Photo by Splash NewsLast week, the world found out that Oscar-winner Halle Berry and uber-hunk Gabriel Aubry ended their five-year relationship. Apparently the celebrity couple actually split months ago, but we mere mortals just got the word. Reps for the couple say that although the romance is over, the two will stay on "good terms" for the sake of their 2-year-old daughter Nahla Ariela Aubry.
"Her happiness and well-being are the most important thing for both of us," Gabriel said in a statement released to Access Hollywood.
That's big of them, but if they're truly concerned about Nahla's happiness and well-being, why break up at all?
I have a 2-year-old daughter too, and it wasn't until she came along that those "til death do us part" vows really meant anything to me. It's not that I wasn't in love with my husband or that I didn't take my relationship seriously or intend to be married to him forever, it's just that Having a Kid Changes Everything.
Before baby, I didn't even think about divorce. If it ever came to that, it'd likely have been devastating for us and difficult for our families, but we two adults could go our separate ways. A nice, clean break. After baby, I did think about divorce. In these terms: It can never happen.
The stakes are so much higher now.
Mama and Dada mean everything to our 2-year-old. She loves to do things "like a family!" Her face lights up when her dad comes home. If my husband and I were ever to split, it'd rock her little world. And there are very few circumstances under which I'd ever consider doing that: If my child's life or mine was in danger, and possibly if my husband cheated on me with a gazillion women (go Sandra Bullock!). But if I was a little bit unhappy or thought I wasn't "in love" anymore or that there just wasn't anymore passion -- I'd suck it up for the sake of my daughter.
I've already "given up" a lot of things for her: Sleep, showers, a personal life, margaritas and martinis, a big career with a big paycheck, friends, a flat stomach, perky boobs, and time with my husband, to name just a few. I regret nothing. So I could certainly give up a little passion (maybe I could even come up with a way to reignite the flame). But isn't sacrifice what being a parent is all about? It's not just about me anymore. I chose to have a child, and being committed to her means being committed to her father.
Do I think that single women should be moms? Absolutely. Do I think that unmarried couples should be parents? You bet. It's the change in the established family life that makes me sad for Nahla. Halle and Gabriel weren't married, but a marriage certificate means nothing, especially when there's a 2-year-old involved. As far as I know, the three of them lived together as a family, and now they don't. That's got to be hard on Nahla.
I have no idea why Halle and Gabriel split or who instigated the breakup. I've read that he just couldn't handle their nine-year age gap anymore (she's 43; he's 34); I've read that Halle dumped Gabriel for another man; I've read he "couldn't pull his weight" in the relationship so she cut him loose.
For Nahla's sake, I'm hoping it was something a little more substantial. Otherwise, I'm afraid her happiness and well-being never were, or will be, "first."