Hollywood West

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 13 May, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 13 May, 2006, 12:00am

In announcing his recent split from his wife - again - controversial rapper Eminem said: 'We both tried to give our marriage another chance and quickly realised that a wedding doesn't fix the underlying problems.'

No? Really?

The singer and his estranged wife, Kim Mathers, made headlines a few months earlier when they wed for a second time, five years after their first turbulent marriage. He had so loathed her that violent lyrics in songs he had written had been ascribed to her. Their first marriage had been surrounded with tales of drug dependency, screaming outbursts, infidelity - just another day in the life of a superstar.

But when they reconciled and took another trip down the aisle, this time it was for keeps, they said. They had worked through their issues, resolved their differences. They were in love and committed to each other. This time it was going to work.

Eighty-one days later, they called it quits.

Like every other celebrity-watcher, I too have grown cynical about star hookups, almost anticipating the breakup to follow. At my book club last week, talk about Julian Barnes' newest tome quickly segued into Matt LeBlanc's separation from his wife, Melissa McKnight, after three years ('and their daughter is sick' one woman lamented). Someone else, with a tenuous link to Reese Witherspoon (her ex-roommate's boyfriend was a neighbour of Witherspoon's housekeeper), regaled us with tales about how the Oscar-winning star's marriage to Ryan Philippe is on shaky ground. And really, could it be true that the hybrid known as TomKat - (Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes) was ready to dismantle?

There was enough dirt dished that night to bury a tow truck. We hashed over the fact that Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey are fighting through lawyers, that Lance Armstrong has ridden off into the sunset sans Sheryl Crow and that Phat Farm clothing mogul and Def Jam founder Russell Simmons and wife Kimora Lee Simmons are also on the skids - although at least, at seven years and with two kids, they had a good run. Tori Spelling dumped hubby Charlie Shanian after a couple of years of marriage, and is said to have married wannabe actor Dean McDermott, who in turn left his wife, at a secret ceremony in Fiji. As Spelling so aptly put it: 'I got divorced ... Please, it's Hollywood.'

Which got me thinking what it is about Hollywood that not just endorses the notion of divorce, but almost seems to encourage it.

Entourages have a lot to do with it; it's hard to keep a relationship going when there are bodyguards and personal trainers, assistants and publicists, following you at every turn.

Right after Cruise and Holmes had burst onto the scene with their newly hatched love-fest last year, I was standing in the corridor of the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel when they breezed past me, hand in hand. They were being followed by - and this is no exaggeration - a dozen people, all armed with clipboards and headsets. Try having a quiet moment with that kind of attention.

And then there's the ego thing. As one celebrity stylist told me recently, 'stars are very nice as long as it's all about them'. And given that any relationship can never be about one person, and that stars are known to be the most self-involved people on the planet, it's not surprising Hollywood marriages crash

and burn.

But while many newly heartbroken celebrities might weep with Barbara Walters, it remains, nonetheless, hard to sympathise.

Instead, let's face it, we tend to succumb to a rather pathetic schadenfreude; seeing the rich and famous struggle through painful break-ups and cheating partners makes them less superior, more human, susceptible to the same emotional dramas as the rest of us.

But here's the real difference: anybody in the real world who has been married knows there are times when they wish they, well, weren't. We've all had days when the toothpaste tube has been

left open one too many times, there have been one too many tussles over the remote control. And then there's that old chestnut - 'I saw how you looked at


But in the real world, getting divorced costs money, hurts children, is potentially scandalous and is just a damn inconvenience. In celebrity land, money is not a barrier, the children have therapists, assistants deal with the inconvenience and scandal is a good thing.

There's nothing that promotes a movie better than a good old-fashioned schism.