But Jeanine Basinger, chair of the film studies department at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn., thinks audiences would be able to see past Bullock's personal life. "People might not see her as the same person, but they will still see her movies," Basinger told ABCNews.com.
Basinger said unlike the film stars of the 1930s and '40s, today's actresses are not forced to live lives that mirror their screen images.
"She's a woman who has a career," Basinger said. "If there's one thing we can all understand, it's picking a bozo. Everybody's been there. They've made mistakes in their personal life."
Besides, Basinger points out, Bullock is not at fault. "She's not the one who went off with tattooed guys. He done her wrong. The public sympathy is with her. If she leaves him, people will say, 'Great.' If she doesn't, they'll say, 'Noble effort,' or 'She's doing it for those kids,'" Basinger said. "She's on the winner's side here."
What Basinger would find unacceptable is if Bullock made another rotten movie, like "All About Steve," which won her a Razzie Award for worst actress just before she took home the Oscar. Little has been made public about Bullock's next films. According to the Internet Movie Data Base, she's slated in 2011 for such titles as "Kiss & Tango," "Jingle," and "One of the Guys."
Casablanca said it sounds like more "All About Steve" than "Blind Side." If so, she'll be given a pass for the next few movies because of the turmoil in her personal life. "This is a woman who has made a lot of crap, and she still has a vibrant career," he said.
Other actresses have had to face the public humiliation of a troubled marriage and carry on with their careers. Jennifer Aniston, who tried some experimental roles in "The Good Girl" and "Along Came Polly," while married to Brad Pitt, returned to her more comfortable girl-next-door roles after they split up.
"Maybe it made her seize it a little bit more," Casablanca said about Aniston's career post-divorce. "But I think Jennifer Aniston is comfortable in a fairly limited range. 'Marley and Me' would have happened whether she was married to Brad Pitt or not."
Like Bullock, Halle Berry had to confront problems in her marriage to singer Eric Benet right after she won the Oscar. But Casablanca thinks she worked out her issues with men on the big screen before that while filming her Oscar-winning role as a vulnerable woman whose husband and son are killed in "Monster's Ball."
After divorcing Benet, Berry chose such light-hearted fare as "Catwoman," the James Bond film "Die Another Day" and the "X-Men" sequels.