15 Times Celebrities Got Real About Their Divorces

Jeanne Sager | Jun 23, 2017 Celebrities
Image: Splash News

Katy Perry and Russell Brand 2011
Splash News

It's hard to say why we care so much about celebrity divorces. Is it because we get to watch their fairy-tale love stories unfold and live vicariously through them? Or is it because divorce is something so many of us recognize, and we're just empathetic? Either way, when celebrities open up about the end of a marriage, it's hard not to pay attention. They're bravely putting into words what so many people grapple with every day, yet can't always speak out about.

From Katy Perry to Kim Kardashian, celebs have gotten candid about their emotional experiences -- here are 15 celebs who didn't hold back. 

  • Olivia Wilde

    1

    Before her relationship -- and two adorable babies -- with Jason Sudeikis, Olivia Wilde was married for eight years to Tao Ruspoli, an Italian filmmaker and photographer. The House star has been candid over the years about feeling like a failure when the marriage ended.

    Of their split, she told The Conversation's Amanda DeCadenet, "You don't want to break up with someone, you don't want to end a marriage, especially if you really like the person -- you just know that something's off so you try to change everything else. We basically built a new house, and it was perfect -- just a glorious house -- and the day it was finished was the day I knew it wasn't the house."

  • Kim Kardashian

    2

    She went through one of the most public divorces in American history when her marriage to basketball player Kris Humphries ended just 72 days after it began. But Kardashian was open on a now-defunct Celebuzz blog about her struggle to ignore the hoopla and focus on her relationship.

    "I am trying not to read all the different media reports, but it's hard not to see all the negative ones," she said. "First and foremost, I married for love. I can't believe I even have to defend this. I would not have spent so much time on something just for a TV show! I share so much of my life on a reality show, that contemplating whether to even film my wedding was a tough decision to make, and maybe it turned out to not be the smartest decision. But it's who I am ... I accept full responsibility for my actions and decisions, and for taking everyone on this journey with me. It just didn't turn out to be the fairy tale I had so badly hoped for."

  • Gwyneth Paltrow

    3

    Gwyneth Paltrow made the term "conscious uncoupling" famous (or infamous) when she and ex-husband Chris Martin announced their split.

    But the mom of Apple and Moses got really frank later with the New York Daily News about the couple's divorce, when she said it was one thing in her life that didn't go as planned. "I think that it was very difficult for me that I couldn't do that and that I wasn't able to be married to the father of my children for the rest of my life," she said. "It was very challenging for me in terms of having to reassess what that said about me, ideas that I had about that kind of failure."

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  • Jennifer Garner

    4

    Tabloid headlines blamed Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck's split after 10 years of marriage on an affair with the couple's nanny, but Garner told Vanity Fair it was much more complicated than that.

    "We had been separated for months before I ever heard about the nanny. She had nothing to do with our decision to divorce. She was not a part of the equation," Garner said. Instead, Garner got real about the reality of life with Affleck. "I didn’t marry the big fat movie star; I married him," Garner told Vanity Fair.

    "And I would go back and remake that decision. I ran down the beach to him, and I would again. You can't have these three babies and so much of what we had. He's the love of my life. What am I going to do about that? He's the most brilliant person in any room, the most charismatic, the most generous. He's just a complicated guy. I always say, 'When his sun shines on you, you feel it.' But when the sun is shining elsewhere, it's cold. He can cast quite a shadow."

  • Kate Hudson

    5

    Friendly divorces may be rare, but even in Hollywood they do happen. 

    Kate Hudson told Vogue that her divorce from husband Chris Robinson was "the most difficult thing I've ever done in my life." The actress and the Black Crowes rocker had a son, Ryder, together, and had been married for seven years at the time of the split. "The process of discovering with somebody that you love that you don't ... work is so painful," Hudson said at the time.

    "And thank goodness I did it with Chris ... We helped each other through it .... and since the day we separated, we talk multiple times."

  • Kevin Hart

    6

    Comedian Kevin Hart hasn't been afraid to be honest about the mistakes he made in his marriage to first wife Torrei.

    In 2014, he told Upscale magazine, "When we first got together, our relationship was amazing. We got married young and our s*** got rocky. In my divorce, I stood up and said to my ex-wife, 'Hey, I messed up. This had nothing to do with you. I didn't understand what marriage was. I cheated. I was wrong. We couldn't fix it, it got worse. I stepped away because I didn't want it to get any worse. You're the mother of my kids, I don't want to hate you. And the only way that's gonna happen, is if I'm the bigger man and I leave.' I think that was a very mature thing to do."

    He's since remarried -- to Eniko Parrish -- and told OWN that he knows how to be a better husband because of his early mistakes. "In this marriage, she was able to get a Kevin 2.0 -- a Kevin that's a grown man," he said during an appearance on Oprah's Master Class. "I have to be different to get different."

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  • Kaley Cuoco

    7

    The Big Bang Theory’s Kaley Cuoco was married for 21 months before circumstances she's chosen to keep private ended the relationship with husband Ryan Sweeting.

    As she told Cosmopolitan shortly after the split, "It's like losing someone. And all of a sudden, the sadness hits me out of nowhere. It's a loss of hope, it's just ... it's a loss of hope."

  • Robin Wright

    8

    Before she was the vice president of the United States (on Netflix, anyway), Robin Wright was married for 14 years to actor Sean Penn (together for nearly two decades).

    The couple has two kids, and like with many couples, their children have always come first -- even in divorce. "Divorce in and of itself, and with children, is devastating," Wright told the Telegraph. "Worse than that. One of the reasons why we got back together and broke up so much was trying to keep the family together. If you've got kids, it's a family, and you try again, and you try again. We did that for a long time."

  • LeAnn Rimes

    9

    LeAnn Rimes and Eddie Cibrian made headlines in 2009 when news broke that the two were dating -- despite being married to other people. Both ended up divorcing their spouses and are now married and co-parenting Cibrian's kids (with ex-wife Brandi Glanville).

    Rimes told Ellen DeGeneres in 2011 that it's for the kids' sake that she's most upset with how things went down -- especially the publicity of their split. "At the end of the day, it's been definitely hard to see tons of lies written about a situation that people don't necessarily know the truth -- and there's kids involved ... It could have been handled a lot better, you know. But maybe we both didn't have the tools at the time to do it properly."

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  • Jessica Simpson

    10

    When you film a reality show about the early days of your marriage, the last thing you expect is for it to end. But that was the reality for Jessica Simpson and first husband Nick Lachey.

    Before marriage and two cute kids with Eric Johnson, Simpson was making a life with the 98 Degrees singer, and for a while, she was happy.

    As she told Glamour, "I loved everything about marriage. I loved having a companion to wake up with and have barbecues with. But things happen and people grow apart. I don't really ever talk about the divorce because it was a heart-wrenching thing to go through. It's a very, very personal thing. It was like a death in the family: You go through the mourning stage, then the rebellion, and then, all of a sudden you have to find life by yourself. Once you do that, you feel complete -- and that's the only time you can truly fall in love again, and give yourself over completely to another person.”

  • Madonna

    11

    The Material Girl was married for eight years to director Guy Ritchie, and the couple had two kids together (Madonna has six in total, including her recent addition of twins to her brood). Their divorce -- not surprisingly -- made for a "challenging year," as she told Rolling Stone.

    "I think work saved me, and I'm very grateful that I had work to do. I may have thrown myself off a building. Life is an adjustment. It's different. My sons aren't with me right now, they're with their father, and I'm not very comfortable with the idea of my children not living together. There are pros and cons, but I feel good now."

  • Heidi Klum

    12

    Heidi Klum and Seal divorced after seven years, but she had a great attitude about it.  

    Shortly afterward the model and Project Runway star told Marie Claire she was looking toward the positives. "People say, 'Oh, God, how devastating to go through a divorce.' Did I wish for this to happen to my family? No. But everyone is healthy; we're moving on with our lives. If someone got [very sick], God forbid, that would be a real problem. It's not what I wanted -- it's not what anyone wanted -- but it's not a real problem."

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  • Scarlett Johansson

    13

    Divorce may have changed Scarlett Johansson, but that's not a bad thing. "I feel I know now more of what I need in a relationship, what I want in a relationship. And I know I have more tools to communicate, not just with my partner, but with myself," she told Glamour.

    That wasn't a knock on ex Ryan Reynolds, by the way, but rather on where she was in her own life: "When I was first married, I was much younger. And I have had the opportunity now to work more on getting to know myself. I think that makes you a better partner and somebody who is able to work with somebody and stay in a relationship in the not-romantic moments. I have more patience with myself. I have more patience with my partner. I think that just comes with age, probably."

  • Nicole Kidman

    14

    She's been happily remarried to Keith Urban since 2006, but that doesn't mean Nicole Kidman took her divorce from Tom Cruise lightly. "I think that divorce is hard for anyone," she told ABC at the time. "It's a nightmare, it just is, and you can pretend you're fine. And days you're great [and] days you're not great."

  • Katy Perry

    15

    Katy Perry's description of her divorce from husband Russell Brand sounded achingly familiar to many people who are post-split. "[Divorce] was emotionally traumatic for me," she told Rolling Stone. "It was the death of a dream. I was in fairy tale land, and the reality of it wasn't so."

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