Celebrity marriages doubly as likely to end

New research from Marriage Foundation has found celebrities are twice as likely to divorce as the rest of us. Marriage Foundation, the think tank

New research from Marriage Foundation has found celebrities are twice as likely to divorce as the rest of us.

Marriage Foundation, the think tank founded to promote stable families, looked at 488 celebrity couples who married between 2001 and 2010.

The research revealed the celebrity divorce rate over the first fourteen years of marriage to be at 50 per cent, double the current UK divorce rate over the same period, which is at 26 per cent.

Harry Benson, Research Director of Marriage Foundation commented: ‘Usually people with huge wealth are cushioned from the kind of stress and tensions than can lead to family breakdown.

“So it would be reasonable to think that wealthy celebs would have the lowest rates of divorce. In fact the reverse is true. Celebrities as a group divorce at roughly double the rate of us ordinary mortals.

“Their record is worst of all in the early years of marriage. In the first year, celebrities are almost six times more likely to divorce than non-celebs.

“So those who hanker after fame and fortune should be careful what they wish for. The current divorce rate for ordinary couples over a lifetime is 39 per cent. Celebrity couples exceed that in only ten years.”

Among the celebrities the study looked at, quickest to reverse their vows were Drew Barrymore and Tom Green, Eminem and Kim Mathers and Britney Spears and Jason Alexander, none of whom made it to their first wedding anniversary.

Britney Spears appears twice in the worst offenders charts following her three-year marriage to Kevin Federline which ended in 2007.

Recently ‘consciously uncoupled’ Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin fare comparably well having stayed together eleven years, a feat shared by Charles Saatchi and Nigella Lawson.

In the ‘still married’ category, controversial Republican candidate Donald Trump and his wife Melania Knauss are currently level pegging with Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, with ten years of marriage under their belts.

Top of the longevity list come J.K Rowling and Neil Murray and Pierce Brosnan and Keely Shaye Smith who are together after fourteen years of marriage.

Sir Paul Coleridge, founder and Chairman of Marriage Foundation, expressed his concerns about the consequences of high celebrity divorce rates.

He commented: “Although this research might look like some excuse for gossip about hapless celebrities, it is much more serious than that. Whether we like it or not we all are celebrity watchers to a greater or lesser extent and some, especially the more disadvantaged, are inevitably impressed by their way of life.

“Celebs become, no doubt involuntarily, high profile role models. But this research shows that in their domestic lives these people experience even more pain and suffering than us lesser mortals and in this respect at least their lives are not to be copied or envied. They are false icons who are subject to even greater pressures to separate.

“They may dazzle us with their £100,000 fairy story weddings, 15 tier cakes and house-drawn carriages but all too often these weddings are followed, in quick succession by a bitter and tortuous fallout and divorce played out in the public eye in grisly detail.  And behind too many of these high profile family breakdowns sits a set of confused and distressed children who have felt the two tectonic plates of their lives pulled apart under the full scrutiny of the media.


“What we now know beyond doubt is that children who have endured family breakdown are more likely to see their educational attainment, employment and mental health suffer than those whose parents stay together. Stability within marriage is still by far the best way of ensuring a family stays together and mending it not ending it is usually, in the long run, a better solution.”


Notes to editors:

For media inquiries please contact Beatrice Timpson on 07803 726977.

Harry Benson is available to be interviewed, on 07515 699187.
Marriage Foundation was founded by Sir Paul Coleridge, a High Court Judge, moved by his personal experience in 40 years as a barrister and judge specialising in family law. The Foundation seeks to improve public understanding of marriage reduce the numbers of people drawn into the family justice system – some 500,000 children and adults each year. 

Marriage Foundation has highlighted the crisis of family breakdown. Their research has found that a child born today only has a 50 per cent chance of living with both parents by the time they reach fifteen.

Foundation research has also found that 93 percent of parents who stay together until their child’s fifteenth birthday are married.

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