Marriage and relationships are challenging, no matter what your sexual orientation is. Hollywood’s gay and lesbian couples have the added pressure of trying to thrive in the spotlight, sometimes without the public’s support or respect. Divorce is always difficult, but gay and lesbian couples can face even more legal roadblocks. Paternity decisions become convoluted due to the absence of firm laws that can address the needs of a same-sex marital couple. Many gay couples run into logistical problems because they have not married in the state in which they live, making the divorce filing difficult. Same-sex marriage laws are often being changed, sometimes without consideration of what needs to be done in the event of same-sex divorce.
Some celebrity same-sex breakups are played out publicly in an unseemly fashion. The sordid details of child custody battles and other divorce-related legal disputes are made public for our entertainment. The drama is enough to make you wonder what attracted the couple to each other to begin with. On the other side of the coin, there are famous same-sex couples that have separated in a way that demonstrates integrity, keeps matters peaceful and sets a positive example for the children they are raising together. From a couple whose divorce was so contentious that the legal settlement is still being challenged in court years after the original case was filed, to couples with a harmonious divorce outcome, we will look at what can happen when a gay marriage goes wrong.
Here is an overview of some celebrity gay marriage breakups:
Cheyenne Jackson and Monte Lapka
‘Glee’ star Cheyenne Jackson split from husband of 2 years, physicist Monte Lapka. The two were married during a highly publicized New York wedding ceremony and had been together for 13 years total before throwing in the towel. Cheyenne allegedly left the marital home to move across the country to be with his new beau. Jackson’s rep later released a statement to Playbill.com claiming that the split was amicable. Several sources reported that the two had been living separate lives. In January, Jackson announced his new engagement to actor Jason Landau.
Ricky Martin and Carlos Gonzalez Abella
Latin singer Ricky Martin talked about his split from romantic partner of more than 5 years, stockbroker Carlos Gonzales Abella, on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Abella co-parented the twins that Martin had by surrogate in 2008. He was also with Martin when he officially came out to the public as gay, in 2010. The singer has recently made vague statements about his breakup on Twitter, mentioning that his life is changing. His rep also made a statement to People magazine in January confirming the couples split.
Melissa Etheridge and Tammy Lynn Michaels
Though their divorce was filed in 2010 and finalized in 2012, singer Melissa Etheridge and her ex-wife, actress Tammy Lynn Michaels are back in the news for court disputes. The couple was together for a total of 9 years and Michaels bore 2 children during the union. Etheridge and Michaels have repeatedly battled over child custody, child support, visitation and alimony. In 2013, Michaels went to court to prevent the twins from being exposed to tour life, while Etheridge was out on the road. In January, a judge ruled in favor of Etheridge, refusing to raise the $23k a month support money Michaels currently receives. Etheridge has publicly referred to her ex as “angry” and “bitter” about the split.
David Tutera and Ryan Jurica
Famed wedding designer, David Tutera and his husband, Ryan Jurica, split while waiting for the delivery of their twins, via surrogate. The couple tied the knot in a 2003 civil ceremony held in Vermont. Jurica claimed that Tutera’s sexual addiction and involvement with prostitution led to the couple’s break-up and told People magazine that marital counseling and therapy did not help get their marriage back on track. Tutera denied the allegations in a statement to People magazine and threatened to sue for slander. Tutera and Jurica agreed to take custody of the twin that is biologically theirs and part ways. This decision drew criticism, and Tutera was described in the media as dividing up his children as if they were furniture. The ‘My Fair Wedding Host’ explained on The View that communication with his ex was so strained and that the twins had not met one another.
Rosie O’Donnell and Kelli Carpenter
After three years of marriage, Rosie O’Donnell and Kelli Carpenter called it quits. The former Nickelodeon executive married O’Donnell in San Francisco in 2004, to show their support for gay rights. The marriage took place only 2 weeks after the mayor granted the approval of marriage licenses to be issued to same-sex couples. The divorce was final in 2007 and O’Donnell has publicly referred to their relationship as amicable. The two share 4 children and have both gone on to remarry.
Jodie Foster and Cydney Bernard
In 2011, Oscar winning actress Jodie Foster split from her partner of 14 years, movie producer Cydney Bernard. The couple reportedly wore eternity rings on their wedding fingers to symbolize their commitment to each other. They share two children that were birthed by Foster, and legally adopted by Benard. Months before the split, Foster caused a controversy by referring to Bernard as “My beautiful Cydney” during an acceptance speech at the 2013 Golden Globes. The couple reportedly remains close.
Jane Lynch and Lara Embry
In 2013, Glee star Jane Lynch ended her three-year marriage to psychologist Lara Embry. The couple met at a fundraiser in California, and had an intimate wedding ceremony in 2010. They were among the first celebrity same-sex couples to marry. Lynch made the divorce announcement in a statement to People magazine. The couple did not have a prenup. Initially prepared to fight providing any spousal support, Lynch began to make hopeful statements to the press, such as, “It’s just money!” Embry reportedly requested $94k monthly in spousal support, but was awarded a judgement that paid far less in January. During a Larry King Live interview, Lynch claimed that she and Embry remain friends.
Ellen DeGeneres and Anne Heche
Talk show host, Ellen DeGeneres and actress Anne Heche had a very public breakup back in 2000. DeGeneres later blamed the media for so much focus on her union with Heche. The couple was together for over three years and sported matching wedding bands, before announcing their separation. The two met at the 1997 Vanity Fair Oscar party and quickly became one of the world’s most famous lesbian couple. Heche suffered a mental breakdown shortly after their breakup. Afterward, Heche went back to partnering with men. Both stars have remarried since then.
David Geffen and Jeremy Lingvall
Media mogul David Geffen split with partner of six years, Jeremy Lingvall. The two paired up following Lingvall’s college graduation from the University of California in 2006 and parted ways in 2012. The relationship was able to flourish for a number of years, despite a 40-year age difference. The couple travelled everywhere together, even making an appearance at a state dinner at the Whitehouse with President Obama. The billionaire confirmed the breakup with Lingvall in the New York Post, stating the split was amicable. Sources stated the relationship had simply “run its course”.