- (Photo: Reuters/Lucas Jackson)
Sinead O'Connor is apparently the latest celebrity to get hitched only to ditch her spouse within record time, after the Irish singer's marriage to a therapist lasted a mere 16 days. The controversial singer, made popular in the 90s with the Prince cover song "Nothing Compares 2 U," joins the ranks of Kim Kardashian, Britney Spears, Dennis Hopper, and dozens of other celebrities who have bailed on their marriages before "death do us part."
Blaming her short-lived marriage to Barry Herridge on criticism and "intense pressure" from her husband's family and friends, O'Connor explained on her website Dec. 26 why the union was quickly annulled.
"Within 3 hours of the ceremony being over the marriage was kyboshed by the behaviour of certain people in my husband's life," the singer wrote. "I saw his life leave him because of how people close to him reacted. And I can't take anyone's life. And a woman wants to be a joy to her husband. So... [you] love someone? Set them free."
O'Connor, who has now been married four times, said Herridge "is a wonderful man" whom she loves very much, and that "I'm sorry I'm not a more regular woman."
The Irish singer, known for railing against the Roman Catholic Church, announced her divorce from Herridge only two months after reality television star Kim Kardashian announced to her fans online that she was divorcing husband Kris Humphries, apparently unbeknownst to the NBA player. The pair's marriage lasted only 72 days.
Short-lived marriages in Hollywood are so frequent that publications have no problem whipping up reports and photo galleries on such unions in short time (Fox News, NY Times, Time magazine, for example). In addition, it seems the public is quite cynical when it comes to divorce announcements. When Kardashian announced her divorce, critics speculated that the TV star only went through with the lavish televised wedding for money. Kardashian denied those claims, however, insisting that she truly loved Humphries but that the pair had "irreconcilable differences."
Only Kardashian and Humphries truly know what caused their marriage to fall apart so quickly, as is the case with O'Connor and Herridge. However, their cases do not help the perception that Hollywood, and celebrities in general have, perhaps unwittingly, given marriage a poor image.
When Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher, 32, announced their split after six years of marriage, there was speculation that the "Punk'd" creator had cheated on his 49-year-old wife. There were also reports that the pair had an open relationship, indicating that the marriage bed might not have been so holy.
Whatever the reasons for divorcing, celebrities have been blamed for "tainting" the public perception of marriage, especially when such unions do not seem to be taken seriously.
"It's kinda sad to see what happens to celebrity marriages," Robert "Bob" Paul of the National Institute of Marriage told The Christian Post. "It appears to the public that many of these celebrities don't take it very seriously. It seems like they approach marriage – now this is probably not fair, but this how it kinda looks to the public a lot of the times – as if they are throwaway kind of relationships. You enjoy them for a little while, and then... you just toss them to the wayside and move on to the next one... Shack up with your next leading lady or whatever..."
Paul, Co-President of the Christian counseling organization, emphasized that Hollywood actually shows the public how relationships should not be done.
"Marriage is meant to be a reflection of the relationship between Christ and the church," he said. "You know, one of the key characteristics of that covenant is where the Lord said very clearly in Scripture 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.' "
In Hollywood, "never" is often equatable to a year, months, weeks, or even days.
In 2004, pop singer Britney Spears exchanged vows with childhood boyfriend Jason Alexander. Less than 60 hours later, their marriage was annulled with Spears reportedly describing the ceremony as a "joke" that went too far. Not following far behind the pop singer's short-lived marriage are actress Carmen Electra and former NBA player Dennis Rodman, who were married for nine days. Meanwhile, recording artist Kid Rock and actress Pamela Anderson lasted for about 115 days.
The public may think celebrities are dropping spouses left and right simply because their lives are often on full display, but celebrity divorces do not occur any more frequently than regular divorces, according to those familiar with the trend.
"Celebrity divorce goes along with the same statistics as the general populace divorce rate, but our perception is that more celebrities get divorced," according to Stacy Phillips, a certified family law specialist who has handled several celebrity divorces. “That is because we see the divorce played out in public.”
The divorce rate in the United States is often cited to be about 50 percent for first marriages, while some estimates put it about 10 percent lower. Another popular claim is that, when it comes to divorce rates, Christians divorce as frequently as non-believers. Based on various studies, that is not the case for certain Christian segments.
"You do hear, both in Christian and non-Christian circles, that Christians are no different from anyone else when it comes to divorce and that is not true if you are focusing on Christians who are regular church attendees," Brad Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, told USA Today.
"There's something about being a nominal 'Christian' that is linked to a lot of negative outcomes when it comes to family life," Wilcox added.
Pop singer Katy Perry, who was raised in the church, recently revealed that she and comedic actor Russell Brand are divorcing.
Perry, whose marriage to Brand lasted a little over a year at 14 months, reportedly asked the British comedian to file the divorce papers because she did not want to upset her evangelical Christian parents. Perry's parents, Keith and Mary Hudson, reportedly do not approve of the pop singer's lifestyle, which she apparently adapted after departing from her Christian music roots and went mainstream.
Brand, a Hindu practitioner, and Perry married in Oct. 2010 in India in a ceremony that was a blend of Hinduism and Christianity. The pair reportedly cited the reason for their divorce to be "irreconcilable differences."
Apparently, Hindus are more than disappointed with the Hollywood couple's break-up.
"They should have taken marriage more seriously as it is a sacred rite in Hinduism," Rajan Zed, president of the Universal Society of Hinduism said, according to the New York Daily News.
"If celebrities opt for a Hindu wedding, they should be prepared to adhere to the commitment, devotion, responsibility, sanctity and morals, which are attached to it," Zed added, noting that, in his faith, marriage is the most important sacrament.