the end of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, the high-profile nature of the marriage always made it subject to scrutiny. Most recently, there had been rumors that Pratt had cheated on Faris with Jennifer Lawrence, his co-star in their movie, “Passengers.”

I tend not to give much weight to such rumors, even when Jennifer Lawrence is involved. That hasn’t stopped some people from blaming Ms. Lawrence for the breakup, but that’s to be expected. Brad Pitt had been subject to similar rumors before his breakup with Angelina Jolie.

In general, it’s fairly safe to assume that, unless there’s high-definition sex tape, those rumors are only partially true at most. Since nobody other than Pratt and Faris know the full story behind their breakup, I’m not going to assume that cheating or infidelity was involved. According to Pratt’s own statement, the breakup was mutual.

“Anna and I are sad to announce we are legally separating. We tried hard for a long time, and we’re really disappointed. Our son has two parents who love him very much and for his sake we want to keep this situation as private as possible moving forward.”

For now, I’m going to take Mr. Pratt at is word, but assume there were other dynamics at work that neither he nor Faris care to share with an unforgiving public. I’m not even going to speculate on what those dynamics can be. Instead, I’m going to step back and look at the bigger picture here. If nothing else, I’d like to give think fans of both Pratt and Faris, as well as fans of any celebrity couple, a sense of perspective.

Much of that perspective boils down to one inescapable truth. Celebrities live crazy lives, work crazy jobs, and deal with crazy stresses that no ordinary person can hope to understand, let alone deal with. The fact that any celebrity romance succeeds in the long run is nothing short of a miracle.

These are not people with normal or even semi-normal experiences. These are people doing things few people can do, achieving success that most people never achieve, and struggling to manage it all without going insane. So whenever a celebrity does have a very public breakdown, of sorts, it really shouldn’t surprise anyone.

On top of that, celebrities often work jobs that keep them busy for insane hours and requires them to spend a good chunk of their time traveling. Even if they have their own private jet and a support staff who effectively manages every minor detail of their lives, right down to the brand of toilet paper they buy, they’re still always busy. In a sense, being a celebrity is as close to a full-time job as anyone can have.

How can you make a relationship work in those circumstances? That’s not a rhetorical question. That’s an ongoing issue that many celebrities struggle to solve. Pratt and Faris thought they had the answer. I’m sure Pitt and Jolie felt the same way. In the end, they were wrong. It’s tragic, but it shows just how hard it is to answer that question.

That’s not to say it’s impossible. Some celebrity couples find a way to make it work. They are, however, the exceptions and not the norms. Realistically speaking, the circumstances of a celebrity romance are a checklist of how not to structure a relationship. For the sake of context, here are just some of them.

  • Working extended periods in a high-stress, fast-paced environment
  • Managing large numbers of people and resources
  • Traveling frequently and having little time to spend at home or with loved ones
  • Doing physically demanding, often exhausting work
  • Being surrounded by extremely attractive people with a strong incentive to seduce others
  • Being subject to constant scrutiny and micromanaging
  • Constantly entering unfamiliar situations and dealing with unfamiliar people
  • Occasionally having to get naked and/or intimate with strangers

Just dealing with a few of these issues is stressful enough on any relationship. That’s why occupations like bartender, massage therapist, or police officer have a markedly high divorce rate. With celebrities, though, the challenges are even greater because it’s not just one or two issues. It all of them.

At the end of the day, no matter what Tom Cruise may think, we’re all human. We all have human brains that are stuck with caveman settings. Those brains aren’t equipped to deal with the rigors of a celebrity life. Hell, it’s barely equipped to handle our current ideals of romance.

Chris Pratt and Anna Faris had the odds stacked against them from the beginning. They clearly loved each other. They made that abundantly clear in their announcement. However, their brains have the same limits as ours. Those brains compel us to form the kinds of intimate, close connections that are easily strained by stressful jobs, constant travel, and an excess of beautiful people willing to sleep with you.

Most relationships, in general, struggle to function in those conditions, as evidenced by the non-celebrity divorce rate. Pratt and Faris tried to beat those odds, on top of all the forces working against them, and did a lot better than most. Just ask anyone Taylor Swift ever dated.

At the end of the day, though, the mechanics of a celebrity romance are just too daunting, even for those who genuinely love each other. It’s part of why people root for celebrity romances . The idea that two people can overcome those daunting obstacles nourishes our ideals about love and marriage. When that fails, it hits those ideals pretty hard, as evidenced by the Twitter reaction to the Pratt/Faris breakup.

While it is disappointing, especially for a relationship that seemed more healthy than most, it still shouldn’t be surprising. We, the non-celebrities of the world, can’t forget that people like Chris Pratt and Anna Faris live such crazy lives that are wholly unconducive to our romantic ideals.

Some of that is our fault. Some of that is the fault of biology with the way our brains are wired. Even so, it shouldn’t destroy our concept of love. If nothing else, it should remind us that making a relationship work is hard, but the fact that celebrities try as hard as they do is proof that the work is worth it.

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Thoughts on the End of Brangelina

I’m not a fan of celebrity culture. I never got the appeal of tying my identity so closely to a public figure that I get emotionally attached to the course of their life. That can be dangerous. There are too many Mel Gibsons, Charlie Sheens, and Gary Buseys in this world. You’re basically putting a big target on your identity and giving a squad of snipers a loaded bazooka.

That’s why if I’m going to tie my identity to anyone, it’s going to be a fictional character, such as superheroes in comics. As anyone who has followed this blog knows, I’m a big fan of superheroes and often use them to make important points about romance and pop culture. At least with fictional characters, they can’t be caught fucking the babysitter outside a bad porn parody.

All that said, I’m inclined to comment on the recent news surrounding the divorce of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. I know. I can sense your eyes rolling and your heads banging against the wall. This is not why you come to this blog. You come here to be entertained and updated by the twisted thoughts of an aspiring romance/erotica writer. Then again, it’s not like a lot of people come to this blog anyways so I don’t think it makes a difference.

I don’t know if it’s a cosmic coincidence or lousy timing on my part, but this monumental celebrity split happened in the same week where I’ve been discussing/ranting on our collective failings when it comes to divorce and commitment. It’s kind of spooky that I bring this topic up and then a famous couple splits. Maybe that means I should bet more money in my fantasy football pool this weekend or maybe my timing just sucks that much.

Whatever the case, let’s get this over with. Let’s talk about this latest celebrity heartbreak that we all knew as Brangelina. What happened? They were so in love. Their story was like a movie in and of itself. They meet on the set of Mr. and Ms. Smith, hit it off, and fall so madly in love that it causes Brad Pitt to leave Jennifer Anniston, who looks like this.

There had to be a hell of a love to draw them together like that. It had to be a pretty powerful love for them to stay together for over a decade, having children and even adopting a few along the way. Were they the typical Hollywood couple? Hell no, but then again there’s no such thing as a “typical couple” in Hollywood. That’s a flawed concept, sort of like “well-adjusted former child star.”

Every relationship is different. Every relationship has its quirks and proclivities. As I pointed out in an earlier post, every relationship has expectations as well and most of the time, these expectations aren’t reasonable to say the least.

Men want to be married to multiple supermodels who spend their days making sandwiches. Woman want to be married to a rich prince who spends his days massaging their feet and carrying her bags while she’s shopping with his credit card. These are the laughable expectations that we’ve all been fed by movies, TV, and bad love songs for decades. The difference with a couple like Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt is that in their world, these expectations aren’t that ridiculous.

When you look at the details, Brad and Angelina had a lot more going for them than most celebrity couples. They were both very successful in their own right. Angelina Jolie has an Oscar. Brad Pitt is one of the most bankable movie stars in all of Hollywood. They each found success in their own way and their success was not dependent on one another. They were very much equals, which is rare in a place like Hollywood, so much so that you have to look to X-men comics for examples.

On paper, these two had everything they needed to make it work. If one of them hadn’t been successful, then that would’ve created some unhealthy dynamics to say the least. Speaking in terms of history and economics, when someone is overly dependent on someone else, it tends to leave a bit too much room for abuse and neglect. That’s just a sad fact of human nature.

When we’re among those we consider subordinates, we don’t treat them as equals. It’s not necessarily evil. It’s kind of a holdover from our evolutionary past. Remember, humans are evolved from predators. Predators, like wolves and bears, have to see their prey as subordinate. It makes them easier to hunt. Since our brains are so poorly wired by the blunt instrument that is nature, we tend to do a bad job of differentiating between survival and romance. Not saying Mother Nature is incompetent, but she can be pretty crude.

Since this wasn’t the case with Brad and Angelina, this must mean other forces were at work. Plenty of news outlets and gossip sites are speculating what those forces are. It may be infidelity. It may be drug use. It may upheavals in their careers. Who knows? I’m not going to speculate. I’m not going to contribute to that shit storm. If Brad and Angelina want to get a divorce, they can and it’s none of our god-damn business.

With this in mind, I’m going to say something that’s probably going to offend a certain crowd of people, especially those who got emotionally attached to their romance. Put the pitchforks down. Unclench your fists. I feel like this has to be said so here goes.

It’s perfectly fine for Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie to divorce because they can manage it better than you or I ever will. As such, they do not deserve sympathy.

Am I assuming more than I should about the intricacies of their personal lives? Maybe I am. I don’t deny that. However, I think there’s a point to be made by this split and it ties right into my arguments about our flawed approach to marriage and commitment.

It’s because that Brad and Angelina are a relationship of equals, as I described earlier, that they’re able to deal with this in a much better way than most. This isn’t a case of Tiger Woods’ ex-wife asking for $750 million. These are two people who don’t need to gouge one another for money.

They’re both rich and successful on their own terms. The only issue they need to resolve is custody of their six kids, which can be emotionally frustrating, but not nearly as much when money is involved.

Make no mistake. Keeping money out of the equation makes anything easier, especially divorce. Remove the money and you just have two people trying to find a way to move out of the same house and agree on the assets. That just involves legally binding negotiations, which is something people have been doing for centuries. We don’t need to subvert our evolutionary wiring to make that work.

I understand that there are still those upset by this split. I understand I’ve probably made a few enemies by commenting on this issue. That’s the chance you take when you share your thoughts on the internet and I gladly take that chance.

It’s impossible to know for sure what drove Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie to divorce. Citing the laughably obscure legal term, “irreconcilable differences,” leaves many blanks for our perverse imaginations to fill in. Our imaginations rarely line up with reality because our imaginations rarely stay tied to the real world.

The only assumption I feel comfortable making about this relationship is that, as is so often the case, they went into this relationship with expectations. Despite all the money and resources they had, they were disappointed when those expectations weren’t met. Once they realized that they couldn’t be met, they ended it. Sometimes the best we can hope for us that, within a relationship of equals, the end is beneficial for both sides.

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