Divorce Cameos: Why People Are Paying Celebrities To Deliver The Bad News

Photo: Cameo
Divorce Cameos: Why People Are Paying Celebrities To Deliver The Harsh News

Breaking up has always been pretty hard news to tell your partner, made even harder since the pandemic.

Telling someone you want a divorce, on the other hand, is even harder — and probably worth mentioning — a conversation you should definitely have in person.

That all being said, there's a new digital relationship trend around divorce Cameos, where folks are paying A-listers to break the news to their significant others. 

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What is a divorce Cameo?

According to a new report, people have been breaking up with their partners via Cameo, a service in which fans can pay celebrities and influencers to record a message to be sent to a desired recipient. 

Usually Cameo messages are uplifting, consisting of birthday wishes, congratulations, get well soons, etc.

But a new trend has found people using Cameo to deliver, well, less joyful news.

Divorce Cameos started as a prank.

The origin of the Cameo breakup goes back to former RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant and comedian Caldwell Tidicue. 

Tidicue, also known as Bob the Drag Queen, was at his New York City home when he first thought of the idea.

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On a whim, Tidicue went down to his basement and filmed himself mournfully playing the piano in full drag. “What I’m about to tell you is a little bit uncomfortable,” he warns someone named Quentin. “However, Rafael feels like your relationship is not working out. And this is not a joke. This is very serious.”

The video was shared across all social media platforms, including Twitter, when it was posted by Tidicue’s fellow Drag Race colleague, Monét X Change.

Of course, neither Quentin nor Rafael existed in real life — both the couple and the video were fake. Tidicue construed it to look like a real Cameo video using techniques he had learned as one of the site’s celebrities.

But Tidicue’s fake video inspired a raft of imitators to make their own divorce Cameos.

Sugar Ray frontman Mark McGrath has become a surprisingly popular choice for Cameo users looking to offload their break-up responsibilities. McGrath told The Times that he has delivered 15 Cameo breakups, though he rejects a role as the “face of breakup Cameo.”

“In a million years, I would not accept that role,” he said. “I’m doing these Cameos for fun! I wouldn’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings.”

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Other celebrities, though, have willingly embraced the new trend.

Friends star Matthew Perry has made it clear that he’s more than willing “to leave divorce messages — any kind of messages you guys want.”

Likewise, J-L Cauvin, an acclaimed impressionist known for making Cameos in character as Donald Trump, has also expressed his willingness to participate. He's stated he's even hoping for a certain divorce request from the 45th President's wife before he leaves office.

And new additions to the celebrity roster, such as comedian Daniel Franzese from Mean Girls, Ben Brainard, and drag queen Scarlet Envy, have all expressed their unabashed willingness to initiate divorce proceedings.

So if you’re looking for a creative (and darkly funny?) way to break up with your partner while successfully distancing yourself from the fallout, it seems as if celebrities on Cameo are willing to do the dirty work for you — at a price, of course.

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Nia Tipton is a writer living in Chicago. She covers pop culture, social justice issues, and trending topics. Follow her on Instagram.