Why you can’t stop reading about Sofia Vergara’s split

Marilyn and Joe. Brad and Jennifer. Brad and Angelina. Elizabeth and Richard. Tom and Giselle. Kim and Kanye. Diana and Charles. Henry VIII and … take your pick.

Our fascination with celebrity breakups has stood the test of time.

This week, actors Sofia Vergara and Joe Manganiello announce They divorced after seven years of marriage. Ariana Grande and her husband, Dalton Gomez, too It seems outside. Fans were sifting through the stars’ social media posts, looking for any clue as to what was going on – on their fingers, in their facial expressions and even in their mouths. Posts that liked the stars.

You probably don’t know them, so why bother? Because dealing with a breakup is one of the hardest things a star can do.

“Breakups are recognizable,” said Alicia Mintz, host of the podcast.frivolous divorceWith his wife, Stacy Bushma. “It’s all about the endings.” We all have them.”

Traditional definitions of relationships are also changing Marriage rates are going downPeople of all ages and backgrounds still watch with great interest the love lives of celebrities, even theorizing about their relationships. We encourage some to stay together, and pray that others will abandon partners we consider a mismatch.

While it’s easy to brighten up aspects of the stars’ lives, like their wardrobes and vacations, experts say it’s personal hardships and romantic struggles that we see our lives reflected in. In other words, Stars – they are just like us.

Or maybe we’re starting to take our cues from the stars.

“Statistically, you’re not one and it’s over,” said Ms. Mintz. “You’re going to get some heartbreak, and maybe seeing some other people’s heartbreak will help you feel better about yourself.”

The hosts of “Trashy Divorces” have released episodes that delve into more than 500 celebrity relationships, including ones that have lasted far too long (Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda Fitzgerald). They’ve also scored episodes about stars worth rooting for (Vanessa Williams). They had high hopes for Ms. Grande and Mr. Gomez, Ms. Vergara and Mr. Manganiello, Ms. Mintz said, adding with a laugh that the actors were “the only people pretty enough to be together.”

Laura Wasser, one of Hollywood’s most prominent divorce attorneys, said that whether you’re famous or not, divorce is “the great equalizer.”

“Everyone’s scared, they’re going through the same kind of heartbreak” and the instability of the unknown, she said, adding, “What makes it more difficult for people who are in the public eye is that it’s so public.”

Ms Wasser, who has represented Angelina Jolie, Kim Kardashian, Britney Spears and Johnny Depp, among others, said that despite major reports chaoticAnd divisions facing the publicIncreasingly, celebrity couples have been settling things privately with mediators rather than in courtrooms over the past decade. She estimated that about 90 percent of her clients dissolved their marriages in this way.

Fans may recognize the behind-the-scenes choreographed effort, one that attempts to close the door to speculation and gossip. This approach entered a new era in 2014, when Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin announced their split using the now-famous phrase “consciously disengaging.”

“We’ve always conducted our relationship in private, and we hope that because we consciously separate and co-parent,” they said at the time, “we’ll be able to continue in the same way.”

Ms. Wasser recalled a time, some 30 years ago, when people’s court observers lurked in courtrooms checking public documents as soon as they were submitted; Now an electronic system provides easy access. Ms. Wasser advises all of her clients that the world will know the moment they file for divorce.

“Some people try their entire cases in the media before they even get into a courtroom,” she said. By settling in private, “she doesn’t get the shaming that gets her.”

In this way, celebrities help make divorce less taboo and seem like a part of life, says Ms. Wasser.

“If it changes the way our culture approaches divorce, I think that’s a good thing, after all,” she said.

Stigma around divorce continues to affect many couples as they try to share news of the separation with their families, said Nelson Hernandez, a marriage and family therapist in San Antonio. There were often feelings of shame and judgment in these situations, he said, and pointed to the example of the sometimes difficult divorce conversations within religious families.

“Even just telling your Catholic mother that you and your husband are going to get a divorce is a no-brainer for some people,” he said. “I can’t imagine what it would be like to be in the spotlight when your family consists of all these fans.”

Ordinary couples who are not in the public eye have also tried to control the narrative, Mr. Hernandez said. Just like celebrities.

“A lot of times people come into therapy to find out what their story is so that other people don’t decide it for them,” he said.

Many celebrity lovers feel like they are part of the relationship narrative, said Erica Evans Weaver, a Philadelphia-based relationship and sex therapist. In social media channels, friends are merged alongside celebrities, further blurring the lines of reality.

“You see your friend’s post and then you see an update from Sofia Vergara and an update from Beyoncé; it all merges into one stream of thought,” she said. “It’s a fantasy relationship you’re in, but it’s still a relationship. Just like you’re rooting for your friends, you’re rooting for those people too.”

Pop Culture podcast host Bobby Miller said:private afternoon,Which means we imagined we knew them deeply or understood them in some way.

“There’s a strange ambition part,” said Mrs. Miller. Part of your subconscious might be thinking, “Oh, these two hot celebrities are single again; it’s great for me,” though she added, “No one stands a chance.”

“It’s the fantasy of all this,” she added.

We imagined some celebrity being “a role model for society who can get anything done,” said Dr. Evans Weaver. When they break up, it can feel like a mixture of disappointment, shock, and intrigue, and it can make you wonder if any relationship can ever work out. But experts said divorce should not be seen as a deficiency or something to be associated with stigma.

“Marriage is a contract,” said Dr. Evans Weaver. “When a contract becomes void and is avoided, it is not a failure. It is a tribute to yourself.”