Sir Paul Coleridge, a High Court Judge who sits in the family division, has warned the public about “idolising” celebrity marriages. Research undertaken by the Marriage Foundation revealed that after 10 years of marriage the divorce rate of celebrities is 40%, which is double the national average of 20% over the same period.
The research looked at 572 celebrity couples who have married since 2000. According to the research 1 in 10 of the celebrity couples divorce within 2 years and over a quarter within 5 years. Sir Paul commented that the celebrities were “even less able to sustain long-term healthy relationships than the rest of us”.
Do we really idolise the behaviour of celebrities when it comes to marriage? In some respects we appear to be learning from their mistakes. The average age when we marry is now 30 for women and 32 for men. Arguably the very short marriages of young celebrities, such as Britney Spears, have highlighted the potential pitfalls of marrying young and led to us marrying later.
The fact that the average divorce rate is lower than that of the celebrities in the research shows that the vast majority of us are not aspiring to the “celebrity relationship”. The average length of a marriage before divorce is now 11.4 years according to the Office for National Statistics and the biggest divorcing group are those aged 40 to 44. The “average” divorcee is not on the face of it someone who has ended their marriage without spending time trying to make it work.
Sadly not all marriages work. Many of those who divorce are keen to deal with their divorce as amicably as possible, considering alternatives to court, such as mediation, to resolve issues relating to children and financial settlements.
Perhaps where we have been influenced by celebrities is our approach to pre-nuptial agreements. Ever increasing numbers now consider entering into pre-nuptial agreements before they marry. This is something that celebrities have been doing very publically for some time.