It’s official. Bennifer 2.0 is no more. I’ve already written why this bums me out. Divorce is sad business, especially when there are children involved. And when your pain is writ large, splashed across print tabloids, digital headlines and 24-hour cable news for all to consume, there’s virtually no escape from it. Ben and Jen, please take care. Not together, of course. Take care individually.
Their breakup got me thinking. Our culture celebrates the rich and famous. Everywhere we turn, the world’s most beautiful people are paraded before us like royalty from times of yore, with us peasants playing the role of cheering supplicants. Their lives look so spectacular from our puny vantage points.
And, of course, in many ways, they are. We don’t live quite so big. There are few trips to Cannes or Aspen. There are no televised awards. We rarely dance on tables, nor do we order bottle service as a matter of course. It’s been a while since we’ve been custom-fitted into a couture gown designed by Valentino, which was hand-sewn over the course of three months by a fleet of his minions.
But I’m here to tell you that your life is better. And your marriage is better off. You are at such an advantage to Hollywood’s typical power couple. Your ordinary, mainly undocumented, only moderately interesting life offers so much more for which to be grateful. Here are the reasons why:
1. Your marriage didn’t require a prenup. Your assets are each other.
2. You never once questioned, “Does he love me because I’m famous?” or “What can I do for his brand, career and bank account?” or “Does he love me for me?”
3. You don’t run into his drop-dead gorgeous ex (or, more likely, exes) at every big event in town, many times each year. Nor are you required to smile blithely in her (their) direction and look unperturbed before a horde of paparazzi when the two—or three, or four—of you inevitably cross paths.
4. Now imagine those days when you must pull out your fat pants. Walk through the same exercise detailed in No. 3, just 7 pounds heavier. In your life, you don’t have to live in Spanx to avoid having a nervous breakdown.
5. You also don’t have to live on the Pilates reformer, or at SoulCycle or a Physique 57 class just to feel OK enough about yourself to breathe oxygen in the same space as other ambitious, grasping starlets. You, my friend, don’t have to be perfect. No one in Hollywood has to be either, but everyone there seemingly lost this memo. And you’re the happier person for it.
6. You work in the same city as your spouse, who has never once been required to leave your side, and your children’s, for months at a time to travel to a remote locale, working opposite some young, childless hottie who’s living in the next trailer/hotel room, and who does nearly nude yoga at dawn on the lawn/outdoor terrace to stay fit.
7. When you promised each other, “Till death do us part,” there was no subtext. This did not mean, “Till my next movie blows up, and I need to do international publicity for it for the next 52 weeks. See you after Hong Kong.”
8. When you uttered the vows, “For better or worse, for richer and poorer,” you meant every word. When your husband lost his job, you stuck out the lean times together and pulled through. It only made you closer. In Hollywood, you’re only as good as your last hit. And when the cheering, accolades and money fade away, the façade cracks—breaking up many a famous marriage.
9. You are allowed to grow old. In fact, you see this as the entire point of marrying—to grow old together. In Hollywood, no one is allowed to age, least of all women.
10. When he cheats, you are not treated to this news in 56-point type at the supermarket checkout line, where your children tearfully ask you, “What’s a ‘home-wrecker,’ Mommy?”
11. Your children do not grow up in a bubble of super-wealth and glory. In other words, they are not generally entitled assholes who assume they, too, should be famous—which many of them are by virtue of name recognition alone—simply because they were born. Be glad these are not your offspring. Otherwise, there’s a solid chance you’d be visiting them in jail or on Dancing With the Stars.
12. Your agonizing separation, should you require one, is not water cooler conversation. The only people who care about your split are the ones who love and support you. No one is taking to Twitter to say: “She’s a frump who let herself go. Good for him!”
13. Your massive bank holdings to be divvied up through a contentious, headline-making lawsuit, should a divorce sadly occur. Wait, I’m sorry, are you laughing so hard you’re actually rolling on the floor?
14. If you choose to patch things up, your fans don’t weigh in with pros and cons. Your fans are the portable kind, and are used to cool down hot rooms during sweltering summer months.
15. Finally, you are a “regular citizen,” as we common folk are often called in Tinseltown—which makes you free. You and your husband can stroll a city park unmolested, dine out in peace, shop for groceries without scrutiny, raise your children in blissful anonymity, school them without packs of rabid photographers trying to hunt them down on- and off-campus, and generally enjoy all life has to offer without boundaries or restraint. Your coupledom is based solely on choosing to create a life together. Your budget may be tight, sure, but your relationship is tighter.
Now, tell me: Who’s the lucky one now?