Celebrities do everything better than us – even divorce

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Gwyneth Paltrow has a lot to answer for, and I’m not talking about her top tip about vagina steam cleaning. In 2014, when announcing her split from Chris Martin, her husband of ten years, Paltrow released a statement in which she coined the phrase ‘conscious uncoupling’.

Paltrow wrote, “It is with hearts full of sadness that we have decided to separate. We have been working hard for well over a year…and we have come to the conclusion that while we love each other very much we will remain separate. We hope that as we consciously uncouple and coparent, we will be able to continue in the same manner.”

Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin have also maintained a close friendship since they split four years ago (Getty)

This marked the beginning of a cringeworthy cultural movement, one which has now evolved into a game of extreme one-upmanship in the Happy Celebrity Divorce stakes.

Who can be happier and more full of love before, during and after their split than Martin and Paltrow? As one of my friends once pointed out, “I hope one day I can be in a relationship as happy as that divorce”.

Jennifer and her ex-husband Justin Theroux (Getty)

“Gentle”, “amicable” and “boring”

The latest in a long line of offenders is Justin Theroux, the former husband of Jennifer Aniston. He told the New York Times during the course of one interview that their divorce, which happened earlier this year, was variously “gentle”, “amicable” and even “boring”.

Promoting new Netflix series Maniac, Theroux told the paper, “The good news is that it was probably the most — I’m choosing my words really carefully — it was kind of the most gentle separation, in that there was no animosity.”

He added, “Again, neither one of us is dead, neither one of us is looking to throw hatchets at each other. It’s more like, it’s amicable. It’s boring, but, you know, we respected each other enough that it was as painless as it could be…The friendship is shifting and changing, you know, so that part is something that we’re both very proud of.”

Meanwhile Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are in the middle of an acrimonious divorce (Getty)

Growing and learning

Famous couples are less regularly taking one another to the cleaners (although see Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie for tips on how to do that in epic style) and more often  “growing” or “learning from each other”.

This week Made in Chelsea stars Binky Felstead and Josh ‘JP’ Patterson announced that they would be splitting, three years after they met on the Channel 4 reality show and one year since having a baby together. In their statement they were keen to describe just how wonderful their break up had been.

“There are no secrets and no one has been hurt in any way,” they said. “We now move forward with love, friendship & a deep respect for one another and the family we are 100% committed to.”

Magic Mike actor Channing Tatum and his wife Jenna Dewan were regularly touted on gossip sites as ‘major couple goals’. But their split was even more aspirational. “We have lovingly chosen to separate as a couple,” they said in April.

Actor Channing Tatum and his ex-wife Jenna Dewan before their split this April (Getty)

“We fell deeply in love so many years ago and have had a magical journey together. Absolutely nothing has changed about how much we love one another, but love is a beautiful adventure that is taking us on different paths for now. There are no secrets nor salacious events at the root of our decision — just two best-friends realising it’s time to take some space and help each other live the most joyous, fulfilled lives as possible.”


These idealistic statements run the risk of making a mockery of what we all know: break ups are crap, messy and almost impossible to do without a hefty dose of sarcasm, rage or immaturity along the way. They also add weight to the plebeian feeling of inadequacy which is regularly hoisted upon us: celebrities do everything better than us – even divorce.

However, there is an argument that this farcical arrangement could actually be having a wider effect for the better. The Wall Street Journal reported this weekend that, inspired by Paltrow and Martin’s Conscious Uncoupling, more and more couples are trying less acrimonious ways to divorce.

Detailed break up therapy with your ex-to-be is more popular than ever. Divorce hotels have sprung up (nicknamed “Uber for divorce”), Britain’s first opened last year, where couples can thrash out their settlement in 48 hours with professional advice – avoiding drawn out arguments and protracted painful splits.

Just make sure you have your blissfully happy joint social media statement prepared for when you check out.

The message behind the statements:

Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux, February 2018 “Given that the gossip industry cannot resist an opportunity to speculate and invent, we wanted to convey the truth directly. This decision was mutual and lovingly made.”

What they really meant: “A tabloid was about to run the story, so we got in there first.”

Drew Barrymore and Will Kopelman, April 2016 “Divorce might make one feel like a failure, but eventually you start to find grace in the idea that life goes on.”

What they really meant: “One of us already fancies someone at the gym.”

Joshua Sasse and Kylie Minogue at a premiere in 2016 (Getty)

Kylie Minogue and Joshua Sasse, February 2017 “We wish only the best for each other as we venture towards new horizons. #thesunalwaysrises.”

What they really meant: “Horizons which hopefully will never meet.”

Singer Jewel and husband Ty Murray, Sept 2014 “We did not want anger to burn the ties that bound us. Instead we have chosen the much more difficult task of undoing ourselves stitch by stitch, and releasing each other with love so that we may take on our new form”

What they really meant: “Thank God that’s over.”

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