A divorce is the termination of a marital relationship. It requires a court or other authority to formally dissolve the union and sever the legal duties and responsibilities that define the relationship.
It is common knowledge that divorce rates are about 50 percent in the U.S. Among celebrity relationships, this figure seems rather low as celebrities appear to marry and divorce with alarming frequency.
Celebrities often live in a world that few of us can ever imagine — immense wealth, instant gratification, world travel, beautiful companions and people surrounding them who tend to their every need. A marital commitment may be just another whim whose appeal wanes over a short period of time. Also, fame at a young age may stunt emotional growth as young stars grow up in a pampered existence.
The intense pressure of living up to your image or being used to having everything your own way and then suddenly losing it may account for some breakups. Other stars may be too tempted by all the attention others give them and long to be free of any legal entanglements. Other reasons may be competition between celebrity spouses for acting roles or star status that intense and large egos are unable to handle if one spouse becomes more successful than the other.
The marriage between Kid Rock and Pamela Anderson lasted only four months, ending in bitter accusations against the other. Other famously short marriages were those between Lisa Presley and Nicholas Cage (three months), Cher and Greg Allman (nine days), Dennis Hopper and Michelle Phillips (eight days) and Rudolph Valentino and Jean Acker (six hours).
Celebrity divorces can last for years, of course, but the breakups can be very expensive. Ex-NBA star and icon Michael Jordan reportedly had to settle his divorce action for more than $150 million to his wife of 21 years. Neil Diamond settled his divorce with Marcia Murphey for $150 million as well. He had been married for 26 years. Steven Spielberg, worth about $3 billion, settled with Amy Irving after four years of marriage for $100 million.
While celebrity divorces are often high profile given their fame and wealth, most reasons for celebrity dissolutions are probably similar to those for the average couple. The difference is they have to live it out in public as a price for their fame, reluctantly or not.