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Celebrity divorce: Timing is everything

Benjamin Franklin is famous for oft-quoted saying, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” The man was well known as a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, freemason, postmaster, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat.

Designated by many as, “The First American" made Franklin one of our first celebrities.

Today’s divorce rate among A-list couples would force Franklin to add divorce to death and taxes. Celebrity stats puts in question the solemn marital promise, “Till death do us part.” Oftentimes, marital dissolutions involving the rich and famous start with true love that captures the hearts and imagination of devoted fans. Yet, in what seems to be inevitable, these unions end in high-profile tatters.

Recently, longtime married couples such as Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor, Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman, and the combined Brangelina have shocked fans, in spite of dire celebrity divorce rates.

The help divorcing celebrity couples need goes beyond legal representation. Public relations professionals and image consultants are often brought in to minimize the microscopic nature of media members starving for the smallest crumb of information.

After announcing the break-up, details of the disputes commonly spill out with the media covering every detail from the initial filing to negotiations to finalization. Other celebrities take a difference approach. They strive to minimize coverage and avoid banner headlines by working out the divorce-related details before announcing the pending legal action.

Timing is everything when it comes to a news release announcing the divorce. Regardless of where celebrities are in the process, a Friday afternoon or the day before holidays represent the best strategy to temporarily limit the story’s reach. Blockbuster breaking news usually does not get much traction at time where fewer eyes are on the lookout.

Stiller and Taylor actually employed that approach by announcing their split in the days leading up to Memorial Day. Other examples include:

  • Drew Barrymore and Will Koppelman (April Fool’s Day)
  • Casey Affleck and Summer Phoenix (Saint Patrick’s Day)
  • Khloé Kardashian and Lamar Odom (Memorial Day weekend)

Summer break also seems to be an ideal time to drop divorce bombshells for celebrities, particularly those with children out of school.

Ben Franklin and Deborah Read enjoyed a 44-year common law marriage with two children. While not formal, the well-known pairing never ended in divorce with the couple literally parting upon the death of Read.

In the world of celebrity, that union sadly represents the exception and not the rule.

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