Rise Of The Unmarrieds: A Look at Happily Unwed Couples


Why people are waiting longer to wed or making the decision not to marry at all.

Kate Hudson, who just gave birth to a son with her musician fiancé Matt Bellamy, is in no rush to head down the aisle, saying her previous divorce showed her that marriage is "not the golden ticket." Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis have been together nearly 15 years and have two kids together—but have never tied the knot. Then there's KISS frontman Gene Simmons and his partner of 28 years who have a reality show on VH1, Happily Unmarried dedicated to following their (somewhat) happily unmarried life together. Love, Money & Commitment: The Life Of An Un-Wife

But it's not just Hollywood that is shunning the great white walk down the aisle. According to census data, among young adults 25 to 34, only 45 percent were married in 2009 compared to 55 percent in 2000—a startling 10 percent decline. Plus, the percent of people in that same group who had never been married grew from 34 percent to a sizable 46 percent. The marital experts we spoke to said they believe these statistics point to a delay in marriage, but not yet a shunning of the institution altogether: "I have seen the trend towards people getting married later, as a psychologist in private practice for twenty years who teaches pre-marital workshops," says Dr. Michelle Gannon, Ph.D. 10 Famously Unwed Couples

Behind The Trend

So why are so many young men and women delaying marriage—or even taking it off the table altogether?

Elizabeth (named changed for privacy), 32, of Chino Hills, California, just doesn't believe in it: "I see marriage as a waste of money and a deterioration of personal identity." Her long-term boyfriend, Kevin, 36, (name changed for privacy) agrees.

"The concept of the nuclear family is dead, making marriage a somewhat anachronistic practice in my eyes. A woman these days can easily make a living on her own without having to worry about support from a man, which I believe was a primary motivator for marriage in the past-and also why divorce was less common then than it is today," says Kevin. Others I talked to liked the idea of being together because they wanted to be, not because they are legally bound.

"I've been with my boyfriend Gregg for eight happy years now. We don't need a contract to stay together," says Amy Alkon, 46, of Santa Monica, California.

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