IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

When love and fame aren't enough

It's tough being a celebrity couple; just ask Nick and Jessica

Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson have reportedly decided to call it quits. It shouldn’t come as a blow to the solar plexus, because after all, the divorce rate in this country is at 50 percent, and almost double that in Hollywood. Besides, sometimes love grows and sometimes it fades, quite often during the same evening.

But Nick and Jessica appeared as if they might break the mold. They seemed like they were so happy together. They were always smiling in photos. I’m trying to find out if Ashlee Simpson sang to them at their wedding or at any time during their marriage. From a cosmic standpoint, that would explain everything.

Details are sketchy about exactly why they apparently broke up (and Nick's spokesman says they haven't separated), but it could be any of several reasons that, sooner or later, sabotage the firmest matrimonial bonds in the celebrity world. She is young, blond, rich, famous and beautiful, so there’s always a chance that another suitor may have been tempted to dip a toe into that marital pond.

Nick is handsome and personable, and is also rich and famous — exactly why is a topic for another day — and perhaps he found truth in the male adage about the perfect female, paraphrased for a family audience, that goes like this: “No matter how attractive she may be, there is a gentleman out there somewhere who is weary of sharing her bed.”

The most disappointing angle to the Nick-Jessica news is the impact it will have on other celebrity couples. They had a show called “Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica,” which served as romantic inspiration for lovers everywhere. On it, Nick and Jessica did all sorts of fun things together, like camping, decorating the house together, shopping, golfing, and my favorite, “Puppy Madness,” in which they searched for the perfect pooch and Jess came to the conclusion that she prefers smaller dogs because they produce smaller poop.

How does a guy walk away from a girl like that?

If they can’t make it work, who’s next? Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston went their separate ways recently, but that was understandable. Besides being gorgeous and wealthy beyond belief, they had the added burden of talent. They both can act, and were often asked to do so in meaningful projects. That kind of pressure to keep a marriage together while doing quality work created an unbearable strain, which Nick and Jessica apparently avoided by doing projects like “I Love The ‘80s Strikes Back” and “Bubblegum Babylon,” respectively.

Recently Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore tied the knot after dating for a couple of years. This was unique because he is 27 and she is 42, and Hollywood loves May-December romances because of their robbing-the-cradle lasciviousness. Lauren Bacall was 19 when she met and later married the 44-year-old Humphrey Bogart, and their union stood the test of time. This one should also, because if you’ve ever spent any time observing Kutcher, you should know by now that he probably doesn’t realize she’s older than him.

Jay-Z and Beyonce, the reigning duo of the soul and hip-hop worlds, have been an item for quite some time. But I give that about another month, maybe less. Their music is powerful, inventive and memorable, and that takes lots of energy and effort. If Nick and Jessica can go their opposite ways when all they ever needed to do was come up with a “Jingle Ball Rock” every now and then, what chance do Jay-Z and Beyonce have?

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner recently wed, and she’s expecting a child. The bet here ordinarily would be against a long and happy life together, given his penchant for flaunting his celebrity coupling, as in his excruciating Bennifer period.

Ben-efit of the doubtBut I’m giving Ben the benefit of the doubt here. I’m hoping that he has learned something after spending months as an ornament to a famous pop star. His new Jennifer doesn’t seem to be obsessed with fame and material wealth like the old one, so maybe some of her old-fashioned values will rub off on Ben. Plus, he will have the responsibilities of fatherhood to help cement his relationship. This baby will be born at a good time, well after “Gigli” and “Elektra” have left the DVD stores’ “new arrivals” sections, and after the kibosh has been put on any chance at another “Nick and Jessica’s Variety Hour” appearing on television.

Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are sweethearts. They proclaimed their love to the world together, with the assistance of a talk-show sofa and a French monument. It was recently revealed that Katie is expecting a child.

I believe this partnership will last, because Tom is sort of locked in. He really looked like a lovesick dope on “Oprah” and in subsequent interviews. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course. Most of us envy his happiness while we also fret about his mental health.

But now he has to make it work, at least for a while. Otherwise, he’ll look silly. If his fans start to question the sincerity of his love for Katie, they might also begin to doubt other aspects of his life, like his religious beliefs and whether he wears lifts in his shoes. He really has to settle down and make this one work, because if they split, the world’s media will have to endure another gushing press junket for “Mission Impossible: 3” like they did with “War of the Worlds.”

Meanwhile, Nick and Jessica are single and available. Who could have guessed?

Michael Ventre is a frequent contributor to