Ever heard of the Best Actress Curse? You know, it seems like a woman can't win the Academy Award for Best Actress without subsequently losing her man? It may sound crazy but, according to research, the pattern really exists. With three of the five 2011 Oscar Best Actress nominees in serious relationships, we set out to find out why it happens, how leading ladies can avoid this Hollywood hex and what we non-famous folks can learn from it.
And So It Began
It's difficult to pinpoint exactly when talk of the curse first surfaced, but it seems to have been around nearly as long as Oscar himself. Claudette Colbert may have been the first victim. Her marriage ended in 1935, the same year that she won her Oscar for It Happened One Night. Rumor has it that Colbert's mother so disliked her son-in-law that she prevented him from living in the same house with his wife!
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Other cursed Academy favorites include Bette Davis (Dangerous, 1935 and Jezebel, 1938; divorced in '38), Joan Crawford (Mildred Pierce, 1946; divorced the same year), Jane Fonda (Klute, 1971; divorced in '73) and Cher (Moonstruck, 1988; waved bye-bye to bagel baker Rob Camilletti about a year later). And, according to a 2010 Los Angeles Times report, "Over the past 12 years, eight of the Best Actress champs busted up with their lovers after winning: Kate Winslet, Reese Witherspoon, Hilary Swank, Charlize Theron, Halle Berry, Julia Roberts, Gwyneth Paltrow and Helen Hunt." And of course, we can now add Sandra Bullock to that list. Oscars 2011: Will The Best Actress Curse Continue?
Inspired by this baffling breakup trend, researchers at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management and Carnegie Mellon University conducted a study proving that Best Actress Oscar winners are a high-risk group for divorce and breakups: Oscar-winners were 63 percent more likely to get divorced earlier than non-winners. In fact, taking home one of those little gold guys could shave roughly five years off of a relationship.