Marriage can be tough; sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. What you do after a break-up can have an effect not only on your peace of mind in days and years to come, but on more mundane (yet uber-important) things like your pocketbook. And when kids are involved, well, that takes things to a whole other level. And while we aren’t rushing to take marriage (or divorce) advice from celebs, we must admit we can learn a thing or two from their failures. And successes! Let’s not forget successes.
DO plan how you’ll tell people – Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin
Where possible, try to work with your soon-to-be-ex on how you will break the news together to family and friends. Paltrow and Martin’s “conscious uncoupling” blog post was delightfully vague but prevented a media maelstrom since they took control over the message. Keep your divorce announcement neutral and free of finger-pointing, but make it clear it’s over and that you’re both OK. Don’t vent on social media or public platforms in the hopes your ex will or won’t see it. Plus, none of your acquaintances really want to know this stuff (except the nosy ones).
DON’T involve the kids – Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger
Alec Baldwin has never been able to live down the horrible voicemail he left his 11-year-old daughter with Basinger, where he called her a “thoughtless little pig” for not answering the phone. He blamed Basinger’s camp for leaking the recording to make him look like a bad parent (which he did). The lesson? If you’re mad at your spouse, don’t take it out on your children. They don’t deserve it and are going through enough. Plus, when will celebrities ever learn their lesson about technology leaks?
DO integrate your families – Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore
While this cougar-cub couple allegedly fought over spousal support during their divorce, apparently Kutcher still stayed in touch with Moore’s three daughters via text and email, since he was such a huge part of their lives for so long. In fact, when they were married, Kutcher, Moore and her girls often spent time with her ex-husband, Bruce Willis, like one big happy family. Even though it’s over now, you have to admire this family’s ability to keep things (mostly) peaceful for all parties.
DON’T fight over semantics – Kris Humphries and Kim Kardashian
This couple’s divorce proceedings went on much longer than their 72-day marriage because Humphries insisted on an annulment on the grounds that Kardashian tricked him into matrimony for higher ratings for her family’s reality show. The proceedings dragged on even while Kim was pregnant with her first child with Kanye West. Eventually Humphries settled for citing “irreconcilable differences” (but we’re sure he held out for a huge figure, though). While he may have been hurt, the duo could have moved on a lot sooner if either side had budged on such a silly issue. Would it really have killed Kardashian to admit that KUWTK is fake? (We all know it is, and we’re still watching.) Put your pride aside and you’ll move on a lot sooner.
DON’T over share – Nick Cannon and Mariah Carey
If you thought Mariah was a diva, think again. Her husband, Nick Cannon, spilled to the media that the couple was having some issues and had been separated for months prior to any divorce announcement (which obviously resulted in outlandish articles in trashy celeb weeklies). Then Cannon ranted on Twitter about how wrong it was of the tabloids to write terrible things about his estranged wife. Then Carey immediately filed for divorce without saying one word to the public. The lesson? If you’re going through a divorce, don’t broadcast your business to friends and family, in person or online.
DO keep it classy – Liberty Ross and Rupert Sanders
Despite Sanders getting caught in a very public affair with vampire-magnet Kristen Stewart, his ex-wife has only had nice things to say. Harper’s Bazaar recounts that she didn’t resent Sanders and has no problems “with anyone involved” in the scandal. Today, she says the two are still close and are raising their children together. We have to applaud her classiness at a time when it would have been understandable for her to slam Sanders. She’s definitely come out on top and saved her family a lot of grief. She told the magazine that she “had no choice but to be as strong a woman as I could be for the children.” Bravo!
DON’T attack their new significant other – Seal and Heidi Klum.
It turns out this soulful crooner is more thorny than we thought. After years of what seemed like a happy marriage, Seal accused Klum of having an affair with their longtime bodyguard while the two were in the process of finalizing their split. Seal apparently told TMZ that he wished Klum “would have shown a little more class and at least waited until we separated first before deciding to fornicate with the help, as it were.” Ouch. Klum and the body guard are still together today, which we can only assume has put quite a strain on family outings, since the pair do have four children they share together. Keep your feelings to yourself or you could cause more damage to your already tumultuous relationship.
DO get a pre-nup – Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise
Want to make your split clean and amicable? Hopefully you had the foresight to get a prenup that outlined what each of you were entitled to should your marriage go bust. When these two mega stars split, the divorce was finalized in two months (which may be some kind of record), thanks to an incredibly clear pre-nuptial agreement. Although Holmes allegedly had to sign a gag-order, the couple’s attention to detail has prevented them from having a messy public fight over their daughter and their fortunes, which is a shame because we’d love to hear about more weird secrets from the Church of Scientology!