What is wrong with me? Why am I so excited by the Brangelina split? They don’t seem bad people – Brad has freely shared his chest with the world for thirty years, while Angelina’s campaigned tirelessly for wronged women (and even got William Hague off the streets for a bit). Together, they seemed so happy with their French chateau and 200 children. Now it’s all gone wrong, and when I heard the news (via text from an overexcited mate) I felt a physical thrill; a thrill shared by millions…upon millions…UPON MILLIONS.
Yep, it’s mad to think (but safe to say) a significant swathe of the Western World turned to each other this week, and said, “Brangelina – que pasa?”
Fair enough. These stars operate in a heroic firmament. They’re our Greek gods – a bolder, braver, nuttier version of ourselves. But now Angelina’s turning a tad Medusa – and it looks like Brad’s been an Achilles heel – what does our reaction to their domestic downfall say about us?
Keen to insert some Freud into my schadenfreude, I put myself on the couch. Flicking through my back catalogue of celebrity magazines, I re-visited my reactions to recent splits. Allowing for the fact nobody wants to see kids unhappy – and any marriage break-up means misery for all concerned – which splits did get me most excited? And why?
GWYNETH PALTROW & CHRIS MARTIN
Let’s be honest here: Was there a married woman who didn’t hear news of this split, jump up from her filthy kitchen/ crappy desk and shout, “GWYNETH, IN YOUR FACE! I may be married to a fool/slob/ Peter Andre, but still – I win, I win, I win!!!”
Crash swiftly followed. There’s something so haplessly English about Chris Martin with his receding hair and NHS teeth. You can imagine him wearing socks. And the minute a man wears socks, you start to feel sorry for him. Then they released that pic with their press statement – the black and white shot of G&C sat on a patch of grass together, looking young and in love. And I started to feel a bit dirty. I was rejoicing in another woman’s suffering just because she was prettier, richer and generally, what’s the word..? Better than me.
So I decided to feel sorry for her instead. ‘Poor deluded Gwyneth, throwing your lonely hopes and dreams and millions into powering your lifestyle website, Gloop. Or Guff. Or whatever it’s called. (Transparently, like the rest of the known world, I’ve never read it). You’re sad and suffer like the rest of us.”
BUT THAT’S WHERE I WAS WRONG. Because celebrities AREN’T like the rest of us, are they? Divorce for a Hollywood actress doesn’t mean desperate times ahead, it means ‘Yay, I get a new boyfriend!’ In Gwyneth’s case, some dishy, mega-rich TV producer. So while the average, 40+ divorcee might find themselves inhaling ‘Celebrations’, and crying in front of ‘Come Dine with Me’, she’d be in Acapulco.
So, no. In upsum, the Gwyneth split gave me brief cheer, but has left me more annoyed than ever. Who next?
HEIDI KLUM & SEAL
Wha-wha-what?! I felt genuinely shocked by this one – they always seemed so happy. Like Brangelina, they too had 200 children, most of them Flavio Briatiore’s. Yet, like more normal couples, they still made time to jump into their swimming pool, fully-dressed, each year: Seal and Heidi’s vow-renewal parties were an annual Hollywood event. Everyone from Kate Hudson to…well, Kate Hudson again turned up, in smug fancy-dress, to watch Heidi and Seal vow to stay together FOREVER. Cut to 2015, and Heidi was serving divorce papers, which Seal ‘processed’ by going on national TV to berate her for snogging her bodyguard.
So how did I feel then? Sad. And now? Troubled. Heidi has taken up with a younger man, with whom she’s obviously having CONSTANT sex. Unfortunately, he’s called Vito Schnabel, and looks like an Eastern bloc tennis coach. A female one.
PETER ANDRE & JORDAN
Well, they were just nuts from the start, weren’t they? So when they did split after 4 years of marriage and 3 series of ‘Katie and Peter’, I was 2 BORED 2 CARE.
GARY LINEKER AND MICHELLE COCKAYNE I was surprised by this – particularly as they’ve been drinking coffee together in LA, ever since, being ‘best of friends’. SO WHY DID YOU SPLIT UP THEN?
I don’t get rich people. THEY ARE WEIRD.
BEN AFFLECK & JENNIFER GARNER
This one just made me cross. Based on no information whatsoever, I could see Jennifer was clearly downtrodden – the millionaire take on a laundromat mum. Never seen out of a ponytail and flats, she was forever hauling her kids out of whatever constitutes the Hollywood version of a ball-pit. Meanwhile, keen gambler and beard-grower Ben shambled along behind, clutching a coffee and clearly wishing himself back on a one-armed bandit. Failing that, the nanny.
Perhaps, ultimately, that’s why my schadenfreude never lasts. Because if someone as dimpled and devoted as Jennifer Garner can’t persuade her prince to stay charming…what hope the rest of us?