As a woman in my 30s with a failed marriage under my belt, I’m in no position to judge Kate Winslet – and yet I do.
The actress, as you probably now know unless you are lucky enough to have had your WiFi disconnected, took a third husband just before Christmas, the fantastically named Ned RocknRoll, nephew to Sir Richard Branson and a “marketing specialist” with the space-travel arm of his uncle’s vast empire.
She did this without bothering to tell her parents or new in-laws and less than two years after her last split, from the director Sam Mendes, her second husband with whom she has a second child (the first being from her first husband, the director Jim Threapleton.)
I know it’s not nice to judge, but when it comes to Winslet, I can’t help myself. This third marriage just seems like such a waste of a reasonably good public image.
Until her recent nuptials, I saw Winslet in what I imagine is exactly the light in which she hopes to be seen. When I watched her winning an Oscar or swooning in a perfume ad, I thought: Now there’s a talented, hard-working, down-to-earth young woman who’s made some mistakes but is basically trying to do the reasonable thing in a chronically unreasonable world. In essence, I imagined her as the person she seemed to be in that American Express commercial, the one where she’s walking jauntily through the streets of London with a takeout coffee, reminiscing about all the crazy parts she’s played, and then says, “My real life doesn’t need any more drama. That’s why my card is American Express.”
The message seems to be that Visa and MasterCard might make you prone to bipolar disorder, but I digress – the point is I liked Winslet because she seemed kind of regular and sane despite her hyper-glamorous, clearly insane life.
And now that the celebrity-gossip sites are debating whether she plans to become Mrs. RocknRoll (as her husband’s first wife actually did), I feel ever so slightly betrayed.
I understand when people fail – mostly because I’m sympathetic. Heck, I’ve done it myself. But what I have a much harder time understanding is why people set themselves up for failure, especially in ways that reveal a shocking lack of self-awareness.
For instance, if you are a person who has been divorced twice by your mid-thirties, perhaps you might think about hanging back a few years before getting married for the third time, especially when there are children involved?
Surely the normal argument for rushing into marriage – that it’s the conventional thing to do, and once you do it, people will respect your relationship – is nullified by the time you’re a 37-year-old twice-divorced movie star cavorting with your new boyfriend on Necker Island?
At that point people respect you more for not getting married since it shows you are capable of learning from your mistakes.
It’s funny how conventions can come full circle in this way – that the institutions we once relied on to scrub away our sins can now actually sully us.
Take expectant parents Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. Their future offspring – officially dubbed “the Kimye baby” by the Internet populace – is the biggest celebrity breeding news since the Royal fetus.
My first reaction upon reading of the Kimye baby on Twitter was delight. Not at the news of the baby itself, but for Kanye and Kim having the good grace to start their weird little spectacle of a family without putting us all through the spectre of another doomed celebrity wedding.
Of all people, I thought, Kardashian has learned from her mistakes. It’s a Hollywood miracle!
Then I found out the reason why they won’t be getting married is that Kim is still awaiting a divorce trial date and will thus still be legally married to her second husband when the child is born.
Her husband, in case you’ve been living under a rock or had your WiFi disconnected, is Kris Humphries, a professional basketball player to whom she was happily, publicly married for exactly 27 minutes.
Now, I’ve got no problem with any of this messy-personal-life stuff – as I mentioned before, I’m in no position to judge – but it does make me sad when seemingly sane famous people (like Ryan Reynolds and Kate Winslet) start jumping on the marriage-addiction bandwagon. Surely now that no one much cares whether anyone’s married any more, we could leave such antics to the past?
While Liz Taylor, Joan Collins and Liza Minnelli might have had an excuse for dragging a string of husbands behind them like a collection of filthy feather boas, Winslet most certainly does not.
Maybe next time she’ll do the respectable thing – and learn to live happily in sin.
Editor's note: The original version of this article incorrectly stated that Kris Humphries is Kim Kardashian's first husband, when he is, in fact, her second. This version has been corrected.