Divorce is more than physically separating yourself from the person you thought you would share your entire life with. The aftermath of splitting up with a partner can have lasting psychological effects, even if in the long run, the breakup was the right step.
Every divorcing couple grapples with sadness, anxiety, worry, and stress—and that includes celebrities as well. While we’re used to seeing stars looking flawless in red carpet paparazzi shots and social media images, divorce is a topic many A-listers understandably don’t like to talk about. These nine celebrities, however, did let their guards down and got candid about the pain of a broken marriage.
“We intentionally cultivated this idea of like, ‘Look at this beautiful family.’ There were so many moments that were like that but of course just like anything on social media, you don’t post like, ‘Where the fuck is the toilet paper?!’ or whatever,” Faris told Dax Shepard on his podcast Armchair Expert in March, after her split from Chris Pratt.
Later in the show, she told Shepherd, “I need to figure out what the purpose [of marriage] is. Is it safety for your children? Is it convention? Is it so other people respect your relationship more? For me, I’m just not quite sure where it fits, especially when it feels so easy to get married, and then there’s like the untangling in terms of the state getting involved.”
“I definitely personally was in a very dark and fearful place,” Barrymore said in a March interview on TODAY. She talked about her divorce from Will Kopelman in starker terms on Chelsea Handler’s Chelsea show in 2016. “You break up with somebody, and you’re just like, ‘Yeah, that didn’t work.’ And you get divorced and you’re like, ‘I’m the biggest failure. This is the biggest failure.’ It’s so shameful and hard to actually go through that, even privately.”
“I cannot be driven by the optics of this,” she told Vanity Fair in 2016, of her separation from Ben Affleck. “I cannot let anger or hurt be my engine. I need to move with the big picture always on my mind, and the kids first and foremost.”
Mary J. Blige
“The breaking point was when I kept asking over and over and over again for respect and to be respected,” Blige said in an interview with ABC in 2016 concerning her divorce from Kendu Isaacs. “And it just seemed like I was beating a dead horse and it seemed like I was talking to a wall. I just wasn’t getting it back so if I can’t get respect in the relationship, then I have to move on and save myself.”
“When Orlando [Bloom] and I separated [in 2013], I actually fell into a really bad depression,” she told Elle Canada in 2016. “I never understood the depth of that feeling or the reality of that because I was naturally a very happy person.”
In a 2016 interview with PEOPLE’s Jess Cagle, she said her divorce from Marc Anthony was “the biggest disappointment of my life so far … I felt like at that time I had lost my way a little bit, of who I was in trying to make the marriage [work].”
“Imagine spreading everything you care about on a blanket and then tossing the whole thing up in the air,” she wrote of her split from husband Will Arnett in her 2014 book Yes Please. “The process of divorce is about loading that blanket, throwing it up, watching it all spin, and worrying what stuff will break when it lands.”
“There are things in my life that are hard to reconcile, like divorce,” she said in a 2008 Parade interview, of her breakup with Ryan Philippe. “Sometimes it is very difficult to make sense of how it could possibly happen. Laying blame is so easy. I don’t have time for hate or negativity in my life. There’s no room for it. When you make wrong choices, you have to take responsibility for them: ‘What part of this do I own?’”
“There were times following [the divorce] when I thought, ‘Wow, this is the loneliest, loneliest existence,’” Kidman told WHOmagazine in 2012. “But with Tom [Cruise], it was a fantastic decade. I wish all of the people that have been involved in my life well, because it’s very important to me to be in a place of forgiveness and love.”