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Is Marriage Possible in Hollywood?

July 4, 2015

The entertainment industry, popular culture, and lovers around the world were dealt a serious blow the last few days with the passing of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner’s marriage. Ben and Jen were among the couples who many folks thought might finally “make it;” so, many are heartbroken over the sudden news of the split. One blog commenter wrote, “I always wished they especially would defy the odds,” while another lamented, “What a shame. I like them both.”

The list of Hollywood marriages that have fallen short seems endless: Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, Robin Wright and Sean Penn, J. Lo and Marc Anthony, Hilary Swank and Chad Lowe, Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore represent just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Tinseltown marriages that never took root.

While it seems so many Hollywood couples “have it all,” experts often describe the many obstacles that can interfere with marriages when combined with the unique job of being an actor. One challenge of actor marriages is being required to work for extended periods on far-off sets. How much time one spends with his or her spouse is often a strong indicator of how fulfilled a couple feels in the marriage. For busy actors, it can be serious work just to find the time to be present in each others’ lives. Then there’s always the challenge of working intimately with another actor–often selected because of a convincing chemistry between the two–and then being placed in romantic storylines–and even steamy love scenes. Some experts also talk about how having all the A-lister financial advantages can lead to a life of self-indulgence rather than bring a couple closer with a sense of purpose. And, of course, the stress of being in the spotlight increases the pressure as well. Add all of this with the endless source of other reasons why so many marriages around the globe fail–for example, putting career before relationship–and it becomes apparent that industry couples face quite a few hurdles.

But it is certainly possible for Hollywood marriages to work out! Hey, couples like Paul Newman and his second wife, Joanne Woodward, married in 1958 and their relationship was steadfast until Newman’s death in 2008. He was well known for his devotion to Woodward and their children. Other couples that seem to be going strong these days are Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson who have been married since 1988, John Travolta and Kelly Preston who’ve been married since 1991, Warren Beatty and Annette Benning who tied the knot in 1992, and although Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell never officially married, they’ve lived together for over twenty years.

As for Ben and Jen, they formed a friendship on the set of Pearl Harbor, but it wasn’t till they met again while working together in Daredevil that they became an item, which lead to their marriage in 2005 as well as three children.

What tend to be your initial thoughts when you hear two A-list actors have tied the knot? Are you skeptical or hopeful for them? And have you ever fallen in love on set?

Keep Fighting!

August 25, 2013

ben-affleck-batman.jpgPow! Bam! Smash! Batman is getting beaten to a pulp by comic book fans across the globe!

It was announced on Thursday that Ben Affleck would be our newest Caped Crusader in the 2015 sequel to this summer’s Man of Steel. Immediate outrage erupted on the streets of digital neighborhoods all over Gotham City and beyond! Many are demanding that the former member of the dynamic duo Bennifer step down and let a real bad ass (think Christian Bale) take the reins. Ka-Pow–up in your face, Ben! But why all the hostility? People are more upset about this particular casting choice than they are about the debt ceiling or the IRS scandal. Who knows, maybe they’ve seen Daredevil! Indeed, this contretemps has reached the floor of the United States Senate. Newark Mayor Cory Booker was asked if elected to the New Jersey Senate would he stop Ben Affleck from playing Batman. Booker took an immeasurable political risk by tweeting, “Sorry, I’m pro-Ben.” A politician with guts; maybe Cory Booker should try on the bat suit!

So, what does all this nerd hoopla mean to you, young Thespian? (And by the way, all actors are young; if not in years, certainly at heart.) The point is Ben Affleck is a fighter; and he’ll find his way through this disparaging onslaught come hell or high tides. It took five grueling years, but he and his sidekick, Robin–‘scuse me, Matt Damon–stuck it out and won the Academy Award for best original screenplay with Good Will Hunting. Ben has fought back from the depths of alcoholism, and from a career-paralyzing relationship with Jennifer Lopez. And when films like Gigli, Paycheck, and Forces of Nature bombed, Affleck fought back by directing the critically acclaimed Gone Baby Gone, The Town, and the inimitable Argo.

There are days, even weeks, months and years, when the dream seems out of reach. You know what I’m talking about. Auditions are sparse, callbacks are few and far between, and communication with your agent is so silent you wonder if he or she has bought the farm. But you have to do what the latest incarnation of Bruce Wayne would do: Keep working! It won’t happen if you don’t put in the work; it really is that simple.