Love, as any and all can attest, is often a mystery. Breaking up, on the other hand, seems quite formulaic.
Certainly on the celebrity circuit.
“Love,” “respect,” “consideration,” “admiration” and a dollop of “privacy” are the primary ingredients of today’s famous fall-outs.
When glamorous couples call it quits, they typically do so publicly, through pithy statements to the media. These days, their declarations all seem to follow a similar structure.
Last week, former fiancees Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong and rocker Sheryl Crow announced their breakup “after much thought and consideration.”
“We both have a deep love and respect for each other and we ask that everyone respect our privacy during this very difficult time,” they said in a joint statement, released Feb. 3.
Armstrong and Crow took a page from Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston, who said their decision to separate early last year was “the result of much thoughtful consideration.”
“We happily remain committed and caring friends with great love and admiration for one another,” said Pitt and Aniston in a joint statement in January 2005. “We ask in advance for your kindness and sensitivity in the coming months.”
Months later, Pitt was photographed frolicking on an African beach with girlfriend Angelina Jolie — the snapshot seen ’round the world.
So much for “sensitivity.”
Following months of intense tabloid scrutiny about a rumored rift, “Newlyweds” Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey officially announced their split last November after “careful thought and consideration,” despite an “enormous amount of respect and admiration for each other.”
If these couples intend to stay kaput, why the amorous, polite prose?
Celebrity publicist Ken Sunshine, who represents actor Ben Affleck, said he thinks there’s no formula for announcing a breakup — it’s about beating gossip-hungry media outlets to the punch.
“It’s a dilemma, a real dilemma that most people don’t face when the world is speculating and making up information, lying about things,” Sunshine said. “To try to at least correct this information, what do you do?”
An official statement, he added, is preferable to what headlines might develop if the couple stayed mum.
“It’s not easy on the other end as to what to do,” he said. “But it’s also easy to make fun of these things and be cynical.”