By Emily Feimster and Stacy Jenel Smith
We're only a month and a half into the year 2006 and already there has been a rash of splits - some unforeseen -- among celebrity couples:
Lance Armstrong and Sheryl Crow, the cycling legend and the cool songstress, just got engaged in September, but this month called off plans for their Texas wedding - with Lance, at least, sounding like a man still in love. On his Sirius Satellite radio show, he acknowledged the split, saying, "Sheryl is an unbelievable lady, one of the smartest, wisest, most gifted people I've ever met and a person that I can honestly say has shown me a love that I never knew." Then he played her music in tribute. Now that's a heartbreaker.
Heather Locklear and Richie Sambora, who've been the ultimate role model for beautiful blond TV queens hooking up with hairy rock stars, are divorcing after 11 years of marriage and eight years of parenting daughter Ava. Reports have it that a suggestive email including "provocative pictures" to Richie from a woman who'd been a sore spot between them was the last straw causing the split. He's been reported as saying he didn't want the pictures and nothing untoward had happened. We're remembering that Heather has her husband's name tattooed on her groin. Ouch.
Mike Myers and Robin Ruzan. The "Austin Powers" funnyman has been doting over his wife for 12 years, but that's obviously a memory now. He's said to be confabbing with lawyers to strategize a divorce settlement to his liking -- Robin supposedly wants 50 per cent of his estimated $40 million fortune - and dating a beautiful, younger woman. Sadly, it sounds as if it could get ugly.
Ugly is also how some are characterizing the split between David Hasselhoff and actress Pamela Bach. The former "Baywatch" and "Knight Rider" star filed for divorce from Bach after 16 years and announced that they'd reached an "amicable settlement." But she has now reportedly filed papers seeking custody of their two daughters and spousal and child support - and is said to have called him an a--hole in public.
Hilary Swank and Chad Lowe. Raise your hand if you have been worried about these two since she failed to mention Chad the first time she won an Oscar. (She did thank him profusely the second time she won an Oscar.) But this doesn't appear to be your standard she's-more-successful-than-he-is marital rupture. Just last summer, he sounded like her greatest fan -- and absolutely love-struck - extolling her talent. It's been said that a difference in their feelings about wanting to start a family was the basis of the split, and surely, he has made it clear that he craves fatherhood while she appears to be putting her all into career. Shades of Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston.
Ralph Fiennes and his partner Francesca Annis split after 11 years together. It certainly didn't help that reports have surfaced about Fiennes allegedly cheating with a younger singer.
After separating in 2004, only to reunite a couple of weeks later, former Revlon king Ron Perelman and his movie star wife Ellen Barkin are going to make it permanent this time. The billionaire filed for divorce from Barkin, his fourth wife, a few weeks ago after five years of marriage, and she's since moved out of his New York mansion with her two children from her former marriage to Gabriel Byrne. She reportedly gets $20 million under terms of a prenuptial agreement. That's got to help.
Although the stories are different among those broken couples, some of their mistakes are undoubtedly the same.
"The King of Queens" leading lady Leah Remini is one celebrity who is determined not to make those mistakes. Leah has been with her husband Angelo Pagan for 11 years - although the pair didn't marry until 2003. She's given a lot of thought to the pitfalls of Hollywood marriages, and notes, "First of all, we subscribe to a technology that we know the signs of trouble. We know exactly when a person isn't feeling it anymore - we know exactly what that means and we take steps to avoid that. We know if someone's overly critical of the other person, we know it's because of something they themselves have done. People justify their bad behavior. It's never we just grew apart or we don't want the same things. You got married for a reason."
Remini acknowledges it can be difficult being married while in the limelight, but she believes steps can be taken to avoid complications. "As for being a celebrity, you have people around you who mean you harm or they start talking bad about the other partner," she claims. "We make sure we clean each other up. I'll tell him, 'You know, I don't feel good about this thing or this guy was flirting with me.' It happens. You have to be 100 percent honest with your partner and say, 'You flirted with this girl a little bit? Hey, that's fine. That's life.' But the difference between me and Angelo and other couples is that they don't feel safe enough to tell each other those things and then they end up in divorce. We've been together 11 years so we're doing something right. Good news is no news in Hollywood." Indeed it is.