Dr. Gail Saltz

Love is dead! Why Klum-Seal split bums us out

Jan. 24, 2012 at 11:58 AM ET

Dan Steinberg / AP /
Heidi Klum and Seal confirmed their separation in a joint statement on Sunday night.

First, Jessica Lange and Sam Shepard called it quits. Then Katy Perry and Russell Brand, and rumors of Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis. And now Heidi Klum and Seal have declared they're untying the knot, a celebrity split that seems to be breaking hearts from coast to coast.

Since the rumors broke Saturday (and were confirmed in a joint statement released Sunday night), Facebook, Twitter and comment boards across the web have been ablaze with hot, tearful protests.

"Nooooooo. Please :(( I adore u guys," wrote one disappointed fan on Twitter. "What!! they were the only hopeful Hollywood couple," tweeted another.

Shock and surprise over the split is understandable. Married in 2005 following a courtship that began with a love-at-first-sight meeting, the supermodel-slash-television mogul and her Grammy Award-winning husband have raised four children together and renewed their marriage vows every year for the past seven years.

"I'm so sad that Seal and Heidi Klum have called it quits," says Lawrence Winnerman, a 41-year-old tech project manager from Seattle. "I always loved the romance of them. Her, the German supermodel; him, the hot singer. And I liked that they were kind of the model interracial couple. They were the couple I could really root for and were way more cool than [that] Kardashian and the basketball player she married for a week."

Dr. Gail Saltz, psychiatrist with New York Presbyterian Hospital and a regular contributor to TODAY, says it's not unusual for celebrity breakups to have a big impact on the rest of us, especially when it's a seemingly happy couple like this one.

"I think we're more interested and curious about this marriage because they appeared so different from each other," she says. "They were both uniquely talented, each in their own right, and uniquely successful in their own right and they seemed to have a relationship that was less about showing it and more about their love and their family."

In a world filled with posed family portraits and publicity stunt marriages, Klum and Seal's marriage seemed genuine, says Saltz.

"It was always more about the romance with each other and about their children and their family than about being spotted and photographed," she says. "They seemed to actually stay out of the public eye a fair amount. This was one of the longer lasting marriages of the celebrity world. And it was without chaos; there was no 'We're together. We're apart. We're together. We're apart.' It seemed stable and that by itself makes people more sad."

But we're not just sad, she says. Breakup bombshells like this can make us worry about the state of marriage itself, and the ability of anyone to stay together.

"We spend a lot of time hyping celebrity marriages and then hyping celebrity divorces and it gives one the illusion that nobody can stay together," she says. "But that's such an unfair skew. How could you be disillusioned because a supermodel with several TV shows and one of the biggest singers on the planet didn't make it? It doesn't have meaning for you or your neighbor, really. Especially since you have no idea what went on inside, no idea as to why they're splitting up."

Winnerman says he's still blue about the couple's demise -- and what it might mean for the rest of us.

"It makes me think that nothing is permanent," he says. "Even if you have tons of success, you still might not be able to make it with anyone long-term. It makes me think that the '50s style of marriage forever is an artifact of that time and that modern life just doesn't force that kind of lifetime bonding anymore. Nor should it. But the romance of it is nice and we're all programmed to root for it. Everybody wants to believe in the fairy tale. Even dudes."

Heidi Klum and Seal splitting is sad. But what celebrity breakup would you be saddest, or most surprised, about? Tell us on Facebook

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