'Conscious Uncoupling' and 7 Other Big Splits of 2014
By James Patrick Herman
This year was filled with so many high-profile splits—both eye roll-inducing and out of nowhere —that it’s hard to decide on the best breakups of the year. But if by "best," you mean messiest, well, that certainly simplifies things.
We narrowed it down to a total of seven (in addition to an end-of-year bonus)--because some couples seemed to succumb to the seven-year itch while for others, it was closer to seven minutes. Sure, breaking up is harder to do when you’re in the public eye. But that said, it's great free publicity for some spotlight-starved celebs—especially reality stars who have suffered the greatest loss of all post-breakup: their TV shows.
Gwyneth Paltrow & Chris Martin
Even movie stars such as Gwyneth Paltrow found a way to utilize her separation as a brand-building opportunity. After all, she announced her "conscious uncoupling" with rock star husband of a decade and father of her two children, Chris Martin, on her lifestyle website, GOOP in March. What she lost in love, she inevitably gained in Internet traffic. For his part, the avalanche of press coverage conveniently coincided with the release of Coldplay’s latest album, Ghost Stories—the band’s first in three years. Calculated or not, their uncoupling could not have come at a better time for both of their careers.
Chris Martin also plays a part in another failed A-list relationship, perhaps earning him our honorary "Heartbreaker of the Year" title. The 37-year-old singer suddenly rebounded with 24-year-old Jennifer Lawrence in August — just five months after he and the 42-year-old Paltrow parted ways, which inevitably fueled home-wrecker rumors for the Hunger Games star. It turned out to be nothing more than a glorified summer romance that reportedly ended in October, much to the surprise of absolutely no one, Gwyneth included.
Granted, we did not have high hopes for a relationship between Kanye West’s ex and a 420-friendly rapper with a hit song titled "Work Hard, Play Hard." And the breakup between Wiz Khalifa and Amber Rose was similarly hard due to alleged infidelity. After 14 months of marriage—at least they made it to the one-year bench mark—Rose filed for divorce and insisted on full custody of their son Sebastian due to "irreconcilable differences." But in case you were wondering exactly what kind of differences—and who was at fault—Rose chose to air the couple's dirty laundry on Twitter. "I would never ever cheat on my husband in a million years…unfortunately my now ex-husband can't say the same…," tweeted Rose, adding, "I’m devastated and crushed." (Khalifa and his rep both refused to comment, which seemed to say it all.)
Perhaps no one in Hollywood history tried harder to save a doomed marriage than Robin Thicke. His high school sweetheart, actress Paula Patton, filed for divorce on Oct. 8, which TMZ described as "harmonious." However, the same can’t be said for Thicke’s musical ode to his estranged wife, Paula: He didn’t just write her a love song, he wrote an entire album dedicated to his ex, which featured aptly titled tunes such as "Still Madly Crazy" and "Too Little Too Late." Thicke’s follow-up to Blurred Lines turned out to be a professional and personal flop, but it’s the thought that counts, right?
Babies have saved countless marriages, but in the case of The View’s Sherri Shepherd, a newborn had the opposite effect. On May 2, her husband of nearly three years, Lamar Sally, filed for separation and demanded full legal custody of their then-unborn son via surrogate. Talk about baby mama drama! Sally also asked for spousal support and insisted that their prenup be deemed invalid based on "fraud." On Nov. 3, he appeared on Inside Edition to helpfully update everyone on the situation. "She offered me a settlement of $150,000, but it was not to have her name on the birth certificate," he claimed. On a related note, Sally denied reports that he is a "gold digger." Shepherd seems to be taking the controversy in stride: "I'm doing really well," she told Queen Latifah last month. "Now if he [Lamar Sally] would stop talking about it in public I would be doing better."
While more and more states continue to approve same-sex unions, Johnny Weir and husband Victor Voronov decided to end their two-year marriage. The three-time U.S. national champion and style maven initially announced the split with tact on Twitter: "It is with great sadness that I announce that my husband and I are no longer together," Weir tweeted on March 19. Then things got ugly: First came abusive domestic disputes, including a claim that Weir bit the man he married on Dec. 31, 2011. Despite a brief reconciliation, it was all downhill from there. "Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir 'spun lies as easily [as] he performed a triple salchow' when accusing his estranged husband of attempted rape and having herpes, according to a newly filed lawsuit," reported the New York Daily News in September. Based on the allegations alone, we award this celebrity couple with the gold medal in breakups for 2014. After all, Weir, for one, remains a hopeless romantic: "No matter what, I am a cheerleader of love and partnership," he tweeted post-breakup.
Which brings us to the bonus breakup, news of which broke at press time. Just imagine all of the black eyeliner that will be smeared from tears after news of the split between these two reaches their legion of teenage goth fans. The couple never married, which perhaps explains why a rep for Carter described the breakup as "amicable" and claimed that they "have continued to be friends and co-parent their [two] children." The longtime domestic partners first met on the set of Burton’s Planet of the Apes in 2001 and collaborated on numerous other quirky hit movies, but Carter is noticeably missing from the cast of Burton’s holiday release, Big Eyes (a telltale sign?). No doubt the director will be as reluctant to discuss his private life as Big Eyes star Amy Adams was to chat about the Sony hack on the Today show. Now this is a real nightmare before Christmas.