What REALLY Goes On When A Celebrity Marriage Fails
2016 has been bad for relationships and marriages thus far. But what makes celebrity marriages so fragile and divorces so bitter? Eminent divorce lawyer Vandana Shah reveals some shocking truths of what goes on behind when a star decides to divorce
So the botoxed marriages have cracked and run their course and finally divorce in Bollywood has become the latest item number - sexy, sassy and everyone seems to want it! As celeb marriages go under the hammer of divorce we are left in the cold wondering whether this will spell the death-knell of marriage as an institution in the industry.
As a divorce lawyer, who has been a litigant once, I notice that the celebrities have to undergo a different type of hell when going through a divorce.
Goldfish in a Bowl
The recent brouhaha over Malaika Arora-Khan’s news/gossip of ‘impending divorce’ must have shattered the Richter scale of publicity. There was so much noise over an apparent consultation with a divorce lawyer that I shudder to think what will actually happen when the matter comes to court. Every move of the celeb is exaggerated and put under the microscope and when you are going through a bad time, the speculations and the doomsday predictions are the ones that really hurt and become almost impossible to cope with. I guess that’s why Malaika put the rumours to rest when she issued a joint statement with Arbaaz.
REASONS FOR CELEB SPLITS
• Bizarre habits
The reasons for celeb divorces range from the mundane like non-acceptance by the family (hey, who hasn’t been through that?) to the absolutely bizarre. Take the case of one superstar who was so stingy that he used to ask his wife for accounts of every penny that she wanted to spend even for her basic needs. So to cope with this she started up padding up production bills and submitting them as part of office expenses and the office staff who was wise to his ways, just looked the other way. When the divorce came through, she got a huge alimony as the judge was having none of the superstar’s story of ‘poor little poor boy’.
Although adulterous affairs figure in the list of reasons they are written off as ‘on shoot perks’ and don’t have a huge impact on the breakdown of a marriage unless it develops into a full-blown affair. But in so many cases the general mindset of saving the marriage for the sake of kids, persists. What is humiliating is that all your peers know about the affair. And the wife also knows that the peers know about it and she still looks the other way and pretends that all is well. In an ex-cricketer’s marriage the wife finally got tired of his infidelities and divorced him, and her two daughters were on her team to ensure that she didn’t get the short end of the stick in all matters related to the divorce.
• Financial war
One of the biggest bones of contention in a divorce is financial settlements. When the wealth involved is in stratospheric levels and the money problems are not related to meeting daily needs but deciding whether caviar facials are to be done in Paris, Switzerland or London, then the financial split becomes a matter of life and well, heavenly life as well. The amounts of money involved are staggering by anyone’s standards. In fact, in the ongoing Kapoor versus Kapur saga (Karisma Kapoor and Sanjay Kapur), the financial settlement is a BIG, BIG BONE. I’m not getting into what the children want or are going through, as I’d just like to let the kids be kids, whether or not they are in the limelight. At the end of the day, is they who always suffer in a divorce.
THE DRAMA OF DIVORCES
The drama involved is of an electrifying magnitude which keeps everyone riveted to the ‘happenings’ in a celeb divorce .More likely than not, the couple’s friends who are high profile too, publicly support one half of the couple and that’s when the divorce becomes as though it’s a reality show.
THE HIDDEN ANGLE
This is the angle that no one speaks about but only speculates as though it is the absolute Biblical truth. In the celeb stories that have been dominating the media there is always a ‘hidden angle’ which is usually the involvement of a third party which has caused the break-up. What starts as gossip suddenly a takes a life of its own which keeps everyone guessing the identity of this mysteriously sexy and devastating person. Stories of affairs that have caused the break-up of a marriage fly fast and furious. But I have found in many cases that these are just manufactured stories and it’s usually when love has gone out of the window that divorce papers are filed. And as for that ‘angle’ - it’s best that it stays hidden as it’s actually invisible. Case in point: the Farhan Akhtar and Adhuna divorce.
THE LAWYER’S ROLE
They always get lawyers who are not exactly spilling their guts to every media channel. As a divorce lawyer, I think the maximum the lawyer should say when hounded by the media is, ‘No comments’ and just protect their client. (I know, I’ve done it).
But one thing is common between all of us – Divorce is painful and gut- wrenching and it’d be foolish to assume that ‘just because you’re a celebrity, you don’t feel the pain’.
Vandana Shah is a divorce lawyer, author, columnist and social entrepreneur practising in Mumbai, India. She has handled quite a few high profile divorce cases. She is also the author of The Ex Files: The Story of my Divorce and 360 Degree Back to Life.