The divorce of celebrities Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie might go down as the most talked-about breakup in history.
“Brangelina” seemed like the perfect Hollywood couple, but in the weeks since the split was announced the tabloids have been filled with rumors of affairs, child abuse, and drug and alcohol abuse.
Behind the sensationalist headlines, though, is a familiar heartbreaking story that shows how divorce can make all of us very vulnerable.
Here are three lessons everyone can learn from the “Brangelina” divorce:
Divorce can affect everyone
Perhaps the most important lesson from Pitt and Jolie’s breakup is that it shows that divorce is heartbreaking for everyone, even celebrities.
When you get married, you give your life to someone and they become part of you. When things don’t work out, it can leave you feeling broken. No amount of fame or fortune can shield a person from that.
If you’re struggling with self-doubt after your own divorce, just keep in mind that this is a human experience that millions of people – even some very famous ones – deal with.
The process is likely especially hard on Pitt and Jolie’s children, whose privacy should be respected throughout all this. Divorce is associated with a number of negative effects on children, and research shows that wealth and privilege don’t necessarily offer any protection.
It’s important to consider what Pitt and Jolie are going through as you hear and read news about their divorce. Their breakup should not be a spectacle, although the media circus will ensure that it is.
Abuse allegations are devastating
Shortly after the divorce was announced, Pitt was accused of child abuse. Details about the incident are still emerging, but those allegations are a serious complication regardless of what really happened.
“The problem for Brad is far larger than just a divorce,” said Cordell & Cordell CEO Scott Trout. “He now faces damage to his reputation with allegations of drug and alcohol use resulting in perhaps violent behavior, even toward the children. This complicates his divorce strategy significantly in that he isn’t just fighting for his kids; he is now faced with the task of restoring his career and public perception.”
Obviously, in any case involving abuse the child’s safety is the top priority, but even if the allegations turn out to be false, they can still have an enormous impact on a divorce case and a person’s reputation.
‘Brangelina’s’ split was predictable
Based on research, there were several factors in place that indicated that Pitt and Jolie’s breakup was actually somewhat predictable.
For starters, a study by Britain’s Marriage Foundation found that celebrities divorce at about twice the rate of the rest of us.
Pitt and Jolie also matched up to five of University of Denver research professor Scott Stanley’s individual risk factors for divorce, including being a child of divorce (Jolie), having a prior marriage that ended, having sex or cohabiting with someone other than your mate prior to marriage, having a child together before marriage, and cohabiting before marriage.