44 Relatable Times Celebrities Opened Up About Divorce

Samantha Sutton | Mar 19, 2020 Celebrities
44 Relatable Times Celebrities Opened Up About Divorce
Image: Danny Moloshok/REUTERS

Anna Faris and Chris Pratt
Danny Moloshok/REUTERS

Spoiler alert: Life isn't always all rainbows and sunshine. We've now lived enough years to learn that it has its ups and downs -- and while the bad days can leave us feeling very, very alone, the truth is, that's just not the case. More often than not, friends and family members can relate to what we're going through. Heck, there's even a celebrity or two who have experienced a similar situation. One example? Divorce. So many stars have gone through it themselves (it is tough to make it in Hollywood, after all), and while it's heartbreaking to watch as fans, it's also inspiring to see them come out on the other side -- showing us they survived, they're OK, and we will be, too.

Still, it's not just seeing the proof of award-winning movies and hit records that end up reassuring us, it's what these stars end up saying. Sometimes, divorced celebs end up getting pretty deep during an interview, opening up about their personal experiences following the split. Hearing all those details -- how sad these actors, actresses, and musical artists were, how they had to build themselves back up, and how that particular time in their life taught them a hard lesson about love, life, and even co-parenting -- is what ends up making us feel so much better.

It's further proof that even the world's most glamorous aren't immune to going through a crappy time.

So who, exactly, has spoken up and gotten really ... real about their divorces? We've found 44 celebrities -- from Gwen Stefani, to Chris Pratt, and Mary J. Blige -- who've discussed the points that they realized their marriage was ending and also what they did in the days afterward.

Fair warning: It gets pretty sad, so it's probably wise to read with a box of tissues nearby.

  • Reese Witherspoon

    1
    "There are things in my life that are hard to reconcile, like divorce," she told Parade in 2008, talking about her divorce from Ryan Phillippe.

    "Sometimes it is very difficult to make sense of how it could possibly happen. Laying blame is so easy. I don’t have time for hate or negativity in my life. There’s no room for it. When you make wrong choices, you have to take responsibility for them: ‘What part of this do I own?'”
  • Jennifer Aniston

    2
    "There are many stages of grief," the actress said regarding her split from Brad Pitt.

    "It's sad, something coming to an end. It cracks you open, in a way -- cracks you open to feeling. When you try to avoid the pain, it creates greater pain. I'm a human being, having a human experience in front of the world. I wish it weren't in front of the world. I try really hard to rise above it."
  • Jessica Simpson

    3

    Talking to Glamour about her divorce from Nick Lachey, Jessica Simpson said divorce "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."

    In her memoir Open Book, she admits they were too young and that their reality show put a lot of pressure on their relationship. “We were young and pioneering our way through reality television, always mic'd and always on,” she writes. “We worked and we were great at it but when it came time to being alone, we weren’t great at it anymore.”

    “We really got crushed by the media and by ourselves,” Simpson goes on. “I couldn’t lie to our fans and I couldn’t give somebody hope that we were this perfect golden couple.”

  • Nicole Kidman

    4
    "I think that divorce is hard for anyone," said Nicole Kidman, who was married to Tom Cruise from 1990 to 2001. "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."

    "I've had a blessed life," Kidman said, regaining her composure, and yet, "I've always thought [if] something bad is going to happen, something bad is going to happen. But then something really bad happened. A number of really bad things happened. You go, 'I'm dealing with it. I'm stronger than I thought.' Ultimately that's where wisdom comes from, doesn't it?" she said.
  • Miranda Lambert

    5

    "We were together for 10 years, married for four, were very quickly divorced, and are friends. I’m still processing everything and figuring out where to go and what happened," Miranda Lambert revealed while discussing her relationship with Blake Shelton. "[Marriage is] a tough business, and we gave it our best college try. I met him at 21 -- I am now almost 32. You change as people."

  • Elisabeth Moss

    6

    Elisabeth was married to comedian Fred Armisen from 2009 to 2011. "Looking back, I feel like I was really young, and at the time I didn't think that I was that young," she told Vulture about that period of time.

    "It was extremely traumatic and awful and horrible. At the same time, it turned out for the best. I'm glad that I'm not there. I'm glad that it didn't happen when I was 50. I'm glad I didn't have kids. And I got that out of the way. Hopefully. Like, that's probably not going to happen again."

  • Kate Hudson

    7
    "The process of discovering with somebody that you love that you don’t work is so painful," Kate Hudson told Vogue, referring to musician Chris Robinson.

    "Chris and I had no animosity," Kate points out in an interview with Daily Mail. "Chris and I divorced for the right reasons -- we just didn’t work. But we remain extremely close." Chris was on tour with his band a lot during the marriage, but she doesn’t blame any of that for the break-up. "The reasons are personal, but those things weren’t difficult," she says. "They can be, but dealing with work schedules is always a challenge. I think that’s true for everybody."
  • Anna Faris

    8
    "Life is too short to be in relationships where you feel this isn't fully right or somebody doesn't have your back, or somebody doesn't fully value you," Anna Faris once said about splitting with Chris Pratt. "Don't be afraid to feel your independence if things aren't right."

    “I made that mistake, I think, a little bit, like ‘I’m checking my relationship off the list,’” she said to a caller during her Unqualified podcast. “And if that would be the final piece of advice I could give you, that would be know your worth, know your independence.”
  • Miranda Kerr

    9
    "When Orlando [Bloom] and I separated [in 2013], I actually fell into a really bad depression," the model, who's now remarried to the CEO of Snap Inc., Evan Spiegel, told Elle Canada about her divorce in 2016. "I never understood the depth of that feeling or the reality of that because I was naturally a very happy person."
  • Drew Barrymore

    10

    Drew called it quits with Will Kopelman in 2016. (They share two daughters, Frankie and Olive.) "When you break up with somebody, you're like, 'Yeah, that didn't work,'" she told Chelsea Handler on her talk show. "When you get divorced, you're like, 'I'm the biggest failure. This is the biggest failure.' It's so shameful and hard to actually go through that, even privately."

  • Gwen Stefani

    11
    In February 2015, Gwen Stefani said her world "changed forever" when her marriage to musician Gavin Rossdale exploded after 13 years together. "At that time everything was like I had no skin, it was so raw," Stefani details in an interview with CBS News. "Nobody knew what was happening, and I had this big secret."
     
    "During that time period, I felt like I was down all the way, like, you don't go down lower than that," Gwen said on CBS's Sunday Morning, reflecting back. "It was rock bottom. I was so embarrassed, you know what I mean?"
  • Chris Pratt

    12
    When Entertainment Weekly asked him about his divorce from Anna Faris, Chris put it simply:

    "Divorce sucks. But at the end of the day, we’ve got a great kid who’s got two parents who love him very much. And we’re finding a way to navigate this while still remaining friends and still being kind to one another. It’s not ideal, but yeah, I think both of us are actually probably doing better."

  • Hilary Duff

    13

    Hilary Duff opened up to her Younger co-star, Nico Tortorella, on his podcast, The Love Bomb, in November 2016 about her experience with divorce.  "I think we handled it very consciously and with a lot of love," she said referring to her ex, Mike Comrie. "But marriage is sacred and marriage is not for everyone. Marriage is work. Marriage is really hard. Everyone's like, 'Are you going to get married again?' I'm like, 'I don't know!'"

  • Jennifer Garner

    14
    "It's one of the pains in my life that something I believe in so strongly I've completely failed at twice," Jennifer Garner, who's still on good terms with Ben Affleck, revealed about their split.

    "You have to have two people to dance a marriage. My heart's a little on the tender side right now, and it's always easier to focus on the ways that you feel hurt, but I know that, with time and some perspective, I'll have a clearer sense of where I let the system down, because there's no way I get off in this."
  • Jennifer Lopez

    15
    "When my marriage ended, it was not easy to find forgiveness,” the multi-threat told W magazine about her divorce from Marc Anthony.

    "It wasn't the dream that I had hoped for, and it would have been easier to fan the flames of resentment, disappointment, and anger. But Marc is the father of my children, and that’s never going away. So, I have to work to make things right. And that is, by far, the hardest work I do."
  • Scarlett Johansson

    16
    Scarlett Johansson
    Splash News
    "Of course it's horrible," she said about about divorcing from Ryan Reynolds in 2011.

    "It was devastating. It really throws you. You think that your life is going to be one way, and then, for various reasons or whatever, it doesn’t work out. It's a very lonely thing. It’s like the loneliest thing you’ll ever do, in some way."
  • Olivia Wilde

    17
    Olivia Wilde was actually married to an Italian prince, Tao Ruspoli, for eight years prior to her relationship with Jason Sudeikis. "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," the celeb mom once confessed.
  • Kaley Cuoco

    18
    "You know what, I'm not ashamed of anything that happened," she said of her whirlwind romance with Ryan Sweeting.

    "I fall in love really hard, I do. I go deep. That person is it for me. And I love hard, and when it's over, it's over, and some people make mistakes. [I] wouldn't call it a mistake, it just is what happened in my life, so I'm excited to see what the future holds. It happened, and now I have to say I'm happier than I've ever been."
  • Jenny Slate

    19
    Jenny Slate got pretty deep when talking to Marie Claire about her split with Dean Fleischer-Camp. "A divorce moves at the speed of complete deadening silence, or that's how it feels," she said. "When we got divorced, I felt like I was in outer space. But I think we at least had the foresight, even amidst all that pain, to say, 'If we don't do this now, we will never be able to be together at all in any way. We will never be able to work together or be friends.'... Just because something didn't work out in its original form doesn't mean you have to denigrate it and say it was worth nothing," she says.

  • Mandy Moore

    20
    "I think I spent a good portion of the last years of my life really pouring all of my energy into my life and relationship, and now that that's sort of not part of my life any more," she said about her marriage to Ryan Adams. "It's just not a coincidence to me that things sort of opened back up, and I'm able to focus back on myself again."
  • Katie Holmes

    21
    Hinting about what life was like after saying goodbye to ex husband Tom Cruise, Katie said, "I don't have any fear now, I don't have a lot of rules for myself, and I don't take myself that seriously."

    Katie has long since moved on from her headline-grabbing 2012 divorce. “I don’t want that moment in my life to define me, to be who I am. I don’t want that to be what I’m known as. I was an actor before, an actor during and an actor now.”

  • Denise Richards

    22
    “Charlie, when I married him, he wasn’t a bad boy," Denise said when talking about her breakup with Charlie Sheen with whom she shares two daughters. "He was sober for almost four years. He was a very different person. His lifestyle was very, very different. He was a former bad boy, I guess."

    Denise says the divorce also affected her professional life: "I was perceived as being a lunatic and crazy. There are people that have [since] come up to me and apologized for drinking the Kool-Aid … It was hard."

  • Courteney Cox

    23
    "I think you really need to work in a relationship, and I think that we tried," Courteney said about David Arquette on an episode of Running Wild With Bear Grylls. "We're just really different, too. I'm the polar opposite of him. That can be great for a lot of things, but I need this kind of real, one-on-one connection."
  • Wiz Khalifa

    24
    Wiz learned a good lesson following his relationship with Amber Rose.

    "I learned how to be present where I need to be present. I'd been present in the relationship, but at that age and with what was going on, it just wasn't right for me. It helps to walk away sometimes, even though it was super hard."
  • Gwyneth Paltrow

    25

    Even with all of their "conscious uncoupling," Gwyneth's divorce from Chris Martin wasn't easy. "It was very challenging for me in terms of having to re-assess what that said about me, ideas that I had about that kind of failure."

    “I am from a tribe of people who stay married," she told the New York Daily News, noting that most of her family and friends are in long-term marriages. "My parents stayed married until my dad died. I really don’t come from a culture of divorce at all, and I had very high hopes for what my life could be ... Luckily my ex-husband is an incredibly good ex-husband and an amazing dad."

  • Heidi Klum

    26

    The model wouldn't let the comments get her down when her marriage to Seal ended. "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."

  • Kevin Hart

    27
    "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,'" Kevin said about his ex, Torrei, and stepping out while married. "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.'"
  • Eva Longoria

    28

    "That’s probably the time I got the most compliments because I was so skinny. I was not eating. I was depressed," Eva admitted to Dr. Oz, talking about her divorce from Tony Parker. "I was sad. My diet was coffee. So people kept saying, 'You look amazing. Divorce agrees with you,' … And I was like, I don't feel good. I have no energy."

  • Mariah Carey

    29
    “I never thought I would have babies with someone and then get divorced,” she told Complex when discussing parting ways with Nick Cannon. “Like, ‘Oh, great job. Repeat your past.’ ... But life happens and it was supposed to happen. It’s fine. For [my children], I wish it hadn’t happened that way. For me, it was...[singing Johnny Mathis and Deniece Williams’ 'Too Much, Too Little, Too Late'] Guess it’s over. Call it a day.” 
  • Ashton Kutcher

    30

    When he and Demi Moore ended things, Ashton decided to get away. "Right after I got divorced, I went to the mountains for a week by myself," Ashton Kutcher told Dax Shepard on the podcast Armchair Expert.

    "I did no food, no drink -- just water and tea. I took all my computers away, my phone, my everything. I was there by myself, so there was no talking. I just had a notepad, a pen and water and tea -- for a week."

  • Madonna

    31
    "When you start off, everything’s great and lovely, and the person you’ve married is flawless, and you’re flawless," she said of her marriage to Guy Ritchie.

    "Then time goes by, and you share a life, you have children, and there are cracks in the veneer. It's not as romantic as it used to be. You think, 'This isn't what I thought it was going to be,' and 'How much am I willing to sacrifice?'"
  • Naomi Watts

    32
    "I mean, I'm single, I'm co-parenting. I'm doing okay," Naomi Watts said in Vogue Australia in May 2017, giving an update on her split from Liev Schreiber. "There are good days and bad days and Liev and I are on great terms and we're trying to do our absolute best for the sake of the children and we hope to keep moving forward in that way."
  • Ryan Phillippe

    33
    "[Divorce was] the darkest, saddest place I had ever been," Ryan Phillippe has admitted about his split from Reese Witherspoon.

    "It was a struggle -- there were a good four or five months of not being able to get out of bed. It was the worst time in my life. You get through it. It's a process that's not easy, but I get less and less sad about it every day."
  • Khloé Kardashian


    34
    "I miss what we had," Khloé Kardashian said in an interview with Complex, speaking about Lamar Odom.

    "Things we got to do together are just memories. I like looking back and holding on to that stuff. I definitely miss it, and there's times I'll get so sentimental and so sad, but this had to happen for some reason. I'll figure it out over time. Someone will give me that answer eventually."
  • Amy Poehler

    35

    Amy Poehler had the perfect metaphor when talking about divorcing Will Arnett. "Imagine spreading everything you care about on a blanket and then tossing the whole thing up in the air," she wrote in her book, Yes, Please. "The process of divorce is about loading that blanket, throwing it up, watching it all spin, and worrying what stuff will break when it lands."

  • Katy Perry

    36

    Katy Perry actually documented the moment she found out she was getting a divorce from Russell Brand right before she went on stage. It was captured by the cameras filming for her movie, Katy Perry: Part of Me.

    "There were two weeks of my life after I found out the truth of my marriage where I was like, 'OK. All right. I can't feel this. This is too intense right now,'" she told Marie Claire in 2013. "I was, like, just eating Flamin' Hot Cheetos and drinking, and that's it.”

  • Mary J. Blige

    37
    "The breaking point was when I kept asking over and over and over again for respect and to be respected," told Robin Roberts on Good Morning America, addressing the end of her marriage to husband-manager Martin "Kendu" Isaacs. "It just seemed like I was beating a dead horse. It seemed like I was talking to a wall. I just wasn’t getting it back so if I can’t get respect in the relationship, then I have to move on and save myself.”
  • Pamela Anderson

    38
    “I look back at pictures of myself when I was in this awful relationship, and I looked 20 years older," Pamela admitted just one year after her divorce from Rick Salomon.

    "I know it sounds like a cliché, but happiness has a lot to do with beauty. Calm, peacefulness and not-constant stress are very, very important to feeling beautiful and confident. And that comes across whether you’re wearing makeup or not. I remember looking in the mirror during filming and saying, 'Who is this person? How did I let myself get to this place?'"

  • Danica McKellar

    39
    Danica took to her blog to write about separating from Mike Verta in 2012. "The end of a marriage has got to be one of the saddest events one can experience. I've heard that the pain [of divorce] is second only to an actual death in the family, and that sounds about right."

    But the actress said she’s “grateful” that their split “has been nothing but amicable, and that this process seems like it will be as smooth as can be hoped for."

    We are both totally in love with our little boy,” she writes, “and believe this is the best thing for him.”

  • Blake Shelton

    40
    "When we recorded the vocals for some of these songs, I was only six months removed from when all the crap went down," the country singer revealed how his split from Miranda Lambert inspired his albumIf I'm Honest. "When you have a broken heart -- at least, when I do -- you got to get it out of your system. You want people to sympathize with you. I was at rock bottom, in the middle of hell."
  • Angelina Jolie

    41

    “We care for each other and care about our family, and we are both working towards the same goal," the actress revealed in Vanity Fair's 2017 cover story about her high-profile divorce from Brad Pitt. "I was very worried about my mother, growing up -- a lot. I do not want my children to be worried about me. I think it’s very important to cry in the shower and not in front of them. They need to know that everything’s going to be all right even when you’re not sure it is.”

  • Jenna Dewan

    42

    “The public saw Channing and I in this idealized romanticized light,” Jenna Dewan writes in her book, 'Gracefully You: How to Live Your Best Life Every Day' about her split from ex-husband Channing Tatum. “This made things difficult for me because I like being as honest and real as I can... Here’s the honest truth about my breakup: Yes, I carried a rose quartz in my bra and yes, I took herbal supplements to help me heal, but also my mom flew in to be by my side and I called my friends late at night to sob into their ears... You need to embrace it all and allow everything positive and productive to be part of the process.”

  • Monica

    43

    “I’m not ashamed of what’s happening in my life,” singer Monica in an interview with Essence magazine's podcast about her split from ex-husband, former NBA player Shannon Brown

    “I just think because I still have such a love and respect, even for Shannon, that there’s certain things that are just not up for discussion... We don’t have to be together to uplift one another and make sure that my kids always see that mom is looking forward to you having a relationship [with dad] forever and ever. Anything I can do to really assist in making sure it continues to be everything that it’s always been, that’s what I’m going to do.”

  • Ben Affleck

    44

    "Divorce is very painful and alcoholism is very painful," Ben Affleck told Good Morning America about his split from Jennifer Garner, with whom he has three children. "If there's something that your child is suffering, that's a level of pain that is just not easily gotten past, not easily forgiven, not easily forgotten and it's hard. You're not going to avoid causing your kids pain, all pain. Pain is part of life. I take some comfort in that. I'm doing my very, very best and I hope that that is -- it has to be good enough. I don't have any more room for failure of that kind." 

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