After two weeks of unofficial wedded bliss, comedian Eddie Murphy and film producer Tracey Edmonds became the latest in a long line of celebrities who have called it quits very shortly after getting hitched.
Murphy and Edmonds exchanged vows in a nonbinding ceremony in Bora Bora on New Year's Day. Reports of tension started as soon as the ceremony ended and the couple announced they would not go through with a planned legal ceremony in the United States.
People magazine deputy managing editor Peter Castro said today on "Good Morning America" said the stormy weather in Bora Bora on the wedding day became an apt metaphor for the union.
"The clouds parted and everyone is thinking, 'This is a sign,'" Castro said. "They have the ceremony and the
clouds gather again. They started fighting on the honeymoon. [Edmonds] said, 'Enough of this. I don't need this. I'm outta here.'"
At least the Murphy-Edmonds split wasn't a real divorce, and by Hollywood standards, the "marriage" wasn't all that short.
Carmen Electra and Dennis Rodman were married for 10 days; Cher and musician Gregg Allman wed for nine days. And then there is perhaps the shortest celeb marriage on record — Britney Spears and friend Jason Alexander wed in Las Vegas and annulled the marriage just 55 hours later.
Pamela Anderson has made marriage and the quickie divorce something of a sport. After filing for divorce twice from her first husband, Tommy Lee, her second marriage to Kid Rock lasted four months. And in December she filed for divorce from her husband of 13 weeks, Rick Salomon. The latest reports have them back together, although there are constant rumors of a divorce.
Why do these stars do it? Castro puts forth the "doubly famous" theorem.
"You're fabulous, I'm fabulous. You're famous, I'm famous. Let's get married," he said.
The Golden Age of Hollywood also had its share of short unions and frequently married stars.
In her memoirs, Ethel Merman included a chapter called "My Marriage to Ernest Borgnine" — which lasted 32 days — that consisted of one blank page.
Zsa Zsa Gabor had nine husbands; Liz Taylor and Lana Turner each had eight husbands. Producer Robert Evans was married seven times.
By comparison, they put today's celebrities to shame. Billy Bob Thornton has had five wives and Geena Davis, five husbands.
The divorce rate in America is at its lowest level since 1970. One relationship expert says, though, that celebrity breakups may have an effect on regular people's marriages.
"Seeing these celebs divorcing can give couples who are contemplating divorce the idea that this might not be such a bad thing to do," Bethany Marshall said.
Not every celebrity marriage is doomed from the start, of course. Castro said the difference between the couple that lasts and those that don't is the perspective on the future.
"These people live in a parallel universe," he said. "They don't think, where are we going to be in 20 years. Marriage is like taking a trip to Starbucks."
The couples that last are more grounded. They think about where they'll be in the future and about their children, if they have them. "I think they're a little more intelligent, honestly. They don't get caught up in the egos," Castro said.
Castro pointed to actors Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith and Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson as among the strongest marriages in Hollywood.
And he had some surprising predictions about relationships that will last.
He believes Halle Berry and Gabriel Aubry, who are having a baby but not married, have a relationship that will go the distance.
Castro also said Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes will make it.
"Believe it or not I really think Tom and Katie," he said.
"Katie is a little more pliant than Nicole Kidman was, and they make a better team."