From the Kardashian mini-marriage to Demi and Ashton's crash and burn breakup. From Brad and Angie's seemingly perfect partnership to J Lo and Marc Antony's apparently amicable divorce-- celebrity relationships can be one big, endlessly fascinating soap opera to the rest of us.
But could that subscription to US Weekly (the one your husband frowns upon) actually help save your marriage? We asked relationship expert Dr. Jane Greer, creator of SHRINK WRAP - a national commentary on what we can learn from the trials and triumphs of celebrity relationships.
"Hearing what didn't work with a celebrity couple's relationship can actually push people to take a more up close and personal look at their own marriages," Greer says. "It offers an opportunity to learn from the mistakes that the celebrities made-- perhaps not compromising over dual careers or betraying their spouse with someone at work-- so that they can be more aware of and make better choices for themselves in their lives and in the best interest of their marriage."
At times celeb relationships can also provide a cautionary tale, Greer says. Like, for example, the Kim Kardashian whirlwind marriage and divorce.
"Regular folks can consider the importance of taking their doubts and concerns about their spouse seriously and 'working' on the marriage in therapy, as well as giving the marriage (and both people in it) time to work together and grow together to get past their differences, rather than immediately hitting the escape button and simply moving on," she says.
So why are we so fascinated by the Hollywood soap opera? Greer explains it comes down to a "Stars: Just Like US?" mentality.
"If Jennifer Aniston can have woes and overcome them, so can we," she says. "Also, sometimes we feel that despite all they have, they have so many troubles, that we appreciate our ordinary lives in contrast to all the conflict and upheaval they endure. So by contrast, people actually are relieved to be living more simple and less complicated lives then a celebrity in the spotlight, free from the glare of public opinion and judgment."
Of course, not every celebrity relationship is a train wreck. And at times, power couples like Brad and Angie make it look almost too easy. In these cases, Greer stresses, it's important not to judge a book by its cover. Remember, the tabloids are only offering half-truths-- if that.
"While we are curious and imagine what's really going on, I can tell you as a marriage therapist that nobody really knows what goes on behind closed doors except the two people in the relationship," she says. "So no matter how great a relationship looks, or how happy a couple appears to be, part of what is presented is a 'public persona' and when the day is done it's important to keep in mind that despite all the glamour and glitz, the celebrities are still two people who have to contend with all the same issues generated by living together."
In other words, rest assured that no matter how great celebrity relationships appear with their mansions and world travel, at the end of the day, Angie probably still has to deal with Brad leaving the toilet seat up.
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