Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries' celebrity marriage lasted exactly 72 days. After a huge blow-out "fairy tale" wedding and all the fanfare on TV and in the tabloids, the marriage lasted less than three months. What happened? And what relationship lessons can be learned?
Flame-out marriages a la Kim and Kris often come about because of unique and powerful pressures in celebrity marriages -- pressures that are not apparent to the public. Kim has even said that conditions were "not ideal" for her relationship. Here are a few of the problems:
The celebs know each other partly through their celebrity identities, so they are not seeing each other as they really are in their everyday lives in a clear way. For example, Kim projected a thoughtful, caretaking, relationship-focused identity to the public by staying with her mom during face lift surgery on their reality show. Kris may have partly fallen in love with that projected aspect of Kim. But the fact that she filed for divorce from Kris after a couple of months without even trying marital therapy suggests that this may not be a strong trait for Kim in her day-to-day life.
A celebrity courtship always brings additional attention and fame, which fuels dopamine, the exciting over-the-moon infatuation biochemical. But when you remove the heightened spotlight the dopamine may disappear, which means partners are just not "feeling it" for each other. The true nature of the one-on-one relationship seems disappointing in comparison to how it all felt before. If the partners are not truly committed to working on their relationship, this can lead to a break up. Thus celebs like Kim can go from "fairy tale wedding" fireworks right down into the dark pit of divorce.
Also, one celeb partner may be less famous and find that marrying a bigger celebrity is a big perk to their career. Enjoying this, they may talk themselves into thinking that the relationship has a more solid foundation than it really does. Perhaps this is the dynamic that Kris fell into with Kim -- the bigger celebrity in the relationship.
Although I don't know Kim or Kris personally, these are some of the powerful factors that are often at play in celebrity marriages that quickly flame out and become celebrity divorces.
Other factors that affect celebs and non-celebs alike may have been a factor in this quickie divorce. One might be a lack of discussion about future plans and dreams. Spouses need to be on the same page about the life they would like to create together. It seemed that this was not happening with K & K. For example, in the media, Kris indicated that he would like to live in his native Minnesota. Kim did not see this as part of her celebrity lifestyle.
Also, there was evidence of contempt in their interactions, which is a death knell for love. For example, in one media report Kris said to Kim that by the time they were ready to have children, no one would know who she was. To envision your partner as losing all that they have worked hard to achieve (in this case, fame) and reference that failure is a contemptuous action. This does not lead to fairy tale endings.
No matter how it happens, divorce is never easy, whether you are a celebrity or not. So to avoid a flame out divorce, here are three relationship lesson take-aways:
- Make sure you and your spouse are on the same page about your future. Take time to dream and talk together about it. Come to a win-win vision of what you will create together.
- Don't let contemptuous comments be routine in your relationship. Eye-rolling, putting each other down, and name-calling are all unacceptable and will kill the love between you.
- Lastly, ensure that your relationship comes before work success.
And if you happen to be in a couple who are in the spotlight together or working all the time, make sure you take time to decompress and get to know each other in a real deep way. This way, you can have both the fairy tale beginning and the happy ending too.