The fairytale is over for us all.
As you've likely heard by now, Angelina Jolie filed for divorce from her husband of two years, Brad Pitt. While the couple was only married briefly, they have been together since 2004 and have six children together.
The couple's scandalous courtship began on the set of the film Mr. & Mrs. Smith where they played two spies whose undercover lives were putting a serious strain on their union. Brad Pitt at the time was married to Jennifer Aniston, and though he and Jolie say there was no infidility during his marriage to Aniston, many were skeptical. Jennifer Aniston, now happily married to actor Justin Theroux, has lived for more than a decade in the shadow of Pitt's alleged betrayal.
It was an epic, sweeping love affair. When Brad and Angelina finally got married AT THEIR FUCKING FRENCH CASTLE WITH THEIR ADORABLE CHILDREN PRESENT, Angelina wore a gown covered in drawings by her children and the fairytale seemed complete.
So I guess, with this news, love is officially dead.
When news of Brad and Angelina's divorce broke this morning, it was broken to me gently. My roommate and lifetime best friend felt she needed to be the one to tell me. It's funny, because that sentiment is both a joke and it isn't.
Obviously I don't know Brangelina, obviously the divorce of two rich beautiful strangers has nothing to do with me. But if I were to say that I took the news without a gasp or a twinge, I would a liar. The joke is also partly just how invested I, a smart, savvy, practical woman, became involved in a romantic relationship that wasn't my own.
I've always loved Hollywood gossip. The good stuff, I mean, like the love stories, the marriages and the epic feuds. The lives the Hollywood gossip machines creates for the celebrities are often more gripping than the lives of the characters they are paid to play.
We all know it isn't real. We're getting mere glimpses behind the curtain, if even that.
When you're reading Pride and Prejudice for the fifth or fiftieth time, you know what to expect, and what you expect is wonderful. The witty but judgmental Eliza Bennett will reject the advances of the snobby Mr. Darcy before a serious of familial misfortunes will cause her to reasess her first impression of the man, and in the end they live together happily ever after.
Now imagine getting to the scene where Eliza is told to stop pursuing Darcy, and instead of realizing that she loves him, Eliza's like, "You're right. He ain't even that fly."
You would be appalled. You would be shocked. You might even hurl the book across the room in horror — where is the romance you were taught to expect?
The split of a couple like Brad and Angelina elicits in me (and I'm sure in many of you) the same sort of reaction.
We know it isn't real, or at least, we know it's more complicated than the fairytale we saw unfold in magazines, but we felt like it wasn't. We felt like it was perfect, an escape from the mundane, something exceptional that proved love, while sometimes messy, always ultimately leads to happiness for everyone.
When a celebrity couple splits, I can't help but shout out "love is dead!" ... but what I should really be saying is "fantasy is dead".
The truth is that relationships are hard, anyone who has been in one knows that it's true. Even the best ones take work. The thing we admire so much about these Hollywood couples is the fact that from a distance they seem to prove what we know about relationships to be wrong. They seem, easy, effortless, heaven blessed.
When their marriage fail, it takes the sparkle away and returns us to our ordinary lives.
The luster vanishes. We're left with proof that they aren't characters in a book or a silver screen, they are people, and as such, just as hopeless as the rest of us. Sometimes that can inspiring, but other times, like when a split like this one is announced, it can and should take the wind out of your sails.
There's no shame in that.