Friday, December 31, 2010

The Decade’s 7 Most Shocking Breakups

1.  Elizabeth Hurley and Hugh Grant (2000)
These two beautiful people led a charmed life the rest of us could only dream of.  Then came Hugh’s arrest, and it occurred to us that all might not be as perfect as it seemed.  Given the outcomes of her subsequent romances, one assumes that poor Liz is a demon at the poker table.

2.  Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman (2001)
Less of an ideal match than Liz and Hugh (in height if nothing else!), these two seemed to settle into a strong union.  Nicole’s cinematic successes helped them overcome the rumors that she was using him as her ticket to fame.  They adopted two children and seemed to be setting up a family to envy.  Then Tom met Penelope Cruz while filming Vanilla Sky, and it was all over.  Those who had previously slandered Nicole now admired the bravery and grace with which she endured her broken heart.

3.  Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake (2002)

Given their age when they met, it would have been far more shocking for them to get (and stay) married.  However, they gave off that vibe that said they’d be together forever.  And certainly Britney’s public declaration that she was saving herself for marriage (itself somewhat shocking) amplified the vibe.  Learning that Brit and Justin had actually done the deed was not as shocking as learning that Britney was the one with the wandering eye.

4.  Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt (2005)
Elizabeth Hurley and Hugh Grant, only more so!  After all, these two beautiful people got married.  And it was a match made in heaven.  Who knew Brad could be seduced away by S&M and PB&J?

5.  Susan Sarandon and Tim Roth (2009)
They were an institution of unmarried partnership.  Sharing their love and their liberal values everywhere they went.  They had been together so long, they had aged out of our breakup forecasts.  Fear not!  We secured highly paid consultants to re-calibrate the model to account for this phenomenon.  And boy aren’t we grateful for that investment (see below)!

6.  John and Elizabeth Edwards (2010)
OK.  It’s not that anyone is shocked to hear that when a man gets his mistress pregnant, and films a sex tape of the two of them, that his wife will consider leaving him.  What’s shocking here instead is John’s sheer brazenness in impregnating said mistress in the midst of a presidential nomination campaign.  While his wife was hiding her breast cancer in order to represent him on the campaign trail.  “Shock” just skims the surface of how we reacted to that hot mess.

7.  Al and Tipper Gore (2010)
As mentioned above, we had a bit of a heads up on this one after we fine-tuned our forecasting model in the wake of the Sarandon-Roth fiasco.  But just by a hair.  Oddly, no credible rumors of infidelity or illegality have arisen to account for the split.  Time will tell, I suppose.

Well, that’s our list of shocking breakups.  Who’s on your list?

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Divorce Joe Francis

Once upon a time, there was a man with an idea for a business venture:  make and sell videos of women’s boobs.  Elegant simplicity at its best, no?  But how can one make a booby video when one lacks the lavish budget of a porn company?  Well, one must do away with the frills.  No sound stage.  No special cameras or lights.  Most of all, no paid talent.  What’s an enterprising young man with a dream to do?  Why, go where the boobies are, of course!

And that’s just what Joe Francis did.  He took his personal video recorder to places where women would be most inclined to show off their boobs for free:  beach locales during Spring Break, where the alcohol flows, the hormones rage, and mature judgment has fled the premises.

The American free enterprise system at its best!

Joe made a veritable mint from his endeavor, making friends along the way with celebrities like Quincy Jones, the Kardashians, and young Christina McLarty, an entertainment correspondent for the local CBS outpost.  Joe and Christina dated on and off for four years.  Much of that time, Joe was battling criminal charges like racketeering, drug trafficking, child pornography, record keeping violations, bribery, possession of a controlled substance, introducing contraband into jail, child abuse, and prostitution.  In all, he served 339 days.  Once he was out, he proposed to Christina in Saint-Tropez, and they said their vows in Mexico in November.  And here it is December, and Christina has left Joe and moved back in with her mother!

If this were 1950, we’d call it a “lover’s spat” and look on fondly and nostalgically.

But these are the final hours of 2010.  A bride who leaves her husband after a four-year relationship must have something else going on.  Christina reminds me of Paula Barbieri.  Remember her?  She’s the lovely lady who waited for over a year to welcome O.J. Simpson home once he was acquitted on charges of murdering his wife and her friend.  But soon after O.J. got home, they broke up.  Christina and Joe have the same thing going on.  While Joe was in jail, Christina could construct an elaborate image of him as the brave entrepreneur trying to make an honest fortune in an industry of insiders and power moguls who resent his youthful good looks and inventiveness.  (Another thing Ms. McLarty and Ms. Barbieri have in common:  the privilege of living in their rich boyfriends’ posh homes during said boyfriends’ incarceration.)  Once married, she was forced to square that image with the jaw dropping narcissism of the man behind Meet Joe Francis.

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wedding Wednesday: Nicole Richie and Joel Madden

Just before the Breakup Watch management team departed for their holiday retreat in Cabo, they left us interns with strict instructions to maintain the blog and post new entries.  Check the date of the last entry to see how that went.  Anyway, we think we’re sober enough now to eek something out before Management gets back.

Did you see that Nicole Richie and Joel Madden got married?  Yes, I know it was practically a month ago!  That’s not important.  I’m sure to Nicole and Joel it’s still fresh, just as it should be to you, too.

Anyway, no one thought these two would ever make it this far.  After all, this is Paris Hilton’s best bud and partner in getting-paid-for-being-clueless-while-making-everyone-else-feel-like-saps-for-working-to-pay-the-bills.  Going maternal just doesn’t seem to be what that set does.  I suspect many of them keep surrogates in the same way that Victorian women of means kept wet-nurses.

But then Nicole sort of dropped Paris and went all flower child on us!  (Not really, of course.  Her tie-dye dresses and headbands came from Rodeo Drive.)  And not only did Nicole and Joel had a baby, but they had two of them!  On purpose, apparently.

Then they finally got married.  In Lionel Richie’s backyard.  With an elephant!  And now to celebrate it, Nicole has been released from her latest DUI probation two months earlier than expected.

Oddly enough, I what to think these two have a shot at success.  Joel seems to have a healthy, grounding effect on Nicole.  And I’ll bet that Nicole, as an adoptee, takes the role of motherhood (and family, by extension) very, very seriously. 

On the other hand, their contrasting backgrounds and wealth still threaten to get in their way.  And there are certain risks inherent in being a convicted substance abuser and the tattooed pop punk musician. 

Finally, of course, the care and feeding of a trained elephant can be expensive and stressful.

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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Breakup Song Watch Sunday: Ne Me Quitte Pas (If You Go Away)

There comes a time, as a relationship ends, when a lover seeks to change the course of history through poetry.  This song is about that time.

Both the English and the French versions of the song make ridiculously desperate promises in the attempt to persuade a lover not to leave. 

From the French:
I will give you pearls of rain come from countries where it never rains.
I will dig up the earth even in death to cover your body with gold and with light.
I will make a kingdom where love shall be king, where love shall be law, where you shall be queen.
Don’t leave me!
Don’t leave me!
Don’t leave me!
Don’t leave me!

From the English:
But if you stay
I'll make you a day
Like no day has ever been
Or will be again
We'll sail on the sun
We'll ride on the rain
We'll talk to the trees
And worship the wind

Pulling out all the rhetorical stops, this guy is!

We’ve all been there, right?  It’s a final gambit to forestall the inevitable.  I will make you stay through the force of my will, as expressed by my fancy words.  Which is ridiculous when you think about it.  It’s not like this affair started over poetry in the first place.  But somehow, luring them back in with poetic hyperbole seems like a good idea at the time.

No doubt about it, love gives us teh stupids.

Here is a video of someone doing a slow, fastidious burlesque to Nina Simone’s rendition of “Ne Me Quitte Pas.”  I have never seen a stripper fold her clothes after taking them off before.  (If only she would stop touching her hair!) 

[Ugh.  Vimeo won't allow the embed without a pound of flesh.  Link here.]

This is such an odd song for a striptease.  I can only think that undressing in public is meant to reflect the debasing of self portrayed in the song:  Let me become the shadow of your shadow, the shadow of your hand, the shadow of your dog, but don’t leave me!  Don’t leave me!  Don’t leave me!  Don’t leave me!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Congratulations Zac and Vanessa!

Congratulations to Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens for meeting that critical milestone of adulthood:  ending their first romantic relationship!

This is big!  Every high school has its long term couples.  By senior year, they’re already so “couple-y.”  They seem to have already “settled down,” with all the good and bad that entails.  Everyone else projects onto them their own feelings about adulthood.  The kids who fear never finding a partner in life envy them like hell.  The kids who fear missing out on the fun congratulate themselves for being smart enough to avoid the chains of relationship.  The teachers place bets on their kitsch-filled wedding and subsequent, drama-filled divorce.

But you know what?  Everyone has to have that first relationship.  Zac and Vanessa are just lucky that they got it out of the way without doing anything stupid.  In that, they are so much better off than Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake after Britney stupidly professed her determination to remain a virgin until marriage, then had to face the piercing stares of people forever trying to gauge the state of her virtue.

I firmly believe that you cannot fully enter adulthood without first ending a serious relationship.

So what’s next for young Zac and Vanessa?  Vanessa will date an older, more famous man for a few years, but it will never go anywhere.  Think Courtney Cox and Michael Keaton.  Zac?  Same thing.  Think Justin Timberlake and Cameron Diaz.  Or possibly Anne Heche and Ellen DeGeneres.

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

The World Returns to Its Orbit

Ryan Reynolds and Scarlett Johansson are divorcing.  The world can finally return to its standard orbit. 

As far as I’m concerned, Ryan Reynolds will always be the college dude in tight jeans, drinking from a beer bong in Dick.

And Scarlett Johansson is the philosophy major traipsing around Tokyo while she watches her marriage evaporate in Lost in Translation.

These twains should never have met!

As far as I’m concerned, this divorce knocks all those out-of-kilter edges and joints throughout the universe back into place.  I feel better already.

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

4 Threats to a Happy Marriage

The following risk factors can threaten your chances of a happy marriage:

  1. Being a television actor.  The travel and the mismatched schedules are hell on marital intimacy.  People give you the  “star treatment,” bombarding you with messages that you’re better than everyone else, and no one holds you accountable when you’re being an asshole.  Ethics-challenged fans have no qualms about hooking up in the bathroom stall of a Miami club just for the chance to say they did it with a star.  These things are not good for your marriage.
  2. Getting cancer.  A bad diagnosis can prompt someone who thinks he won’t be around in a year to make rash decisions with life consequences.  Meanwhile, treatment typically results in side effects that show you off at your worst:  hair loss, incontinence, impotence.  None of these things are romantic.
  3. Marrying your sister.  Even when she’s a foster sister, it’s still gross.
  4. Being a serial killer.  Strive as you might to be a serial killer with a heart of gold, it still has a destructive effect on your relationship.  Lying about where you’ve been, hiding your bloody laundry, justifying credit card charges to pay for your surgical torture instruments.  It’s got to take a toll!

Is it any wonder why Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter are calling it quits after a scant two years?

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Monday, December 13, 2010

Elizabeth Hurley: Back on Familiar Ground

Elizabeth Hurley announced via Twitter that she and her husband are separated.  I repeat:  she announced her breakup via Twitter.  The announcement comes after paparazzi caught her doing the walk of shame as she exited the hotel of a famous cricket player whose name I cannot remember.

Liz is not known for making stellar choices in men.  First there was Hugh Grant.  They made such a beautiful couple!  But they dated for 13 years.  And not in a Goldie Hawn-Kurt Russell life partnership way.  More in a one-of-us-is-more-committed-than-the-other way.  Then Hugh got nabbed for soliciting the services of a prostitute.  I repeat:  Elizabeth Hurley’s boyfriend sought a blow job from a streetwalker.

After they finally broke up, Liz announced she was expecting a baby.  She was 36, and we all assumed she was just following the dictates of her biological clock.  Unfortunately for Liz, her baby daddy refused to acknowledge the child.  I repeat:  the guy tried to deny that he had sex with Elizabeth Hurley.

Then Liz found love in the form of businessman and textile heir Arun Nayar.  Our Liz finally got married!  In extravagant ceremonies in both Britain and India.  Three years later, the walk of shame.  And that’s all we know.

The dude Liz spent the night with?  Apparently both a cricket player and a player player. We can’t help but wonder what would send a woman with Liz’s history into the arms of a notorious womanizer.  The answer appears to be:  familiarity.  When it comes to romance, Liz is most accustomed to being in a relationship with a man who isn’t putting as much into it as she is. 

It’s possible that Arun was just one more of those under-performing dudes, and that made Liz susceptible to the cricket player’s charms.  On the other hand, Liz and Arun were only married for three years, and Liz has shown she has way more staying power than that.  So maybe Arun was the break from the pattern, a truly loving partner.  And maybe Liz just didn’t know how to work with that.  So maybe she just scurried back to her comfort zone.  You think?

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Breakup Song Watch Sunday: Wake Up Call, by Maroon 5

This song is really more a Breakup Alternative Song.  Adam from Maroon 5 finds his girl in bed with Jeremy Sisto.  And rather than letting the betrayal ruin a good thing, he shoots Jeremy dead.  The urgency of disposing of the evidence and avoiding capture serves as a touching bonding experience that brings Adam from Maroon 5 and his girl closer together.  As crises often do.

Of particular interest: 

  • The band is called Maroon 5, but they seem to really like cobalt.  This observation sends me into a pointless philosophical revery, wondering if “maroon” is their word for the color that I experience as cobalt.  I blame Overthinking It.  (Who am I kidding?  I don’t really blame them.  I thank them!)
  • Was the video filmed in Los Angeles?  If so, then Los Angeles cops are way hot!!  I can’t imagine people running away from cops who look like that.  Maybe that should be a new strategy for police forces around the world!  Increase your bad guy apprehension rate by recruiting chicks, giving them breast augmentations, and removing the top buttons from their uniform shirts.  Because who's going to run away from that?  (Is that a sexist thing to say?)
  • Why is the other dude’s height relevant?  I mean, it would make sense if the lyrics were “Eight foot tall, came without a warning/So I had to shoot him dead.”  But six feet tall?  Come on Adam from Maroon 5, don’t be such a wuss!

Here is the original video, with the audio remix by Mark Ronson.  Love Mary J. Blige in this, but wish she were part of the original performance.  How cool would that have been!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Elizabeth Anania Edwards (1949 – 2010)

Elizabeth Edwards lost her 17-year-old son in 1996.  In 2004, she underwent a lumpectomy and radiation therapy to treat breast cancer.  Three years later, doctors discovered the cancer had returned and had spread to her bones, making it inoperable.  In 2008, the world learned of her husband's affair after he fled the press while visiting his former mistress and her young child.  In early 2010, her husband admitted that that young child was in fact his.  Following this revelation, his mistress informed the world that the two of them had actively planned the life they would build together once Elizabeth lost her battle with cancer. Whereupon Elizabeth initiated legal separation, which is required in her state before filing for divorce.

Elizabeth Edwards was a practicing Christian, and so she was probably banking on being in a better place after death than she had so far enjoyed.  Certainly her children and many others who have admired her strength and grace fervently pray that Elizabeth's afterlife is filled with peace, love, and happiness.  One can only hope her children take comfort in that prospect and that their memories of their mother’s love and the spirit serve as a beacon as they forge ahead in this life without her.

Rest in peace, Elizabeth.

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Monday, December 6, 2010

Dane Cook and the Green Knight

In Iris Murdoch’s novel, The Green Knight, Lucas is the short, swarthy adopted son, and Clement is his tall, handsome, natural born younger brother.  Early in the novel, we learn that Lucas was poised to savagely attack and murder Clement, with no provocation, when Peter Mir steps in to absorb the blow himself. 

I don’t know what happened after that.  The brother-on-brother violence was so upsetting that I put the book down and never picked it back up again.  Maybe Lucas and Clement made up and lived happily every after.  Maybe Clement came to his senses and beat the ever-loving shit out of Lucas before disowning him forever.  Maybe zombies ate both their brains.  We’ll never know.

Reading about Dane Cook and his half-brother/half-embezzler reminded me of The Green Knight.  Dane Cook’s older brother, Darryl McCauley, was a corrections officer when Dane’s career started moving and Dane need a business manager.  Who better than family, right?  Nearly anybody, it turns out.  Darryl pled guilty this year to stealing millions from Dane, and a few days ago he was sentenced to five years in prison and was required to pay his brother $12 million.

Imagine what family dynamic leads a young man with a budding entertainment career to recruit his older, inexperienced brother to serve as his business manager.  Imagine how much Darryl must have resented feeling beholden to his baby brother/benefactor for giving him an opportunity that he could never have scored on his own.

Why does a man steal from his brother?  Because it’s the only fucking way to get back at him for not being a loser!

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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Breakup Song Watch Sunday: Picture, by Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow

This song is so confusing.  The singing seems so sincere and heartfelt, but if you listen to the lyrics, the narrative just doesn’t stick together.

So it starts out simple enough.  Kid Rock has holed up in a hotel for three-day bender of booze and coke and women.  As you can imagine, he’s heartbroken to find himself at the bottom of this particular barrel.  So he’s put Sheryl’s picture away, because it seemed tacky to leave it out while doing body shots off tonight’s floozy.  It’s kind of odd that he went to the trouble to take Sheryl’s picture with him to his No-Tell Motel in the first place, but whatever.

Then Sheryl tells her side of the experience:  everyone in town knows something is up but they won’t tell her what, and there’s been total radio silence from Kid for three damn nights.

So far, so good.

But then Sheryl says she had to put Kid’s picture away, too!  Because she can’t look at Kid while she’s lying next to some other guy.  !?!?  So, wait, now Sheryl is doing body shots, too? 

No, I know!  Sheryl is married to someone else, and she and Kid had an affair.  Tired of being the Other Man, Kid broke it off and is now drowning his sorrows.  Yeah, that makes sense.

No, that doesn’t work.  A wife wouldn’t have a picture of her lover out in the first place.

What the hell?

Fast forward to some indeterminate time in the future.  Kid and Sheryl are clearly broken up.  The nostalgia when they run into each other is so thick you could cut it with the razor Kid uses on his cocaine.  Sheryl hopes Kid is coming home to stay.  So that means he wasn’t the Other Man, but the Man.  So what was she doing lying next to someone else?  Or is that someone else only someone she hooked up with after a “decent interval”?  But if so, how can she be encouraging Kid to come back home?  Is she just going to lead Kid back home, and announce to his successor that his services are no longer needed?

What in the world is going on here?

And she swears she’s changed her ways.  What ways?  That means she was doing body shots off some strange guy, after all!  But, she’s a church-going gal.  This makes no sense at all!

And now, as if we weren’t all confused enough, here is a video of the song, set in a medieval game world.  With a penguin!

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Words of a Philanderess

Christina Aguilera gave an interview with People to discuss why she filed for divorce from Jordan Bratman.

“Things were so unhealthy and unhappy for both Jordan and me.”  Note the lack of agency there.  Make no mistake.  These are the words of a philanderess.

About Matthew Rutler, Christina’s new beau, she says, “He's the kind of person you could spend hours with on the phone talking to and all of a sudden it's daylight.”

Well that fits.  Not the Yoda-like syntax, but the light it sheds on why things were so tense with Jordan.  People tend to get testy when their spouses neglect them to talk on the phone all night with someone else!  It’s unhealthy for your marriage and likely to make your husband unhappy.  And it’s likely to make you unhappy when your unhappy husband confronts you with your behavior and its unhealthy effect on your marriage.

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Doubly Cursed -- at Least!

As already mentioned, we knew this marriage was doomed from the start because Eva made the ill-advised decision to take Tony’s name.

Now we learn that Eva has three Tony-inspired tattoos!  Their wedding date is on the inside of her wrist.  His jersey number is on the back of her neck.  And his initials are hiding in an undisclosed location.  (Interestingly, Tony is known to have tattoos for the wedding date and his own jersey number as well.  Does that mean he has a tattoo of his own initials somewhere?)

Tattooing your lover’s identifying information is a well-known relationship curse!  What else did you do to condemn your marriage to failure, Eva?  Get married under a ladder while smashing a mirror?

It turns out Eva has a pre-nup.  And we all know what a marriage curse that is!

Incidentally, it seems that Tony had hired his best friend’s divorce lawyer to represent him.  Cool beans!  Dudes who divorce together change course together.


Tony’s “best friend” is Brent Barry.  Whose wife is Erin Barry.  Whose texts with Tony are what brought Eva to this brink in the first place.

It’s exactly the sort of switcharoo that made The Practice such a success.  Unfortunately, Tony filed for divorce in Texas, not Boston.  The minute the connection came to light, his lawyer fired him. 

Surely hiring the lawyer of your emotional affair partner’s partner is bad mojo, right?

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Breakup Song Watch Sunday: F**k You! by Cee Lo Green

Here is why the internet exists:  to give everyone a chance to hear the Fuck You song, even though it will never get played on the radio in its original form.  The song got so much exposure from the original viral video that Gwyneth Paltrow could change the lyrics on Glee to “Forget You” and EVERYONE knew that wasn’t what she meant.  Ain’t that some shit?

[Incidentally, we seem to be experiencing a mini f-word trend in pop music these days.  You’ve heard about Britney’s sly “If U Seek Amy” bit, right?  (If not, just say it out loud -- out of the hearing of your kids and your Grandma.)  And Lily Allen released her own F.U. song last year.  Soon we’ll have enough fucking songs to fill an entire fucking cd.]

So what about this song?  Cee Lo seems to think his girl left him for a man with more money.  Well, of course it’s entirely possible.  But some men seem to have a bad habit of misreading the cues when it comes to love.  Maybe her problem wasn’t that the change in his pocket wasn’t enough, but that he was shouting expletives at the top of his lungs wherever they went.  Or maybe she was less concerned that he wasn’t bringing home a large paycheck and more concerned that he wasn’t bringing home any paycheck at all!  Always borrowing money from her family, stealing other people’s tips off the bar at the pub, and scamming tourists with his sad Three-Card Monte.  A girl gets tired of dating a hustler.  Sometimes it’s just easier to be with a guy who has a job -- the Ferrari’s just a bonus.

Here is Eliza Doolittle’s cover of the song.  It’s a bit long, but the spiffy dudes backing her up are adorable.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Congressman Breaks Up With His Chief-of-Staff

Representative Steve Rothman fired his chief-of-staff last week after Robert Decheine was caught in a police sting trying to hook up with a 15-year-old girl.  What Decheine didn’t realize was that he was not wooing a schoolgirl with his phone calls and text messages, but with a police detective.  He has been arrested on charges of soliciting sex from a minor.

According to the Gaithersburg Police Department, Decheine answered an internet advertisement that put him in phone, email, and text communication with a young woman, who at some point revealed she was 15-years-old.  Decheine continued communicating with her, eventually agreeing on a time and place to meet for the purpose of sex.

So let’s get this out there:  the news media isn’t saying so, but Decheine was obviously soliciting a prostitute.  It’s hard to say from here whether he was specifically seeking an underaged girl, but it’s clear that once he found out she was underage, he didn’t go back to the internet to look for an older, wiser prostitute.

One hopes Decheine’s wife has as much sense as his boss and breaks up with him immediately.

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving: Top Ten Reasons to Be Thankful for Your Breakup

  1. Never having to welcome your deadbeat loser human sponge of a brother-in-law into your home again.  Ever.
  2. You can finally have seafood for dinner again.  Or vegetables, or food with a sauce, or whatever other totally normal food your picky ex couldn’t tolerate.  Which leads us to…
  3. More leftovers = YUM!  
  4. The kids will no longer be betting on what time the next fight starts.  Children should not be gambling!
  5. It’s your money, and you should be able to buy an iPhone if you want one.
  6. Your neighbor is single, good looking, and interested.
  7. Spending your weekend in an ESPN coma?  Sure!  Why the hell not?
  8. That non-conformist rebellion (and accompanying hairstyle) that you thought was so hot in high school?  Not so sexy now.
  9. No longer having to keep that dirty little secret:  your teeth whitening system.
  10. You can finally admit that he wasn’t acting like an asshole. He WAS an asshole!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Relationship Do’s and Don’ts

DO make the effort to spend as much time together as possible.  Quality time isn’t the issue.  Shop for groceries together.  Go on car rides together.  Make dinner together.  Long, romantic walks.  Date nights.  Home improvement projects.  And, of course, making love.

DO show affection regularly and frequently.  Kiss when you wake up.  Kiss before you go to bed.  Kiss before parting.  Kiss upon reunioning.  Kiss to show approval, or gratitude, or conciliation.

DO function as a partnership.  Make decisions together.  Plan together.  Negotiate, compromise, search for the win-win.

DON’T exclaim, in response to your wife’s observation that Jennifer Jason Leigh is divorcing:  “Dang!  Isn’t timing a bitch?  I’m beginning to think that Jennifer and I will never be single at the same time!”  Don’t do that.

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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Breakup Song Watch Sunday: Take a Bow, by Rihanna

There’s a certain segment of the population who generally prize loyalty, commitment, and mutual care as the underpinnings of a relationship -- both familial and romantic.  Love is the glue that holds relationships together and overcomes all obstacles.  With love, anything is possible.  All you need is love.  These folks are the Trusters.

The Trusters often fall prey to the Manipulators.  The Manipulators instinctively know what the Trusters want and give them just enough of it to enjoy the benefits of the relationship without sacrificing their own freedom or overblown self-determination.

But you put on quite a show, really had me going
Now it’s time to go, curtain’s finally closing

Take a Bow is the anthem for all the reformed Trusters who’ve learned not to accept the misbehavior and excuses of the Manipulator.

When a Truster is hurt, what he or she wants more than anything is to believe that the dishonest partner understands the pain caused by the dishonest behavior and is deeply and truly repentant.  The Truster would be devastated if something he did caused the Manipulator pain and needs to know the Manipulator feels equally devastated by his own behavior.

But Manipulators just go through the motions.  They know what Trusters want to hear, and they recite the requisite lines, winning back their comfortable status quo.  Rihanna’s lyrics capture perfectly the aspect of performance that drives the Manipulator’s behavior.

And the award for the best liar goes to you
For making me believe that you could be faithful to me
Let's hear your speech out

Taking the power away from a Manipulator is the ultimate triumph for the Truster.  Pushing the Manipulator away -- in direct opposition to the Truster’s instinct -- allows the Truster to build a foundation of strength and discernment so they won’t fall victim to the next Manipulator they encounter. 

You look so dumb right now
Standing outside my house
Trying to apologize
You’re so ugly when you cry
Please, just cut it out

Singer-songwriter Ne-Yo wrote the song for Rihanna.  Here he is singing it from the man’s point of view.

There are two things I love about this cover.  First, Ne-Yo appears to be reading the revised lyrics off his BlackBerry, as if he had received them in an email.  Second, although he has adjusted the lyrics to indicate remorse and sincerity, it seems to all boil down to one thing:  “Please, let me in the house.”  That cracks me up.

But OMG check out this mix of the song with recordings of Detroit’s manipulative (thankfully) former mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick!  It’s the perfect demonstration of the brazen behavior of the Manipulator, finally recognized by the recovering Truster.  One imagines the entire population of Detroit standing up together and serenading Kilpatrick with this song as he’s frogmarched off to jail.  Yes!

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Superstition of Matrimonial Success

Pity the poor prenuptial agreement.  So maligned and misunderstood, it sits by its lonesome, wanting desperately to help, but rarely called from the bench except in trick plays or uneven contests.

Most people reject the notion of a prenup as “cynical.”  Signing a prenup requires you to consider the possibility of divorce.  And, as everyone knows, “we don’t do divorce.”

And here is where the fabric of space and time fray to make room to accommodate two separate universes in a single reality:  the vast universe of people for whom divorce is not an option, and the vast universe of people who get divorced.

I had a friend who informed her future husband that she would absolutely, positively, never sign a prenup.  She relayed this to me over dinner as we discussed the details of her divorce proceedings and alimony negotiations (which, we must assume, would not have been necessary, had she elected to sign a prenup).

People imbue prenups with far more power than they actually have.  Signing a prenup means that you believe your marriage will end in divorce.

Ergo, refuse to sign a prenup, and your marriage will be inoculated from divorce.  Hurray!

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wedding Wednesday: Katy Perry and Russell Brand

As any breakup analyst will tell you, you can’t just focus on the breakups.  Weddings (and the consequent marriages) are the common denominator for the vast majority of breakups.  Therefore, the breakup analyst who ignores the weddings does so at his or her own peril.

In recognition of that fact, Breakup Watch management has directed its unpaid interns to draft a new weekly feature:  Wedding Wednesday.  If it takes off, we’ll transition the responsibility from the interns to one of our salaried analysts.

Katy Perry and Russell Brand got married in India a few weeks ago.  Instinctively, I want to root for these plucky kids.  They’ve both got Jetta-to-Jeep stories that just warm the cockles of this unpaid intern’s heart.  Katy, the forlorn daughter of California evangelists, grew up to represent the heretofore under-represented California Girls -- daisy dukes, bikini top, and all.  Russell parlayed years of addiction and family setbacks into a lucrative comedy routine that serves him over and over in any media or performance (apparently).

But they have so many strikes against them.  Most of all, Russell’s history of alcoholism, drug addiction, and sexual addiction.  One can abstain from booze, joints, and needles and lead a happy successful life with a loving and understanding spouse.  But abstain from inappropriate sexual stimulation with Katy Perry? Isn’t she sort of porn with clothes on?  Certainly the frustration would drive a man to drink and/or shoot up.  And so we’re right back where we started!

On the other hand, it appears that they both like kissing girls.  So they have that in common.

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The Celebrity Name-Change Curse Strikes Again

Eva Longoria married Tony Parker and changed her name to Eva Longoria Parker.  No, Eva, no!  Why did you doom your beautiful marriage like that?

Rumors are now swirling that Eva is filing for divorce this week.

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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Out of Control

Mel Gibson and Oksana Grigorieva.


Pinpointing what is going on with Mel Gibson is like trying to shoot the villain in a hall of mirrors.  There’s just too much there!  The social critic is paralyzed by an overload of revealing and contradictory behaviors.  However, Mel and Oksana have been in court lately, trying to hammer out the custody of their baby Lucia, so it seems only sporting to try.

Apparently more Catholic than the pope, Mel regularly accompanied his wife Robyn and their seven children to an uber-Catholic church in California.  Robyn is an Anglican who never converted to Catholicism (uber or otherwise), and in fact Mel indicated he was none too confident in his wife’s salvation.

And who is, really?

Then Mel and Robyn separated because Mel was seeing Oksana.  The separation and affair were on the down-low (Robyn waiting for Mel to come to his senses?) until Oksana became pregnant, at which point Robyn filed for divorce.  A godly man, ashamed of how he had let down his church, his family, and himself, Mel expressed his remorse by inviting Oksana to accompany him to premieres and parties where their relationship could be sanctified in the glare of the red carpet lighting.

Then baby Lucia was born and we didn’t hear much from Mel and Oksana for a while.

And then, Holy Shit!  We heard Mel going totally crazy pants on the phone with Oksana.  And then we heard it again.  And again.  What in the world?

Hyperventilating over so many odd things:  how she dresses, how she went to sleep instead fellating him, her bosom, that he has no friends.  My favorite:  “I left my wife because we had no spiritual common ground!”  A remarkable -- and wearable -- observation embedded among the threats of rape, beating, and burial.

It’s so easy to write Mel off as a douche.  Because he probably is.  But what else is going on in that explosive head of his?

Mel is addicted to control.  For 26 years, Robyn Gibson enabled Mel’s addiction, helping Mel to keep it largely under wraps and out of the papers.  She had learned the drill and had decades to perfect it.  Oksana, on the other hand, neither knew nor cared about the drill.  Her courtship with Mel started with him wooing her and telling her she could do no wrong.  Imagine her surprise, once she was already in too deep to get out, when he lost his shit over some randomly misplaced shoe or unguarded observation.  Without Robyn to keep the forks facing the same way and the shirts evenly spaced in the closet, Mel just got more and more tense.  Who did he blame the tension on?  The one who was there, of course!  For Mel, Oksana represents both the cause and consequence of his failure to maintain order in his life.  Thus his rage upon awakening from a sex-induced walking coma to discover that disorder ruled, that he had mated with non-practicing non-Catholic, and that nothing -- not even the blow jobs -- was working out in his favor.

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Perils of a Family Business

Oh my goodness, Gordon Ramsay, what have you done?  Breaking up with your father-in-law in such a spectacular fashion!

Gordon is known for being temperamental, and there’s been that recent talk about mistresses.  And he even admitted to committing a theft against his employer in an effort to discredit a competitor.  So I’m not claiming he’s any sort of angel.

But there’s something about the way Chris Hutcheson (father of Gordon’s wife, Tana) describes being fired as CEO of Gordon Ramsay Holdings Limited that suggests to me that Chris might himself be a narcissistic handful.  He persuaded Gordon let him head the company.  That’s just what a narcissistic father-in-law would do!  Step into a position of power and authority under the ruse of helping out; then get wildly offended when challenged on paying himself huge “loans” out of the company coffers; then share with the media his passive aggressive “concern” over Gordon’s mental health and possible drug use; and finally cut off communication with his daughter while simultaneously lamenting to the press that she’s not speaking to him.

So Gordon fired him.  And then Gordon fired his brother-in-law and his nephew.  It’s not clear whether there is more angst around this family strife or around the loss of income it represents to the Hutcheson clan.

Finally, in a highly erratic turn, Gordon wrote a public letter to his mother-in-law, Greta, asking her to stop freezing Tana out.

Obviously, Greta is complying with the wishes of her husband.  What Gordon thought to accomplish with his letter, I can hardly think.  Well, ok, I guess I can.  The letter was Gordon’s extraordinarily hamfisted way of going around Chris to get to Greta.  While simultaneously getting to Chris with his own passive aggressive digs.  Well, he learned at the feet of the master.

Pity poor Tana.  She has led nearly her entire adult life between two monumental assholes.

It looks like this story is still unfolding.  Stay tuned . . .

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Breakup Song Watch: Breakeven (Falling to Pieces) by The Script

I’m still alive but I’m barely breathing

This pop song by The Script provides an excellent snapshot of what we go through immediately following a rejection.  Any schlockiness that comes across simply reflects the schlock inherent to the experience itself.  If I sound surprised, it’s because a year of listening to Top 40 radio has taught me that 95% of popular music is written for the sensibilities of a high school girl with a B-/C+ average.  But this song comes off as pretty genuine to me.

She’s moved on while I’m still grieving

Being rejected by someone you love is so, so damn hard.  It makes you sit alone in your jammies at 3:00 in the afternoon crying your eyes out, unsure where the day went. 

What am I supposed to say when I’m all choked up and you’re ok

All the while, you’re picturing her out with someone else, having the Best Time Ever.  That was supposed to be your lifetime of happy memories!  What is an imposter doing taking over your lovelife? 

What am I going to do when the best part of me was always you

Rejection like that makes us think the least of ourselves.  We critique every move, every utterance we ever made.  If you had just been vigilant enough to project the other person’s platonic ideal of a mate, you wouldn’t be in this miserable position right now! 

When a heart breaks, it don’t break even

Oh, the sheer injustice of it all!  Somehow, when you’re in the middle of it, it seems genuinely impossible that someone you love so. damn. much. doesn’t return the feeling.  As if it must contradict of a law of physics or something.

I’m falling to pieces

Rejection is universal.  Anyone who claims never to have been rejected is either lying or stupid (as in, they were rejected but were too obtuse to realize it).  An indicator of the universality of this feeling:  the plethora of amateur covers of this song that you can find on YouTube.  Here’s the best one of the bunch:

The superior recording equipment certainly puts this one over the top, but there’s no denying that Maddi Jane’s got some chops on her!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Breakup Watch Classic: l'Affaire Pamela Anderson et Kid Rock

Since Pamela Anderson is making headlines with her PETA campaign to Israel, we thought we'd dig up this old piece from the Breakup Watch archives (circa 2006).  We hope you like it.

OK, first of all, let's just get it out there.  This not the sort of celebrity divorce that rocks your world.  Pam and Kid are no Reese and Ryan (or Jennifer and Brad, for that matter).  It's not like we all woke up this morning to the news and thought, "But if Pamela Anderson and Kid Rock can't make it, maybe nobody can!"  So the question isn't Why did their marriage fall apart?; it's How in the world did they end up walking down the aisle on a yacht in St. Tropez in the first place?  And in Beverly Hills in the second place?  And in Nashville in the third place?

It would appear that in her formative years, Pam desperately sought the approval of someone who had some strong beliefs about class and station in life.  For this person, members of the "establishment" (i.e., people with 9 to 5 jobs, whether in retail or banking) lead small, dull lives while thinking they're better than us.  With the blatant bosom, the otherworldly lips, the weird hats, the garish weddings, Pamela is constantly proclaiming a big F.U. to that establishment that wouldn't have her, while trying once again to earn the retroactive approval of someone from her past.

In the midst of this one woman class struggle, Pamela's driving romantic fantasy of taming the Bad Boy endures.  For Pam, if he's not bad, he's boring; and being seen on a Nice Boy's arm would amount to a betrayal of everything she values most.  Just as important, being the girl the Bad Boy falls for is the pinnacle of achievement.  After all, he's got hordes of groupies anxiously offering their bodies on his terms, no questions asked.  If you can turn his head away from that, you are truly hawt.  So for Pamela, the Bad Boy is the only boy worth having, and the Bad Boy's Girl is the only girl worth being.

And Kid Rock?  Well, he was probably just along for the ride.  I suspect that with each new wild idea, crazy getup, rowdy party/wedding she came up with, he puffed on his cigar and said, "That girl's a trip.  And check out those fun bags!"  And here the paradox of Bad Boy Love provides another reason for the multiple wedding ceremonies.  Because somewhere deep inside her, Pamela knew that she hadn't really tamed that wild animal.  She had just simulated its natural habitat and hoped the Kid wouldn't recognize their marriage as the enclosure it really was.  Let her guard down just once, and he's out again, getting free lap dances from tweaked-up high school dropouts with hopes of one day making it big in the glamorous adult film industry.

Is there any hope for Pam?  I'm not so sure.  It seems to me that her class prejudices are ingrained enough that she'll probably never completely escape them.  So her best bet is to find someone who represents the rough side of life, but who doesn't actually live it anymore.  Maybe a former Hell's Angel with 10 years of sobriety and 20 years of tattoos under his belt who now owns the Harley boutique on Rodeo Drive.  But only if he invites his biker friends over for backyard barbecues every weekend, so Pam never suspects that she's been lured away from her natural habitat.

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Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Ridiculous Course of Young Love

Miley Cyrus and boyfriend Liam Hemsworth have broken up.

She’s days short of turning 18.

Move along folks!  Nothing to see here.

The real question is How do we get ALL the 17-year-olds to break up with their boyfriends?  So many failed marriages would be prevented.  Just ask LeAnn Rimes (who started dating her first husband at 19 and married him at 20), Macauley Culkin (married at 17, split before he was of legal drinking age), and Melanie Griffith (began dating Don Johnson at 14, then married him for the first time at 19 -- it lasted 6 months).

And of course, there's always Randy Travis.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Speidi Revisited

Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt have admitted to Life & Style Magazine that their divorce was a sham, intended to position them for a lucrative British reality show.  We thought we’d take the opportunity to reprint a piece on their reunion.  Enjoy!

Staying Married for the Gifts

I have never seen Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt in action.  However, reading about crazy celebrities in trashy magazines is one of the carrots that gets me into the gym, and these two appear to have adopted celebrity magazines as their principle marketing channel.  Therefore, I cannot claim I’ve never heard of them.

So here’s what I know.  They were on a reality show.  They got married in Mexico, and it caused a lot of drama, but it wasn’t real (I mean the marriage, and probably the drama – I do not question the reality of Mexico).  Heidi had a lot of plastic surgery – most of it on a single day – and now has G-cups (?!?).  The media has bestowed on them one of those couple names that emphatically underlines their omnipresence on the paparazzi beat.

Then they separated.

And now they’re back together.

Yada yada.

The media uniformly relay word of their reunion as if it were a brief remission from an otherwise deadly and disfiguring cancer.

At the time of their separation, Spencer confessed to prioritizing publicity over everything else and credited Heidi with wanting the same calm life of hiking and relaxing that any girl-next-door-sporting-G-cups is looking for.  Last weekend Spencer and Heidi burned their divorce papers, with Spencer explaining that he never expected his asshole behavior to drive his wife away.  But now that he knows, he’ll work on it.

As hard as it is to believe, “I didn’t know that my asshole behavior was a deal breaker” is actually a pretty common defense.  Sometimes it leads to permanent behavior change, and sometimes the behavior changes just long enough for you to put the suitcase back in the attic.  So good on Spencer for picking something universal and believable!

But I don’t believe it.  Speidi has nothing to offer us except their celebrity and their ensuing presence in reality television.  Hence the title of Heidi’s first book:  How to Be Famous: Our Guide to Looking the Part, Playing the Press, and Becoming a Tabloid Fixture.  Or, as Spencer eloquently expressed it, “I’m a famewhore.”

And they’re sponsored!  Go to Heidi’s Facebook page or website, and you’ll see it’s peppered with nothing but product endorsements.  Subtle enough that she doesn’t have to disclose that she was paid for them, but unavoidably obvious when you view them in their totality.  Holy crap.  I’m guessing most of these companies pay her in kind rather than in cash.  If she has any brain in her head at all, that Heidi is one of eBay’s hottest sellers.

Which brings us to Heidi and Spencer’s marriage/separation/reunion/eventual divorce.  I don’t believe there was any marital discord.  I mean, sure, you and I wouldn’t have been able to put up with either of them for more than half an hour.  But I gather Speidi is more like those less intelligent dogs who are too dumb to get bored when you leave them in their crate all day while you’re at work.  Instead, I think it’s all part of a grand narrative they have painstakingly scripted for the tabloids.  Which keep printing their stories.  And which continue to be bought by readers – or their gyms and hairdressers.  We’re in a double-dip recession, and this stuff still sells.

OK, so maybe Speidi is slightly smarter than the dumbest crated dog.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Miley's Therapist's Upcoming Agenda

So it looks like the Cyrus marriage fell victim to something more than just a disagreement about how to market the Cyrus girls’ budding sexuality.  Or not.  It depends on who you believe.

Reports have it that Tish Cyrus had a fling with Bret Michaels while Bret was recording a song with her daughter Miley.  Billy Ray found out, and now their divorce is in the works.

Reps for both Tish and Bret deny there was any affair.  Well, of course they would.

But it’s extremely likely that everyone is right.  No “P” in the “V,” but it’s totally plausible that Tish’s relationship with Bret precipitated a final crisis in the Cyrus marriage.  Emotional Affairs, people!!!  Why do we deny them?

It makes sense.  Tish has been married for 18 years.  In that time, she’s maintained her looks and her figure, establishing her role as Billy Ray’s Hot Wife.  However, now her oldest daughter is plotting her transition from Disney teen idol to Maxxim cover model.  As proud as Tish might be, Miley’s success strikes some mighty blows against Tish’s "Hot" status.  That first step on the way down from hot wife to MILF can be a doozy!

Meanwhile, Bret is hardly likely to take a 40 when he can get two 20s.  But he’s also hardly likely to shut down a pretty blond with a nice rack -- even if she is the mother of the jail bait he just spent the last hour with in the studio.  So, while he’s not actually interested, it’s just not in his nature to say no.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Eye H8 Jashley: Mean Girls and Twitter Unite

Did you know that Breakup Watch is on the Twitter?  Well, we are.  Follow us, if you’re into that sort of thing.  Otherwise, you can keep up with our tweets in the listing on the right of the page.

It was our participation in the Twitterverse that sensitized us to an internet subculture we knew nothing about:  Those Who Love All Things Jemi and Hate All Things Jashley.

Confused?  Then you must be of legal drinking age.

Jemi is the couple that was Joe Jonas and Demi Lovato.  Jemi is the epitome of young romance and talent, and proof that there is a God, and that He cares what happens to His people.  Jemi is also the tragic stuff of nostalgia, for those who refuse to let go of the past 6 months and cannot freaking move on.

Jashley is the couple that is Joe Jonas and Ashley Greene.  Jashley is sickening.  Jashley has sapped the universe of its vibrant hues.  It is due to the existence of Jashley that atrocities occur in Sudan.  Not because Jashley orchestrated them -- just because the existence of Jashley makes all evil things possible.  Jashley, you see, is a portal to hell.

The vitriol with which these adolescent Twits carp on Ashley Greene is breathtaking.  Well, let’s hope they’re adolescents!  Twitter mythology tells us that the love of Joe and Demi was pure, until Ashley lured Joe away with the sexual wiles of an older woman (she is 23).  Now the Twittersphere wails for poor Demi, who is on tour with the Jonas Brothers and must bear witness to the moral outrage of Jashley canoodling.  Being pure of heart, Demi has finally been overcome, and has threatened suicide/been hospitalized with a mysterious ailment/suffered an asthma attack that has called her away from the tour.  The Twitterati cannot decide whether she is truly dying of a broken heart, or whether she is making a graceful exit so as not to subject herself any longer to the crushing agony of knowing that Jashley walks the Earth.  And it is all Ashley’s fault, and therefore a pox on her house, a plague on her family, and many pimples on her hoo-ha.

You remember the mean girls of your youth?  So righteous, so indignant.  So . . . mean.  And now they have the Twitter.  Save us.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Wait, He Was HOW Old When They Got Together?

Randy Travis is 51.  Libby Hatcher is 69.  They first met 34 years ago, when Randy won a music contest at Libby’s bar in Charlotte, NC.  Math tells me that she was 35 and he was 17.  They formed a business relationship that after a few years blossomed into a romance and eventually a marriage.

Now it appears that Libby can blame a younger woman for the death of her 19-year marriage.  The divorce of Randy Travis and Elizabeth “Libby” Hatcher was finalized yesterday.  Rumor has it the split was prompted when Libby caught Randy in the clinch with their dentist’s wife, who is herself 51.

One imagines Randy enacting the classic symptoms of a mid-life crisis, marveling at having sex with a woman who isn’t yet finished going through menopause.  Positively decadent!

Libby is staying on as Randy’s manager.  How weird is that going to be?  Given that the couple’s assets will be split between them, now seems a perfect time for Libby to retire and enjoy herself.  But I imagine that to her it feels like retirement would just reinforce her age.  And he probably agreed to retain her out of guilt.  He owes her so much, and it’s bad enough that he’s taking her Mrs. Randy Travis role away from her. He can’t take the role of Randy Travis’s Manager away from her, too.

I suspect that in a few months, they will both conclude that it’s just not working.  At that point, I hope Libby takes her share of their assets and goes for an extended European vacation.  And that she returns from that vacation accompanied by a distinguished gentleman of mature years who is charmed by her wit and bewitched by charm.  Meanwhile, the dentist’s wife will become a fuzzy memory, crowded out by the bevvy of 50-something women parading through Randy’s touring bus as he revels in his new life as a single man. 

Friday, October 29, 2010


Camille Grammer reported to The New York Post that her husband Kelsey convinced her to participate in Real Housewives of Beverly Hills in order to distract her from his affair with an air hostess.  “I was very reluctant because I’m a very private person,” the Playboy model said.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Achy Breaky Breakup

Billy Ray Cyrus.  First he was Mister Achy Breaky Heart, with the swiveling pelvis and in-your-face mullet to prove it.  Then nothing for a little while.  Then Doc Somebody in some obscure series on some obscure channel.  Then he re-fashioned himself as Hannah! Montana’s! Dad!

(Now instead of the mullet, it’s the soul patch.  What is it with this guy and hair fads?  I feel like he’s desperately trying to tell us he’s “not that kind of a country singer/Christian/family man.”  “No man, I’m cool!  I’m cool!”  You’re trying too hard, Billy Ray!  You should have just dropped the middle name when you graduated high school.  Like my cousins Bertha Rae and Lita Sue, who are now Rae and Lita, respectively.  I know changing your name seems like a big deal at the time, but believe me, in the long run it’s a lot easier and cheaper than trying to navigate your Insider/Outsider identity via your hairstyle.)

Emanating from this roller coaster of Billy Ray’s mediocrity has always been a suggestion of wholesomeness that refreshed those in need of refreshing wholesomeness. To the rest of us, it was just a sort of fuzzy blur in our peripheral vision.  In the sense that we wished the man no actual physical harm, in spite of the fact that he seemed to have overstayed his achy breaky welcome.

But there have been signs that all is not what it seems in Wholesomeville.  Remember Miley’s pole dance on top of an ice cream cart?  Miley’s provocative cell phone pics?  Miley’s "topless" Vanity Fair spread?  Sure, the girl still sings crappy pre-teen schlock.  But she’s got breasts, and she’s not afraid to use them.

(In the back of my mind, the Scissor Sisters are singing, “How do you stop a girl like Miley.”)

And then there’s Noah, about whom I can only say

Um . . .

So I think this is what split Tish and Billy Ray.  Tish wants the girls to Make It In The Business (note that Tish is the one out shopping with Miss Bra), and Billy Ray is trying to keep the family in that precarious but safe space between semi-obscure performer and sleazeball masturbation target.  Don’t expect things to get better once the divorce goes through.  Miley will be 18 soon, and is clearly ready to spread her . . . wings.  And Noah’s at that age where she’s certainly not going to listen to her conservative father, no matter what cool hairstyle he’s rocking.  That’s the great thing about divorce.  Nothing else quite matches it for helping an adolescent pit one parent against the other.

Oh, and, confidential to  I don’t know who you are, but here’s a big FUCK YOU to for claiming that

When people think of country music, Billy Ray Cyrus is the first person that usually comes to mind. He is thought to have been the one that made country music as popular as it is today. 

That is utter bullshit, and I hope that Zombie Johnnie Cash invades your house and eats your brains for saying it.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What Happens When You Marry Your Mistress (and You Exercise Absolute Sovereign Authority)

OK, so I didn’t call that one quite right.  It’s pretty clear I didn’t factor in an important -- if obscure -- variable:  a wandering husband with near absolute sovereign authority.  Beholden to no one, the unfaithful spouse can take his folly to its logical extreme.  He was bewitched by her beauty and sexuality before, so once he’s tired of her, he can accuse her of being an actual witch.  Separating from the first wife turned into a long, tortuous, starter divorce, in which it took forever just to get her to move into her own apartment.  Having lived through the delicate ballet of entertaining his girlfriend while his wife was still making his shirts, a husband knows know how to streamline the effort the next time around.  Divorce simply takes too damn long!  There’s got to be a more expedient way to get out of this marriage. 

The other variable I left out:  powerful friends with a vested interest in the outcome of your relationship.  Everyone has an angle in this world.  Get the king to look on your daughter with favor and ensure the wealth and fame of your entire family.  (Until he changes his mind, of course.)  Get a job playing first fiddle for the second wife, and find yourself receiving an intense height adjustment on the rack.  No accusation is too outrageous:  She did it with a hundred men!  She did it with her brother!  She did it with the third knight on the left who hosted a joust at great personal expense because the king asked him to!

But it’s still a script.  Maybe a less common one, but with its own standard features nonetheless.  Witness the plight of Grace Mugabe, the young wife of old President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe.  Grace was Robert’s mistress and bore him two children before his first wife died.  At which time they celebrated “the Wedding of the Century.”  She is now facing public accusations of infidelity, attributed at least in part to tribal competition for the ailing Mugabe’s wealth and power in this time of his dotage and in anticipation of his post-dotage.  The president’s sister informed him of the rumors on her deathbed.  Consequently, a bodyguard was poisoned simply for knowing of these rumors.  Suspected past lovers have also been eliminated.  Various factions in Harare and environs are undoubtedly jockeying for advantage -- or safety -- at this very moment.

Too bad they weren’t keeping up with their sensational British historical dramas.  Or maybe they were . . .

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Saturday, October 23, 2010

That's Mrs. Skeevy Douchebag to You!!!

Jacob Bernstein has a great piece in the Daily Beast about how no one close to Ginni Thomas has any idea why she left a message for Anita Hill last week, inviting her to take back her Congressional testimony of twenty years ago that Clarence Thomas was a skeevy douchebag.

While Bernstein’s journalistic standards won’t allow him to engage in idle speculation on a respected site like the Daily Beast, we here at Breakup Watch are all about the idle speculation!  And here’s mine:  Ginni has long felt insecure about her place in Clarence Thomas’s heart, due to his porn addiction and random other instances of sexual acting out.  Most of the time, she keeps her insecurity underwraps, channeling it into her uber-conservative causes, desperately trying to appeal to Thomas’s interests in legal philosophy and distract him from the exploits of Long Dong Silver.  But something must have happened in the last few weeks that sent Ginni over the edge.  Maybe she heard that Clarence’s ex-girlfriend would be going public about his odd behavior?  Maybe, after a promising period of sobriety, Clarence dove off the sexual addiction wagon?

Ginni is desperate to regain her equilibrium.  Anita Hill’s accusations were the earthquake that caused the first visible fissures in the idyllic life she and Clarence were building together.  Getting Anita to take it all back would be like going back in time, preventing the earthquake, and erasing the cracks.  Ginni forgot for a moment that even when the earth’s not shaking, the fault is still there.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

33 Chilean Miners Break Up

33 Chilean miners took 36-hours to break up yesterday and go back to their wives and/or girlfriends.  Not surprisingly, the miners had worked together in very close quarters and under intense conditions before their 69-day adventure getaway.

Well-wishers around the world are congratulating the men for going back to their families.

[Many thanks to the rescure team that made it all possible.  You are heroes.]

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sometimes Dirrty Girls Get the Blues

What a busy week here at Breakup Watch headquarters!  It seems that the Aguilera-Bratmans were standing in line behind the Dern-Harpers and the Cox-Arquettes at the Divorce Store this weekend.  There must have been a Columbus Day Sale.  Thanks for keeping the economy going, guys!

Jordan Bratman is a “music marketer.”  Sounds like a match made in heaven for Christina, who is known for carefully managing and periodically refreshing her brand.  From former Mousketeer pop princess, to Dirrty Xtina, to the Euro Vamp she is today, Christina has always made sure to that what the public sees is only what she wants the public to see.  Cf. Mickey Mouse Show classmate Britney Spears, who is only now starting to get her public persona under control and has so far failed to link that persona to her actual stage performance.

But give it some thought, and you’ll realize the Christina-Jordan union was had very little hope.  Having their personal lives and professional lives so closely linked exaggerates the peaks and valleys in those lives.  If Christina’s not as successful as she expected to be, she can blame Jordan, and Jordan can get defensive.  If Christina’s successful but annoyed with Jordan, she can claim to be be successful in spite of him, and he can claim to be taken for granted.  Commence downward spiral. 

Add to that the fact that Christina started performing at 10 and got married at 25.  Now, in my opinion, people under 30 are not qualified to be married.  If you grow up a performer -- like Christina -- add 7-10 years before you’re ready to form a workable life partnership.  It’s not that I have something against 25-year-olds.  It’s just that, unless you’re a 13th century serf, you’re not fully formed at 25.  You haven’t learned how to hire contractors to work on your house.  You haven’t entered into, endured, and escaped from soul-crushing relationships with jerks.  And it’s those relationships that teach you how to choose your partner in life. 

So, yeah, Christina and Jordan have separated.  The question isn’t “How did this happen?”  The question is “Who didn’t see this coming?