The year of broken hearts: A rundown of every major celebrity divorce in 2023

The year of broken hearts: A rundown of every major celebrity divorce in 2023

If there's one legal trend that defines 2023, it's the epic meltdown of celebrity marriages. We don't have the statistics to prove it, but as your resident divorce chroniclers, we can’t deny that there’s been a surge in divorce filings from A-listers like Britney Spears, Ariana Grande, and even Hugh Jackman.

In previous blog posts, we highlighted the impact of the pandemic on relationships, marriages, and the surge or decline in divorces. While other factors contributed to divorces between 2020 and 2022, the pandemic stood out as a significant player. But in 2023, can we still point fingers at the pandemic for marriage breakdowns? Is messiness the new normal in the world of divorce?

We dive into the juiciest, most complex splits of the year because frankly, it's our lawyerly duty and guilty pleasure.

The pandemic’s long shadow: Still fueling divorces long after it’s faded

The pandemic may feel like a distant memory, but its ripple effects, especially on divorces, might surprise you. While COVID-19 restrictions have lifted, its impact lingers in the form of a recent uptick in breakups. That’s because many relationships that might have naturally ended over the two-year span stuck around. Why? Because people were practically stuck together, not out of undying love, but more out of necessity. They stayed together either for protection or because the court system decided to take a vacation.

Now that everything has gone back to normal, celebrities and regular people are diving back into their old ways. Take, for instance, pop star Ariana Grande (who is definitely not a “regular person”). She recently wrapped up her divorce from real estate broker Dalton Gomez. While their split seemed amicable, whispers point to Ariana’s hectic work schedule — a direct byproduct of post-pandemic entertainment resurgence — as the culprit. Ironically, the two tied the knot during the pandemic lockdown. Perhaps if lockdowns went on for another year, Ariana would have been less busy and stayed married to Dalton.

Celebrity marriages are tough, and these splits prove it

One can easily imagine that being married to celebs like Kevin Costner or Britney Spears would be eventful and interesting. Unfortunately, marriages filled with events and excitement don't necessarily guarantee lasting unions.

Kevin Costner, who divorced his wife Christine Baumgartner in May this year, reportedly faced a contentious divorce battle primarily due to cheating allegations. Costner's previous divorce with his first wife Cindy Silva also involved claims of womanizing. This isn't to suggest that infidelity is exclusive to celebrities, but when you tie the knot with a wealthy, gorgeous, and famous actor or pop singer, it's safe to say you might be signing up for a high-maintenance relationship. The celebrity status often becomes a significant factor in these splits

In any other year, Britney Spears' divorce from Sam Asghari would have dominated headlines and ignited controversy. But 2023 was a banner year for celebrity breakups, pushing Brit and Sam's split off the pedestal. Still, it wasn't a silent parting. Spears, after all, is one of the world's biggest pop stars. And given that her ex-husband is not the biggest anything on the planet, the disparity in their fame undoubtedly played a role in their journey apart.

When Britney and Sam finalized their divorce in August, there were reports suggesting that Sam intended to release embarrassing details about Britney. In a fair and just world, ex-spouses of famous people would maintain a degree of decency and resist the temptation to shame their famous ex-partners into hefty settlements for silence. Unfortunately, we do not live in such a world.

A mismanaged PR strategy equals a messy divorce

It's no secret that celebrities enlist teams to manage their breakups, covering everything from the initial Instagram announcement to subsequent press releases and even tabloid leaks disguised as "insider information" from “unnamed sources.” While some celebrities excel at this orchestrated dance, others, well, not so much. Joe Jonas, a first-time divorcee, falls into the latter category.

We previously discussed the messy communications strategy employed by the Jonas Brother’s PR team regarding Joe’s divorce from actress Sophie Turner. We outlined the missteps in their strategy and suggested ways it could have been handled more effectively. Frankly, we believe that consulting with lawyers for a more strategic approach could have spared Joe Jonas the PR debacle. A lawyer would likely have advised silence — after all, beyond the die-hard Jonas Brothers fandom, the general public wasn't exactly clamoring for breakup details.

It's truly baffling that with vast resources at their disposal, Mr. Jonas and his team fumbled what should have been a straightforward PR maneuver. The "holy trinity" of a divorce announcement — "we're getting divorced," "we love our children," "please respect our privacy" — seemed like a slam dunk, yet somehow, it became a messy fumble.

While we're always down for a good celebrity meltdown, remember that we're your go-to attorneys for all things legal in the Evergreen State. Our Renton law offices are ready to hear your queries. Call us or leave us a message.