Yes, I am a stereotypical woman in that I enjoy reading about celebrities, seeing what they’re wearing, and dissecting their life mistakes choices. It’s not so much a lifestyle aspiration (I live in Los Angeles and work in the entertainment industry, so I’ve gotten to see a lot of celebrities up close; most are uninteresting when the cameras are not rolling) as it is a perfect storm of things I like to analyze — faces, fashion, and behavior — all wrapped into one. Basically celebrity trash magazines and blogs are like Super Wal-Marts of my interests…um, besides poring over John and Stasi Eldredge books, I mean. Yeah! Woo hoo! Captivating 4eva!
Evangelicals spend a lot of time trashing Hollywood, not entirely without reason — Hollywood produces a lot of trash. (Christian productions produce a lot of trash, too, but when the litmus test of trash vs. non-trash is “does it have an ~uplifting, heart-warming message that’s suitable for the whole family?”, trash production is an impossible thing to acknowledge.) Anyhow, I see Hollywood not so much as something to denounce with the pointing finger of moral superiority but as the clearest possible picture of our sinful nature. It is an unvarnished reflection of what lies in all of our hearts. The only thing that separates most Hollywood behavior from our own is opportunity. Remove all social and moral restrictions, and surround yourself with enablers and the most beautiful and powerful people of the opposite sex — the most sexually irresistible people in the world — and it’s not hard to see why celebrity after celebrity falls off the holiness wagon.
Last week news broke that 50% mega-famous, 100% gorgeous couple Halle Berry and Gabriel Aubry have split up. (Gabriel is a male model who is the father of Halle’s 2-year-old daughter.) They were together for four or five years, which in Hollywood time is pretty impressive. The only thing surprising to me about this break-up was that fans were surprised. Applying a Game analysis to the Berry/Aubry relationship, the reasons for the break-up quickly become obvious: Halle, despite being acknowledged as one of the most beautiful women alive, is 43 and about to hit the Wall, if she hasn’t already. Gabriel, on the other hand, is only 34. At the time they began dating, Halle was still near the peak of her looks while Gabriel was still ascending in value. Now, however, the tables are beginning to turn. Halle is aging out of the fertility market, while Gabriel is just beginning to peak in his attractiveness to women. (Obviously, being a gorgeous and successful male model, his attractiveness was high to begin with, but now he has maturity to add to his menu of scrumptious offerings, not to mention the insanely high preselection value of having dated a woman as beautiful as Halle.) In addition, Halle got the baby she had always wanted and maybe didn’t tend to her relationship with Gabriel as before; I always got the impression that she valued having a baby over having a man. Another important factor was probably the separation of the couple due to working in different places for extended periods of time. Add in the unequal fame and earning power of the couple, the emotional baggage each brought to the relationship, and the extreme temptation of Hollywood, and voila! Breakup.
Maybe the most predictive factor, though, was that Halle and Gabriel never married. Halle is twice-divorced and has stated more than once that she has no intentions to marry again. She told Ebony in 2004 that she wanted someone to “come and stay and be there because he wants to, not because he has a piece of paper saying he has to.” Which is all very fine and noble, but…what if she and Gabriel had married? Wouldn’t that have given Gabriel more incentive to stay with Halle and be an everyday father to their daughter? Most divorces, after all, are initiated by women, and so far there hasn’t been gossip that Aubry is a player with a wandering eye. Additionally, men generally stand to lose more (financially) in divorce, especially in California. Despite being a community property state, it strongly favors mothers upon dissolution of a marriage. I think it’s very possible that Halle Berry created a self-fulfilling prophecy for herself to lose a man by refusing to commit to him beyond mere feelings. It takes two to tango, but beauty (which rapidly depreciates) and feelings (which come and go) are not the things you want to tie your hopes for a lasting relationship to. There needs to be a stronger bond and reciprocal obligation between two people to weather the ups and downs of life, and in the vast majority of cases, that is marriage.