What if we ignore Tom, Katie’s split?

by | Jul 8, 2012 | Comment, Detroit Free Press

If I were king of the world, I would insist on a moratorium for Hollywood marriages: no talking about them until their 10th anniversary. No photos. No magazine covers. No gossip page items. No selling the video rights.

Actors, rock stars, famous celebrities, reality TV show participants – all would be forced to wed quietly and privately with no media attention whatsoever.

In other words, like most people’s marriages.

You know what?

Few would bother.

In Hollywood, if you remove the attention, you remove much of the intention. From the days when movie studios conveniently arranged actors’ romances, the sincerity of the Hollywood couple has been largely a sham.

Like publicity, in Hollywood, there’s no such thing as a bad love affair – as long as it gets coverage. What baffles me is how people keep falling for it. Come on. How many Charlie Sheens do you need?

This is why I would issue my moratorium. No talk shows. No jumping on Oprah’s couch. No stories about canoodling at the Cannes film festival. No tweets or Facebook posts. No People magazine covers.

Think of all the paper we would save!

Big on coverage, short on years

All of this comes to mind in the wake of last week’s news that Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are divorcing. This is the same Tom Cruise who jumped on Oprah’s furniture and insisted loudly, “I’m in love!” while the crowd roared as if he were throwing them mortgage payments.

This is the same Katie Holmes who, around the same time, gushed through a W magazine interview: “I’ve found the man of my dreams” and “It just felt like I’d known him forever” and “Tom and I will always be in our honeymoon phase.”

For all that noise, you’d have thought they’d be in love for eternity. Instead, their marriage lasted five years. True, that’s considerably longer than Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries (72 days), Dennis Rodman and Carmen Electra (nine days) or Britney Spears and Jason Alexander (three days) – but it still falls short of a 10-year minimum.

Which means, in my wonderful make-believe world, we never would have heard about them. Never would have endured the breathless gushing over their TomKat love, never would have wasted verbal energy over his sexuality, or whether their daughter was truly his, or whether she liked Scientology. They would still be four years away from a single news story.

Oh, the bliss.

This is not to say some folks in Hollywood don’t have true love or strong marriages. They do. Which is why, after 10 years, we could bring them into the light. Throw a party. Celebrate the longevity.

Until then, blackout. All three of Jennifer Lopez’s marriages? Never heard of them. Both of Madonna’s? No mention. Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston? Sorry. Fell five years short.

Pamela Anderson’s three trips to the altar? Never heard a peep. Same for Drew Barrymore’s. Only one of Elizabeth Taylor’s eight marriages would make the cut, and only one of Zsa Zsa Gabor’s nine.

Share the success stories

A world where we didn’t report on celebrity marriage and divorce would not only be quieter, it might be healthier. Watching the way a new Hollywood love affair is worshiped by our infatuated media can make regular folks wonder why they don’t feel that way about their partner, who somehow lacks the youth, physique or cheekbones of the person they see on TV.

Likewise, when the split-up occurs – so quickly and so often with gushing sympathy – it may make people question why they should bother sticking it out in their own relationships. Heck, we might wonder, if there’s someone always out there for Woody Allen, isn’t there someone for me, too?

If nothing else, think of the time we’d save. A few years ago, you couldn’t go anywhere without the bombardment of Cruise and Holmes as Romeo and Juliet; now, for months to come, it will be the same over their split. And in the end, it’s just another failed relationship – where kids end up the victims.

Seems to me, if we’re going to turn the bright lights on anything, it ought to be the successes. Which is why I offer my fantasy. Ten years. Minimum.

Until then, no attention.

And if celebrities are thinking, “Gee, that sounds like a long, tough challenge,” congratulations. You’ve just had your first insight into what real marriage – not the kind that lasts as long as a flashbulb – is all about.

Contact Mitch Albom: 313-223-4581 or malbom@freepress.com


New book, The Little Liar, arrives November 14. Get the details »

Mitch Albom writes about running an orphanage in impoverished Port-au-Prince, Haiti, his kids, their hardships, laughs and challenges, and the life lessons he’s learned there every day.

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