Marriage is an institution they say, and they are probably right, particularly when it comes to the celebrities. Their marriages fuel gossip, news and paparazzi before finally making divorce lawyers very, very rich. From the most unlikely of couples to begin with to the celebs in love who we were sure would make it – when it comes to the end of a marriage, celeb marriages end in epic ways. From courtroom dramas to public brawls, actual physical assault to stop-press statements – the celebrities we love stoop pretty low when it comes to their personal lives. Pretty soon, the end of their marriage is a matter of public opinion and gossip, and sometimes the “paid” coverage of tabloids, too.
That said, there still are some celebrity divorces that take the world by surprise and leave us all wondering – if they couldn’t make it, could we? Here are 15 of the most shocking, unexpected and heart-breaking celebrity divorces, ever…
15 Brangelina Has Left The Building
Despite their rather rocky start with Brad Pitt filing for a divorce with his then wife Jennifer Aniston, there was something so physically attractive and compelling about Brad and Angelina together that they soon became Hollywood’s "It" couple.
The world followed them and their love life, as they entered into a relationship after Brad and Jennifer’s split in 2005. Angelina was already a single mom to Maddox (adopted from Cambodia in 2002) and Zahara (adopted from Ethiopia in 2005). Brangelina, as they were lovingly dubbed by the media, soon announced that they were expecting and in 2007, Angelina gave birth to their daughter Shiloh. In 2007 Angelina adopted a boy from Vietnam, three-year-old Pax who was later adopted by Brad too. In 2008, Angelina gave birth to twins Knox and Vivienne in France.
The happy couple finally got married in 2014 after being in a relationship for 10 years. In September 2016 came the shocker, Angelina filed for divorce and hired celebrity divorce specialist Laura Wasser (the disso queen also handling Johnny Depp’s divorce from Amber Heard!) amidst rumors of child abuse by Brad. The world and fans could not have been ore shocked. Not just by the divorce, but also because of the ugliness around it. The game is still on, and we are avid spectators.
14 Brad Pitt Dumps Jennifer Aniston
One cannot mention Brangelina without talking about Brad and Jennifer. Their story could have been a dream-come-true marriage, had Brad not fallen hard for Angelina Jolie. In 1998, Brad And Jennifer’s agents set them up for a blind date which went beautifully – the couple dated for two years before finally tying the knot in 2000.
Five happy years of wedded bliss continued with the media dubbing them as the golden couple – they moved into a lovely mansion and lived a charmed life but the cracks soon began to show. Brad made several mentions of starting a family, which Aniston wasn’t too keen on. The couple was struggling, but still holding on to their marriage together when Brad began filming for Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Enter the statuesque Ms. Jolie and Brad was smitten. The rest, as they say, is history.
The irony being that history is repeating itself as Jen puts it correctly, it’s just karma or rather, the karmic cycle!
13 Johnny No Longer
A midlife crisis or Johnny Depp losing it – but what else would you call Johnny dumping long term love Vanessa Paradis in favor of a much younger (and snarkier) Amber Heard? Amidst accusations of abuse, Amber Heard filed for divorce from Johnny Depp and got $7 million as a settlement. On the other hand, since Depp never married Vanessa, she was dumped and left with not a penny in any settlement despite also having two children with Depp.
Through the ugliness of Depp-Heard, Vanessa stood like a rock by Depp, making public statements in his favor that he was a sensitive, loving and caring guy and never in 14 years of togetherness had she ever been abused by Depp.
After Amber & Johnny’s divorce, Vanessa has been spotted with her ex-flame and family and friends are hoping for a reconciliation between them, saying that Vanessa was and has always been good for Johnny!
12 Another One Bites The Dust! Bennifer 2
They seemed like the world’s sweetest, sturdiest couple, with far too many dimples between them. They married in 2005 after Ben Affleck’s relationship with Jennifer Lopez dissolved rather strangely and so were dubbed Bennifer 2. They seemed happy and had three children, daughters Violet & Seraphina in 2005 & 2009 and son Samuel in 2012. Bennifer 2, sadly, announced their divorce in 2015 with Jennifer citing irreconcilable differences.
The reasons for the split were never made public, but speculations were rife that it was Affleck’s alleged closeness with their children’s nanny, leading to what the media dubbed Nannygate… Still other media reports hinted towards Ben’s gambling and drinking addiction leading to the marriage’s demise.
The good thing about the Bennifer 2 is the way they have planned the divorce – co-parenting is their biggest promise to their children and each other, and they still plan to live under the same, albeit very large roof. Talk about an amicable divorce…
11 The Jenners: The Wrong Sex Involved!
Anyone who lives on Planet Terrafirma knows about the Kardashians, whether they want to or not. The entire Jenner/Kardashian clan has long had an in-your-face-whether-you-like-it-or-not motto. Be it Kim getting robbed or Kylie being the next biggest thing on the runway, we end up seeing a lot of them. Cut to Kris Jenner & Bruce Jenner, aka Mommy Kardashian and Stepdaddy Kardashian. 23 long years of marriage ended in an amicable divorce in 2015; and finally Bruce Jenner the man revealed himself to be Caitlyn Jenner, the transgender woman.
While the divorce didn’t really raise any eyebrows, Vanity Fair’s “Call me Caitlyn” cover surely did – and suddenly the Internet was rife with people supporting Caitlyn and others heckling her. Even Kim admitted to having a really weird time dealing with her father, now a transgender. While Caitlyn does deserve the society’s unconditional support and acceptance considering that she dealt with gender dysphoria ever since her youth, it’s the sudden emergence of her as woman after her divorce that sent tongues wagging.
10 Marc Gets J-Loed
Before Jennifer Lopez turned cougar, she was all set to be married to Ben Affleck and the two were engaged, though the said nuptials never took place. They broke up in January 2004 and not wasting any time, J-Lo married singer Marc Anthony in June the same year. With musical talent such as theirs, the couple managed to make beautiful music together at least for a while – and toured together. In 2007 they announced that they were expecting twins and so Maximilian David & Emme Maribel were born in 2008.
However the music did not last in their marriage and the couple split in 2011 with Marc filing for divorce in April 2012. JLo has admitted that her divorce to Marc has been the biggest disappointments of her life (though she had already been divorced twice before, to chef Ojani Noa and then to backup dancer Chris Judd). She moved on to another relationship with backup dancer Casper Smart soon after, while Marc went on to marry model Shannon De Lima…
9 I Need A Hero (Not Nick), Croons Mariah
No couple seemed more in love than Mariah Carey & Nick Cannon when they married in 2008. From Nick getting inked, to them renewing their vows annually, to finally the birth of their fraternal twins Monroe & Moroccan in 2011, this seemed like an adorable couple totally involved with one another. In August 2014, news of doom and gloom in the marriage began to surface with rumors pointing to the fact that the couple had been living separately for a while.
Nick vehemently denied those reports, but things continued to deteriorate. Mariah’s lackluster performances, her lyrics pointing out to Nick’s infidelity and Nick covering his Mariah tattoo with crucifix all hinted at a troubled marriage at the end of its tether. Supposedly Mariah was upset about Nick being too away from home and Nick refused to lead an easy life off Mariah’s money – in December of 2014 Nick filed for divorce, ending all speculations as well as the marriage.
Mariah does say that she never wanted things to happen this way, but is now happily engaged to billionaire James Packer and also co-parenting her twins peacefully with her ex Nick.
8 The Bitter Kiss From A Rose
A couple who everyone strived to be like, Seal and Heidi Klum shared 7 years of marital bliss before finally calling it a day in 2012. While both claimed that their divorce was amicable and brought about by them growing apart over the years, people close to the couple hinted at Seal’s volcanic temper for being the main cause the rift. The couple share four children between them, daughter Leni in 2004 (adopted by Seal but not biologically related to him), sons Henry in 2005 & Johan in 2006 and daughter Lou in 2009.
The couple were in love enough to annually renew their marriage vows, but despite it all, their marriage lay in tatters. Seal also took to lashing out publicly at Heidi when she was spotted holidaying in Italy with bodyguard Martin Kristen to which Heidi responded gracefully that Seal should remember that they both have moved on with their lives.
7 Courteney Cox Friends With David
Best known for her portrayal of Monica Geller on Friends, Courteney Cox married David Arquette in 1999. Their daughter Coco Riley was born in 2004 after which Courteney also suffered from postpartum depression, through which David helped her. Unlike a dramatic breakup or any scandalous stories, Courteney & David’s relationship just came to a natural end. While their romance might have stared on a firecracker note, towards the end it was more like tepid water than boiling emotions or chemistry.
Courteney later on remarked that their relationship just dwindled down to them being friends rather than spouses and so to both, it was just natural to move on. Their divorce remained amicable as does their co-parenting of their daughter. To this day, they both share a good personal and professional rapport.
David went on to marry Christina McLarty while Courteney is engaged to Snow Patrol and member Johnny McCaid – and while the engagement was called off in between, they are back together.
6 Sandra’s Jesse Not Interested
Sandra Bullock married Monster Garage host Jesse James in 2005, having met him when she arranged for her 10-year-old godson (who was a big fan of James) to meet Jesse as a surprise. The marriage seemed strong, so much so that in 2009 Jesse and Sandra jointly fought (and won) a legal custody battle for Jesse’s 5-year-old daughter with his ex-wife, adult model and actress Janine Lindemulder.
However, March 2010 dawned with scandalous news of several women owning up to having slept with Jesse during the 5-year marriage he had with Sandra. A visibly shaken Sandra, who had already begun the process of adopting a child with Jesse, cancelled her European promotional tour for The Blind Side, citing unforeseen personal reasons. While Jesse publicly apologized to Sandra, she went ahead and filed for divorce citing conflict of personalities.
While Jesse has been in and out of relationships ever since, Sandra went on to adopt her son, and then a daughter and has been involved with photographer Bryan Randall since 2015.
5 A Divorce? Nah, Conscious Uncoupling
What the world calls a divorce, Gwyneth Paltrow in her own inimitable style dubbed a conscious uncoupling. While the divorce was portrayed to the world as the end of a marriage but not friendship between two adults, Chris Martin has recently admitted to being depressed for a year following the split. Despite being married for a decade and having two children between them, Apple and Moses, the couple could not longer stay together in a marriage; though they co-parent and still take family vacations together.
While the split was shocking to fans and followers, the couple had split up almost a year before their public announcement so as to work all the kinks of the separation out. And while Chris admits to having learned a lot from his ex wife, since the split he has stopped being a vegetarian and following a Rocky kind of diet. Romantically too, they have moved on, with Chris being linked with various women including Heather Graham.
4 Antonio's No For Melanie. Or Vice Versa?
19 years of marriage and even this couple called it quits in 2014. Having been married in 1996, Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas also have a daughter, Stella. The divorce became official in 2015 with the couple having cited irreconcilable differences in their joint petition. Now 58, Melanie got the house in Aspen, a Picasso painting and $65000 a month from her ex husband in spousal support.
While Antonio has moved on in the romance department and is now dating Dutch girl Nicole Kempel, Melanie admits to being lonely, confused and yet curious at the same time on what life still has to bring her. She says it’s a confusing yet uplifting time for her, and that she’s not ruled out love though she’s not actively seeking it. Still looking like a million bucks, Melanie is enjoying this new alone time she has at hand, with her grown up children too having flown the nest…
3 Patrick & Jillian: The Divorce That Didn’t Happen
After 15 years of marital bliss, give or take, Patrick Dempsey aka McDreamy and his makeup artist wife Jillian Fink announced their intention to split in January 2015. The couple has a daughter, Tallulah Fyfe, 14, and twin boys, Sullivan Patrick and Darby Galen, 9. While everybody expected the couple to finally file for divorce and move on with their lives like everyone else, the McDreamy family surprised everyone by being present together at the Bridget Jones premiere thus ending all speculations.
Patrick has since then announced that they are on the road to reconciliation and that like everything, a marriage too needs steady and ongoing efforts and that it has to be prioritized. He has admitted that going to couples therapy has helped their relationship as has loads of sex. His interest in racing was also a cause of friction and so Patrick has made a conscious effort to distance himself from it all and pay more attention to his family and his “smoking hot” wife!
2 Too Foxy For Green? Maybe Not
Best known for his role in 90210, Brian Austin Green landed a catch when he married Megan Fox. Smitten with each other when they first met in 2004, the couple had a four-year-long on-again, off-again engagement which finally culminated in them getting hitched in 2010. They had sons Noah & Bodhi in 2012 and 2014.
Then rumors of their marriage being on the rocks began to flit about, and in 2015 Megan did file for divorce. While many stories about them both were bandied about, it was Megan’s unprecedented success as an actress which was forcing Brian to become a stay-at-home dad that was causing a rift in the marriage. In 2016, Megan was seen sporting a baby bump and stories of reconciliation began to surface – the couple had their third child, a son, Journey River in August 2016 – and this third baby became the glue that started mending the distance between them.
1 Scientology Or Me? Tom Chose Wrong, Twice!
Many people were surprised when Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman got hitched. None more so than the towering exotic import herself. Nicole clearly admitted that once Tom came into her life, she was swept away – completely head-over-heels in love and nothing but Tom mattered to her. Perhaps she put so much into her marriage that it took a while for her career to get a proper sense of direction too. Just as Nicole was getting rewards and recognition for her acting skills, Tom landed a bomb and filed for divorce. To say that Nicole was shattered was an understatement.
Tom went on to marry Katie Holmes, and they had their daughter Suri too. A staunch Scientologist, this very church is supposed to have been a key cause of the differences between the couple as they had opposing views on how to bring up their daughter. Katie finally called it a day and filed for divorce – to which Tom Cruise reportedly remarked that he was blindsided by her. The erstwhile couple is not on talking terms. To Tom we'd say, it's just karma, dude!