Russell Brand and Katy Perry are toast: What's this world coming to?
That was the tween scream heard across Twitter Friday as news spread that the British comic had filed for divorce from his wife, singer Katy Perry, citing irreconcilable differences after a year of marriage.
The couple had spent Christmas holidays apart, he in Cornwall, she in Hawaii, and both were spotted without their rings on.
"Sadly, Katy and I are ending our marriage," Brand said in statement Friday. "I'll always adore her and I know we'll remain friends."
After a year that trampled the sanctity of marriage – even by celebrity standards – it's this one that has got people unexpectedly torn up.
"I'm kind of sad about Katy Perry and Russell Brand's divorce. I was rooting for them. #overlyinvested," tweeted one pop culture watcher.
"I refuse to believe Katy Perry and Russell Brand are getting divorced. Those kooky kids are so adorbs," said another.
Just as the grey divorce of Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore stunned an older generation in October, this latest celeb split brought out scores of disillusioned teens. The shriek from Teen.com was deafening: "BREAKING NEWS: Katy Perry and Russell Brand are getting divorced! RT if you're devastated!"
"Katy Perry and Russell Brand are getting a divorce. Ive lost all faith in love. I'm going to die alone," tweeted one Shayna18.
"So Katy Perry And Russell Brand are now getting divorced smh..it's like marriages never last anymore..I refuse to be apart of that statistic," tweeted another, the fabulously named shoegasms_OhMY Destiny W.
So what separates the Katy Perrys and Russell Brands of celeb culture from the loathed Kim Kardashian, whose 72-day union with Kris Humphries was widely panned? Why were the duo spared the viciousness with which readers shredded Sinead O'Connor, who divorced her fourth husband after 18 days following a spin through Vegas in a pink Cadillac? Or the mockery that met emaciated Demi Moore as Ashton Kutcher's hot tub antics were revealed?
To many, Brand and Perry embodied the down-to-earth couple who could surmount Hollywood's daunting marital odds. They were oddballs and their courtship was goofy: After she chucked a bottle at his head during rehearsals for the 2009 MTV Music Awards, he was smitten, taking her out the next day.
"The truth is I fell in love with her when she hit me with that bottle," Brand wrote in his autobiography, My Booky Wook 2. "From the first date, I changed. No more women. Well, actually, thousands of women. I wake up to a different one each day, they're all her."
To many fans, that an exceedingly promiscuous bad boy had settled down with a bubble gum pop star (and daughter of two pastors) symbolized something akin to the Cosmo Girl dream.
"I'm married to Katy perpetually, until death do us part was the pledge," he told talk show host Ellen DeGeneres earlier this month. "I'm still alive. This is life, now."
Of course, there was cynicism, mostly from men: "Katy Perry and Russell Brand split up? Let's hope it's messy and a sextape is distributed in anger," tweeted one. And another: "Oh no, I don't wanna live in a world in which Katy Perry and Russell Brand can't make it work."
Why do we cheer some celebrity marriages and jeer others?