Marriage is one of the oldest social institutions in human culture: the economic contract between two patriarchs, one with a teenage daughter he is tired of having to feed and one with a teenage boy who can begin making more children to work the fields. The bride's family pays the groom's family a dowry to "buy" the bride, and the two families make out better than when they started; everyone wins, except for the actual bride and groom who didn't get the choice of whom to spend the rest of their lives with. At some point, it was decided that marriage had something to do with love, God's plan all along apparently, and the institution was re-imagined as a religious union between two people loving each other almost as much as they loved their lord.
As a country founded by pilgrims seeking religious freedom, marriage translated to the United States as an important part of our daily world. And, like everything Americans hold sacrosanct, we soon began manipulating, ruining, and perverting it for our own selfish ends. While people who actually wanted to marry for love but couldn't, like people from different races or same sex couples, had to fight for their rights in the court system, people who didn't actually want to marry for love were allowed to do so all the time.
Maybe two people got married to commit tax fraud or medical insurance fraud, maybe two people got married because one of them needed citizenship in a foreign country, maybe two people got married because one or both of them were hiding homosexuality, or maybe two people got married simply because they were drunk and thought at the moment it would be a crazy thing to do. If marriage has any sanctity left, here is a list of celebrities that helped to famously degrade it. These 10 marriages were allegedly shams from the start.
10 Michael Jackson and Debbie Jeanne Rowe
9 Liza Minnelli and David Gest
8 Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries
7 Carmen Electra and Dennis Rodman
6 Britney Spears and Jason Alexander
5 Rudolph Valentino And His Wives
4 Dennis Hopper and Michelle Phillips
3 Rock Hudson and Phyllis Gates
2 Robin Givens and Svetozar Marinkovic
1 Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley
The King of Pop marries the daughter of the King of Rock and Roll. The headlines were too good to pass up, the idea too absurd not to obsess over. The union makes so much sense from a media standpoint that it was hard to take seriously. Maybe Michael and Lisa Marie Presley were actually in love - they were good friends after all - but the marriage happening so soon after Jackson had dodged child molestation charges came off as forced. I would like to believe that Jackson was sincere, and Presley seemed to be part of this for positive reasons, but their divorce just a couple years later didn't help prove the marriage wasn't anything other than an alleged sham.
The most damning evidence though was when the couple appeared together on the 1994 MTV video music awards. The appearance seemed to be a stunt to show that the marriage was real, as Jackson and Presley came out together on stage and then preceded to bump their faces together. We were meant to interpret that movement as "kissing," but it seemed more like when two goats crack skulls together, expect without as much passion. We may never know what was real or artificial about the relationship, but it felt like a sham at the time.
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