Celebrities twice as likely to divorce

Reality TV star Kim Kardashian and American footballer Kris Humphries ended their marriage after 72 daysAP

Celebrities are twice as likely to divorce as the rest of the married population in the UK, the Marriage Foundation has found.

A new report from the organisation dismisses the "Hello! magazine approach" to marriage and says that the celebrity culture belies the hard work that goes into making marriage work.

The report states that after 10 years of marriage, the divorce rate for celebrities is 40 per cent, compared to 20 per cent for the rest of the population over the same length of time.

Report authors Harry Benson and Rehna Azim say that the celebrity culture is giving people unrealistic, "fairy-tale" expectations about marriage and relationships.

"The glamour of celebrity weddings is a poor indicator of future marital success," they say.

The Marriage Foundation examined 572 celebrity couples who have tied the knot since the year 2000, such as Britney Spears and her marriage to childhood friend Jason Alexander, which lasted just 55 hours.

The report concludes that people need more accurate expectations of the effort required to keep a marriage together.

High Court judge and founder of The Marriage Foundation Sir Paul Coleridge said: "There is still, or maybe more than there was, a completely unrealistic expectation about long-term relationships and marriage in particular, that if you find the right ideal partner that's all that matters and things will just carry on from there and you will be divinely happy."

He cautioned people, especially the young, who may be tempted to aspire to the celebrity lifestyle.

"Aspiration for happiness built on celebrity lifestyle is, it seems, dangerously flawed," he said.

"Unfortunately all men and women, glamorous or not, are riddled with the same weaknesses and shortcomings which surface even quite soon after the excitement of the wedding has died down.

"Coming down to earth with a heavier than usual bump must surely create added pressures. And material plenty, as they know only too well, does nothing to alleviate the stress except in the very short term."

He criticises the media tendency to focus on the break-ups and marital problems being experienced by celebrity couples, rather than publishing stories on commitment, responsibility and stability.

"It's why more teenagers know Kim Kardashian (whose marriage lasted 72 days) than triple Oscar winner Meryl Streep (married for over two decades)," he said.

The report attempts to redress the press bias towards celebrity divorce by emphasising celebrities whose marriages have survived.

It highlights five of the longest–lasting celebrity marriages:
Kirk Douglas and Anne Buydens (58 years)
Barry and Linda Gibb (40 years)
Jeff Bridges and Susan Geston (35 years)
Ringo Starr and Barbara Bach (31 years)
Tony and Cherie Blair (30 years)

But it also acknowledges the short-lived nature of many high-profile relationships, highlighting five of the shortest celebrity marriages:
Britney Spears and Jason Alexander (55 hours)
Sinead O'Connor and Barry Herridge (18 days)
Drew Barrymore and Jeremy Thomas (30 days)
Pamela Anderson and Rick Salomon (60 days)
Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries (72 days)